The E-3 non-immigrant visa is exclusively for citizens of Australia, who are offered U.S. employment in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation requires a Bachelor’s degree, or an equivalent combination of education and/or experience, in a specific field.
General Qualifications of an E-3 Specialty Occupation Worker
To qualify for E-3 classification, the individual must:
- Demonstrate Australian citizenship; AND
- Hold a U.S. Bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university;
- Hold a foreign degree that is equivalent to a U.S. Bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation;
- Hold an unrestricted U.S. state license, registration, or certification which authorizes full practice of the specialty occupation; OR
- Possess education and/or progressively responsible experience in the specialty occupation that is equivalent to the completion of a U.S. Bachelor’s degree, and recognition as an expert by authorities in the same specialty occupation.
E-3 Employer Requirements
Employers of E-3 workers must be willing to submit a labor condition application to the Department of Labor (DOL) confirming that there is no strike, lockout, or work stoppage in the specialty occupation at the place of employment. On the labor condition application, the employer must also promise to:
- Pay E-3 workers at least the local prevailing wage or the wage paid to similarly qualified and employed workers, whichever is higher.
- Pay for nonproductive time unless the time off was requested by the E-3 worker for personal reasons, and is in addition to the normal vacation, personal and sick time allotted by the employer.
- Offer E-3 workers benefits on the same basis as those offered to U.S. workers.
- Provide working conditions for E-3 workers which will not adversely affect the conditions of other workers.
- Provide notice to the union, or directly to its workers, of the E-3 employment (including the offered salary).
- Provide the E-3 worker with a copy of the labor condition application.
Terms and Conditions of E-3 Status
An E-3 worker may only work for the employer, and in the position, for which he or she was approved at the time the classification was granted. E-3 status in the U.S. may be granted for up to two years at a time. Unlike the H-1B category, there is no limit to the number of extensions an E-3 worker may be granted.
The E-3 employer will be liable for the reasonable costs of the E-3 worker’s return transportation to his or her home country or last country of residence, if the employer terminates the E-3 worker’s employment before the end of the authorized period of E-3 status. The employer is not responsible for the costs of the return transportation if the E-3 worker voluntarily resigns, or if the E-3 worker chooses to remain in the U.S., rather than return home.
Family of E-3 Specialty Occupation Workers
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in the derivative E-3 nonimmigrant category. This category does allow for work authorization for spouses. E-3 spouses must file a separate application for employment authorization while in the U.S. E-3 derivatives may attend school in the U.S.