In 1998 Congressman James Walsh (R-NY) sponsored the “Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Act”, commonly known as the Walsh Visa Program. In conjunction with the U.S. State Department and the governments of Northern Ireland and Ireland, the Walsh Visa Program offers unemployed people of Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland the opportunity to live and work in the Pittsburgh area for up to two years. The goals of Program are to gain new skills and enhance the participants’ future employability at home in Ireland.
Since 2001, over 250 men and women from Ireland and Northern Ireland have been provided the opportunity to live and work in Pittsburgh, and more are scheduled to arrive through 2008. The Ireland Institute secures employment, coordinates housing, provides social support and conducts conflict resolution training to all program participants.
More than 120 employers in the Greater Pittsburgh area have been designated by the U.S. State Department for participation in the Walsh Visa Program.