Work in Australia: How to Relocate to the Land Down Under

Thinking of moving to Australia? Here is all you need to know!

Sydney Opera House

With more than 260 days of sunshine every year and one of the largest mixed economies in the world, there’s no wonder that Australia remains a popular destination for prospective immigrants. If you’ve been dreaming about a change of scenery, working abroad and you are fluent in English, working in Australia could easily be the smartest life decision you’ll ever make. The country is always in the lookout for qualified people who want to work hard and are interested in calling the Down Under their home.

General Info

To our collective imagination, Australia remains the land of opportunity, but whereas this may have been true a few decades back, the reality is that the labour market is extremely competitive and finding work in Australia may not necessarily be a walk in the park. However, having specialised skills could give you a leg up on competition.  

Biggest Sectors

The service sector remains the biggest in the country at 70 per cent of the national GDP, so should you hope to find employment opportunities here you should better be skilled in this area. The country also has a growing mining sector, while you may also be able to find a job in the manufacturing and construction sectors.

Salary Information

The average annual salary comes up to 78,832 AUD (£45,421). With overtime and bonus, this figure can rise up to 81,947 AUD (£47,232). Bear in mind that the gender pay gap in Australia is quite big; men’s salaries average at 83,902 AUD (£48,359), while women’s salaries barely cross the 70,000 barrier, averaging at about 70,392 AUD (£40,577)

Note that the Australian government has set standards for a minimum wage which comes at 672 AUD (£387) per 38 hour work week (before tax).

Jobs in Demand

To work in Australia you need a visa. Getting a visa is easier if you are skilled and hold qualifications from an internationally accredited university that would allow you to work in one of the roles in demand. These include many engineering roles, as well as roles in medicine and education. More specifically:

Cost of Living

It’s important to note that the cost of living is significantly lower than in the UK which means that you could lead a more balanced life if you choose to immigrate here. Comparing London and Sydney, for example, will leave you in awe at how much easier it is to get by in Sydney as rent and consumer prices in general are lower.

Work Visa

There are a lot of types of visas in Australia and you’ll be able to find which one better fits your needs below. Keep in mind that if the process of getting a visa is a bit of overwhelming for you, you can always contact one of the many agencies that take care of this sort of process, but be wary of scams.

Types of Work Visas

  • Work and holiday (462): Available to people between 18 and 31 years of age who want to travel and work in Australia for up to a year. This visa only allows you to be employed by the same employer for up to six months.
  • Working Holiday Visa (417): This is essentially the same as the 462 visa, but it also allows applicants to study for up to a few months.
  • Skilled Independent Visa (189): This is a permanent residence visa for points-tested skilled workers who want to work and live and Australia. You can apply for this visa after you’ve submitted an expression of interest and have been invited to apply through SkillSelect.
  • Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa (457)/ Temporary Skills Shortage: The 457 will be replaced by the Temporary Skills Shortage visa in April, 2018. Essentially, this type of visa allows applicants to immigrate and work in their nominated occupation for their approved sponsor for up to four years.


SkillSelect is the online service that helps Australia manage its skilled migration programme. It essentially helps the country ensure that the programme can help the country’s economic needs. SkillSelect also helps address regional skills-shortage and employers find workers that they need.

SkillSelect will be your first step in getting a visa to work in Australia if hold qualifications for one of the jobs in demand.  To get your application going you’ll need to submit your Expression of Interest (EOI). You’ll be asked to provide a range of information in your EOI depending on the visa you’re considering. Some of the common requirements include:

  • Basic personal information
  • Nominated occupation
  • Work Experience
  • Study and Education
  • Level of English Skills
  • Details of a skills assessment test which you’ll be asked to take to prove your competencies

Find a Job

Finding work in Australia could prove to be a bit more difficult that you may have anticipated as 70 per cent of the vacancies are never advertised. This means that having a strong network and an effective ‘cold’ method for applying could be your only shots at getting employed.

Where to Find Work

As discussed above only a limited number of available positions are advertised so you shouldn’t rely on only going through job boards to find work in Australia. Consider looking through regional newspapers as well if you’ve already relocated.

Some job boards to use in your job hunt include:

  • Seek: The biggest job and career site in the country. With over 30 million monthly visitors, Seek is the go to place for recruiters and hiring managers.
  • Australian Job Search: This is the government funded job board. Users can use keywords, location or even occupation to find opportunities that match their profile.
  • Gumtree: Although Gumtree can be chaotic it remains as one of the most popular websites to find work opportunities in Australia. If you’re going for the 462 visa this is a great place to start looking for stints.

Getting Sponsored

As Australia specifically targets people who are specialised in specific areas and sectors, it can be hard to get invited to apply for a visa. However, getting sponsored is also an option as it can lead to a permanent work visa rather quickly. The problem often is that finding a sponsor is very difficult and things have become even more complex with new regulations that force employers to advertise jobs locally before they hire someone from abroad.

This means that you’re highly unlikely to find advertisements by employers looking to sponsor someone for a visa. To get around this problem you can make a list of all the companies you’d be interested to work for and start approaching them. The key is to impress them enough to make them want to sponsor you. If your first contact is successful, you may want to plan a trip to Australia to meet them in person.

Remember that networking can also be extremely effective so get started on building a powerful Linkedin presence before you start connecting with different employers in Australia. 

Working in Australia can be an amazing experience. Melbourne has been topping the ranks as the happiest city in the world for years, while other Australian cities have also been making the top ten as well. Keep in mind that some of the richest people in Australia are self-made so a move there could mean a new beginning, and who knows, maybe even millions.

Do you think you’d be able to adjust to working in Australia easily or not? Let me know in the comment section below.

If Australia doesn’t seem like your type of place make sure to check out our list with the best countries to relocate to get inspired.