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How to get a professional job in Australia for foreigners

How to get a professional job in Australia for foreigners

Australia has one of the strongest economies in the world. Its economy is dynamic and the country continues to grow and present many opportunities of employment. Even if the Australian job market for foreigners can be quite competitive, it is not impossible to get a qualified job in Australia. Here’s all our advice and useful information on working in Australia, but above all finding a “skilled” job in Australia. And even if every profile is different, it’s important to know certain basics to make a success of your expatriation.

Is it easy to get a job in Australia? 

Australian job market is very competitive. Since the pandemic, Australia is lacking manpower in various sectors. For foreigners, not all jobs and skills are in equal demand at the moment. For example sectors of hospitality, construction, and education are in high demand at the moment. But you can definitely find a job in other sectors!

Here are a few tips to help you in your searches:

  • Research your market to understand where you fit in
  • Check your visa options, you will need a valid work visa
  • Prepare your resume and cover letter
  • Speak the language and understand the culture.

What jobs are in demand in Australia?

After the global pandemic, Australia now has a shortage of labour in many areas. Here are some industries and professions that have historically experienced high demand in Australia:

  • Healthcare and Aged Care: doctors, nurses, aged care workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and healthcare support staff.
  • Information Technology (IT): Professionals with expertise in software development, cybersecurity, data science, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing are in high demand.
  • Construction and Engineering: construction workers, architects, civil engineers, electrical engineers, and project managers. Infrastructure development, including road networks, public transportation, and residential construction, drives this demand.
  • Trades and Skilled Labor: electricians, plumbers, carpenters, welders, and automotive technicians are consistently in demand in Australia.
  • Education and Teaching: Teachers, especially those specializing in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects, are sought after in Australia. Additionally, early childhood educators and vocational trainers are also in demand.
  • Accounting and Finance: accountants, financial analysts, auditors, and financial advisors are in demand to support businesses, finance institutions, and regulatory compliance.
  • Hospitality and Tourism: Chefs, cooks, hotel managers, and skilled hospitality staff are often in demand.
  • Mining and Resources: mining engineers, geologists, metallurgists, and skilled workers in the mining sector.
  • Agriculture and Farming: Skilled workers in agriculture, including farmers, agricultural consultants, agronomists, and agricultural scientists, are in demand to support the country’s agricultural industry.

The job market is dynamic and can change over time.

Visa options for working in Australia

Requirements for working in Australia

To work in Australia, you need a valid work visa, health insurance, a Tax File Number (TFN) and recognition of your professional qualifications. Requirements may vary depending on the type of work you wish to do and your country of origin. Finally, you will also need to have an Australian bank account to receive your wages.

Visas options

There are several different visas available for working in Australia. Here are the main types of visa that allow you to work in Australia:

Student visa: This is certainly the easiest to obtain, and is very popular with backpackers as a continuation of the working holiday visa. But its biggest constraint is that it does not authorise you to work more than 20 hours a week, which can be an obstacle for companies.

Graduate Visa: for international students who have recently graduated and who have skills and qualifications relevant to Australia’s needs. This visa allows you to work full-time for 18 months.

Sponsorship: TSS visa (formerly subclass 457, now subclass 482): the most common way to stay for a further two or four years, depending on the sector. This visa is directly linked to your company.

Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186): a company nominates you directly. You must have 3 years’ experience in the sector. You also need to provide a great deal of evidence of your previous work experience (which justifies in detail the skills inherent in the visa and the specific job you will be required to do). Once obtained, it gives you access to permanent residence. It usually follows a TSS visa.

The skilled visa (subclass 189 or 190): This is a points-based visa system. Once obtained, it gives you access to permanent residence. It can be independent (visa 189) or sponsored by a state or territory (visa 190).

Partner visa or de Facto visa: You join your partner’s visa, whether he or she is a native or has a valid work visa.

There are several other less known visas on the Australian Immigration Department website.

Job search

From Europe to Australia

Most of us think that they can find a job from their hometown. However, most of the time, you will quickly realised that despite having a good or excellent level of English, a good resume and experience in your field, it can be quite difficult or impossible. The best is therefore to be in Australia to give it a go.

Start with compiling a list of contacts, including headhunters, who will include you in their database. With a valid work visa, like the Working Holiday visa, it will not be a problem.
The decisive factor is that you have already gained professional experience in the desired industry back home. Plus, it’s even better if you’ve worked in Australia, even if it was in a different industry. They also often ask you for references (contact details of your former employer/manager).

Prepare your resume and cover letter

In order to find a job in offices or “admin jobs”, it is necessary to tailor your resume and cover letter to the company’s needs.

In all cases, you should always adjust your resume to Australian standards. Keep the design of your resume simple, don’t include your age, marital status or a photo of you.

Writing a resume for the Australian market

Do you want to maximise your chances of finding a job in Australia? Follow our guide to adapting your CV to the Australian market.

For your cover letter, stay focused on getting a job. Explain why you are suitable for the position and draw attention to your knowledge and relevant experience.

How to apply for a job effectively

Job pages like Seek and Indeed as well as LinkedIn Jobs can be quite helpful. There are two cases:

1 – The recruiting company has published an ad online

  • You send your resume and cover letter to a “real person”, either the HR manager or your potential supervisor. This is personal and you can customize your application to the person.
  • The ad takes you to the official website of the company and asks you to create a profile and complete your application.
  • You automatically apply by clicking on the job offers page.

2 – A Recruitment Company (or Headhunter) has created the job ad for their customer (the company that is hiring)

  • This is ideal because you enter your information in the database of the recruiting company. Based on your details, they will contact you in the future if they have a suitable job.

Recruitment companies all compete for the same vacancies, with the goal of “placing” you in a company to earn a commission. They usually negotiate a better salary and also value building a long-term relationship with you.

To maximize feedback positive responses, we recommend you to apply for several job offers that are more or less in line with your profile. You can lose track very quickly. So create an excel spreadsheet with all job offers, links to ads, dates of your applications and reminder emails.

You can also spontaneously contact people on LinkedIn whose profiles interested you. This will allow you to ask people directly for advice or learn about the company.

If you resume is selected, interviews will be quickly initiated. They will take place first at the recruitment agency and then directly at the companies.

Successful interviews

There is no recipe! If you aren’t an English native speaker, it is increasingly difficult to hold a job interview in a foreign language. Take a look at the branch-specific vocabulary before you go to the interview. You often realise that you don’t know certain technical terms, and therefore you can’t express yourself as well as in your native tongue.

These two questions certainly come in a job interview: “Why did you leave your home country?” And “Why did you choose Australia?

In general, job interviews are less formal in Australia than in other countries. While in many European countries the focus is often on the education and the degree, recruitment agents in Australia put more emphasis on the personality of the candidate.

The good thing is that headhunters / recruiters have no time to lose and come straight to the point. They ask specific questions to learn more about your personality and your professional experience so they can quickly get an idea of ​​your profile and see if it matches the position.

If it is an employee of the company in question (the future manager, an employee, or the HR manager), the conversation may take more than an hour.

How do I find skilled jobs in Australia?

There are several ways to find skilled jobs in Australia, including using professional job boards. These include Seek, Indeed, CareerOne and LinkedIn. You can search for jobs by keyword, location, salary and sector.

You can also search for jobs on the websites of companies that interest you. Often, companies post jobs on their own websites before publishing them on third-party job boards.

Recruitment agencies are also a common way to find skilled jobs in Australia. Recruitment agencies can help you find jobs that match your skills and experience, and can also give you advice on writing CVs and preparing for interviews.

Networking is also an effective way to find skilled jobs in Australia. You can attend professional networking events, join professional groups on LinkedIn and meet professionals in your industry.

You can also send unsolicited applications to companies that interest you. This involves sending a CV and covering letter directly to the company without a job offer being advertised. This can work if you have specific skills that the company is looking for or if you are particularly interested in that company.

Becoming integrated in the company

Although living in Australia is certainly much less of an adjustment than settling in Asia or other countries with contrasting cultures, the Anglo-Saxon feel makes itself felt and can be surprising when you’re not expecting it.

There are very few, if any, breaks during the day in office jobs. And breaks are usually taken alone. Even lunch breaks, when there are any, are often spent behind the computer so that you can make the most of your time and finish early.

Working hours are very condensed, and Australians are early risers. Here it’s normal to leave work at 5.30pm, and no one will ask you if you’ve taken the afternoon off. It’s very rare for an Australian to exceed the hours set by the company.

Parties are often organised in fairly young companies. It’s important to go with the flow if you want to fit in and make an effort to attend.

Staying with the company

The Working Holiday Visa is undoubtedly the best option for a company to be able to try you out. Easy to obtain, it allows employers to take you on for 6 months. This is a good way of checking how you work and detecting your ability to adapt to the company. However, some companies are often reluctant because they know that it may then be difficult to keep you on afterwards. In fact, the only way to stay with the company for more than six months is to change your visa. In this case, it may be useful to contact an immigration officer, who will be able to advise you and recommend the visa best suited to your situation.

The most common option is to apply for a sponsorship visa (known as a TSS visa). To be sponsored, the company hiring you must be willing and able to do so. The process takes time, a lot of energy and will cost the company money (normally you won’t have to pay anything on your side). To be sponsored, you need to have the support of your company. Your company will usually call on an immigration officer to put together the application. You must be able to provide a large number of officially translated and certified documents. Above all, your job needs to be on a list of jobs eligible for sponsorship. Formerly a 457 visa, it is now the TSS visa (subclass 482).

It’s not an easy affair, which means you have to be determined and informed to get started. However, it is doable if your education and professional experience are among the desired occupations. These professions are listed in the SOL & CSOL list (Skill Occupational List), which you find here.

In any case, working in Australia is a very enriching experience, both humanly and professionally. Finding a job for a few months is not very difficult. And if you really want to stay, it’s possible. Of course, you have to meet the conditions and be highly motivated. So there’s no doubt that you’ll succeed if it’s what you really want!

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The ultimate guide to work and travel around Australia with a Working Holiday Visa! Get all the tips and advice from other backpackers. The first travel guide written by Backpackers for Backpackers in Australia!!!


  1. Hello Marion!

    Excellent article! I would like to ask you which headhunter agencies you looked for?

    Thanks in Advance

  2. Hi, this is a really helpful and interesting post. Thank you.

    Is there a way to contact Marion to ask her for some advices?.

    Thank you in advance.
    Best regards!

  3. Hi..from malaysia..looking for job in australia with my spm qualification..hv gdl license in lorry..plz help me..in getting any job with good paid..

  4. Hi. I am a South African with qualifications to the level of doctoral in social sciences particularly in development studies and masters in monitoring and evaluation looking for professional job in Australia. What should I do? Please help.


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