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Relocation Guide to Australia for Work

The appeal of Australia is obvious; year-round warm weather, stunning beaches, modern cities, a laid-back lifestyle, and great job opportunities with high levels of pay. Australia is very much a land founded by immigrants, with (in 2019) 30% of the countries population having been born overseas. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, “Every single country from around the world was represented in Australia’s population in 2019”. The largest source of migrants to Australia is England (nearly one million people), followed by China (677,000) and India (660,000). If you are planning to make the move to Australia for work, no matter which country you are from, it is important to understand the steps you will need to take, both for you and your family. In this article, we will provide a brief relocation guide to working in Australia, including immigration, housing, finding work, and what you need to do when you arrive.

Securing A Visa To Work In Australia

Before making any arrangements to ‘up sticks' and move to Australia, it is essential that you make sure that you will be able to secure the immigration permission you will need to move there.

The visa you need depends on your eligibility and future intentions. There are several routes, including regional migration, innovation, investment, temporary work, permanent work, and short stays. For the purposes of this guide, we will focus on the skilled permanent employment route, of which there are four different visa types:

  • Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186) – Sponsorship from an Australian employer is needed for this visa
  • Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)
  • Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) – Sponsorship from an Australian employer is needed for this visa
  • Skilled Regional visa (subclass 887)

The Skilled Independent visa is the most widely used of these categories and enables those with strong skills, work experience, and qualifications to work permanently in Australia. The benefit of this route being that you will not need a job offer. The main requirements for subclass 189 visa are as follows:

  • You must be 45 or under
  • Have a suitable skills assessment (a process whereby your skills are assessed as being sufficient and valid)
  • You must score 65 points or more on the points-based system – points are awarded for age, English language proficiency, number of years of skilled employment (in Australia and outside of Australia), educational qualifications, and your partner’s skills. To see how many points you score, go to the Australian Department of Home Affairs website points calculator.
  • Your main occupation must be listed as an eligible skilled occupation
  • You must speak English to a competent level
  • Meet the health and character requirements

The steps to apply for your Skilled Independent visa are as follows:

  • Check you are eligible based on the above criteria
  • Complete and submit your Expression of Interest – at this point, your application will be placed into a pool of other candidates. Applicants are selected on a periodic basis, with the highest-scoring candidates being chosen first – as such, the more points you score, the better your chance of being invited to apply.
  • Wait to be invited to apply – during this time, it is recommended that you collate all of the information and documents you will need to complete your application.
  • Apply within 60 days of being invited.

The current application fee is AUD4,045, and applications take up to a year to complete (in three-quarters of cases).

If your visa application is successful, your family members will be able to join you in Australia. You will be able to add your spouse/partner and children to your application, or they can apply at a later date (this must be before your application is decided).

Finding A Job In Australia

If you are yet to decide where to move to in Australia, we recommend looking at the places which are most likely to have vacancies in the type of occupation you have. For example, if you are in the tech industry, consider choosing one of the metropolitan cities of Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. Also, look at other factors such as the cost of housing and rental (these can vary considerably) and commuting times. If you need to secure employment as soon as possible, review the job vacancies before you apply to give you an idea of the range of salaries and types of roles on offer. Job search engines such as Seek, Indeed, Adzuna, and Careerone all provide ways to find suitable vacancies.

At present, the majority of shortages are in the areas of finance, construction, education, engineering, and healthcare.

Finding Accommodation

Most new migrants to Australia tend to rent for the short term while they settle and orient themselves and their families in their new country. The average weekly rental prices in the main Australian cities are (as of April 2021):

  • Adelaide: $395
  • Perth: $370
  • Canberra: $575
  • Darwin: $480
  • Hobart: $450
  • Sydney: $540
  • Melbourne: $430
  • Brisbane: $400

The Australian Department of Home Affairs website provides useful links for prospective renters and buyers in each region. These cover information on entering into a tenancy, how to choose a property, applying to rent a property, paying rental bonds, condition reports, and setting up your services and utilities (e.g. phone and electricity).

Other Considerations When You Arrive In Australia

When you first arrive, we recommend filing for a Tax File Number (TFN) at an Australian Tax Office (ATO) or online. You will also need to register for Medicare (Australia’s government-backed medical insurance scheme) to allow you to access healthcare in Australia should you need it. You can register at a local Medicare office in your chosen part of Australia, and you will be given a temporary Medicare, which you can use until your permanent one arrives.

Final Words

Moving to Australia requires long-term planning, which may start as much as two years to 18 months before you eventually arrive. The visa process alone can take a year or even longer. The more points you have, the shorter this time is likely to be. Also, by ensuring that you have provided all of the necessary information and documents and paid the correct fee, you can reduce the possibility of more information being requested and hence shorten the time to approval. We wish you and your family all the best with your move to Australia.

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