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Ireland's ambassador to US urges those on J1 visas to return home

Dan Mulhall issued the advice in a video message last night.

IRELAND’S AMBASSADOR TO the United States has urged those currently in the country on J1 visas to return home as soon as possible.

Dan Mulhall said that although he knew those currently living in the US on the visa would be reluctant to return home, he was making the call on the “best advice” of the Irish consulate there.

The visa allows non-US citizens to travel and teach, study or conduct research for periods ranging from a few weeks to a few years. The most popular version of the visa in Ireland is the J1 summer travel visa. 

“I know how important the J1 experience is, because I was a J1 visa visitor when I was a student, and I really enjoyed and benefited from the experience of living in Kansas City in those days,” Mulhall said.

“I know how reluctant you will be to alter your plans and go back to Ireland. But in the current circumstances, our best advice to you is that you should go back to Ireland.

“There are still flights from a number of US cities and, reluctantly, I would suggest to you that you ought to contact your airline to check on flight availability and make your way back to Ireland as soon as possible.”

The US has confirmed more than 160,000 cases of Covid-19 and over 2,900 deaths from the coronavirus, with New York City the nation’s worst-hit city.

New Orleans, Detroit and a number of other cities are also seeing rising clusters of the illness.

Earlier this month, the US temporarily suspended the J1 summer visa programme for some applicants in response to the ongoing pandemic.

Figures earlier this year showed that more than 3,000 people participated in the programme in 2019, although this represented a drop from 2013, when over 8,000 students travelled to the US for summer work.

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