E3 Visa Biggest Challenges

The E3 Visa as you know is an extensive topic covered on this site and along with the Green Card, Green Card Lottery and H1B visa, are the most commonly asked questions on this site from our readers.
However lately we have noticed hat as the economy seems to be slowly waking up from its slumber in the US, many more Australians are asking questions as to how they can get to the US and find a job with an employer who will sponsor their E3 visa.

As we have covered that top extensively from the above links, we won’t rewrite the same information here but will try and an address some of the more common questions we are seeing lately and relate it as much as possible to the current economic climate for foreigners in the US.

So one of the more positive signs is that many foreigners who come to the US on an F1 Visa for Students for undergraduate, masters and PhD level degrees as their stepping stone to finding employment in the US have found their job prospects in recent months greatly improved. The greatest evidence of this comes from the H1B visa quota numbers which in our recent US Immigration December update which at the end of the US Immigration year on September 30, 2009 still had approximately 20,000 H1B visas unfilled. In recent years this quota has filled up in a matter of few days after the April 1 opening with even an H1B visa lottery, so this shows how much has changed in the 2009 climate of fear.

Well as of the latest update as we noted there is now only 2,500 left as the USCIS extended the time so the quota would be filled for FY2010. Most of these no doubt would have been taken up by students on F1 visas on their OPT who were already residing in the US. Job opening particularly in the skilled professional areas of Health, Education, Alternative Energy and Internet are high and even areas like Finance are picking up evermore.

However despite all this positive news, the challenge remains for Australians wanting to work in the US is that most of you are not in the US as a student or a J1 Visa Internship program, that yes while their are more opening and the market prospects are not as bleak that still doesn’t overcome the geographical and other hurdles of convincing a US employer to hire and sponsor you.

We have had recent questions from people asking about whether they could look for jobs that are completely different to their qualifications and/or experience. In general, this is possible, but you do not want to deviate to far as when you go for your US Consulate Interview, this may be a reason they could deny your visa if they deem their is little link between what you can offer and the job you will do.

Essentially the goal of hiring a foreigner as per the US Immigration language is to fill a role that they can’t find a suitable local to do. While this not necessarily what happens in practice, it is cited as a reason for denial when the candidate and job are seen as too far apart by the US Consulate.

People have also asked whether they could get 2 part time jobs on the E3 visa. This is certainly possible and an avenue that many people explore successfully. The additional requirement here is that each employer must file for ETA-9035(e) with the US Department of Labor to get an approved LCA. Then at your US Consulate interview you may have to answer questions as to how you will successfully navigate working for 2 companies simultaneously.

A couple of recent questions have also asked about the E3 Visa quota of 10,500 and whether it had been reached. Well there is no official tally anywhere and the only way to know for sure is to possibly try and ring the USCIS and see if they have a number. However in any particular year, we have not even got close that quota being fulled and not even sure if we have even got to the 60% full either. Additionally, extensions and renewals of the E3 Visa don’t count towards the quota and nor do the spouse or children dependent E3-D visas. Finally the quota resets each year on October 1. So this US Immigration year known as FY2011 has only just started.

Back to the challenge of finding employers from so far away. We created the E3 Visa Employer Database to try and help you for this as these are companies who are familiar with the E3 visa specifically and sponsoring foreigners as they have hired before so if contacting them or applying to open positions their it wont be as big a shock. However you may notice on many application forms that they ask whether you have work authorization as a question. The true answer to that question is NO as unless you have a working visa that allows you to work at a moments notice, then for that company to hire you they will have to do more than just hire you. Often it can pay to avoid those company as they usually reject outright if they are asking this question or if you are applying for a fairly standard (non highly specialized role) position, then it will be hard to stand out so much that they would hire a foreigner over an equally qualified US candidate given the simpler and quicker process.

Because of all this it can often pay to apply to smaller and medium size companies or contact people within companies directly and make use of recruiters which are a big part of US hiring culture at all levels. Use LinkedIn as a great resource to make contact with both recruiters and hiring people at companies you identify.

Finally as I have mentioned in other posts addressing this topic, be prepared to come to the US for interviews and pay some costs like travel to achieve your goal. It is rare you are going to be hired sight unseen and also that the first company that sees you will hire you, or that it will even be a one step interview process if you are going to be hired. I would say there would be a minimum of 3 contacts for a successful hire with one phone interview and 2 face to faces.

Again I wish you all the best and look forward to you posting your experiences here to help the community.


15 thoughts on “E3 Visa Biggest Challenges

  1. Hi CJ, I looked at the USA embassy website and it indicated that I cannot transfer from the visa waiver program to the E-3 in Canada and then re-enter the USA. Apparently I have to leave the continent? Is this correct from your experience? Thanks again for your help.

  2. Hi SJ,
    That is not true given so many people have done it and would be interested to see where you saw that link. There is a rule with the Visa Waiver Program around the 90 day rule of the entry but if you are applying outside the US like Canada by definition you are not transferring status but applying for a brand new E3 visa.
    Good Luck,

  3. Hi CJ, What US Consulates in Canada (closest to NYC) can process the E3 Visa as I know not all do. Do certain consulates process the most E3 visas, and therefore are most familiar with them? Also how far in advance do you recommend booking the interview? Thanks 🙂

  4. Hi Sally,
    Every US Consulate in Canada can process the E3 visa as it is just a non-immigrant visa as far as the they are concerned. Obviously some process more than others but in the end I would select the one you can get the appointment with the quickest based on your schedule and yes try and plan in advance as much as possible.
    Good Luck,

  5. Dear CJ,

    Your website is very useful and contains up to date information.

    I am currently on an E3 visa, with full time employment. However, due to a change in circumstances, both my employer and I wish to convert my current full time work to part time. I know part time work is available on the E3. My current E3 visa is still current so I’m not renewing, extending or changing employers so I assume I don’t need to make any applications etc to the USCIS. My question is- can we make this change automatically or do we need to inform the US Dept of Labor?

    If I do need to inform the Dept of Labor, how do we do this?



  6. Hi Joyce,
    Thanks for the kind words.
    You should be fine in just switching to a part time schedule without any official notification given it is the same employer. You could always contact the USCIS to confirm this.

  7. Canadians never require H1B or TN visa stamping on Canadian passport whereas Australians require physical visa stamping on their passport. E-3 visa FEES have hiked recently and EB-3 green card on E-3 visa is the toughest option and nearly impossible to achieve.

  8. Hi CJ,

    I’m already in the US on F-1 visa and just got a job offer last week. We are working on filing an LCA form with the Department of Labour.
    I believe I can change my F-1 to E-3 within the US. Is this correct? And how do I do that?


  9. Hi Cj,

    I am currently on an e3. I am considering seeking a new employer. Am I able to use the remaining 12months on my existing e3? If not is the process of transferring my e3 or applying for a new e3 (for the new employer) very difficult. Are there risks involved.

    Thank You Kindly

  10. Hi,
    I have submitted a E3 application giving my spouse details as well.
    Does she automatically get a visa if I do.
    Apart from the DS160 I submitted does she need to do anything or does she just turn up at my interview with the marriage certificate and passport.

  11. Barry is essence she would be eligible for the E-3D (spousal visa for E-3) if you are approved. She would be character checked just like you and unless there were any anomalies in her background or your marriage then she would be fine.

  12. Hi

    I am trying to come to US on visa Waiver program to attend conference which includes some Job career fairs,so could i get some contacts from the Job fair apply for a position ,later in the future and then come back to US on E3,since i have to go for stamping in Australia,would they look at my application,that i entered US under the Visa waiver program to seek employment .
    I kindly request someone to share their advice and thoughts on this.

  13. KC your described situation should not be a problem for a future E-3 visa sponsorship and visa application. It is a common route that people first may come here as a tourist.

  14. Hi CJ,

    Great posts. Thanks so much sharing your experience and E3 related info.

    I noticed that you had mentioned recruiters are big in the US. Can you recommend any good recruiters for IT jobs, particularly in the MA region?


  15. Hi and thanks a million for your blog!

    I am currently on a E3 visa and I have been offered a side job as a consultant.

    Is it possible to have 2 jobs ? one for my employer who sponsored me and one ( only few hours per week) for another employer ( who hasn’t sponsored me ?

    I went to the office of finance who told me that was fine as long as I declared what I earned but I am not sure they understood the VISA situation.

    Does anyone here ever had been in a similar situation?


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