By: Colm Phelan of the Irish Sun

THE E-3 visa that would allow Irish people live in America has hit a snag after one Senator put a 'hold' on the bill.

The bill had been passed in the US House of Representatives but the deadline has now passed for US Senate approval.

The Senator is understood to have put a 'hold' on the bill and therefore it failed to get approval before the Senate sat for the final time last Saturday, RTE reports.

A new bill will now have to be passed as the House of Representatives will sit for the first time under new membership.

The new visa proposal was drafted up back in November and sought to allow 4,000 - 5,000 Irish citizens gain access to the US through the visa.

The E-3 visa was originally available for Australian citizens, with 10,500 available each year but only half of them were being used up.

According to the report, Irish officials are now working out other ways to secure support for the plan to add Ireland to the visa programme.

Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner previously welcomed the bill that would allow Irish people to work in the US for a two-year span.

He said: "The United States was built on hard work and the determination of immigrants – many of them who hail from Ireland.

"Through their perseverance, they have enabled this country to grow and prosper.

"This modest proposal would give Irish nationals the opportunity to work in the US under the non-immigrant visa category of the E3 visa, previously reserved only for Australian nationals.

"Ireland in the meantime has proposed a reciprocal work visa specific to US nationals so that those wanting to live and work in Ireland can more easily do so."