Wellington, July 24, 2018
Acting Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the passage of the ‘KIWI Act’ by the US Congress today.
The Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors Act (KIWI Act) would allow New Zealanders to apply for E1 and E2 Trade and Investment visas.
“This is a major step and very much welcomed by the New Zealand Government” he said.
The next step is for the US President to sign the bill into law.
The New Zealand Government is working closely with the US Administration to encourage a positive outcome.
“The United States is a key strategic partner for New Zealand. If approved, these visas would improve access to the US for New Zealand businesspeople and investors, further developing our trading relationship to the benefit of both countries. We acknowledge Senators Mazie Hirono, Mike Lee, and Chairman Chuck Grassley in the Senate as well as Representatives Darrell Issa, Rick Larsen, Kevin Brady and Chairman Bob Goodlatte in the House of Representatives for introducing this important piece of legislation,” Mr Peters said.
About the Visas
US E-1 and E-2 visas would allow New Zealand nationals who qualify to enter the US multiple times over two years without having to apply for a new visa each time they enter the US (with an option to renew on a rolling basis).
The visas cover those individuals who are seeking to engage in substantial trade and investment activities in the US.
Spouses and dependents of visa holders are also permitted to travel on derivative E visas.
Congress approved the Act
On July 20, 2017, the ‘KIWI Act’ was introduced to the US House of Representatives by Republican Congressman Darrell Issa of California, with support from the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Friends of New Zealand Caucus, Congressmen Rick Larsen (a Democrat from Washington) and Congressman Kevin Brady (A Republican from Texas).
On December 18, 2017 a companion Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors Act (KIWI Act) was introduced to the US Senate by Democrat Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii with support from Senator Mike Lee (a Republican from Utah).
On June 28, 2018 the KIWI Act passed the Senate with unanimous consent.
Suspension of Rules
On July 23, 2018, the KIWI Act passed the House under suspension of the rules. Suspension of the rules is used to pass non-controversial pieces of legislation in the House and requires that at least two-thirds of the House vote in favour of passing the legislation. The usual debate requirements and amendment rules are suspended to pass legislation quicker.
I will become a Public Law if the US President gives his accent
(Photo of Winston Peters for RNZ by Richard Tindiller; Under-Special Arrangement)