Finding a job in Australia

Manholdingglobe sml-image-centerMoving Down Under and looking for work? Here are some tips on how to find a job in Australia.

Even though the Australian economy is in a healthy state, jobs in Australia can still be hard to come by for non-English-speaking migrants. However, if you’ve got relevant skills and qualifications, your chances of finding work will be much better.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 a job in the land Down Under might not be as easy as you think.

Of course, it’s important to go in with a realistic mindset when you start looking for work in your new home country. While you may not land your perfect job 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.

It will come as no surprise that the mining industry is still one of the leading sectors of employment in Australia, with the iron ore mining industry still at the top of the list. This is not to say that other areas of the economy aren’t experiencing rapid growth. Sectors such as gas and agribusiness have bright futures, while others like international education and wealth management are already delivering increased employment prospects.

As Australia has an ageing population, sectors related to aged and health care are expected to see significant growth. This includes residential aged care, retirement living. and the digital delivery of health services. Other growth sectors include; information and communications technology, tourism, internet publishing and broadcasting, and online retail.

Most state governments will publish information about current job prospects, including areas where there are skills shortages, on their websites. This can help you gather an accurate idea of whether or not your skill set will be in demand in the area which you are planning on moving to when you do actually move.

The Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection publishes a list of skilled occupations on its website. This information can come in handy for those who want to nominate skilled occupations for permanent and temporary skilled migration Down Under.

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

If you’re not particular about where you work in Australia, you might like to consider working in more remote areas of the country. There is constant demand for regional workers as, due to their lack of proximity away from capital cities, they are often prone to skills shortages in certain sectors. Recognising this fact, the Australian Government offers the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187). This visa is designed for skilled workers who want to work in regional Australia and 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. This 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. They include 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:

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)

This permanent visa requires migrants to be nominated by an employer and meet certain English language skill and skills assessment requirements, as pertains to whichever stream they are applying for.

This permanent visa requires you to be nominated for a position by an employer from regional Australia to work in regional Australia. It consists of three stream (as outlined above). For the Direct Entry stream, overseas-qualified trade workers will need to have their skills assessed by Trades Recognition Australia. The occupation must be an ANZSCO skill level 1-3.

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.

This permanent visa is available to those applicants who have been nominated by a state or territory government. This visa is points tested and the nominated occupation must be on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List.

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

If you’re aged between 18 and 31 and want to holiday and work in Australia for up to a year, this is the visa for you. 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.

If you’re a recent graduate of an Australian educational institution with either an eligible qualification or with skills and qualifications related to an occupation on the skilled occupation list (SOL) and would like to gain work experience in Australia, then the 485 is a great option. It lets you work in Australia for up to four years, depending on which stream you qualify for.

Student visas 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). If you are successful in obtaining a student visa, you can study and work (with restriction) in Australia.


Where to look for work in Australia

If you’re planning on moving to Australia or if you’ve already arrived, there is no shortage of options when it comes to looking for work. A good place to start searching is through online job search websites such as, and These sites list tens of thousands of jobs across all employment sectors.

Of course, you might want to seek out the services of a respected recruitment agency to help you in your job search. These agencies can help match you with a suitable job for your training and qualifications and seek out prospective employers for you.

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

Finally, you can also seek job-hunting assistance from a registered migration agent. As well as helping you apply for your visa, migration agents can help you understand the ins and outs of finding work on certain visas within Australia.

Financial aid: human services and Centrelink

Human Services, also known as Centrelink is a government agency that provides a wide range of social security payments and services. It’s suggested that new residents of Australia register with Human Services (Centrelink) to receive help finding work, having their overseas skilled recognised, access relevant courses needed for work, and to see if they're eligible for social security payments.

New migrants to Australia looking for work might also qualify for government assistance in the form of a Newstart Allowance. The allowance is for anyone who’s older than 22 but too young to receive the pension. In order to qualify for the Newstart Allowance, you’ll 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 work. To access the Newstart Allowance, newly arrived residents generally have a 104 week waiting period, though there are exemptions. Nevertheless, this 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.

New migrants might also be eligible for Family Assistance payments, which are funded by the Australian government, if they are arriving in the country with children. This Family Assistance can help to pay for the cost of raising your children.


Educational qualifications to work in Australia

Many new migrants to Australia possess a range of qualifications and skills that they’ve gained in their home country. However, as a general rule, many Australian employers will value local experience above overseas experience. As a result, you’ll need to ascertain whether or not those qualifications will be recognised in Australia.

There are a number of ways you can go about getting your overseas professional qualifications recognised in Australia. This stage is referred to as Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Major professional industry associations are a good place to start looking for details on industry requirements for the assessment of your professional qualifications. In fact, many of these organisations are in charge of assessing those qualifications.

The National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR) can assess your overseas qualifications in terms of how they fit into the Australian Qualifications Framework. This service is offered at a fee.

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) can also help out when it comes to RPL. These organisations can determine whether there are any gaps in the knowledge you’ve acquired overseas and the knowledge you’d acquire if you obtain a similar qualification in Australia.

If your overseas degree is not equivalent to an Australian qualification, you may be able to seek employment in your chosen occupation but at a lower entry level. However, remember that certain occupations in Australia, 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 might like to seek further study to fill these gaps and obtain relevant qualifications to meet Australian standards. Referred to as ‘gap training’ or ‘up-skilling’, this training can be undertaken at relevant universities or higher education institutions.


What you legally need to work in Australia

In order to legally find work in Australia, you’ll need to satisfy a number of requirements. The most important item on the list is a relevant visa. Although you can see an extensive list of visas above, most newcomers to Australia 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 (TIS) National provide this service free of charge to migrants who’ve been in Australia for less than two years.

In some cases - such as when you’re applying for recognition of your qualifications - you’ll need to provide certified copies of your qualifications. This involves getting your copies signed by a Justice of the Peace.

You’ll also need a CV that outlines your training, experience and qualifications. Most employers require this to be in English. You can seek help putting your CV together from a number of online agencies or recruitment consultants if required.

Depending on your chosen occupation, you might need to be licensed or registered to be legally allowed to work in Australia. Occupations that require this includes, but aren’t limited, to electricians, registered nurses and secondary school teachers. Each Australian state and territory has its own rules regarding licensing and registration, and you can start your search for information on exactly what you’ll have to do at the Australian Skills Recognition Information Portal.

Finally, you’ll also need to get a Tax File Number (TFN) to work in Australia. 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 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’ll need 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 (conditions apply), or are an overseas student enrolled in a course that’s more than six-months long.

If you earn less than $18,200 per year, you will not have to pay any tax. However, you will still have to inform the ATO of this through your tax return. If you run a business with a turnover of $75,000 or more, on top of having to lodge a tax return, you’ll 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 ten minimum rights and conditions for all Australian workers, including everything from working hours and annual leave, to long service leave and redundancy pay.

Know that 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 dismissals from your job. For more information on your rights at work, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman site.

Under the National Employment Standards, Australian workers are entitled to certain rights. It’s important that migrants in 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 get an extra week. In addition, paid parental leave is also available for both mothers and fathers.

Many non-residents of Australia can also 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 typically be processed online.

If you’re planning on working in Australia, one of the questions on the tip of your tongue will most likely be, “How much will I be able to earn?”. As a guideline, take a look at the average 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 and are in Australian dollars.

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

One of the most important things you’ll be considering after landing in Australia is where to find work. Depending on your skillset and visa, this might be easy or this might be hard, but the opportunities are there, as are financial assistance and job-hunting help for migrants. Best of luck.

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20 Responses to Finding a job in Australia

    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?

      Stephanie | November 9, 2016

      Hi Hetav,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please be advised that 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,


    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

      Stephanie | October 17, 2016

      Hi Duarte,
      Thanks for your question.
      Please be advised that 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,


    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 .

      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.

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

      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,


    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

      Stephanie | June 6, 2016

      Hi Rahul,
      Thanks for your question.

      Please be advised that 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!


    Default Gravatar
    anish | February 11, 2016

    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.

      Stephanie | February 11, 2016

      Hi Anish,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please be advised that 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,


    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

    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

      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 | 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,


    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

      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,


    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?

      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: . We recommend you contact the bank you prefer direct to discuss your options.

      Hope this has helped,


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