Thursday, 24 June 2021

Ceisteanna (106)

James O'Connor

Ceist:

106. Deputy James O'Connor asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the status of the diplomatic efforts on the repeal of the US Presidential Order under section 212 F of the Immigration and Nationality Act 1952 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33617/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The repeal of the Presidential Order under section 212 F of the US Immigration and Nationality Act 1952 is solely a matter for US authorities. However, as I have stated before, ease of travel is vital to our economic relationships and for building connections across the Atlantic. We continue our work to ensure that the restrictions will not have any long-term impact on existing channels of migration, exchange, education and tourism, which benefit our countries significantly.

We have raised the issues associated with the ongoing US travel restrictions, including the question of resumption of travel between our two countries, in our contacts with the US Administration - most recently, during my meeting with US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan in May. We agreed that it is important that we restore connectivity with the US as soon as it is feasible, and safe, to do so.

Our Embassy in Washington D.C is also engaging closely with other contacts in the Administration, and with the US Department of State on these matters, urging them to ease the restrictions, where appropriate. Our Ambassador has written to them to raise the issue of processing National Interest Exemptions for economic reasons to assist Irish companies travelling to the US. Together with other EU countries, we have also written to US Secretary of State Blinken requesting reconsideration of the US travel restrictions currently in place. 

My Department has a very positive working relationship with the US Chargé d’affaires and her team at the US Embassy in Dublin. Although US immigration regulation is a matter for the US authorities, my Department has continued to encourage the US Embassy to maintain the processing of exemptions to their travel restrictions for those travelling to the US for medical reasons.

We are particularly keen that the current travel restrictions will not negatively impact the future of the J1 and Working Holiday Agreement programmes. I look forward to working actively with the US again to promote travel between our countries.