New legislation that would add Ireland to the E-3 nonimmigrant visa program has made significant strides in Congress as the year ends.
What is the E-3 Visa?
The E-3 visa is currently limited to Australian professionals coming to the U.S. to work in specialized occupations. Eligibility criteria for an E-3 visa are the same as for an H-1B visa.
The E-3 visa classification offers several important benefits and advantages. First, although there is an annual limit of 10,500, Australia does not typically fulfill that allotment. This allows employers to seek E-3 visas for Australian employees and candidates year-round. Furthermore, the E-3 classification affords applicants the flexibility of bypassing the USCIS petition process and applying for an E-3 visa through direct application to a consulate abroad. Finally, E-3 visas are issued in two-year increments and can be renewed indefinitely.
What’s in the Bill and What’s Next?
If enacted, H.R. 7164 would expand E-3 visa benefits to Irish applicants by allowing them to use the unused portion of Australia’s current annual allotment of 10,500. If this piece of legislation does not receive unanimous approval before the year ends, it will have to restart the legislative process next year in a new Congress.
H.R. 7164 recently passed the House of Representatives at the end of November and now awaits unanimous approval in the Senate before it officially becomes law. According to Irish Central, only two senators remain opposed to H.R. 7164.
Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Louis Massard, an Associate at Global Immigration Associates, P.C.(www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.