Working in Australia

18 October 2012

Many people dream of going to live and work in Australia. And many people live the dream. In the year ending on 30th June 2011, net overseas migration into Australia was calculated by the Australian government at about 170,000 people.

Today, the best way for an economic migrant to be able to emigrate to Australia is as a skilled worker. You may be able to go to Australia as a permanent migrant, if you have the right training and experience and fulfil various other criteria (such as gaining enough points under age and language skills). To do this you will probably have to qualify under the Australian points-based visa system. Once there, you will be live and work in Australia on a permanent basis.

Alternatively, if you are skilled in an occupation where there is a skills shortage in Australia and can find someone to offer you a job, you may be able to gain entry to Australia on a temporary work visa. These visas are known as 457 visas. They qualify their holders to stay in Australia for up to four years. You can take your family members with you and are free to come and go as you please. To qualify, you will need to be skilled in a trade or profession for which there is a shortage of available and qualified Australians and will need to obtain an offer of employment from an Australian employer.

However, according to Chris Slay, owner of recruitment company Skills Provision, only one in three jobs in Australia is ever advertised in public on jobs sites or the press. Most are dealt with by word of mouth or privately through a recruitment agency as firms don't want to receive thousands of CVs from unqualified applicants from around the globe.

For the job seeker, this is a problem. How do you find a job without travelling to Australia? In reality, says Mr Slay, that is the best way to do it. Alternatively, you might consider looking at the Skills Shortage Lists prepared by the Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). You can find them online. You could then search online for a job.

However, Mr Slay says these lists are not as helpful as you might expect. There are several reasons for this. The first, he says, is that they are prepared by bureaucrats who have little understanding of the needs of employers. This means that they are often inaccurate or misleading.

Next, even where they are correctly compiled, the lists quickly become out-of-date. For both these reasons there are 'glaring omissions' on the skills shortage lists, according to Mr Slay; 'A classic example,' he says, 'is the national shortage of chefs from chefs de partie, sous chefs, through to Executive Chefs that are not on the skills shortage list,'.

Mr Slay says that his agency alone has 30-40 chef posts that need filling and these could be filled by all 'native born English speakers [who] hold a qualifying IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score'.

Australia requires that candidates for Australian visas should be tested on their ability in English under the IELTS system. Candidates will be tested on ability in
• Listening
• Reading
• Writing
• Speaking

(Candidates can score between 0 and 9 in each test. 0 is scored by those who do not attend. 6- 7 is the level required by most university students.)

Since July 2011, candidates must score a minimum of 5 is required in each test to fulfil the language ability requirement. For some roles, where English ability is particularly vital, a higher score may be required.

Mr Slay says that other roles where there are significant skills shortages in Australia are:
• Engineers – especially automotive. Diesel Mechanics with 5 years' experience should have no difficulty obtaining 457 visa
• Commercial pilots
• Doctors, nurses and other medical staff
• Natural resources (mining, gas, oil)
• IT
• Accountants

However, he warns that the process is bureaucratic. If you do manage to find a job and are applying for a visa, you must be sure to get the paperwork right.

If you would like to apply for an Australian visa, can help. is a specialist visa consultancy with nearly twenty-five years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Please feel free to contact us for further details