Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Mark Vaile said that from
Monday, a new E-3 visa would be available to 10,500 Australian professionals and business people wanting to live and work in the US.

“This is a quantum step forward and great news for Australian business people who will be able to use the E-3 visa to capitalise on opportunities offered under the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA),” he said in a statement.

“Only 900 Australians succeeded in gaining the US H-1B business visa in 2004. By comparison, there will be 10,500 E-3 visas reserved exclusively for Australian nationals each year.”

Mr Vaile said qualified Australians wishing to reside and work in the United States were now in a privileged position.

He said the dedicated business visa would be easier to obtain and less costly than the traditional H-1B business visa.

“Unlike the H-1B visa, spouses of E-3 visa holders will also be able to work in the United States – thus eliminating a barrier that in practice has stopped many Australians from applying for temporary residence in the United States,” he said.

“E-3 visa holders will be able to apply for extensions and the application fee for an E-3 visa will be significantly lower than that for the H-1B visa.”

Australians interested in applying for an E-3 visa should contact their nearest US consulate in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth or consult the US State Department or Department of Homeland Security (Citizenship and Immigration Services) websites.

Mr Vaile said Australians currently living abroad could apply for an E-3 visa at their nearest US Embassy or Consulate.

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