Irish Workers Could Get US Visas Under the E-3 Visa Programme

e3 visa ireland

A bill that could give Irish workers access to thousands of US visas has passed through the House of Representatives and is now being voted on in the Senate. The legislation would add Ireland to the E-3 visa programme, which currently only applies to Australians.

Every year 10,500 E-3 visas are made available to Australian citizens who work in specialty occupations. However, only half of those are used each year.

What is the E3 visa?

The E-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa category for individuals entering to work temporarily in specialty occupations. The visa is governed by the same rules as other nonimmigrant categories, including labor certification requirements and wage attestation. The visa is currently limited to 10,500 Australian nationals per fiscal year, and is valid for a maximum of two years.

E-3 sponsorship is primarily intended for temporary positions, such as research associates, instructor assistants and adjunct faculty. However, some tenure-track faculty positions may be eligible for E-3 sponsorship, depending on the university’s policies and the individual’s qualifications.

Galstyan Law has helped many degree-holding Australians begin their new work life in the US and can help you as well. From ensuring that your paperwork is complete and filed properly to helping you and your family adjust to American life, our Los Angeles-based firm has everything you need to start your US adventure. Contact our team today to get started.

Who is eligible for the E3 visa?

The E3 visa is available to Australian citizens who have been offered a job in a “specialty occupation.” Specialty occupations require both the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge. It is best to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure your occupation fits the requirements. It is also possible to get an E3 visa without a degree if you can show substantial, relevant experience in your profession.

Your US employer must first file a labor certification (ETA 9035) with the Department of Labor in order for you to start your E3 visa process. Once this is done, you and your employer must complete Form DS-160, the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. After this, you will be scheduled for an interview at the consulate. Having an experienced immigration lawyer can help you prepare for this interview and increase your chances of success. E3 visa holders may bring their spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years old to live with them in the United States.

How do I apply for the E3 visa?

The E3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows employees to come to the United States to perform jobs in specialty occupations. To apply, the employer must first acquire Labor Condition Application (LCA) approval by filing ETA Form 9035 with the Department of Labor. This step is free and takes 5-10 business days to process.

Upon LCA approval, the employee can then collect the rest of the required documents and schedule their visa interview at a US Consulate abroad. The general processing time is two months, although this can vary based on the Consulate’s workload.

New legislation has been proposed to add Ireland to the E3 visa programme, which is currently only open to Australian citizens. If successful, this would make it easier for Irish people to live and work in the US. The bill has passed through the House of Representatives and now awaits a vote in the Senate. This is a bipartisan bill and has support from both Democrats and Republicans.

What is the processing time for the E3 visa?

The processing time for the E3 visa will vary depending on whether you file a change of status petition or a visa application. Generally, it takes around 4-6 weeks to receive a decision on a change of status petition filed at the USCIS Vermont Service Center and about 3-6 months for a visa application.

The current E3 visa scheme is available for Australian citizens and is capped at 10,500 visas each year. Every year, only about half of those are used and the Government is hoping to secure access to these unused visas for Irish citizens.

In an attempt to prevent Ireland from gaining access to the scheme, Australia successfully lobbied friendly senators (including the Congressional Friends of Australia Caucus Co-Chair Senator Roy Blunt) to place a hold on the bill while seeking assurances that greater flexibility would be provided to the process in future. Despite this setback, the bill has been reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Richard Neal.