The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) launched their new J1 guide last month to inform students about the application process and the new programme requirements brought in this year.
As of this year, students applying for the J1 Visa must have a job secured before they leave Ireland. This can be achieved by contacting a J1 Travel Agent, such as USIT or SAYIT. USI President Kevin Donoghue said that they produced this guide along with the Department of Foreign Affairs to inform students about how to plan “the J1 trip of a lifetime”, and to ensure they will be good ambassadors for Ireland.
The J1 guide outlines the application process and offers tips on all aspects of J1 life, such as getting a social security number, finding accommodation and staying safe. It was launched on Tuesday, January 26 outside Leinster House. “We encourage all J1 participants to plan ahead and register early for the job fairs,” U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley said.
“Even as some aspects of the J1 program evolve and change, the cultural exchange and entrepreneurial spirit at the heart of the programme remain exactly the same,” he said.
The J1 Summer Work Travel programme was first launched in 1966 and since then, about 150,000 Irish students have taken part in it. In 2015, more than 8000 students had applied for the summer Visa. It is not yet known whether the new changes will have an impact on the number of students who apply this year.
In October 2015, Enda Kenny said that the changes could lead to 60-80 per cent fewer Irish students availing of the J1 programme.
“The J1 Summer Work and Travel programme has played an extremely positive role in building US-Irish links over the past 50 years,” Minister for Diaspora Affairs Jimmy Deenihan said. “The Government’s focus is on maximising student participation in the J1 programme in 2016 and beyond.”