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More visas given to Australians to work in U.S.

Australian First - From Today 10,500 E-3 Visa places for the U.S.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade Mark Vaile has welcomed news that as from today and for the first time, the new E-3 visa is now available for 10,500 Australian professionals and business people wanting to live and work in the United States.

"This is a quantum step forward and great news for Australian business people who will be able to use the E-3 visa to capitalise on opportunities offered under the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA)," Mr Vaile said.

"Only 900 Australians succeeded in gaining the US H-1B business visa in 2004. By comparison, there will be 10,500 E-3 visas reserved exclusively for Australian nationals each year."

"As of today, qualified Australians wishing to reside and work in the United States find themselves in a privileged position. They have access to a dedicated visa that will be easier and less costly to obtain than the traditional H-1B business visa.

"Unlike the H 1-B visa, spouses of E-3 visa holders will also be able to work in the United States - thus eliminating a barrier that in practice has stopped many Australians from applying for temporary residence in the United States," Mr Vaile said.

"E-3 visa holders will be able to apply for extensions and the application fee for an E-3 visa will be significantly lower than that for the H-1B visa."

Australians who are interested in applying for an E-3 visa should contact their nearest US consulate (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth) or alternatively consult the US State Department or Department of Homeland Security (Citizenship and Immigration Services) websites.

Australian citizens who are currently living abroad will be able to apply for an E-3 visa by visiting the nearest US Embassy or Consulate in the country in which they are currently residing.

"In a little over a year the US Congress has passed two laws devoted to Australia - the only Australia-specific legislation in its history - which is a tribute to our relationship and the high regard in which Australia is held," Mr Vaile said.

Australians are now able to apply immediately for E-3 visas.

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