E2 visa holders could secure permanent US residency after new bill filed

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US Republican Congressman John Rutherford

Kristie Boyd; U.S. House Office of Photography

US Republican Congressman John Rutherford has filed a bill that could allow job creators, who have been in the US on an E2 treaty investor visa for more than 10 years, to apply for legal permanent residence. A press release issued by Rutherford’s office confirmed that the bill, H.R. 3265, has been filed.

The new legislation could allow the children of E2 visa holders to remain in the United States until the age of 26 and then apply for work authorization. Under current US immigration law, thousands of E2 visa holders are welcomed into communities, establish businesses and employ American citizens, but are ineligible for permanent residency status.

Regardless of how long they have lived in the country or how large a contribution they have made over a decade, E2 visa holders are denied access to permanent residency. Equally, the children of immigrants in the US on an E2 visa are required to leave the country at the age of 21.

Consequently, families are divided and children are forced to head to other countries for education or work, taking their talents elsewhere and leaving the US to lose out on their skills despite being born and raised in the country.

E2 visa offers no pathway to permanent residency

Unlike other US visas, the E2 treaty investor visa offers no route to permanent residency. Rutherford’s bill is an attempt to bring the E2 visa into line with other US visas and create equality among visa holders, while keeping job creators and their families in the country.

Following the filing of the bill, Congressman Rutherford said: “E2 visa holders are entrepreneurs bringing their abilities, resources, and jobs to the United States. They pay taxes and invest their livelihood into the communities they serve. They deserve to be able to plan for their businesses, employees, and especially their families.”

“I want to change this outdated law so E2 visa holders can continue to create jobs and be fully integrated into the communities they have invested so much in. This bipartisan legislation is a much needed update to current US immigration laws that will provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to establish small businesses and roots in our communities,” he added.

Bill unlikely to be passed

However, similar legislation has been filed with Congress in the past with little success. Co-sponsoring the latest bipartisan bill alongside John Rutherford – the Republican representative for Florida - is representative for New Hampshire, Ann McLane Kuster.

The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and if passed it could help over 100,000 families and businesses nationally.

The bill, titled ‘H.R.3265 - To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to permit certain E2 nonimmigrant investors to adjust status to lawful permanent resident status’, will need to pass the House and the Senate before being passed by President Trump and becoming law.

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