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Bespoke Careers

23 September 2019

23 September 2019

Work in the USA - for Australian Architects

Bespoke Careers Sydney office - 5th September 2019

In his latest visit to the Sydney office from the USA, Alex James, Director of Bespoke Careers' Los Angeles, led a presentation for local architects and candidates looking to make the big move to the States. Attendees enjoyed an evening of useful information, an interactive Q&A, casual networking and plenty beer and pizza!

Considering the mutual recognition arrangement between USA and Australia for architect registration, there are new avenues for Aussies to develop their career overseas. The talk included key information about the market, salaries, lifestyle and visa process.  


Australian architects with a permanent residency/citizenship and at least 6,000 hours of post-licensure/registration experience can seek registration from a participating licensor to work as a sole practitioner on US soil.  They can obtain an E-3 work visa enabling them to live and work in the USA.

Alex explained the E3 Visa Process which includes the following steps:

  1. Company prepares a ’letter of offer’ for the employee;
  2. Upon acceptance, company prepares an LCA (Labor Condition Agreement) form and files it with Department of Labor. Once filed, processing and approval takes approximately 5 days;
  3. Employee makes an appointment at an available consulate outside of the US. Waiting times vary depending on location;
  4. Once the LCA is approved the employee attends the appointment location for processing and waits for their passport and new visa to be returned;
  5. Employee returns to the US and commences work. An E-3 visa is valid for 2 years and can be renewed.

Bespoke Careers are not visa specialists and so we urge candidates to seek the advice of an immigration lawyer once they receive a formal job offer.  We can refer you to immigration lawyers and also offer advice of relevant information sources, such as our Salary guide, PTO Guide, LA City Guide, E3 Visa Advice and Architecture and Design website which is subject to changes and updates as the regulations and conditions evolve.

As inspiration, Alex shared testimonials from a number of our candidates who have already made the move to the US:

"Seeking out a recruiter like Bespoke is helpful to not only find job opportunities, but to get an idea about your best fit, what you are worth and importantly, a potential visa."

"My experience with Bespoke meant they were able to vouch for the E3 process, which is considerably easier than most other foreign working visas. This helped reassure my eventual employer about sponsorship, which is very helpful coming from someone other than the applicant."

"I had big firms in mind, but eventually found a smaller firm where I was able to develop significantly quickly. In less than 2 years I became Senior Designer at a studio in New York. I'd recommend staying open-minded as you get your feet in the states."

"Most importantly, give it a go. Most employers will not look at you seriously until you are in town, so check things out."

The event was held on 5th September 2019 at Bespoke Careers Sydney. 

Author: Alex James, Managing Director, Bespoke Careers

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