E-3 Work Visa For Australians Seeking U.S. Work

Many people who have been seeking immigrant visas may not be well versed in the ways of the E-3 Work Visa. E-3 Visas have been around and booming for years for those in Australia; however, in 2013, they hit the news with new importance because of a company known as Huge Inc. Huge Inc is an international digital creative agency in New York that hired over 15 Australians in the year 2013. The E-3 Visa was said to help this business substantially, and it has the potential to help many more. The visa allows American companies to mobilize their Australian workforce, usually without issue. It also makes it much easier to bring employees to the U.S. much faster than other visas.

You may not have known it, but the E-3 Visa was signed into law in 2005 by President George Bush. It was part of the free trade agreement between the United States and Australia and may have been a reward for Australia’s contribution of troops to the Iraq war. The E-3 works much like the H-1B, aside from the fact that the H-1B is open to all nationalities and the E-3 is solely open to Australians. However, since there is only one available nationality for this category, there is no need for a low set quota. The H-1B typically has countries competing for a limited number of visas, while the E-3 is an almost sure-fire process that is fairly simple. Many of the employees working at Huge Inc. have stated that they do not have spectacular backgrounds: rather they have the Bachelor’s degree requirement to obtain an E-3.

Many Australians were happy to hear the initial announcement in May of 2005 that U.S. Congress had approved the designation of 10,500 newly created E-3 Visas. The number of these visas made available never changes from year to year. This means that, annually, 10,500 may be issued each fiscal year. Spouses and children of the E-3s will be permitted to accompany the principal nonimmigrant and will not count against the 10,500 cap (WP). There has never been a problem with available visas in this category.

Your next question may be: Am I eligible? You must be a national of Australia to obtain this status and must have legitimate employment opportunity in the United States offered to you upon arrival. Services must be performed in a specialty occupation. You must also, on top of this, possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials needed to be accepted (USCIS).

What About Employers Applying?

Many employers will aid in the process of helping potential employees obtain E-3 Visas. The employer who chooses to petition must file a Labor Condition Application with the Secretary of Labor. If you are familiar with the H-1B process, you will find that the processes are a lot alike. The process could take a couple of months in total depending on the center that processes the application, but you should expect anywhere between 3 to 6 months. Employers are expected to file labor condition applications, a process also required for H-1B cases, and make claims about paying the prevailing and actual wages, not breaking up strikes, maintaining public access files, and fulfilling other obligations.

Official E-3 FAQ

Still, you may have questions concerning the E-3. It is in your best interest to have these questions answered so that you know what is right for you and your family. Taking this new and important step in your life and leaving your roots to work in the United States is always life changing, and now you can have all of your important questions answered.

Can my family accompany me on the E-3 Visa? Yes. However, you must remember that the E-3 Visa classification only applies to those who are nationals of Australia. This also applies to spouses and children under 21 years old. The spouse and the children, however, do not need to be Australian citizens. However, the United States does not recognize De Facto relationships in regards to immigration, which is why you will need a marriage certificate. Also keep in mind that there is no cap for spouses and children so, if you receive one of the 10,500 visas issued, your family will be able to accompany you regardless. You should keep in mind that your spouse (but not your children) will also be able to qualify for work authorization. Your spouse would have to file a Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization.

What if I live in Australia but I do not have citizenship? You will not be able to apply for an E-3 Visa. However, if you are a new Australian citizen or are in the process of becoming one, you have a chance once you possess an Australian passport by the time of your initial E-3 Interview.

I have heard that I must be working in a specialty occupation to obtain an E-3 visa. I have a degree and have found a job in a related United States profession. Will I qualify? If your occupation is seen as a specialty occupation due to the fact that it requires a theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge, then it will probably apply. You should note that your job would probably qualify if it requires a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in the specialty occupation mentioned. If you hold a degree but the job does not require it, you will probably not qualify. The job itself must require a bachelor-level or higher qualification. This also means that jobs of trade value such as plumbing and electrical work will not gain you an E-3 visa.
However, it should also be noted under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(D) that three years of professional experience may generally be used as a substitute for each year of university-level education. This means that you would need to show 12 years experience in the field you are applying to work in if you do not hold the degree required. A determination will be made based on this (EUS) experience.

Do you have the requirements for an E-3 Visa and believe that this is the particular visa that will fit your lifestyle? Do you plan to come to the United States from Australia and work for a successful company in a specialty that suits your needs? If you have more questions or believe that you will need guidance through the process, you should contact an immigration lawyer with the experience necessary to help you every step of the way. At The Valdez Immigration Law Firm, we will help you with all of your E-3 Visa needs. Call today for more information.

Works Cited

Matthew Hall. The Age, 2013. Web. Accessed Jan 31, 2016. http://www.theage.com.au/it-pro/business-it/australians-making-the-most-of-e3-visa-opportunities-in-the-us-20131118-hv3hy.html

USCIS. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 2015. Web. Accessed Jan 31, 2016. https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/e-3-certain-specialty-occupation-professionals-australia

WP. Workpermit.com, 2016. Web. Accessed Jan 31, 2016. http://www.workpermit.com/us/investor_e3.htm

EUS. Embassy of the United States, 2016. Web. Accessed Jan 31, 2016. http://canberra.usembassy.gov/e3visa/qualifying.html