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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 the market to understand where you fit in.
  • Check your visa options, you will need a valid work visa.
  • Prepare your Resume and cover letter in the correct format for Australian employers.
  • Speak the language and understand the culture.

What jobs are in demand in Australia in 2024?

In the wake of the global pandemic, Australia now has a shortage of labour in many areas. Among these, notable sectors include healthcare, education, IT, and construction. It’s also worth mentioning that hotels and restaurants are constantly looking for staff throughout the year, with a peak before the high season (summer).

Nursing professions are in demand in Australia, particularly for nurses. With the aging Australian population, the demand for nurses is steadily increasing. Qualified nurses are also in high demand in rural and remote areas.

Doctors are highly sought after in Australia, especially in rural and remote areas.

In the construction field, all professions are in demand, from architects to laborers, with construction managers particularly needed due to a surge in both commercial and residential building projects. Salaries vary by role, averaging around $100,000 annually for skilled jobs. Plumbers, electricians, and carpenters also face high demand, with salaries starting at $65,000 and going up to $90,000 based on experience. Civil Engineering Professionals are similarly sought after, with starting salaries around $100,000.

In Australia, there is a high demand for teachers across all regions, especially in mathematics, sciences, and special education, with an average salary of about $80,000.

The early childhood sector is also recruiting due to stricter legislation requiring more staff per child.

In the IT sector, there’s a significant need for software developers, software engineers, and developers, with salaries averaging $100,000.

Engineers are sought after in various fields, including mining, geology, agriculture, and IT, with starting salaries at $100,000 per year.

The job market is dynamic and can change over time.To keep up to date with this information, job platforms such as Indeed or Seek often publish articles on in-demand jobs and include salary information, such as in the Indeed article linked here.

Visa options for working in Australia

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

Working Holiday Visa or Work and Holiday Visa (subclasses 417 & 462) allows people aged between 18 and 30/35 (depending on your nationality) to stay up to 3 years in Australia. During this time you can work in any field, any job everywhere 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 24 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 (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 the company that employs you.

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.

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.

Job search in Australia

From Europe to Australia

Most of us think that they can find a job from their hometown. However, most of the time, you will realise that despite having a good or excellent level of English, a good resume and experience in your field, it can be quite difficult. 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. 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 qualified job, 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 scenarios:

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. You do not need to pay for this service, which is a common misconception.

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.

However note that since January 2024, working holiday visa makers can work for the same employer in Australia for more than 6 months without asking permission to the government if your work is:

  • in different locations and work in any one location does not exceed 6 months
  • in plant and animal cultivation anywhere in Australia
  • in certain industries (aged care and disability services, fishing and pearling, tree farming and felling, construction and mining, in northern Australia only)
  • natural disaster recovery work
  • in critical sectors, including agriculture, food processing, health, aged and disability care and childcare, anywhere in Australia
  • in the critical sector of tourism and hospitality anywhere in Australia.

 For any other situations not covered above, you must ask for permission to work longer than 6 months with one employer.

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

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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Australia Backpackers Guide
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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