We talked about the expansion of the E-2 visa program last week, and now it seems another employment immigration visa under the same program will see similar expansion. The E-3 visa, currently only available to Australian citizens, could be made available to citizens of the Republic of Ireland soon.
A new bill would allot 10,500 visas to Irish citizens – the same amount currently given to Australian citizens. The E-3 visa allows approved applicants to live in the United States for two years while they hold a “professional level” job. When the visa expires, the individual can reapply in an unlimited capacity.
The senator behind the idea for expanding the E-3 visa program explained why he thought the bill was needed.
“The (Immigration and Nationality) Act put in place bureaucratic hurdles for Irish immigrants and caused Irish immigration numbers to plummet to all-time lows. Despite some legislative relief in the 1990s, the Irish continue to face quotas that don’t reflect the level of demand,” he said. “My bill would provide a legal pathway for the thousands of Irish that wish to come to this country legally.”
The E-3 bill is akin to the H-1B employment visa, allowing specialized or skilled workers to immigrate to the United States with the sponsorship of a U.S. company. The applicant must also have 12 years of relevant experience and the necessary educational requirements to fulfill the position.
Spouses of successful E-3 applicants would also be eligible to come to the U.S., and could later potentially obtain an Employment Authorization Document.
Source: Workpermit.com, “US Immigration may soon make E-3 visa program for professionals available to Irish,” Feb. 21, 2012