Finding a job in Australia

Moving Down Under and looking for work? Here are some tips on how to find a job in Australia.

Many migrants head to Australia with dreams of a better life: a stable environment, better living conditions and unlimited opportunities for employment. While Australia is a great place to raise a family, finding work in the land Down Under might not be quite as easy as you think. However, if you are equipped with the right skills and qualifications, you'll stand a much better chance.

It’s important to have a realistic mindset when you start looking for a job. While you may not land the perfect position right away, there are plenty of steps you can take to make your employment prospects brighter.

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Areas of employment

Throughout the 20th century and into the early 21st century, Australia’s economic growth and success was largely based on its abundance of agricultural, mineral and fuels resources. However, as the country gradually shifts towards a knowledge-based economy, new opportunities for employment are opening up.

Growth industries in Australia

The mining industry is still one of the leading sectors of employment in Australia, with iron-ore mining at the top of the list.

Industries such as gas, agribusiness, international education and wealth management have all experienced recent rapid growth and are delivering increased employment prospects.

As Australia has an ageing population, employment sectors related to aged and health care, such as  residential aged care, retirement living and digital health services, are all expected to grow significantly.

Other current growth sectors include information and communications technology; tourism; Internet publishing and broadcasting; and online retail sites.

Where to find information

Most state governments publish information about current job prospects on their websites, including areas where there is a shortage of skills. This information can help you get a clearer idea of whether or not your skill set is in demand in the area you are planning to move to.

The Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection publishes a list of skilled occupations on its website that are currently in demand.

In order to obtain a skilled visa, you might have to undergo a skills assessment as part of your visa application, which provides recognition for the training and qualifications you have received overseas.

Regional work

If you are not particular about where in Australia you want to work, consider working in more remote areas of the country. Due to their distance from major cities, regional areas are prone to skills shortages in certain sectors, so there is a constant demand for workers.

The Australian Government offers a Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187), designed for skilled workers who want to work in regional Australia. The scheme is open to any skilled worker under the age of 50 who has been nominated by an approved Australian employer for regional work.

This is a permanent resident visa which can be applied for either overseas or in Australia, but only once you’ve been nominated by an approved Australian employer. The visa offers three streams for migrants:

  • The Temporary Residence Transition stream. This is for 457 visa holders who have worked for two years in the same position with their employer, and the employer now wants to offer them a permanent position.
  • The Direct Entry stream. This stream is for people nominated under the Direct Entry stream. It includes people who have never or only briefly worked in Australia, and temporary residents who do not qualify for the above stream.
  • The Agreement stream. This final stream is for people nominated by their employer through a labour agreement.

If you have not been nominated by an approved Australian employer for regional work, you can still place an expression of interest through SkillSelect where a prospective employer or government agent may view your details and potentially nominate you for employment.


Working visas

There are a number of working visas available for those looking to find a job in Australia, each of which has different eligibility requirements and comes with different rights and restrictions. These include:

Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457): This visa is designed for skilled workers who are sponsored or nominated by a business to work in Australia for a temporary period of time.

It is available for up to four years, and the occupation the migrant is to fill must be on the prevailing Consolidated Skilled Occupations List (SOL).

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Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186): This is a permanent visa that requires migrants to be nominated by an employer and to meet certain English language skill and skills assessment requirements.

Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189): Applicants must undergo skills testing to qualify for this permanent visa. The nominated occupation must be on the Skilled Occupation List and you will need to have your skills assessed by the relevant authority.

Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190): A permanent visa, available for applicants who have been nominated by a state or territory government. It is points tested, and the nominated occupation must be listed on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List.

Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489): This is available for applicants who have been sponsored by an eligible relative, or nominated by a state or territory government. It is available for up to four years and allows you to live, work and study in a regional area.

Working Holiday visa (subclass 417): If you’re aged between 18 and 31 and want to holiday and work in Australia for up to a year, this visa will cover you for that period. You are able to work for up to six months with each employer, study for up to four months, and leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you like while the visa is valid. Note that this visa is only available to citizens of eligible countries.

Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485): If you’re aged between 18 and 31 and want to holiday and work in Australia for up to a year, this visa will cover you for that period. You are able to work for up to six months with each employer, study for up to four months, and leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you like while the visa is valid. Note that this visa is only available to citizens of eligible countries.

Student visas: Student visas allow you to study and work in Australia. They are available for the Higher Education Sector (subclass 573), the Postgraduate Research Sector (subclass 574), the Vocational Education and Training Sector (subclass 572) and the English Language Course Sector (subclass 570).


Where to look for work in Australia

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If you’re planning on moving to Australia or have recently arrived, there are plenty of options when it comes to looking for work. A good place to start is online job search websites such as seek.com.au, mycareer.com.au and careerone.com.au. These sites list tens of thousands of jobs across all employment sectors.

You can also visit a respected recruitment agency to help in your job search. Agencies can help match you to a suitable job for your training and qualifications, and will seek out prospective employers.

Students looking for work experience or temporary work can check university job boards or community noticeboards. You can also find listings on a number of websites that might not be specifically jobs-based, such as gumtree.com.au.

Another option is to ask a registered migration agent for assistance with job hunting. As well as helping you apply for your visa, migration agents can assist you in understanding the ins and outs of finding work on certain visas within Australia.

Financial aid: Human Services and Centrelink

Human Services is a government department that provides a wide range of social security payments and services. New Australian residents are advised to register with the department's Centrelink program. Centrelink can help you find work, have your overseas skills recognised, access relevant courses needed for work, and advise if you are eligible for social security payments.

As a new migrant to Australia looking for work, you might also qualify for government assistance in the form of a Newstart Allowance. The allowance is available for anyone older than 22 but too young to receive the pension. In order to qualify, you need to be looking for paid work, take an income and assets test, and possibly take an activity test to prove you are looking for a job. There is generally a 104-week waiting period before newly arrived residents can access payments, though there are some exemptions. Nevertheless, the allowance can help you find your feet in Australia and manage financially until you find employment.

If you are in Australia for humanitarian reasons you may be eligible for Crisis Payments in addition to social security payments. In this instance, you must claim your payments within seven days of arriving in Australia, or contact Centrelink with the intent to claim within seven days of arrival, and lodge the claim within two weeks after that.

If you are arriving in the country with children you might be able to apply for Family Assistance payments, which are funded by the Australian government. Family Assistance can help with the cost of raising children.


Educational qualifications for working in Australia

Many new migrants to Australia possess a range of qualifications and skills that they’ve gained in their home country. However, Australian employers often value local experience above overseas experience, so you will need to find out whether or not your qualifications are recognised in Australia.

The process is called Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and there are several organisations that can help with you with this procedure, including:

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  • The National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR), which can assess your overseas qualifications in terms of how they fit into the Australian Qualifications Framework. This service is offered for a fee.
  • Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), which can determine whether there are any gaps in the content of your overseas qualification compared to the requirements of a similar qualification in Australia. Fees may apply for consultations as well as for training to meet Australian qualification standards.

If your overseas degree is not equivalent to a similar degree in Australia, you may be able to seek employment in your chosen occupation but at a lower entry level. However, certain occupations, such as those in the healthcare sector, require you to pass examinations first.

If your qualifications aren’t recognised, or if there are gaps in the knowledge you’ve acquired overseas, you can seek further study to fill the gaps and meet Australian standards. Referred to as ‘gap training’ or ‘up-skilling’, this training can be undertaken at the relevant university or higher education institution.


What you legally need to work in Australia

In order to legally find work in Australia, you need to satisfy a number of requirements, the most important being a relevant visa. Although there are several types of visa available, most newcomers arrive on the 457.

In order to find employment, you may need to get your overseas qualifications translated into English. This includes your formal qualifications, transcripts with details of the subjects you studied, plus any other supporting documentation. Both the Community Relations Commission and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's Translating and Interpreting Service provide this service free of charge to migrants who have been in Australia for less than two years.

In some cases, such as applying for recognition of qualifications, you need to provide certified copies of your certificates, which involves having them signed by a Justice of the Peace.

You also need a curriculum vitae (CV) outlining your training, experience and qualifications. Most employers require this to be in English. You can get help putting your CV together from a number of online agencies or recruitment consultants.

Depending on your occupation, you might need to become licensed or registered to be legally allowed to work in Australia. This applies to occupations such as electrician, registered nurse and secondary school teacher. Each Australian state and territory has its own rules regarding licensing and registration. You can start your search for information at the Australian Skills Recognition Information Portal.

Finally, you will need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN). This is your personal reference number for use in Australia’s tax and superannuation systems, and is used to help you lodge tax returns, change jobs and keep track of your super. You can apply for a TFN online at www.ato.gov.au or you can pick up an application form from your local Australia Post office.

Tax and GST

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, death and taxes are two of life’s guaranteed certainties. This is no different in Australia, and you will have to pay tax on your salary and wages. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) considers you a resident for tax purposes if you have always lived in Australia, have come to Australia to live, have been in Australia for more than half of the income year, or are an overseas student enrolled in a course that lasts more than six months.

If you earn less than $18,200 per year, you will not have to pay any tax. However, you still have to inform the ATO of your earnings through a tax return. If you run a business with a turnover of $75,000 or more, on top of lodging a tax return, you also have to register for the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Employment rights

The vast majority of workers in Australia are protected by the National Employment Standards. These standards set out 10 minimum rights and conditions for all Australian workers, including everything from working hours and annual leave, to long service leave and redundancy pay.

Everyone working in Australia, regardless of their background, has basic rights at work which entitle them to a minimum wage, breaks and rest periods, a healthy and safe work environment, and the ability to challenge unfair dismissal from a job. For more information on your rights at work, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman site.

Annual leave and superannuation

Under the National Employment Standards, Australian workers are entitled to certain rights. It’s important that migrants to Australia take the time to understand their rights in order to ensure that they are treated fairly. For example, every full-time worker is entitled to at least four weeks of paid annual leave per year, while some shift workers are given an extra week. In addition, paid parental leave is available for both mothers and fathers.

Many non-residents of Australia can benefit from mandatory superannuation contributions made by their employer. You can also make voluntary personal contributions to your super in order to build your balance and take advantage of tax breaks. Superannuation becomes available to you when you retire or, if you’re a temporary resident, you may be able to claim your benefits when you permanently depart Australia through a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP). This allows you to receive the equivalent of your superannuation minus tax of 35% and can usually be processed online.

Pay expectations

If you are planning to work in Australia, one of the most important questions you’ll be asking yourself is, “How much will I be able to earn?”. As a guide, take a look at the average yearly salaries in the following sectors:

  • Mining, resources and energy: $116,895
  • Engineering: $103,588
  • Information and communication technology: $99,492
  • Healthcare and medical: $87,117
  • Accounting: $83,538
  • Education and training: $73,111

NB: Figures are taken from seek.com.au and are in Australian dollars.

Minimum wage rates apply to those occupations that fall under the award level. Casual employees often receive extra pay to make up for the fact that they do not receive benefits such as annual leave or notice of termination.

One of the most important things to consider after landing in Australia is where to find work. Depending on your skills and type of visa, this could be straightforward or may take some time. However, there are certainly opportunities available to you, as well as financial and job-hunting assistance. Best of luck.


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20 Responses to Finding a job in Australia

  1. Default Gravatar
    Hetav | November 8, 2016

    I live in Sydney.As every body knows that it is too much expensive city.I arrived here just before 2 months.I am Electrical engineer with master degree.I have vast experience of my field as such I was doing my work in Siemens,Berlin,Germany. Still I am struggling with work.
    I have heard that Perth is the best city for Engineers like Electrical and Civil as well as Mechanical.Is it true?Should i transfer there from Sydney? will i get work in my field in Perth?

    • Staff
      Stephanie | November 9, 2016

      Hi Hetav,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please be advised that finder.com.au is a financial comparison website and not a migration agent.

      For details on the future of our engineering sector, please refer to Job Outlook, which is a government initiative to help guide your career in Australia.
      You can find details on Electrical Engineers here and Civil Engineers here.

      I hope that helps,

      Stephanie

  2. Default Gravatar
    freire | October 17, 2016

    good afternoon,

    I´m Portuguese student I´m on the 4th an last year of studies in physiotherapy and i would love to live in Australia please help me fulfill my dream

    I know what I have to do to become registered and ultimately a Physiotherapist by the Australian scope, but i still have some questions that you might be able to help me with, so:

    1 – Is there any Portuguese company that might help me trough this process ?
    2- Is there any Australian company in Portugal that will help me find a job after i´m considered physio in Australia??
    3- Is it possible to apply to every health care system such as public or private hospitals, clinics, community ?
    4- How´s the ration meaning people who registered and also found a job as physios?
    5- Is it possible that i can´t find a job in the area?
    6- after being registered do I need to follow other formation programs such as clinical assessments or so?
    7- Is it possible to choose the city which I would like to live ??
    8- Is there any help from migration programs to help me and me wife going to work and live in Australia ?
    9- Is possible to have a specific person en charge of my migration process to whom I can discuss with more detail the all house processes, health care system, education ?
    10- In your opinion is it rather easy for a Portuguese to live and work in Australia?

    please I know it´s a lot of questions, but you may understand this is a life decision that can change or lives and our future generation´s ones as well, so please be so kind to provide me as much information as you can, and if it´s not your concern point me the right email to address them to .

    Best regards
    Duarte

    • Staff
      Stephanie | October 17, 2016

      Hi Duarte,
      Thanks for your question.
      Please be advised that finder.com.au is a financial comparison website and not a migration agent.

      To be qualified to work in Australia as a physiotherapist, you will need to pass an assessment to be registered in Australia.

      As physiotherapy is a skilled occupation, you may be able to obtain a number of Skilled Independent visas as well as sponsored visas, depending on whether you choose to find work prior to or after arriving in Australia. You can browse your eligible visas here.

      In terms of obtaining finding employment, registration and possible migration programs, you might like to contact the Australian Physiotherapy Association here who may be more familiar with your situation and provide you with assistance and advice.

      I hope that has helped,

      Stephanie

  3. Default Gravatar
    peter | September 19, 2016

    My name is peter Monday am from south Sudan I would to immigrate to Austria to live and work there how could get that chance .

    • Staff
      Chester | September 20, 2016

      Hello, Peter!

      Thanks for your for your interest in migrating to Australia.

      You may read on this link we have created to give you a better understanding of choosing the city that will suit your preferred lifestyle. https://www.finder.com.au/moving-to-australia/best-places-to-live-in-australia

      And please be advised that finder.com.au is a financial comparison website and not a migration agent.

      https://www.finder.com.au/moving-to-australia/best-places-to-live-in-australia

      On this link provided above, we have outlined details about life in Australia, which should help you to decide whether you’d like to live in it or not. For professional prospects in Australia, you can have a look at Job Outlook. This is a government initiative that provides you with ample information regarding prospects in your field of employ for the upcoming years, as well as in all the different states of Australia.

      I hope this helps,

      Chester

  4. Default Gravatar
    RAHUL | June 6, 2016

    hi i have a question regarding sponsorship and PR applying, do you help me to getting sponsorship job and if not so please tell me i am working as an Executive Accountant is QATAR and i am a commerce graduate should i apply for visa 189. or maybe a Professional degree is mandatory for this. please guide me with your best guidelines
    thanks
    Rahul

    • Staff
      Stephanie | June 6, 2016

      Hi Rahul,
      Thanks for your question.

      Please be advised that finder.com.au is a price comparison website and not a migration agent. If you require help to obtain a visa, we advise you contact a migration agent who can help you further.

      Details of the requirements for the Skilled Independent Visa are here. This includes all eligibility criteria required to obtain the visa, including a Skilled Assessment. If you do not meet the requirements of the assessment, you might like to look at the Temporary Skilled Visa 457. To obtain this visa, you are required to be sponsored by an employer in Australia.

      For a full list of visas you may be eligible for, please see the government’s Visa Finder. You can also apply for your visa via this portal as well.

      I hope that has helped!

      Stephanie

  5. Default Gravatar
    anish | February 11, 2016

    Hi.
    I am a biomedical engineer with almost 7 years experience working as currently as a product manager with healthcare distributor.

    As part of my skills assessment, which would be better from a visa/job perspective – to apply with VETASSESS as a marketing specialist since I handle sales & marketing of medical devices or with Engineers Australia as an engineer?

    Thanks in advance for the response.

    • Staff
      Stephanie | February 11, 2016

      Hi Anish,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please be advised that finder.com.au is a financial comparison website and not a migration agent.

      When deciding on which visa to apply for, it might be worth applying for a job in Australia first to see what opportunities are available and what qualifications are required for that position.

      For further advice on your situation, we advise that you consult a migration agent who may be able to provide you with more in-depth information and help you apply for your visa.

      Hope that helps,

      Stephanie

  6. Default Gravatar
    mosiz.o | January 26, 2016

    hi,am a medical laboratory scientist and wish to migrate to Australia what are the chances of getting job in Australia quickly, I have a degree certificate in bachelor of medical laboratory science with license and some other required documents. Thanks

  7. Default Gravatar
    spidey | December 19, 2015

    is it capable to become CA in australia, sydney

    • Default Gravatar
      lisa | January 24, 2016

      How long can find a job hair stalls that is my skills

    • Staff
      Stephanie | January 27, 2016

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you are searching for job prospects in your field, a good place to start is Job Outlook, which is a government initiative designed to help see what the job market in your field of employment will look like in the coming years.

      If you are searching for a job already, some places to start might be online job sites including SEEK and Indeed.

      Hope this has helped,

      Stephanie

    • Staff
      Stephanie | December 21, 2015

      Hi Spidey,

      Thanks for your question.

      Chartered accountants are required in Australia. Accountants (General), Management Accountants and Taxation Accountants in particular are on the skilled occupations list, which means they are in demand in Australia and, if qualified, will allow you to work here on a Skilled Occupations Visa.

      You can learn more about available visas here.

      You might also like to browse Job Outlook for further details on your job prospects in Australia in the future.

      I hope this has helped,

      Stephanie

  8. Default Gravatar
    Dominic | December 16, 2015

    I am 56 and my wife is going to 50. We are planning to Migrate to Australia. Can we migrate? If yes what is the Qualification process

    • Staff
      Stephanie | December 16, 2015

      Hi Dominic,

      Thanks for your question.

      You might be able to qualify for certain visas despite your age. Details of various visas can be found on our Australian visa and citizenship page. Alternatively, you might like to use the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s Visa Finder to determine which visas you might qualify for.

      I hope that this helps,

      Stephanie

  9. Default Gravatar
    Panchal | October 17, 2015

    my wife and i will be migrating to australia by end of next year. after which i m planning to take up few diving courses for getting a job in same field. now, according to my research, the course fees will be approx, $25000. and since i have had moved recently, i m assuming i wont have enough money to pay those fees. so i would like to know if i can avail some loan to pay for my courses and how?

    • Staff
      Stephanie | October 19, 2015

      Hi Panchal,

      Thanks for your question.

      The four major banks offer loans for non-residents, which you might be eligible for. You can find out more information here: https://www.finder.com.au/moving-to-australia/loans-for-non-residents . We recommend you contact the bank you prefer direct to discuss your options.

      Hope this has helped,

      Stephanie

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