New Zealand to Lobby for US E2 and E1 visa access and hires former Trump campaign director for help

New Zealand’s embassy in Washington D.C. has recruited Stuart Jolly - a former campaign field director for US president Donald Trump - to aid the country’s push for access to US E1 Treaty Trader and E2 Treaty Investor visas. Access to the E1 and E2 immigration programs has been a top priority for New Zealand for some time.   Because of the great difficulty in obtaining many US work visas such as the H1B specialty worker visa and L-1 intra-company transfer visas access to the E2 and E1 visa schemes will be of great help to New Zealand investors and their New Zealand employees wishing to live and work in the US.

According to documents filed with a US government database recently, Mr Jolly – now of the Sonoran Policy Group – was hired to persuade the US administration to give New Zealand access to E1 and E2 business and investor visas.

The E1 treaty trader visa is made available to businesses and individuals engaged in substantial international trade between the US and a treaty investor country. The volume of trade must be sufficient enough to provide employment for a number of people in the United States and must constitute the majority of the trader’s international trade.

Those eligible for an E2 treaty investor visa are those who have made a significant investment in a US business in which the investor has at least a 50% ownership. The investment must be sufficient enough to provide employment for a number of people in the United States, and must be in an active US business.  

E2 and E1 Visa Lobbyist Jolly’s former Donald Trump association

Mr Jolly served as Trump’s national campaign field director during the Republican primaries and joined the super PAC Great America – a pro-Donald Trump committee that raised unlimited sums of money to support his campaign – which backed the newly installed President as its national advisor back in May 2016.

In a letter written by the Sonoran Policy Group’s CEO Christian Bourge on January 11, addressed to New Zealand's deputy ambassador, he said: “We are excited to help facilitate interactions with the US Congress and incoming administration in order to ensure increased investment and trade between our two nations.”

It’s understood that the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs was unavailable for comment.

E1 and E2 US Visa programs a top priority for New Zealand

According to a report written by Charlotte Greenfield for Reuters and published in the Daily Mail, the ‘E1 and E2 immigration programs have long been a priority for New Zealand as they would allow companies operating in the United States access to streamlined visas for their staff in line with neighbouring Australia and around 50 other countries.’

Catherine Beard, executive director of industry group Export NZ, said: “It’s been the number one focus of the embassy over there. Access to the visa program was generally granted after reaching a free trade agreement.”

“We've been trying for years to negotiate a free trade agreement with the US and we’ve never been high enough on their radar,” Beard added.

According to the documents filed with the aforementioned US government database, the New Zealand embassy’s contract with the Sonoran Policy Group is active for two months. It began on January 9 and will cost the embassy approximately $50,000.

Trump recently withdrew the United States from a 12-nation trade pact – the Trans Pacific Partnership. New Zealand expressed its disappointment at Trump’s decision, but is now seeking to reach a mutual trade agreement.

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