Professionals in Australia who have a bachelor’s degree or similar qualifications find it much easier to gain permission to work in the United States than individuals from almost any other nation, with the possible exception of Canada. There are 10,500 E-3 US visas up for grabs every year, which are never actually completely utilized.
These figures make for a stark contrast with the H-1B US visas aimed at graduate level specialty workers, of which there never seem to be enough. The H-1B US visa has an annual quota of 85,000 that tends to run out within just five days of applications opening at the beginning of April. In 2016, there were 236,000 people applying for one of those 85,000 US visas, with a lottery being held to allocate the available visas. Applying for an H-1B US visa is much more complicated, difficult and expensive than applying for an E-3 US visa, and also carries with it a much smaller chance of success.
Spouses of those who hold E-3 US visas are also allowed to get jobs with any employers in the United States, while spouses of those on other US visas such as H-1B and TN cannot do so unless they happen to fall into another category of visas, which is rarely the case.
Australian citizens can put in applications for E-3 non-immigrant US visas, designed for professionals who work in specialty occupations, thanks to the Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.