The US is eager to kill a plan that would have compelled professional Australians who have are equally highly skilled, to compete with their contemporaries from Ireland for the much underused US E3 Visa.
Australians retain 100% access which entails having all 10,500 visas to themselves. The E3 visa is not available to other countries, and this has placed professionals of Australian nationality in a position of envy among other foreign professionals.
Will the Irish still gain access to the visa?
However, as stipulated in an amended bill, Ireland did not completely lose out. The bill presented by Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican member of Congress, any unused slots will be offered to Irish citizens in the following year.
This amended bill will hopefully be voted on and passed by the end of the year. By this, the Australian ambassador to the US would take a break on his lobbying and campaigning against the Irish taking away their sole access to the visa.
Australians are more comfortable with this new arrangement as it doesn’t put any Australian professional under any pressure to compete with the Irish for the Visas.
The E3 visa was launched in 2005 as part of a free trade agreement between the US and Australia. Since then, Australians who are professionals and highly skilled have been utilizing the opportunity to spend two years and working in the US.
The number of Australians applying for and eventually getting the E3 visa has been steadily rising. In 2013, there were only 3,946 applicants, but by 2017, the number had increased to 5,657 successful applicants.
With the initial bill presented in Congress, citizens of Australia would have been competing for this visa with the Irish and in the future, more Australians would have been losing out in the scheme.
The high number of unused quotas each year is a sign that not many professionals and high-level skill workers have been maximizing the opportunity to live and work in the US.
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