Almost half of the E3 Visas went unused last year

Irish citizens looking to live and work stateside could soon avail of thousands of US visas.

A new bill would allow them participate in the E3 Visa programme.

The scheme is currently only open to Australians.

The passing of the 'E3 Bill' in the US Congress last night could allow Irish citizens to participate in the visa programme.

The E3 visa is seen as significantly easier and less costly to obtain than the traditional visa.

It also allows the spouses of recipients to live and work in the US without restrictions, and can be renewed indefinitely.

It'll now go before the US Senate, but must secure unanimous support there before it can be signed into law.

It's reported that the new bill would allow Irish people apply for any unused visas from Australia's annual quota.

Some 5,700 Australians used the scheme last year, leaving almost half of the 10,500 quota unused.