Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Questions (168)

Thomas P. Broughan


168. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of working holiday authorisations granted to citizens of the United States of America that have applied through the Irish Embassy and consulates in the USA in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27931/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

In 2008, Ireland and the US signed a Memorandum of Understanding on an Intern Work and Travel Pilot Programme (a.k.a. the Working Holiday Agreement) that enables Irish and US citizens to work and travel in each other's country for up to 12 months. The agreement reflects not only the close historical and cultural links between Ireland and the US, but also the vibrancy of the modern economic and commercial relationship between our countries.

These Working Holiday Authorisations (WHAs) are intended to facilitate US citizens who wish to travel for an extended period in Ireland and to engage in employment as an incidental aspect of their holiday.

In 2017, 528 WHAs were granted to US citizens through the Government’s Embassy and Consulate network in the US. In 2018, 466 were granted and to date in 2019, 203 have been granted, with 37 pending and in the system.

Earlier in the year, the Government launched a new strategy for the US and Canada. In this ambitious Strategy, the Government has committed to doubling Ireland’s impact and footprint in the US over the period to 2025. Underpinning this, and indeed underpinning the overall Ireland-US bilateral relationship, are the close people-to-people links between our two countries.

Along with academic exchanges and our long term support for the diaspora in the US, WHAs help foster these people-to-people links and the Government’s strategy for the US and Canada commits to promoting these valuable exchange opportunities and specifically increasing the uptake of WHAs. This action will create new champions for the transatlantic relationship and will foster ever closer links between Irish and US citizens.