Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters welcomed a green light from the US Congress making it easier for New Zealanders seeking to trade or invest in the world's biggest economy.
“The passage of this legislation through the US Congress is a major step and very much welcomed by the New Zealand government,” he said in a statement.
According to Peters, the proposed Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors Act - or Kiwi Act - would allow New Zealanders to apply for E-1 and E-2 trade and investment visas.
The 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 individuals 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.
The Kiwi Act passed through the Senate with unanimous consent in late June and Peters said the House of Representatives approved the legislation under "suspension of the rules," a mechanism used to pass non-controversial pieces of legislation in the House that 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 in order to pass legislation more quickly.
"The next step is for the President to sign the bill into law. The New Zealand government is working closely with the US Administration to encourage a positive outcome," Peters said.