E-3 Australian 'Specialty Occupation' Professionals

The E-3 visa category is a temporary, nonimmigrant category available only to nationals of the Commonwealth of Australia entering the U.S.

Criteria

Georgia Tech sponsorship for E-3 status is available for the following employment categories:

  • Regular Research Faculty
  • Regular, Non-Tenure Track Teaching Faculty
  • Tenured or Tenure Track Teaching Faculty

The job must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for the position
  • The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree
  • The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position
  • The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.

To qualify to accept a job offer in a specialty occupation the candidate must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have completed 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 the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation
  • Have education, training, or progressively responsible experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.

Process

The H-1B process should be initiated by the department as early as possible to avoid delays in employment start dates or gaps in employment authorization.

  1. The first step in the process is requesting the Prevailing Wage from the Department of Labor. The prevailing wage rate is defined as the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in a specific occupation in the area of intended employment. If the prevailing wage is higher than the salary offered, the department will be notified.
  2. The second step is certification of the Labor Condition Application (LCA), also from the Department of Labor. The LCA cannot be submitted until the Department of Labor has determined the prevailing wage and we have confirmed that the salary offered to the H-1B employee meets or exceeds the prevailing wage. After the LCA is submitted, it is certified in 7 days. By submitting the LCA, we are agreeing to abide by the following Labor Condition Statements: 
    • Wages: The employer will pay the higher of the actual or prevailing wage rate, pay for nonproductive time, and offer benefits on the same basis as offered to U.S. workers 
    • Working Conditions: The employer will provide working conditions (including hours, shifts, vacations, seniority-based benefits) which will not adversely affect similarly employed U.S. workers
    • Strike, Lockout or Work Stoppage:  There is no strike or lockout in the same occupational classification on the LCA
      • ETA will be notified if a strike/lockout occurs  
      • No H-1B will be placed at a site with a strike/lockout
  3. After the LCA has been certified the E-3 beneficiary can apply for the E-3 visa (if they are outside the US) or Global HR will mail the I-129 to USCIS (if the beneficiary is in the US).   
Processing Time

 

Fees

Form 

Fee 

Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (required for all H-1B petitions)

$460

Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing (optional, guarantees adjudication or request for additional evidence in 15 days)

$1,225 

Maintaining Status/Employer Compliance

Changes in Employment
All changes in employment for an E-3 employee must be reported to Global HR before the change occurs. The employing department should complete the Notification of Changes in Employment e-form in iStart. If further action is necessary (i.e. an E-3 amendment), the department will be notified. 

Length of Stay
​E-3 status may be granted for an initial two-year period, with indefinite two-year increment extensions possible.

 

Dependents
The dependent spouse, and children under age 21, of an E-3 principal may be granted E-3 status. An E-3 dependent may apply for work authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. E-3 spouses who are appointed to GT academic staff or sponsored research staff must possess valid employment authorization.