- Download our Moving to Australia Guide (PDF)
Expats working in Australia may not have immense salaries to boast about but most report that they’re nevertheless happy in their jobs and enjoy more work-life balance here than in their home countries.
Job market in Australia
Expats who have qualifications and experience in growing sectors with skill shortages stand a good chance of finding work in Australia. Industries such as healthcare, IT and marketing are well worth looking into.
Another industry in Australia worth considering is mining, and although the mining boom has begun to decline, the country is still one of the world's top exporters of minerals such as iron, aluminium, gold and copper. Construction is also a strong and continually growing industry, with construction managers particularly sought after.
Finding a job in Australia
Most expats will need to find and secure a job before entering Australia. That said, the government’s immigration department is as strict as it is efficient, and those employed without a work permit will be promptly deported.
Most expats work in Australia on employer-sponsored visas. The hiring company must prove that a position exists for the expat and that no local candidate can fill the position. Given that a large chunk of Australia’s workforce has tertiary qualifications, and that many senior managers and technical staff have international experience, Australian citizens are often chosen over expats.
Even though skills shortages have produced a crucial need for certain kinds of workers, the stringent permit eligibility rules often hamper attempts to import foreigners from abroad.
Expats hunting for jobs should start by joining industry associations and perusing the career centres maintained by regional governments. Employment sections in national newspapers and online job portals are also convenient ways of searching for jobs.
Work culture in Australia
There is often a distinctly relaxed atmosphere in the Australian workplace. This doesn't mean that less work gets done – Australians are generally hard workers – but it does mean there is a good work-life balance in the country.
Swearing is a famously prolific part of the Australian dialect, and expats can expect this to extend to the workplace too, although it's probably best not to follow suit.
Socialising with co-workers outside of work is common and expected, so if invited to after-work drinks, expats should accept the invitation and take the opportunity to get to know their colleagues.
►Also see Doing business in Australia to read about how day-to-day business is done
"The work culture I’d say is a little more laid back and informal than the US, in keeping with the Australian way. Drinking is also a big part of Australian culture, so work dinners and drinks are very common – but if you don’t imbibe, that will be respected too." Read more about Katie's experience of expat life in Australia.
"Start applying for work as soon as you get here. Make friends with other expats and anyone else – networking is also important for finding work." Read about Lara's expat experience in Australia.
Are you an expat living in Australia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Australia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance
With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider. Cigna is currently offering a 10% discount for seniors (over 60) on their Silver package.
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