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US E-3 visa to benefit Australian IT professionals

Australian IT workers will be the main beneficiaries of the US' new E-3 business sponsored work visa that specifically targets Australian workers.

The new US E-3 visa was signed into law by President George Bush two weeks ago and will allow up to 10,500 Australians live and work in the US.

Previously, Australian businessmen and workers were forced to compete with the rest of the world for the pool of 65,000 business-sponsored visas known as the H1-B. Last year, Australians were issued with just 986 H1-B visas.

The E-3 is the only US visa that targeted the citizens of a single country for special treatment. The E-3 visa will be welcomed by industry groups like the Australian Information Industry Association and the Australian Computer Society, which were both dismayed that better provisions for business travel were not included in the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement.

The first E-3 visas should be issued in the next two to three months, said one of the visas supporters, US Congressman Sensenbrenner.