In the context of the finalisation of the negotiations for the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA), the United States created a new visa category – the E-3 – which to date is available only to Australians seeking to work in the United States.
The E-3 visa has a number of features that distinguish it from the standard US H-1B visa, such as those that the table below shows:
|Available for temporary entry to work in a “specialty occupation” – ie requiring a tertiary educational qualification
||Available for temporary entry to work in a “specialty occupation” – ie requiring a tertiary educational qualification
|Requires US employer to sponsor
||Requires US employer to sponsor
|Available only to Australians (10,500 per fiscal year)
||Available to all nationalities (65,000 per fiscal year plus an additional 20,000 for those who have earned a US masters degree or higher)
|Spouses (who do not have to be Australian citizens) are entitled to work in the US
||Generally spouses are not entitled to work in the US, except in certain circumstances
|Can be renewed indefinitely (in two-year increments)
||Generally valid for a maximum of six years
|The sponsoring employer must file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the US Department of Labor
||The sponsoring employer must file a
Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the US Department of Labor and an I-129 Petition with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is not able to respond to enquiries about applying for the E-3 visa. For such enquiries, refer to the link to E-3 visas on the website of the US Embassy in Canberra.
Note: This information is provided as a guide only. It is not intended to be relied upon or to be comprehensive. Individuals should seek their own advice consistent with their circumstances.