E-3 visas are for Australian professionals want to work in the U.S.
If you have an offer of employment in the US in an occupation which requires a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, you are in luck. This is the same requirement as the H-1B visa, but here is the difference: Only 50% of qualified professionals who companies sponsor for H-1B visas actually get them. Why? Because the worldwide quota is 85,000 and last year, over twice that many people applied. However, since you are an Australian, you can skip the H-1B “lottery” and apply for an E-3 visa. The 10,500 annual limit on E-3 visas has never been reached!
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Initially, your employer can submit an E-3 petition on your behalf for you for up to 2 years. The number of E-2 extensions permitted is unlimited.
In order to qualify for an E-3 visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be a national of Australia
- Receive an offer of professional employment in the US
- Possess the necessary academic credentials
- Fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation
To apply for the E-3 nonimmigrant temporary worker classification and change your status, your employer must file Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. This form must include the following documentation:
- A Labor Condition Application (LCA), this cannot be the same application used in a previous H-1B application
- Academic or other credentials demonstrating qualifications for the position
- Job offer letter or other documentation from your employer establishing that the job is in a specialty occupation and that you will be paid the higher of the actual or prevailing wage
- If required, you must have the necessary license or other official permission to practice in the specialty occupation
Due to the complexity of the application process, it is beneficial to consult an experienced immigration attorney before applying for an E-3 visa classification.
If your Form I-129 is approved, a Form I797 Notice of Action/Approval will be forwarded to your employer who will then forward it to you. You must apply for a US visa at a US Consulate is Australia.
Your spouse and unmarried children will also be eligible for apply for E-3 visas together with you. If your spouse wishes to apply work authorization, he/she must file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization with the USCIS.
If you have received an E-3 visa classification and wish to change jobs, your new employer must file a new Labor Condition Application and a new E-3 visa petition. It is important to note that the gap between jobs must be 10 days or less.
E-3 Visa Resources
- Fact Sheet #62Y: What are the requirements to participate in the E-3 program? – U.S. Department of Labor (November 2023)
All employers who employ a worker under the E-3 visa program must comply with the following:
- Maintain an LCA (Form ETA 9035 and/or ETA 9035E) with true and accurate information for each permanent work site;
- Pay the “required wage rate” applicable to the E-3 worker at each permanent work site;
- Offer the same working conditions and fringe benefits to the E-3 worker that are offered to similarly employed U.S. workers. Examples of such conditions and fringe benefits include:
- FLSA overtime pay (for non-exempt workers);
- Health, life, disability, and other insurance plans;
- Retirement and savings plans;
- Cash bonuses;
- Leave, vacation, and sick leave (e.g. FMLA, leave of absence, etc.); and
- Non-cash compensation such as stock options (whether or not performance based);
- Attest that it will not employ a E-3 worker where there is a strike/lockout in progress in the worker’s occupation;
- Notify its employees or their bargaining representative of the intent to employ a E-3 worker at any location where other workers are in the same occupational classification for which a E-3 worker is sought or placed;
- Provide a copy of the applicable LCA to each E-3 worker;
- Maintain and make available for public examination the LCA and other required documents;
- Must not allow the E-3 worker to pay any early cessation penalty (see Fact Sheet #62H);
- Must not retaliate or discriminate against any worker who (a) discloses information that (the worker believes) shows a violation of this program or (b) cooperates with any proceeding concerning the employer’s compliance with this program (see Fact Sheet #62R); and
- Must provide payment to the E-3 worker for all work-related expenses, such as tools and equipment, or travel expenses incident to and necessary to the employer’s business.
- E-3 Certain Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia (USCIS)
- US Visa Services (US Embassy Australia)
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Immigration Attorney Carl Shusterman has 40+ years of experience. He served as an attorney for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) from 1976 until 1982, when he entered private practice. He has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in SuperLawyers Magazine. Today, he serves as Of Counsel to JR Immigration Law Firm.