US KIWI act to enable New Zealanders to apply for E1 and E2 visas

Sanwar Ali workpermit.com comment:

Obtaining work visas for the US is difficult. The H1B visa quota is used up almost as soon as it becomes available in April each year. The L1 visa is only available in limited circumstances where the employee has worked for the same employer outside the US for one year in the last three years.

Therefore the E2 visa category and E1 visa category will make it much easier for New Zealand citizens to work in the US. How long will this take? Even with the support of both houses of Congress it could be years before the E2 and E1 visa schemes become available for New Zealanders. Australians also benefit from a special E3 visa category just for them for graduate level people. Perhaps New Zealand citizens should be added to the E3 visa category.

Senators Mazie K. Hirono – Democratic representative for Hawaii - and Mike Lee – Republican representative for Utah – recently introduced the bipartisan Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors (KIWI) Act, in a bid to make the US E1 treaty trader and E2 treaty investor visas accessible to New Zealand citizens.

It’s hoped that the KIWI act will lead to an increase in international business between the United States and New Zealand. The newly introduced legislation comes as the two countries reached 75 years of diplomatic relations.

According to Hirono and Lee, the bipartisan Bill would pave the way for New Zealanders to apply for the coveted US E1 and E2 visas.

E1 and E2 visa access for New Zealanders will spur US economic growth

According to Senator Hirono, giving New Zealand’s citizens access to the E1 treaty trade visa and the E2 treaty investor visa will spur further US economic growth. Hirono said: “Supporting over 2,100 jobs in Hawaii last year alone, New Zealand’s visitor industry continues to build on our strong cultural and economic ties to the Indo-Asia Pacific region.”

“By extending trade and investment visas, the KIWI Act will help further spur economic growth and job creation in Hawaii and across the United States,” Senator Hirono added.

Senator Lee echoed Senator Hirono’s comments, stating: “New Zealand has always been a strong ally of the United States, and both nations have benefitted tremendously from our continued economic cooperation.”

“To help build on that relationship, I am proud to support and co-sponsor the KIWI Act, which makes it easier for nonimmigrant New Zealanders to invest in America,” Senator Lee added.

According to economic reports, New Zealand is an important strategic and economic partner for the United States. Financial data shows that total foreign direct investment from New Zealand into the United States has amounted to more than half a billion dollars.

E1 and E2 visa access a stumbling block

However, businesses in New Zealand argue that a lack of access to US E1 and E2 visas has hindered their ability to increase trade and investment in the United States. Senators Hirono and Lee claim that by allowing New Zealanders to apply for E1 and E2 visas, the KIWI Act will expand business and investment opportunities between the two nations.

Hawaii’s Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, Sherry Menor-McNamara, said: “As we did in 2014 when it was first introduced, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii supports legislation to extend E1 and E2 temporary visas to New Zealand to promote trade and investment in the United States.”

“Access to E1 and E2 visas will increase the ability of New Zealand businesses to grow, trade with, and work and invest in the United States, which will have a reciprocal benefit to our nation and Hawaii’s economy,” Menor-McNamara added.

New Zealand Ambassador to the United States, Tim Groser, extended his gratitude to Senators Hirono and Lee for sponsoring the KIWI Act. He said: “I would like to express our gratitude to Sens. Hirono and Lee for sponsoring this important piece of legislation, which will assist New Zealand businesses to trade with and invest in the United States.”

“The United States is a key strategic partner for New Zealand. The opening of a New Zealand Consulate in Sen. Hirono’s home state of Hawaii in 2014 is just one example of how New Zealand—United States relations have gone from strength to strength,” Groser added.

E1 and E2 visa access will lead to creation of American jobs

Groser believes that access to US E1 and E2 visas for New Zealand’s citizens will help traders and investors expand their operations in the US market, resulting in more American jobs, while also strengthening bilateral relations between the two nations.

He said: “We hope that Congress will recognize the benefits of this Bill to both New Zealand and the United States, and move to pass this legislation as quickly as possible.”

United States-New Zealand Council Chairman, Edward Farrell, said: “Americans and New Zealanders collaborate closely in business, technology, research, security and entertainment, yet the lack of access to trader and investor visas has been a serious barrier to increased economic growth and greater bilateral cooperation.”

“The E1 and E2 visa categories were created expressly to benefit the US economy by promoting capital infusion and job creation. The United States currently allows temporary entry for traders from more than 50 countries (under E1 visas) and for investors from more than 80 countries (under E2 visas),” Farrell added.

In Farrell’s opinion, New Zealand should be given the same accessibility as an important ‘partner, supporter and friend of the United States, and an influential thought leader throughout the world.’

Farrell said: “It’s in our shared best interests and it’s long overdue.”

The KIWI Act has also received support from Senators Tim Kaine (Democratic representative for Virginia), John McCain (Republicanrepresentative for Arizona), Roger Wicker (Republicanrepresentative for Mississippi), Cory Gardner (Republican representative for Colorado), and Patty Murray (Democratic representative for Washington).

New Zealand has lobbied for E1 and E2 visa access in the past

In April 2017, Workpermit.com reported that New Zealand’s embassy in Washington was lobbying for access to US E1 and E2 visas, hiring former Trump campaign director, Stuart Jolly, to assist them.

According to an article published by Reuters at the time of Mr Jolly’s appointment, access to the E1 and E2 immigration programs had been a top priority for New Zealand government officials.

Executive director of industry group Export NZ, Catherine Beard, revealed that New Zealand had been ‘trying for years to negotiate a free trade agreement with the US, but the country had never been high enough on the USA’s radar.’

Workpermit.com can help with E1, E2, L1, H1B, B1 in lieu of H1B, E3 Visas and other types of US Visas

For more information, or to find out if you are eligible for an US work visa, contact WorkPermit.com on 0344 991 9222.