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Walsh Visa Programme

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people from Northern Ireland have entered into the Walsh Visa Programme; how many of these dropped out early from the programme; and what the financial cost has been to the Government of running this programme. [100068]

449 people from Northern Ireland have entered the US under the Walsh Visa Programme. 163 participants are still working in the US under the terms of the visa. I should clarify that the visa scheme allows participants to live and work for up to three years in the USA. There is no requirement for individuals to stay for the full three years visa period.Expenditure on the programme to date is £1,787,000 with an expected outturn of £1,952,000 by the end of 2002–03.