Kelly’s legislation would expand E-3 nonimmigrant visa program

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) on May 14 signed on as the lead original cosponsor of a bipartisan bill that would add Ireland to the E-3 nonimmigrant visa program, which has been a successful pathway for qualified Australian citizens to gain professional experience in the United States.

Australians during the past decade have only used roughly half of the E-3 program’s available visas, according to Rep. Kelly, whose H.R. 8392 would enable qualified Irish workers to access the unused Australian E-3 visas going forward.

“It is deeply important that we continue to reaffirm the strong relationship between our people and countries,” Rep. Kelly said. “With generations of Irish Americans contributing to our country including helping to build and shape my home state of Pennsylvania, it’s vital that we recognize the numerous contributions Irish-Americans have made to the educational, political, and cultural life of America. 

“It’s important that we honor their many contributions and continue to support the unique relationship between our shared history and people,” he added.

E-3 visas are limited to professionals visiting the United States to perform services in “specialty occupations” in a confirmed job from a U.S. employer, according to information provided by Rep. Kelly’s staff. 

Under the agreement reached with the Australians, the applicant must have a university degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the U.S., and once approved for an E-3 visa they are permitted to stay in America for two years with an option to renew, the information says. 

Rep. Kelly introduced H.R. 8392 with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA). The two members are co-chairs of the Friends of Ireland Caucus.

“The E-3 visas, combined with these reciprocal arrangements, would further strengthen that relationship, providing the welcome and long overdue movement of citizens between Ireland and the United States in both directions,” said Rep. Neal. “This legislation reaffirms that connection, creating significant opportunities for our two nations.”

H.R. 8392 has been referred to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee for consideration.