How many Australians live in America is a question that is often asked but challenging to answer. This report attempts to answer the perennial question based on data directly obtained from the U.S. Government.
It comes as no surprise that the Global Pandemic severely impacted the number of Australians entering the U.S. A separate report answers the number of Australian who repatriated in 2020.
Much of this report is based on I-94 data – which records every time an Australian enters the U.S. on a visa. While this number can skew high as an individual can make multiple entries, it is helpful for interpolating trends.
Australian Citizens Entering the United States on an I-94
What is unequivocal is that we can see that the vast majority of Australians entering the US are on tourist visas. Except for 2021, there is a high probability that if you bump into an Australian, they are on a Tourist/Visa Waiver and do not live in the U.S.
Tourist crossings in 2020 were 532,815 and 23,096 in 2021.
2022 I-94 data has not been released, but based on the surge of non-immigrant visas in 2022, we can interpolate that there were around one million Australian crossings into the U.S. However, this number is well below the 1,563,991 total border crossings in 2019.
Entering the U.S. on B Visas
B Visa crossings also rebounded from 1,917 in 2021 to 4,697 in 2022.
Non-Immigrant Visas issued to Australians living in America
To understand how many Australians live in the U.S., we first need to look at the number of non-immigrant visas issued. Given non-immigrant visas expire every two years, adding the latest two years of data will give a rough estimate.
In 2020, the total number of Australians issued with Non-Immigrant visas declined by more than 50%, and then another 36% in 2021!
However, we witnessed a sharp increase of 124% in visas issued to Australians in 2022 over 2021 to 31,825 visas. However, in real terms, this only brings us level to the number of visas issued in 2009.
Based on these numbers, it is estimated that approximately 46,000 Australians were on non-immigrant visas and living in America at the end of 2022.
E-3 Visas issued to Australians living in America
The E-3 visa category rebounded in 2022 with 4,371 E-3s, 3,729 E-3Ds, and 2,631 E-3 Rs. This represented approximately 30% of the total non-immigrant visas issued to Australians that year.
E-3 Visa Denials
The number of E-3 visas denied in 2022, as a percentage, rose sharply over 2021. There is not a large number of denials, so this may just be an anomaly.
Is the E-3 Visa Returning to the Mean?
Before the Pandemic, the monthly E-3 visa approvals floor was around 400 visas, with peaks above 500. Since early 2022 we have returned to the mean with that same floor of 400 and a peak of 583 in September 2022.
Whether these numbers are backfilling the demand for work visas or we are seeing continued growth will remain to be seen in the coming months.
2022 only saw 4,371 E-3 visa approvals, both from Consulate and I-129 applications. This is still well short of the 10,500 cap and poses a significant risk to future Australians finding work in the U.S. should proposed changes to the E-3 Legislation pass in 2024.
You can read more in our article Vale the E-3 Visa?
Other Nations on the E-3D Visa.
Another remarkable chart is the spouses and children on an E-3D who are not Australian citizens. In 2022, there were 2,622 Australians and 667 Nationals from countries on an E-3D visa.
Let’s not forget Green Cards
Unlike non-immigrant visas, Australians on Green Cards have not seen sharp increases or decreases over the past decade. In fact, Australians on employee-sponsored Green Cards have steadily increased.
Unlike other nationalities who immediately take U.S. citizenship after five years, it is not uncommon to see Australians who have been U.S. Permanent Residents for more than a decade and may never take U.S. citizenship. Others take citizenship if married to an American for Estate Planning purposes to take advantage of unlimited Gifting between (U.S. citizen) spouses.
Given that since 2006, 43,972 Australians have received Green Cards, it would not be beyond the realm of possibility that there are more than 50,000 Australians currently in America either on a Green Card or have taken citizenship – factoring death or repatriation.
Where are Australians on an E-3 Living in America?
New York has consistently led California as the preferred destination for Australians working on the E-3 visa. This is calculated by the destination recorded by Australians on their I-94 form.
Based on this data, around 30% of E-3 holders live in New York, and around 25% live in California. We can further interpolate that if there are c.46,000 Australians on non-immigrant visas, around 14,000 live in New York, and 11,500 live in California.
So, How Many Australians are living in the U.S.?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2021, there were 97,815 Australians in America.
Our data is that at the end of 2022, there were c.46,000 Australians on non-immigrant visas. , c.50,000 Permanent Residents and Dual Citizens, i.e 96,000.
Tourists notwithstanding, for those asking how many Australians live in New York, the best estimate is 28,800 and California is 24,000 Australians.
We published two articles on Repatriation that may be of interest:
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