What Happens When You Are Fired on an E3 Visa?

As an Australian professional in the United States on an E-3 visa, your immigration status is intrinsically tied to your employment. Therefore, losing your job could have serious ramifications on both immigration and employment laws; understanding these rules and timelines before facing termination can help plan your next steps more efficiently.

Employers firing an employee on a visa can quickly become complex and confusing, with several important rules and regulations needing to be observed in order to maintain legal status for both employee and employer alike. There may also be specific time frames which must be observed so as to prevent lapse in status that can lead to serious consequences such as multi-year bar for readmission into US as well as losing other immigration benefits.

An E-3 visa is a nonimmigrant nonimmigrant visa designed to allow Australian citizens temporary work in specialty occupations in the US. To be granted E-3 status, one’s employer must submit a labor condition application (LCA) and receive approval from the Department of Labor; then individuals can either apply at a consulate outside of the country, or file an extension/amendment of existing petition with USCIS within.

As soon as an individual is in E-3 status, they may only work for the employer who granted them their visa status. If their position is eliminated due to employer closure or relocation of company headquarters, then new employment must be sought within 30 days or they must leave the US and either return home or change visa status.

As opposed to H-1B visas which provide a grace period of 60 days for workers to find new employment after being laid off, E-3 visas only permit 10 days of transitional time – meant as time to gather affairs, prepare for departure and book flights. Should someone decide they wish to remain longer, however, then USCIS requires filing either a change of status petition or new visa petition in order to stay here longer.

If an employee working on a visa is dismissed from employment, their company must cover reasonable return transportation costs to return them home – this obligation extends to spouses and children as well. It is common practice and part of visa regulations.

When an employee’s visa has been terminated, consulting with an experienced immigration attorney is highly advised. They can help plan their next steps and ensure they follow all relevant rules and deadlines to maintain their status. Cultivating a good relationship with one can prove invaluable; contact our office for more information on how we can assist.