Australian nationals enjoy a “set-aside” visa category, the E-3 visa. The E-3 is limited to 10,500 visas per year and a great alternative to H-1B Visas, and the E-3 Visa process is generally faster and cheaper than traditional H-1B Visas and it also allows for the spouse of the E-3 visa holder to obtain work authorization.
To be eligible, an Australian must show he or she is a skilled worker in a specialty occupation. According to the regulations, a “specialty occupation” is a job that requires “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge to perform the occupation.” Generally speaking, a “specialty occupation” must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- A bachelor’s degree or higher or the equivalent to a bachelor’s degree is normally the minimum requirement for entry into the position;
- This requirement (a bachelor’s degree, its equivalent, or higher) is common to the industry (i.e. similar companies offering parallel positions also require a bachelor’s degree or higher) or, in the alternative, the employer may show that the particular position is so complex or unique that it can only be performed by an individual with a bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent or that the knowledge required to perform the job duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher;
- The sponsoring employer normally requires a bachelor’s degree, or higher, or its equivalent for the position;
There are numerous occupations that are frequently considered specialty occupations including architects, engineers, professors, teachers, lawyers, programmers, computer systems analysts, database administrators, other computer-related occupations, accountants, financial analysts, budget analysts, economists, management consultants, public relations and communication specialists, doctors, dentists, physical therapist, dietitians, medicine and health related occupations, writers, editors, librarians, archivists, marketing and advertising positions, social workers, etc. It is impossible to list each and every job that could be considered a specialty occupation, so please do not panic if you don’t see yours here. Just contact us!
Similar to the H-1B visa, the employer must obtain a labor condition application from the Department of Labor and confirm that the employer will pay the prevailing wage for that occupation.
The E-3 visa is issued for an initial period of two years and may be extended in two-year increments.
Fuessel Law Firm understands the importance of successfully obtaining an E-3 Visa and will help you navigate the USCIS E-3 Visa process. Successfully obtaining an E-3 visa requires a strong strategy, careful attention to detail, and strong communication. With these elements in place, the process is often easier and less stressful than many of our clients expect. For assistance with the preparation and filing, or extension of an application for E-3 status, please contact us.