For a number of years we have been publishing data on Australian visas from the Department of Homeland Security. The information is released at different times of the year, and some interesting data has recently come to light to help sort out fact from fiction.
Ask any Aussie visiting New York and they will tell you that NYC is one of the most Australian Friendly cities in the World.
It is true that you can now buy a flat white coffee on nearly every corner, Tim Tams are sold in Target, and you can have a meat pie delivered to your door. For the cost of a subway ride you can access dozens of Australian cafes and restaurants serving everything from Barramundi to Vegemite on toast.
The most often asked question is just how many Aussies are living and working in the US, and how many are just visiting?
Australians on Non-Immigrant Visas
The alleged “Australian invasion” we read so much about on social media is definitely on the decline with new E-3 visa approvals in 2017, up less than 1% from 5,609 in 2016 to 5,657 in 2017.
We did see an increase in E-3 Renewals from 2,026 in 2016 to 2,306 in 2017, up nearly 14%. as more Australians chose to renew their E-3 visas. E-3 Dependent (Spouses and Children) visas dropped 3% from 4,299 in 2016 to 4,169 in 2017.
One area of growth we are seeing is spouses and children of E-3 holders who are not Australian citizens. In 2016, there were 749 non-Australian citizens on E-3Ds – up 13.3% over 2015 – and 834 in 2017 – up 14.7% over 2016 – contrary to the overall decline in E-3Ds of 3% in 2017.
After a 53% jump in 2016, 13,320 Australians entered the US on a B-1,2 visa, in 2017 – up less than 3% over 2016. This initial jump in B-1-2 visas in 2016 reflects a decrease in Australians entering the US under an ESTA 90 day visa waiver, and opting to stay up to six months on a B visa.
In total, the number of Australians in the US on Non-Immigrant visas remained flat with a less than 1% increase from 47,083 in 2016 to 47,454 in 2017.
Tourists vs Residents
Anytime a non-US citizen or resident enters the US, they must fill out an I-94 card. The vast majority of Australians who are on work visas answer “United States” to Question 8. Aussies visiting the US on Tourist and B-1,2 visas answer “Australia” as to where they live.
The number of Aussies entering the US who answered “Australia” to Question 8, including E-3 Hopefuls, saw a steady decline in numbers since the peak in 2014 (2017 data not yet available). 2016 was down 2% from 2015 which was down 7% from 2014.
If your 2012 business plan assumed a growing market of Australians in the US, then this news may explain your declining gross sales.
The DHS data also shows that in contrary to the purported 20,000 Australians in New York on an E-3 Visa, in 2016 only 12,957 Australians (and their families) were living in all of New York State.
This number is more than 15% up on 2015, which may indicate that even though the growth of E-3s continues to be flat overall, New York is still the #1 state for Australians working on an E-3 visa. (2017 data pending).
The data can be interpreted in may ways, but what is certain is that fewer Australian tourists and E-3 Hopefuls are coming to the US, and E-3 visa approvals are flat.
Non Australian citizens married to Australians on an E-3 visa is showing continued growth.
After new data is released over the coming months, we will see how many Australians were denied an E-3 in 2017. This will shed some light as to whether fewer people are applying for the E-3 due to fewer job offers, or more people were denied their application in 2017.
If the 2017 data reflects an overall upward trend in denials – while E-3 approvals in 2017 remain flat – either this signals an increase in dodgy applications, or USCIS is reviewing applications with greater scrutiny.
The latter is the anecdotal evidence we are receiving based on applicant, as well as legal professional feedback. Check back or follow our social media to be notified when this data is published in a follow up article.
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