In 2005, the United States created a new type of non-immigrant visa meant specifically for skilled Australian nationals, called the E-3 Visa.

E-3 visas apply only to nationals of Australia, as well as their spouses and children. The spouse and children are not required to be Australian citizens. The applicant for an E-3 visa must be a skilled worker who enters the country with the intention of working in a specialty occupation.

In order for an occupation to be considered a “specialty occupation,” it must:

  • – Require a theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge;
  • – Require at least a 4-year degree in that specialty.

Note: For entry into the United States, the E-3 applicant must show that the job he or she obtained in the US requires a bachelor’s degree – it is not enough to possess a degree and perform unskilled labor.

Here are some other important things to know about the E-3 visa for Australian nationals:

  • – The current annual cap on E-3 visas is $10,500, but this has not been met, and compared to the H-1B is more than ⅛ of the total cap for the entire WORLD under H-1B!
  • – An E-3 visa is a multiple-entry visa valid for 24 months.
  • – If an applicant works in a profession that requires licensure, the Australian equivalent must be presented before he or she begins work, or, a license must be obtained within the United States before the applicant starts working.
  • – Australians who are already in the United States on another type of temporary/non-immigrant visa may also apply to change their status to an E-3 visa.
  • – United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) requires Australians in the country under an E-3 visa maintain an “intention to depart the United States upon expiration of their authorized stay.“ However, if an Australian national pursues other means to obtain a green card while in the country on an E-3 visa, USCIS has said that will not be the sole factor for disqualification for future visas.
  • – Like in the H-1B visa process, the employer engaging an Australian applicant is required to apply for a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the US Department of Labor prior to the applicant commencing work.

U.S. Employers looking to fill vacancies not fillable due to the H1B quota problem and H1B’s multiple deficiencies can look “Down Under” for their alternative solution: The E-3 visa.

Steve Maggi

SMA Law Firm

smaggi@smalawyers.com

(212) 402-6885