Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Immigration Law Client Update: E-3 Visas Exclusive to Australian Citizens

The E-3 visa is a special visa category available exclusively to the citizens of Australia.  The initial period of stay under the E-3 category visa is two years. E-3 visas are eligible for an unlimited number of two year extensions, provided that the individual is able to demonstrate that s/he does not intend to remain in the United States on a permanent basis. The spouse and unmarried children under 21 of an E-3 recipient are also granted E-3 classifications, called "E-3D" for "dependent." Spouses, but not children, are entitled to work authorization in the United States.

An E-3 visa holder may work either full or part time. To be eligible for an E-3 Visa, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  1. The individual is an Australian citizen; 
  2. S/he possesses a bachelor's degree or equivalent in the field of employment;
  3. S/he is seeking to enter the United States pursuant to an offer of employment; and 
  4. The employment position qualifies as a "specialty occupation." 

A "specialty occupation" is one that requires:

  1. Theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge; and
  2. The attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in a specific specialty as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.

To qualify, an E-3 employer must submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) that attests that it will pay the employee at least the employer's "actual" wage (the wage and benefits paid by the employer to U.S. employees) and the "prevailing" wage (the wage paid to U.S. employees in the local area) for that occupational classification.

A maximum of 10,500 E-3 visas can be issued annually. Any unused E-3 visas are forfeited and do not carry over to the next fiscal year. As long as the applicant has worked and continues to work for the employer who submitted the original LCA, E-3 renewals are not counted against the annual numerical limit. Spouses and children of E-3 principals do not count toward the annual numerical limit.

For more information about E-3 visas or any other Immigration Law matter, please contact Joel Pfeffer, Elaina Smiley, or Gary Sanderson. Contact information is listed below. (*The authors thank Danielle Scalise, Summer Associate, for her research and assistance on this Client Update.)

This material is for informational purposes only.  It is not and should not be solely relied on as legal advice in dealing with any specific situation.

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