USIT, the travel agency which supplies J1 visas, has gone into liquidation due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the company has said.
The Dublin-based travel agents were popular with students seeking J1 work visas to travel to the USA over the summer, and also offered other student travel packages.
The number of students applying for J1 visas had been declining before the coronavirus outbreak. In 2013, over 8,000 students travelled to the US on the visa, while only 3,300 applied in 2019, a drop of nearly 60%.
David Andrews, the chairman of the business, said in a statement today though that “the tsunami of effects related to the Covid-19 pandemic have left us with no business whatsoever and no possibility of overcoming these challenges.”
Earlier this month the US temporarily suspended the J1 summer visa programme for some applicants in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The move only affected students travelling up until May 11.
In a statement, the company said: “The outcome for customers who have booked with USIT is uncertain but management will provide as much support as possible to help customers assess their options.”
On Twitter, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) said that the Union is “sad to hear” that the company had gone into liquidation. “Students who have paid for products and who would like to try to secure a refund should try to make contact with Usit Travel’s liquidators,” the Union said in a tweet, advising students to also contact FLAC Ireland and Citizens Info for further advice.
USIT’s parent company also owns the English Studio language school, which has now also gone out of business. KPMG has been appointed the provisional liquidator to USIT along with its parent company Kinlay Group and the language school.