USIT will not offer refunds to J1 students, says company

The company went into liquidation at the end of March, badly affected by the outbreak of Covid-19

USIT, the travel agency which supplies J1 visas, have said that they are “not in a position” to offer refunds following the liquidation of the company last month due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement posted on their website, the company said that “unfortunately, due to the insolvency of USIT, the Joint Provisional Liquidators are not in a position to pay any refunds to any category of customer or client”.

The website stated: “It is extremely unlikely that summer programmes will go ahead this year given the scale of the COVID19 pandemic and resulting health risks”, adding that “there are more severe restrictions now in place by both the US and Ireland and the US Embassy in Dublin remains closed so no visa paperwork can be processed”.

However, the website also notes that “to date, no formal decision has been made by our US partners to cancel the programme”.

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, announcing the liquidation in March, said 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.”

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.”

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.

Finn Purdy

Finn Purdy is the current Deputy Editor of Trinity News. He is a Junior Sophister English Studies student, and a former News Editor and Assistant News Editor.