The process of going global entails more than just hiring in international markets. Expanding globally includes bringing in talent from other markets to benefit your company. In particular, the E3 visa allows Australian citizens to live and work in the U.S, giving American companies access to talent from the South Pacific.
The E3 visa was originally introduced into the U.S. Immigration system in 2005. Its primary goal is to help Australian business professionals capitalize on the opportunities offered under the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA). This visa gives Australians wishing to live and work in the United States access to a dedicated visa that is easier and less costly to obtain than the traditional H-1B work visa.
Who is Eligible for an E3 Visa?
To be eligible for an E3 visa, employees must be an Australian citizen with a legitimate offer of employment from a U.S. company. For a position to qualify, it must be categorized as a specialty occupation.
Specialty occupations are those that require “theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in professional field” as well as a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the U.S. Examples of specialty occupations, include software developers, architects, engineers, scientists, and more.
It is important to keep in mind that the E3 visa is not a dual-intent visa, so applicants must reasonably demonstrate non-immigrant intent before they are awarded one.
Spouses and Families
There are a number of benefits included with the E3 visa, most notable being family and spousal inclusion. Spouses of visa holders are also eligible to work unrestricted in the U.S. This alone is a significant difference from work visas like the Tn1 and even the H-1B, which both require spouses to obtain separate working permits if they aren’t citizens in the U.S. In addition, family members can come to the U.S. with the E3 visa holder.
Benefits of the E3 Visa
The E3 visa is eligible for renewal every two years, with no restrictions regarding the number of extensions. This is a stark contrast to other work permits that have a time limit. For example, the H-1B visa only allows employees to maintain visa status for up to six years. Additionally, the E3 visa has significantly lower filing fees than other work permits.
Unlike the H-1B visa, the E3 visa does not hold a lottery. Although the E3 visa does limit the number of awarded visas at 10,500, the number of applications has yet to approach that limit. Essentially, this means that all eligible Australian workers who apply for the visa will receive it.
Further simplifying the process, E3 visa application does not require employees to file an I-129 petition with the USCIS. Instead, employees can apply directly to a U.S. consulate abroad.
Employer Requirements for an E3 Visa
Employers must meet U.S. corporation and immigrant-employment regulations. They also need to pay requisite E3 visa filing costs and offer the new team member a satisfactory salary. Additionally, the employer must prove that hiring a foreign national isn’t going to negatively influence the labor conditions of similarly employed workers — particularly in terms of wages, hours worked, etc.
How Employees Apply for an E3 Work Visa
Prospective Australian employees can apply for an E3 visa either in the U.S. or through a U.S. embassy or consulate. They will apply through Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, which is used as a change of status to obtain an E3 visa classification.
Documents needed to apply for the visa include:
- A Labor Condition Application (LCA)
- Academic or other credentials that prove qualifications for the position
- Job offer letter
It’s important to keep in mind that if an employee switches jobs, they will need to reapply for the visa through their new employer.
How Velocity Global Can Help
If you’re interested in hiring top talent from Australia, it’s important to partner with an expert. Velocity Global can help recruit top talent for your U.S. company and help with the logistics of the E3 visa process. Contact Velocity Global to help you successfully go global by finding top talent both in the United States and abroad.