The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP

Media release

Wednesday, 11 May 2005 - MVT36/2005

New Visa for Australians Opens Up Major Business Opportunities in the United States

In a first for Australia, the United States has created a separate visa category (E-3 visa) specifically for 10,500 Australian business people and professionals seeking to live and work temporarily in the United States.

Trade Minister Mark Vaile said, "This new visa, passed by US Congress today, represents a quantum leap forward in the access that Australian professionals will have in the US.

"The global cap for the standard two-year business visa, the H1-B, is only 65,000 and last year only 900 Australians were successful, so to secure 10,500 places annually is a very positive outcome.

"It provides new opportunities for skilled Australians to take full advantage of the trade and investment links with the US in the years ahead. Even better, spouses of those successful visa holders will also have work rights, and dependant children need not apply for entry, "Mr Vaile said.

These places are over and above the capped visa entitlements that Australians are currently entitled to.

Once in operation, the new visa will offer a much better alternative to existing visa provisions and will be a boon for Australians looking to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement," Mr Vaile said.

Mr Vaile said it had become difficult for Australians who had been offered work in the US to get a visa. Australian companies in the US market had been unable to expand due to difficulties in bringing people over to train others or to create off-shoots in other localities.

"Now Australians with relevant tertiary qualifications and work experience will be able to apply under the new Australia-specific E-3 category visa to work in the US," Mr Vaile said.

"The new visa is a result of intense behind-the-scenes efforts by the Federal Government, and bipartisan support in the US. In particular, Senate Majority Leader Senator Frist played a crucial role along with key immigration advisors on the Senate Judiciary committee."

"I now look forward to working with the US Congress and Administration to implement the new provision, and build on the benefits we will reap from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement," Mr Vaile said.

Contact: Mr Vaile's office 02 6277 7420

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