Has it gotten easier for Americans to move to Ireland?
February 20, 2010 7:26 PM   Subscribe

Didn't the U.S. sign an agreement with Ireland last year that would create a worker exchange program? What happened with that?

I remembering reading in the Irish news last March that Obama and Taoiseach Brian Cowen had signed an agreement that would ease immigration rules between the two countries. Did anything come of that? Particularly anything that would make it easier for U.S. citizens to work in Ireland?

Basically, has the status quo changed since the last AskMe in 2007?
posted by serathen to Law & Government (3 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The short answer: sort of.

The long answer: If I've found the agreement that you're referring to, then immigration rules have not exactly been alleviated, but temporary (one-year) stays and employment have been made easier for students.

According to a Boston Globe article from February 16, 2009 (Reconnection Via Exchange: Ireland, US Sponsor One-Year Visa Program), this five-year pilot visa exchange program between Ireland and the US "allows college students or recent graduates to live and work in the other's country for up to a year as a way to strengthen ties between the two nations, which were transformed by huge waves of Irish immigration to the United States in the 1800s."

To read the relevant visa information, visit:


Within a table about 1/6 of the way down the page, you will see a link for "Intern work/travel: Irish." If you click this link, it will open a PDF with more extensive information on this particular program:

"The Department of State is pleased to announce that on September 22, 2008 the
Government of Ireland and the Government of the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing the Intern Work and Travel (IWT) Pilot Program. This innovative reciprocal exchange program will be conducted as a five year pilot program under which qualifying Irish post-secondary college/university students and recent graduates will enter the United States to participate in internships and travel independently for a period of up to 12 months. The Government of Ireland will provide reciprocal opportunities for U.S. participants. The IWT Pilot Program became effective on October 31, 2008."

Much of the same information is also available here:

You might also check out the US Embassy in Dublin's website:


Additionally, there is information about employment in Ireland here:

posted by BombasticBibliophile at 8:59 PM on February 20, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, looks like it's one I was thinking of:
This week Taoiseach Brian Cowen met with American President Barack Obama to discuss details of the USA Intern Work and Travel pilot programme while at the same time this west of Ireland agent was busy signing agreements with US sponsoring agents securing thousands of visas for Irish workers. — Mayo Advertiser (3/20/09)
Though strangely I can't find anything on the reciprocal, US → Ireland side of things. Not even on the Irish Embassy's website.
posted by serathen at 6:25 AM on February 21, 2010

I did the 18-month internship visa thing coming the other way, Ireland to the US, albeit 10 years ago. If it really does exist in Ireland it's got to be administered through Council or whoever is your local equivalent. Rather than the googling I suggest you give them a call and get them to talk you through all the options if you graduated recently etc etc. Bear in mind that Ireland is experiencing bad unemployment, a housing crash, cuts in services etc at the moment too, so if your ducks are in a row get a jump on the job search very early.
posted by jamesonandwater at 9:00 AM on February 21, 2010

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