Is the “E-3 Hopeful” Australian Job Seeker an Endangered Species?

It has been a tumultuous few weeks for H.R. 7164; Legislation that would allow Irish citizens to take up any of the unused 10,500 E-3 visas annually allotted to Australians.

H.R. 7164 is the Bill that has passed Congress and is now before the U.S. Senate.  Originally, the proposed Legislation allowed Irish citizens to compete directly against Australians for the 10,500 annual E-3 visas, but only after last minute negotiations, the Legislation was amended to Ireland picking up any unused E-3s in the following year.

On the surface, this may appear to be a win for the E-3 Hopeful Australian considering a move to the U.S., given the legislation preserves the annual 10,500 E-3 visas.  However, a deeper analysis of Irish Immigration data reveals that like Neanderthal, the Australian E-3 Hopeful may be facing extinction, displaced by a more sophisticated species who is better adapted to finding work.

The Inconvenient Truth

The Australian Community has published a number of articles that quote the Immigration data from the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, and State.  In our most recent article, the data showed that only 5,657 new E-3 visas were picked up by Australians in 2017.  If H.R. 7164 was currently in force, 4,843 E-3 visas would be allotted to Irish citizens.

The reality is that albeit Australians are guaranteed 10,500 visas, being guaranteed a work visa is no guarantee of finding work.  In a market where there are a finite number of jobs for non-U.S. citizens, the better adapted the job seeker, the more likely she or he will find work. 

You only have to look at posts on social media groups to understand that no matter how well qualified they may be, many Australians struggle with the process of finding work in the U.S..  In many instances where a job offer may be on the table, Australians often drop the ball over the line through basic Immigration missteps, or simply failing to communicate the difference between an  H1-B and an E-3 visa.

As such, thousands of prospective Australian E-3 visas go begging each year. Unlike Australia, Ireland has a far better support system for helping its citizens find work that have been honed since the mid-19th century.  Today, the Irish have better organized Alumni networks, better industry and professional connections and provide (near enough makes no difference) Pro-Bono Immigration advice and services for its community.

The Numbers

The J-1 visas is a student work visa.  Using the J-1 visas as a basis of an apples to apples comparison, it is clear that there are far more Irish students finding work in the U.S. than Australians.  Given the population of Ireland is approximately one fifth of Australia (24.8 million vs 4.8 million) the gap widens astronomically on a Per Capita basis.

Irish citizens consistently outperform Australians in finding U.S. jobs on a J-1.

Looking at a five year moving average, 7,939 Australians found work on a J-1, compared to 13,524 Irish citizens.  Given there is a strong correlation of Australian J-1 and E-3 numbers, if the same exists with Irish numbers, there would be a demand for 8,250 Irish E-3 visas.

Clearly the Irish community is well organized in assisting its citizens find work.  Therefore, it does not require a leap of faith to see that any unused E-3 visas would be quickly snapped up, with thousands more Irish E-3 Hopefuls on the sideline.   

The data is telling us that when H.R. 7164 passes:

  1. Close to 4,500 jobs will initially be taken out of a finite employment pool for non-U.S. citizens – which adds greater headwinds for Australian E-3 Hopeful job seekers.
  2. In the first year the E-3 is available to Ireland, there will be a flood of Irish citizens looking for work on an E-3, creating significant competition for mindshare with recruiters, and interviews with employers.
  3. Ultimately, with thousands of Irish citizens standing on the sideline to pick up the growing number of E-3 visas that would be available due to fewer Australians finding work, Ireland could see as many as 8,000 of its citizens receiving E-3 visas annually, within three to five years.

Anthropologically speaking.

Scientists have disagreed on the exact timing and reasons why Cro-Magnon displaced Neanderthal as the dominant human species in Europe, but they do agree that Cro-Magnon was physically and socially better evolved than Neanderthal.

Since the mid-19th century, the Irish have developed a sophisticated social and professional infrastructure to support its community.  The Irish E-3 Hopeful therefore has the following anthropological advantages over the Australian:

  1. Flights from Dublin to NYC are around $300 and travel time is c.10 hours.
  2. An Irish E-3 Hopeful can fly a red eye into NYC for three days for interviews for around $1,000 including accommodation.  An Australian spends upwards of $3,000 per month to stay in NYC waiting for an interview.
  3. There are tens of thousands more Irish spare rooms, and sofas to surf in the U.S. than Australian.
  4. There are more Irish businesses looking to employ Irish citizens, than Australian businesses looking to employ Australians.
  5. The Irish community has more recruiters in the U.S. than Australia.
  6. There are more Irish alums in executive positions in the U.S. than Australians.
  7. Irish Alumni organizations have a larger active membership than Australian.
  8. The support of the Irish community in the U.S. not only extends from social and professional organizations, but to both Congress and the U.S. Senate.

However, for every Problem, there is a Solution.

The Australian Community sees the solution as straightforward:  More Australians working on an E-3 equates to fewer E-3 visas available to Ireland – or any other country looking to get on the E-3 bandwagon.  The I-94 data tells us that there are significantly more than 10,500 qualified Australians looking to work on an E-3, we just have to make them better at finding work.

A fundamental rule of business is that you never go to your boss with a problem unless you first have a solution.

If you read The Australian Community’s application to the IRS for non-profit status, it details that the E-3 visa, in part, is the basis for our organization to exist.  Our Mission is to assist Australians who are living in the U.S. and since its inception it began an initiative to assist Australians find work.

The Community Job Fair v1.0 proactively connected Australian job seekers with Australian Friendly recruiters and employers.  At its peak, it was a public facing initiative where Australians could submit a simple web form with a link to their LinkedIn profile. In some instances Australians were gainfully employed within days.

Its success was due leveraging middleware and human process to push alerts to recruiters of new candidates, based on the recruiter’s industry focus.  Its success was such that it began to drain the limited resources of our organization.  It was eventually ported to our Yammer private social network, where v2,0 continues to serve as an important employment resource for hundreds of our members.

The vision for The Australian Community Job Fair v3.0 would include the following services.

  1. Leverage the exiting infrastructure and content of the Employment Group inside our private social network, which can support more than 250,000 users.
  2. The expanded content would include videos, articles and best practices from Subject Matter Experts on finding work, broken down by Industry/Location.
  3. Host (and record) monthly meetings where job seekers can access Subject Matter Experts, and share their personal experiences, wins and challenges with other Australians.  Recordings would be shared to the Employment Group for those who cannot attend.
  4. Provide additional resources such as job search, resume writing, and interview best practices to assist members in finding work.
  5. Leverage our Accommodation Group inside our private network to better connect members to professional Australians during their U.S. job transition.
  6. Reintroduce push notifications to external and internal recruiters when Australian candidates meet their criteria.
  7. Identify and leverage Australian innovation in the H.R. industry.
  8. Identify and meet with more Australian Friendly recruiters, and Human Resources personnel within U.S. corporations who have Australian employees, to have them participate directly in our Community Job Fair by posting positions.
  9. Identify and meet with members holding executive positions within Fortune 500 companies to sponsor meetings with internal recruiters and H.R. executives to pitch the quality of available Australian candidates with immediate work visas.
  10. Meet with Australian Alumni organizations in the U.S. to communicate the value proposition of working with The Australian Community to assist their Alums find work.
  11. Initially work with the c.400 Australian lawyers who are members of our organization to understand their pro-bono initiatives, and how to leverage those hours to assist our members.
  12. Reach tens of thousands of Australians looking for work in the U.S. through social media channels – both internal and through affiliates – to communicate the value proposition of joining the Australian Community’s Job Fair: and more.

Funding such a program would be a huge boost to the number of Australians finding work, and therefore the annual number of E-3 visas consumed by Australians.  Unfortunately the clock is ticking and there is a short window of opportunity to have this program up and running.

In the absence of corporate sponsorship, or grants to provide the initial funding until membership fees and fundraising can sustain the ongoing costs, support would have to come from the Australian Government.

The Australian Government commits millions of dollars to recognize less than 0.1% of Australia’s Global community, yet Australians on E-3 visas represent more than half of all Australians on non-immigrant visas in the U.S.!

It is difficult to come up with an exact number, but based on the I-94 data, there are an estimated 100,000 Australians who are actively or passively looking for work in the U.S. annually.

In spite of a shrinking $AU vs $US, Australians are coming to the U.S, in droves – and not all of them are Tourists.

If the Australian Government is serious about protecting the integrity of the E-3 visa, and in doing so avoid a backlash from the Electorate, it needs to find additional funding, or redirect existing funding to support more Australians find work on the E-3.

The Australian Community’s virtual door is always open to discuss prioritizing the above initiatives with public or private stakeholders.

“What If” scenarios.

H.R. 7164 is not guaranteed to pass in 2018.  Recent press suggests that other countries are pushing to be included with Ireland in picking up any unused Australian E-3 visas.  This could lead to a further delay in the passing of the Legislation if it is rejected by the Senate, pending amendments to include other countries.

However, what is very apparent is that the underlying political pressure is not going away, and it will eventually pass.  When it does, there are likely to be two scenarios:

  1. Australia will have then built a social and professional infrastructure to maximize the success of Australian job seekers, leaving only a handful, if any, E-3 visas for other countries to find work, or
  2. More than 4,000 jobs will initially be taken out of the market, and Australians will slowly be displaced over the following three to five years by workers of other countries, ironically using the E-3 visa.

It is clear what has to be done, it is just a question of Will and Funding.

About The Australian Community  

The Australian Community is a 501(c)(3) Public Charity and its Mission is to connect Australian living in the United States through social. professional and charitable initiatives.

All contributions are fully tax deductible under Section 170 of the IRS Code. The Australian Community is also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under section 2055, 2106 or 2522 of the Code.