The U.S. Congress plans to expand the annual quota for South Korean professionals who want to work in the United States.
According to news reports, two U.S. congressmen jointly introduced a bill that would increase the number of E-3 visas issued annually to Korean professionals from the current 3,500 to 10,500.
Eni Faleomavaega, who proposed the bill and is a member of the foreign affairs subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, said that “Korea is the seventh-largest trading partner and strategic ally of the U.S.,” and the U.S. would enhance its competitiveness by hiring more Koreans in specialized occupations.
The South Korean government has been pushing to increase the number of U.S. visas issued to Korean workers engaged in professional jobs, following the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement that came into effect in March 2012.
The Korean government claimed that such a visa expansion was needed to help professionals from both countries move and work freely to spur trade and investment.
In 2004, Australia obtained an annual quota of 10,500 E-3 visas after it struck a free trade pact with the U.S.
“Many Koreans staying in the U.S. want to get a job in the country but find it difficult to receive a work visa because of the quota limit,” said a source familiar with the issue.
Korea offers visas to American professionals including English teachers without limit.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)