Does E3 Visa Require Sponsorship?

The E-3 visa category is intended for Australian nationals working in specialty occupations. A “specialty occupation” is defined as any career that involves both theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge with at least a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) required in that particular field of endeavor.

Departments may only sponsor individuals for an E-3 visa after offering employment and receiving acceptance. An LCA must then be submitted and approved by USCIS.

Specialty Occupation

The E-3 nonimmigrant visa was developed as part of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement and allows Australian nationals to work temporarily in specialty occupations in the US for up to 10500 visas annually, without renewal counting towards this quota. Employers sponsor employees for temporary positions through filing Form I-129 Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker with the Department of Labor; once approved, USCIS then processes visa applications directly.

DOL regulations stipulate that specialty occupations pay at least the prevailing minimum wage in their geographical location of employment, require theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge, and necessitate at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent education for employees performing these jobs.

From our experience, college coach roles, entry level jobs at non-profit organizations and even college administration have proved particularly difficult to meet the criteria of specialty occupation. This is particularly the case now that USCIS officers have begun scrutinizing these roles more closely and asking for additional evidence when previously approved cases had already been approved.

Skilled Tradesperson

Skilled trades provide those looking for more hands-on work with more immediate impact the opportunity to shape their future and leave a mark on society. Skilled trades careers have grown increasingly popular among young adults, career changers and high school graduates looking for something outside the traditional college route.

The E-3 visa allows Australian citizens to enter the US on temporary work visas to engage in highly specialized occupations that require theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge; in these positions at least a bachelor’s degree is usually required as entry criteria into this area of employment.

Electricians, plumbers, gas fitters, painters and carpenters are just some of the professions available within this category. Although such trades still carry with them an element of stigma, their growth provides ample opportunity for upward mobility and financial security. Many individuals who choose a career in skilled trades must attend vocational school or an apprenticeship program in order to develop the necessary knowledge and experience needed for this career path.

If your job meets these criteria, submitting a Labor Condition Application and then applying for an E-3 visa at a US Embassy or Consulate could be your path forward. Your employer must demonstrate that no similarly qualified US worker could be found for that particular type of work and that your wages will meet with market rates for similar tasks performed.

Creative Role

Creative roles are integral components of many businesses and their absence can prove catastrophic for their survival. Creative positions require both artistic talents and an innovative outlook – qualities which make these employees invaluable assets to any enterprise.

Creative roles within film can include, but are not limited to: director of photography, art director, film producer and screenwriter. For film producers in particular, their role involves working closely with directors to develop projects before overseeing production on-set until completion.

An art director will oversee the overall direction and management of a project and collaborate closely with its lead designer in order to bring their vision to fruition. They must first meet with various stakeholders in order to ascertain what their needs are, before working closely with both directors and key creatives in order to fulfill those requirements.

Licensing managers are the driving force behind iconic products from Roald Dahl chocolates to IKEA furniture. They manage the relationship with third-party manufacturers that produce and sell these designs or brands while keeping a close watch that it remains on brand.

Applying for an E-3 visa requires convincing a consular officer that they will be able to financially support themselves during their stay in the US. Any job offering relatively low pay, or extensive working abroad could raise questions. In these instances, providing Form I-134 Affidavit of Support at cost of 160 USD could be necessary in order to demonstrate financial viability during residency in America.

De Facto Partnership

De facto partnerships can be an ideal way to launch and operate a new business. They involve two people operating an operation as co-owners for profit without officially registering it as an entity – this form of partnership is commonly found in Australia.

Important to know for E-3 visa holders is that they may work for multiple employers if their roles and qualifications match up. Any changes of employment must be documented via filing an LCA prior to starting at their new company and job position.

Now, E-3 visa holders’ spouses can also work legally in the US by maintaining their E-3 status – this represents a vast improvement from previous times when their partner had no rights to work unless lodging their own H-1B application with all its associated risks, delays and costs.

Another significant advantage is that holders of an E-3 visa do not require having completed a four-year bachelor degree equivalency, something many Australians with three-year degrees take advantage of. Unfortunately, however, this concession could soon expire and must be used before it does.