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E-3 (Professional Visas for Australians)

E-3 (Professional Visas for Australians)

The E-3 visa is for nationals of the Commonwealth of Australia, who intend on entering the U.S. on a temporary basis to perform services in a “specialty occupation.” The visa is a nonimmigrant visa that combines elements of both the H-1B visa and the E treaty investor visa. The advantage of E-3 status is that it takes Australians out of the H-1B cap (which has a long queue and has been reached immediately upon eligibility in recent years).

What is a “specialty occupation?”

A “specialty occupation” is an occupation that requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation.

How does one obtain an E-3 visa?

The sponsoring employer must file a labor condition application with the Department of Labor (DOL) to demonstrate and attest that the employer will pay the higher of the prevailing wage or actual wage paid to other U.S. employees; that the employer is not interfering with or using the foreign national to defeat strikes or lock outs; that the employer will maintaining a public access file; and that the job has been publicly posted at the job site for the requisite period of time.

The E-3 petition can be filed with USCIS or with the U.S. Consulate in Australia.

Is there a cap on the number of E-3 visas available?

The E-3 visa is not subject to the cap that exists for H-1B visas. The E-3 visa has a separate allotment of visas available not to exceed 10,500 per fiscal year. The spouse and children of the E-3 are allowed to accompany or follow to join the principal, and such spouses and children will not count against the 10,500 cap.

How long can you stay on an E-3 visa?

E-3 periods of stay are limited to two years, but can be renewed indefinitely in two year increments.

Employment authorization for spouses of E-3 workers:

The spouse of an E-3 visa holder can file for and obtain independent employment authorization from USCIS. The spouse must file a separate application for employment authorization, but this employment authorization is independent of the principal spouse and entitles the E derivative spouse to employment authorization with any employer.

Can you convert from H-1B to E-3 status?

There may be many reasons to convert from H-1B to E-3 status, including numerical limitations, filing fees and spousal work authorization. The statute and regulations do not prohibit a change of status from H-1B to E-3 status.

What about nonimmigrant or immigrant intent?

The E-3 visa does not require you to maintain a foreign residence or to demonstrate that you are coming for a limited period of time. However, applicants must be able to attest that they intend to depart when their status terminates.


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Effective March 25, 2020, in response to “Stay at Home” orders Joseph & Hall PC is closed to the public and is now conducting nearly all of its operations remotely during the COVID-19 health crisis through April 18th.

We continue to have a limited number of staff in our office to perform basic operations such as assembling and filing petitions, receiving and distributing mail and issuing checks. We are grateful to be in a business that is conducive to remote work and for all of your patience and support.  Our lawyers and paralegals are here to answer the array of questions that continue to arise daily and will keep you informed during these rapidly changing times.  We will hold telephonic or video meetings rather than in-person meetings.  These meetings can be done by SKYPE or Zoom Conference call so that you can continue to interact with your legal team, face-to-face.

We remain committed to delivering outstanding client services.  We do have one important request – please do not come into the office in person for your health and safety and that of our employees.  Please mail or email all documents to our office.  Also, you can make any required payments online at https://vpspay.com/p/3 or make them over the phone by calling 303-297-9171 or by mail.  Please stay healthy!

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