Molly’s “Pursuit of Making It in the US”: The E-3 Work Visa for Australians

When it comes to its immigration policies and decisions regarding granting work visas, the United States gives some of its closest allies special pathways towards living and working in America. Since the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) came into effect on January 1, 2005, Australians have enjoyed an opportunity that no other foreign nationals enjoy: the opportunity to work in the United States on a non-immigrant basis under the E-3 visa. Under this agreement, Australians with special skills in almost any industry can work in the United States with fewer restrictions than most other U.S. work visa holders.

Molly’s Perspective

E-3 Work Visa - New York CityFor one such E-3 recipient, the opportunity to live and work in New York City is especially meaningful. In her excellent article that she wrote for entitled, “What America Does Better Than Us” Molly O’Brien, a Marketing & Communications Specialist for Advance, which represents “the largest network of global Australians,” explains her love for her home country and the stability she had there but expresses her admiration for the American way of thinking. She describes her position as an E-3 worker as “precarious” in the current political environment but chooses to stay because she is inspired by America’s sense of exceptionalism and the idea that anyone can accomplish anything they put their mind to. She describes America as a nation of “bountiful opportunity… unfailing optimism, and… dizzying positivity.” Australia’s system is designed with safety nets which, while comforting, encourages Australians like Molly to “politely plug ourselves into the system, instead of creating something on our own.”


Molly, like the over 50,000 Australians currently working in the U.S. on E-3 visas, recognizes that, if your goal is to innovate and buck the status quo, the United States is the place to be. There is an obstinance about Americans, who understand that if they want something, they must get it for themselves. Complacency doesn’t pay, but for those willing to put in the work, the rewards can be huge. This attitude is fostered by America’s fierce sense of independence and individualism that is simply not present in many other cultures.

Untapped Opportunity

Despite the fact that the E-3, which must be renewed every 2 years, but can be renewed an indefinite number of times, only 3,000 of the 10,500 places available each year were filled as of December 2016. Australians do not need to fulfill the same requirements or compete with other foreign nationals for hotly contested H-1B work visas, and the application process is much quicker and less expensive. Many Australians don’t even realize that they have this unique opportunity, and JDC Consultancy aims to get the word out and help more Australian nationals advance their careers and experience the opportunities the USA has to offer firsthand. Australians seeking to become entrepreneurs and in the United States can also choose to apply for an E-2 treaty investor visa, which is a different type of visa than the E-3, and is geared towards entrepreneurs and investors that are seeking to set up their own business in the U.S. The E-2 visa requires an immigration business plan and is a very popular visa for budding Australian entrepreneurs seeking to relocate to the U.S. For those, like Molly, who are goal-driven and prepared to embrace the most rewarding challenge of their lives, there’s no better place than the United States.