For a number of years we have been publishing data on Australians living in America, with a focus on New York. This report highlights data from the Departments of Homeland Security and State.
If you are wondering how many Australians are living in New York and the broader United States, and how many are just visiting, this article will attempt to answer some of your questions.
Australian Citizens Entering the United States on an I-94
The most recent I-94 data shows a further YoY drop in Australian entries into the U.S. on Non-Immigrant visas. Overall, the number of times Australians entered/reentered the United States dropped by 2.54% driven by a drop in the number of Australians entering on a three month visa waiver.
The number of Australian entries into the U.S. on three month Visa Waivers dropped by 45,527, or just over 3.6%. However Business Visa Waiver entries were up c.1.7% in 2019 to 165,201 from 162,416.
Non-Immigrant Visas issued to Australians
In 2019, the total of all Non-Immigrant visas issued to Australians further declined by 2.4%.
O visas were down from 1,235 in 2018 to 1,142 in 2019. L visas were up from 2,642 in 2018 to 2,723 . H visas were again up from 733 in 2018 to 847. J visas were up slightly from 5,099 to 5,175 in 2019.
At face value, E-3 visas were up 7.7% from 5,394 in 2018 to 5,797 in 2019.
However, the 7.7% increase was driven by a 75% decrease in E-3 Denials! Yes, we did cross reference the numbers and they are correct!
Contrary to the increase in new E-3 approvals, the number of E-3 applications actually dropped by 84; from 6,058 in 2018 to 5,974 in 2019.
Similarly, E-3R Denials were down 85% driving an increase of nearly 8% when there were only 13 net new E-3R applications in 2019!
Considering the average annual denials for E-3 sits at c.11% and E-3R at c.7% this data is quite remarkable in a climate where you would expect visa denials to increase!
Bad News for Aussie Job Seekers on the Horizon
Congress is still considering changes to the E-3 visa to give unused visas to Ireland. If the legislation passes, we could see thousands of new job seekers entering the New York market, further creating headwinds for the Australian job seeker.
Had H.R. 7164 not failed by only one vote in the Senate, this year there would be 4,693 E-3 visas available to citizens of Ireland in 2020. This would equate to an estimated 15,000 new job seekers competing against Australians, eligible for an E-3 visa.
The Australian Community’s Job Fair v3.0 has seen an upgrade in 2020 to increase the number of Australians successfully find work and apply for an E-3 visa. You can read more and apply via the link.
Other Nations on the E-3D Visa.
Another remarkable chart is spouses and children on an E-3D, who are not Australian citizens.
In 2019 there were 839 citizens of other Nations who successfully applied for an E-3D visa. This was up 8% from 779 in 2018. The largest growth regions were Asia and Europe.
The Importance of the I-94
Any Australian who has entered the US is familiar with the I-94 card. It is the final say on how long you have until you must exit the US.
If you are on an E-3 and you reenter the US, the I-94 must be dated past your visa renewal date. Mistakes often happen so always check the date in case a mistake is made.
The video below with Immigration attorney Zjantelle Cammisa Markel explains more about the importance of checking the I-94 date every time you re-enter the United States.
After an initial 53% jump in 2016 to 12,872, and a further increase to 13,320 in 2017, 2018 saw a drop in B-1.2 visas by 16% to 11,116. 2019 also saw a further drop in Australians entering the U.S. on a B-1,2 visa, down 17.3% from 11,116 in 2018 to 9,188.
Note: In 2017, 2018 and 2019, the percentage of B-1,2 visa application denials were 17%, 18% and 19% respectively. Therefore the drop in Australians entering the U.S. on B-1,2 visas was not due to an increase in denials, but rather, fewer Australians applying for the visa.
How Many Australians are Living in New York?
In 2019 New York continued to lead California as the preferred destination for Australians working on the E-3 visa. Cali led Texas who surpassed Washington State. Illinois and Florida round out the top six with New Jersey given a special mention.
Green Cards have a significant impact on the number of Australians living in New York and other U.S. cities.
in 2017 we began a deep dive on how Australians are obtaining Green Cards. What may surprise many, is that in 2019 only 344 Australians arrived in the U.S. after winning a Green Card in the Diversity lottery. This was down more than 20% from 433 in 2018.
The vast majority obtaining their Green Card from marriage and immediate family members 1,621 (up from 1,238 in 2018), Employers 1,144 (up from 934 in 2018), with “Other” representing 96 Green Cards.
The Black Swan
The data for this article comes from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State. Unfortunately, some of the data is not available for more than twelve to 15 months. Fortunately however, the data for the chart below lags only 60 days.
In March 2020, new E-3 approvals were impacted, and saw an initial drop before falling to their lowest level in years due to COVID-19 closures of Consulates. Conversely, we have seen E-3 approvals steadily increase as these same Consulates begin to process visas.
We will continue to update these numbers as new data is released.
To say that COVID-19 was the “Black Swan” that no-one predicted is an understatement. Its sharp impact has recently been felt on those seeking both Immigrant and Non-Immigrant visas.
The Australian Community has published information specific to E-3 visas and you can click here to read more as well as watch videos discussing the impact of COVID-19 on E-3 visas holders.
Many Australians are stranded outside of the U.S., waiting for a visa appointment. Many are struggling to get back to Australia. Before making a decision that could have a long term impact on your ability to re-enter the United States, always seek professional advice, as the situation is evolving on a daily basis.
About The Australian Community
The Australian Community is a 501(c)(3) Public Charity. Its Mission is to connect Australian living in the United States through social, professional and charitable initiatives.
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