Tag Archives: e3 ireland

US Immigration Reform 2013: E-3 Visas for Ireland & South Korea, ESTA for Poland & 8 Month Tourist Visas For Canadians

In the US Immigration Reform 2013 bill submitted in April to the US Senate, there are actually a few provisions hidden in the fine details of the bill that most people, including me, missed. Essentially these are new special immigration rules specific to certain countries to address supposed inequities in the law as stated by Gang of Eight co-sponsor, Senator Charles Schummer of NY.

The reality of these country specific immigration reforms is that they are the result of heavy lobbying from local ethno-centric interest groups and foreign governments on behalf of their citizens. For example the lobbying effort for an E-3 visa for Irish citizens similar to the E-3 visa for Australian citizens has been going on pretty much since 2005 when the Australian version was introduced and in reality in some form since 1990 when a previous amnesty of sorts (often known as the Morrison visa) when a one-off change gave a visa to over 40,000 Irish citizens in the US.

Current estimates state their are probably 55,000 illegal Irish immigrants in the US but these are rarely mentioned in the press and not considered high priority anywhere in US Government or society for demonization because of the long Irish connection of immigration to the US dating back to the 1800s mainly. Cities like Boston, Chicago and NY are well known for their huge Irish ancestry, large St. Patrick’s Day Parades, identification in law enforcement like the BPD & NYPD and major US figures like President John F. Kennedy.

The four country specific changes proposed in the original version of the bill now being scrutinized particularly on the Republican side of the Senate for Canada, South Korea, Ireland and Poland are;

1. E-3 Visa for Irish citizens with a quota of 10,500 (exactly the same as E-3 Visa currently for Australians)

2. Polish Citizens to no longer need a tourist visa like the B-1 and be on the Visa Waiver list with the ESTA

3. Canadian Citizens over the age of 55 who do no intend to work in US be allowed to stay for up to 240 Days consecutively (up from current 180 day level)

4. E-3 type visa for South Korean citizens with a quote of 5,000 given their similar free-trade agreement with US in 2011 (an original separate bill was proposed earlier with a quota of 15,000)

It will be interesting to see if in whole or part if Immigration Reform passes whether these minor parts of the legislation are allowed to stand.


E3 Visa For Irish Citizens

At end of last year we wrote about the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act 2011 which among other things will reduce wait times dramatically for Chinese and Indian nationals who are on long Green Card waiting lists with EB-2 and EB-3 Visa Categories.

However one other part of this legislation which we didn’t cover much is an addition to the E3 visa category. The E3 Visa is a work visa category that is currently exclusive to Australian nationals and has an annual quota of 10,500 per year. For many years, the Irish American groups and the Irish Government and been lobbying various US Congressmen and Senators (particularly those in large Irish ancestry districts and states) to expand the E-3 visa to include Irish nationals.

As a reminder the main facets of the current E3 Visa for Australians include;

– Available to Australian Citizens which means demand is low relative to annual quota
– An Annual Quota of 10,500 (reset every October 1)
A Partner Visa called E-3D which allows dependent married spouses and minors to accompany E-3 Visa holder
– Spouse E3-D visa allows partner to work (differs from H-4 visa which is partner visa for H-1B that doesn’t allow working)
–  Visa holder has to be Australian citizen but spouse does not
– Allows work based on Specialty Occupation and Bachelor’s Degree conditions
– Can be applied for at any time of the year (unlike the H-1B visa)
– Is for 2 years and can be renewed indefinitely (unlike the H-1B visa which is for 3 years but only renewable once)
– Is NOT a dual intent visa unlike the H-1B visa (but it is not technically prohibited to have a concurrent Green Card application)
Has no filing fees for the employer

Given the E-3 visa annual quota has barely breached 3,000 since its inception in October 2005, it has a lot of capacity available. However one point that has been largely ignored in relation to Irish citizens apart from the obvious pandering for votes by Senators and Congress people around the country with heavy Irish constituencies is that this bill can have a negative on current Irish immigrants in the country.

Irish immigrants currently in the country who may have pending PERM applications (Green Card or Permanent Residency petitions) will actually be disadvantaged by this entire bill passing through Congress. Because of the removal of limitations on all the Chinese and Indian nationals in particular artificially restricted from having too many of the annual quota of Green Cards awarded to them from the various waiting lists, current Irish immigrants on the waiting lists will now have to wait longer.

While the E-3 visa does make it slightly easier to navigate the US Immigration system, it is still difficult as Irish nationals just like with the H-1B visa need a job offer from an eligible US employer for and eligible job type prior to applying for the E-3 visa.