Global HR, Recruiting and Staffing

Hiring Australians? Then You Should Take a Look at the E-3 Visas

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By Jessica T. Cook

U.S. employers wishing to hire a foreign worker who is an Australian citizen should consider the E-3 visa category.

The E-3 visa category is only available for Australian citizens, and the E-3 visa permits Australian citizens to work in the U.S. in “specialty occupations” on a temporary basis.

Specialty occupations are those which are professional in nature and require at least a bachelor’s degree in a specific field. In order to qualify for the E-3 visa category, the Australian citizen must also possess the required bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in education or work experience.

There is an annual limit of 10,500 new E-3 visas available to Australian citizens each year. Under the E-3 visa category, an Australian citizen can obtain employment authorization in two-year increments and renew indefinitely.

Spouses & children are also covered

Spouses and children of E-3 visa holders are also given E-3 visa status, but they are not counted against the annual cap. Additionally, spouses of E-3 visa holders are eligible to apply work authorization in the United States.

In order to apply for the E-3 visa category, an Australian citizen may apply directly at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Alternately, an Australian citizen already in the U.S. may apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to change his or her status to E-3 while in the U.S.

An application for the E-3 visa category must include the following:

  • Valid Australian passport as proof of citizenship;
  • A Labor Condition Application (LCA);
  • Offer letter of employment from a U.S. employer, detailing the professional position and applicant’s credentials; and
  • Proof of the applicant’s qualifications, including degree, diploma, and/or experience letters.

While there is a limit on the number of E-3 visas available each year, the E-3 visa cap has not been reached this year. Therefore, U. S. employers with immediate hiring needs should consider the E-3 visa as a viable option for hiring Australian citizens into professional positions.

Once employers have identified a potential candidate, they should contact an immigration attorney to evaluate whether the offered position and the candidate’s credentials meet the E-3 visa requirements.

This was originally published on Fisher & Phillips Cross Border Employer Law blog.

Jessica Cook is an associate in the Atlanta office of the law firm Fisher & Phillips, and a member of the firm's Global Immigration Practice Group. Her practice is focused on immigration and nationality law, including visa work, handling both temporary and permanent visa cases, as well as advice regarding I-9 compliance, discrimination, and document abuse provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Contact her at jcook@laborlawyers.com.