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What you should know before traveling to Australia for work

Australia, the largest country in Oceania and the sixth-largest country in the world, is highly urbanised. In terms of health, education, quality of life, civil rights, economic freedom, and political rights, it is the ninth-highest ranked democracy in the world as of 2020. Don’t let the word ‘Oceania’ trick you into believing that this is one of the coolest places to be. Although it is surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans and dubbed the Island Continent, most of Australia is semi-arid or desert. It is the driest inhabited continent in the world but its economy is anything but dry.

Generating its income from telecommunication, banking, manufacturing, exportation, and international education, it has the twelfth largest economy in the world. Simply put, it is a wealthy country. It is so wealthy that it was the only advanced economy that did not experience a recession during the 2008-2009 economic meltdown.Only a relatively small portion of its population are poor and as of June 2021, it has an unemployment rate of 4.9%.

What’s not to love about Australia? It is not only a vacationer’s dream but a relocation destination for many who wish to migrate. Migration to Australia via the work route requires that you have fact-filled information about what to expect. This article will be informing you of what you should know before traveling to Australia for work, These will include the following:

Editor’s Note: Check out our comprehensive guide on the most affordable cities in Australia for international students.

11 Interesting Facts About Australia

  1. Australia is the continent with the least fertile soils amongst others, yet, it exports agricultural products
  2. Sydney is its largest city
  3. It used to be known as ‘New Holland
  4. It is the world’s fourth largest exporter of wine
  5. Its currency is the Australian Dollar
  6. The island of Tasmania in Australia is believed to have the cleanest air in the world
  7. Australia is home to the largest ecosystem in the world, the largest sand island in the world, the world’s largest war memorial, and the longest straight section of a train track in the world.
  8. It is the world’s twelfth-largest economy
  9. It has a high-income economy
  10. 30% of the country’s population are immigrants
  11.  It is a member of the UN, Commonwealth of Nations, OECD, the WTO, APEC, the G20, the ANZUS, the Pacific Community, the Pacific Islands Forum, and the ASEAN

See also: Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Migrating to Australia

15 Things To Know About Living and Working in Australia

It is essential that you know the most expensive and affordable cities to live in Australia. As you might have suspected, Sydney is the most expensive city to live in Australia, closely followed by Melbourne, Canberra, Hobart, and Brisbane. This is as a result of housing costs within these cities and the fact that they are home to many tourist attractions within the country.

Adelaide, Perth, and Darwin, on the other hand, are more affordable cities to live in. Housing prices are stable which makes them comparatively cheaper. The following are other things to take into consideration before moving to Australia for work:

1. Job Opportunities

It is best to have a job offer before relocating to Australia because the job market is very competitive. This does not mean that you can’t have your visa well in advance. This can make it easier for recruiters in Australia to hire you.

While looking for job opportunities, do not try to make a career change because it’s easier to find jobs you already have many years of experience with. Make sure the job you are getting is something you want and can do because your visa is tied to your job so you just can’t hop and leave.

With a skilled visa, you can work permanently in Australia and get higher paying jobs while the work or holiday visa allows those between the ages of 18 and 30 to work for up to 1 year in Australia to fund their trip.

To find jobs in Australia, you can use job search engines like Seek, Adzuna, CareerOne, and Indeed.

2. Accommodation

Accommodation in Australia is expensive. Real estate agents are highly favored. Renting is expensive but better than buying a house. You can live and work in any of Australia’s metropolitan cities, many of which are among the best places to live in the world. You can stay in Adelaide for the food and drinks, in Melbourne for the best culture, in Sydney for great job opportunities, in Perth for the best climate, in Canberra if you are moving with your family, and in Hobart for affordable properties.

Where you will be working will most likely influence your choice of where to stay. Apartments in the city will offer easy access to work and little traveling while suburban dwellings will give you more peace and space but will require that you travel long distances to work except your workplace is in such areas.

Buying a house should not be among your options if you are just moving to Australia for work because buying a house is very expensive. Renting remains the better option. Note that you pay weekly, not monthly or yearly. The most affordable cities for rent are Perth and Adelaide. In Perth, you can get a rented apartment for about 385 AUD ($269). Before you move at all, check out current rental and purchasing prices in the Australian city you intend to move to. Also note that finding a place at the outskirts of the city is often cheaper than places in the center of the city (excluding Sydney).

Learn to also use the right terms. Apartments are called flats, larger houses with outdoor space are called houses, and one room apartments are called studios.

3. Language

Although English is not Australia’s official language, it is its de facto national language. The only difference is they have filled them with some colorful words and phrases locally understood to mean something other than what you literally know them to be. You should catch up on these popular lingos before you travel.

4. Standard of Living

Australia features a high standard of living but it comes at a price; high cost of living. As an individual moving to Australia for work, you might have to spend a minimum of 600 Australian Dollars weekly for a good basic standard, for a start. This will cover your rent per week, feeding, internet, basic utilities, and public transportation. You might spend more if you live in popular cities like Sydney or Melbourne.But to maintain a high standard of living even with the high cost of living Australia offers high salaries. Like someone once said: “Australia is ‘expensive’ in the same way that it won’t treat your existence as cheap.”

5. High Salaries

Salaries are comparatively high in Australia. On average, it offers 91,550 AUD, that is, $64,000 as its average annual salary. This is relatively high compared to many other countries. Minimum wage is just below 19 AUD ($13). 

6. Easy Path to Citizenship

If you want to obtain citizenship, Australia is one of the easiest countries to accomplish this in. To get a permanent residency, you basically have to have lived in the country for at least four years and pass a citizenship test afterwards. Any of the following permanent visas can lead to permanent residency:

  • Employment Nomination Scheme visa
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa
  • Skilled Nominated visa
  • Skilled Independent visa
  • Distinguished Talent Visa
  • Business Talent (Permanent) visa

The only con is that you must have obtained a work visa. Getting this work permit involves a long, arduous process with you being on your best behaviour.

7. Healthcare

The healthcare system in Australia is of high standard. They deliver top-notch services and are well equipped. You can choose between public and private hospitals with the former being a better option if you are just moving to Australia. Healthcare in public hospitals is free or heavily subsidized for citizens and permanent residents.

8. Education

Education in Australia is excellent. You will find both public and private schools and can choose what is best for your kid(s) depending on what you can afford. Many private schools are expensive but you can find reasonably priced ones as well.

Public schools are free for citizens and permanent residents. But as an expat, you will have to pay, but the cost of education in public schools is relatively low. A couple of hundred dollars will cover both tuition fees and school supplies per child.

9. Top Tourist Destinations in Australia

Australia is a famous tourist destination. It is known for its vast, pristine beaches, generally warm climate, and unique animal species. If you work and live in Australia, at your disposal and in close proximity will be what hundreds of thousands of people travel long distances to see, experience, and enjoy.

Fun places to visit in Australia include, the Bondi Beach, the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Blue Mountains National Park, the Great Ocean Road which is the world’s largest war memorial, Tasmania, the island of the cleanest air, amongst many others. Another fun thing to do in Australia is wine tasting. Being the fourth largest exporter of wine, you will have many places to take your tongue on a wine tasting trip.

10. Food

Food prices vary from city to city. If you live and work in the more popular cities or close to beach towns popular among tourists, you can expect higher food costs compared to those living in rural areas. Generally though, you might spend between 250-350 AUD on food per month. Chain supermarkets often offer daily or weekly deals which can help you save on food by getting things at cheaper prices.

If you will be eating out, expect to find a wide range of options and be ready to spend at least 90 AUD per week.

11. Utilities

The cost of electricity, water, gas, and internet are fairly high but manageable. Electricity bills are higher during warmer periods due to air conditioning needs. If you stay in a studio apartment, you will roughly have to spend about 220 AUD on utilities per month.

12. Transportation

Australia has good urban transport. You can take trams, trains, or buses when shuttling and can expect to spend less than 10 AUD on a day’s pass using any of these modes of transportation.. These options are available to take you from your home to work and help you save on car expenses. Travelling between states though, can be costly and time-consuming considering how massive the country is. For such travels, flights are recommended.

13. Cost of Living

The average cost of living in Australia is high as a result of high taxes to support infrastructure and a lack of competition between the companies that provide goods and services. The good news is that it has a high standard of living and offers wages to keep you abreast.

Related: What life is like as an Immigrant in Australia

14. Climate

Australia is generally warmer than most countries. Summers are often warm to hot, winters are mild with fairly evenly spread out rainfall throughout the year. So, if you are used to colder climates, it might take some getting used to.

 Note though that “when the sun shines in Australia, it really shines.” This is especially so because the ozone layer directly above Australia is unusually thin.

15. Social Etiquette

Australians take littering very seriously. You are expected to keep your environment clean. Also, you can’t spit around anyhow.

Swearing is common but don’t use it at work. Also, always keep to the left whether you are driving or walking. It’s not a crime to walk on the right but others will most likely look at you funny.

Also note that jaywalking is a crime. You can’t just cross the road whenever you like.You will have to pay a fine for it.

22 In-Demand Jobs in Australia

Here is a list of in-demand jobs in Australia and how much they get paid on average, yearly(according to Indeed). Many of these jobs make Australia one of the most sought-after migration options for unskilled labourers. Note that these jobs have many open positions and have great growth potential.

  • Physicians ($219,104)
  • Mining engineer (150,021)
  • Construction manager (152,370)
  • Human resource manager ($113,769)
  • Lecturer ($101,729)
  • Painter ($96,760)
  • Systems administrator ($95,609)
  • Carpenter ($85,995)
  • Electrician ($85,619)
  • Physiotherapist( $80,657)
  • Truck drivers ($77,302)
  • Cabinet maker ($64,092)
  • Registered nurses ($76,873)
  • Programmers ($79,812)
  • Delivery drivers($76,378)
  • Aged care worker ($70,815)
  • Plumber ($69,129)
  • Motor mechanic($68,653)
  • Bricklayers ($67,272)
  • Stone masons ($64,961)
  • Warehouse workers ($55,810)
  • Chefs ($59,742) 

Top 8 Highest-Paying Jobs in Australia 2021

The legal sector, health sector, construction industry, and the IT sector among many others offer some of the highest paying jobs in Australia this 2021. If you want to relocate and have years of experience and certification in any of these areas, you stand a chance of either getting hired before moving or getting hired on arrival. Keep in mind that the former is often the better option.

Knowing the highest paying jobs in Australia might also influence what you choose to study should you be considering relocating to Australia via the study route. This will give you a higher chance of getting employed after schooling.

Note that this list features a range of highly skilled professions:

1. Senior Lawyers

Lawyers who have at least 5 years of experience practising law, qualify as senior lawyers in Australia and get paid an average of $124,759 per year.230000

To become a lawyer in Australia, you must have completed a Bachelor of Law undergraduate program, had complete Practical Legal Training, hold a practising certificate or have been admitted as a lawyer to the Supreme Court, and must have completed supervised practice at a law firm for 18 to 24 months.

2. Doctors

General surgeons, anaesthesiologists, and psychiatrists are specialised medical doctors who get paid the highest amongst their peers in Australia.

Anaesthetists are paid an average salary of $192,816 yearly. To practice as an anaesthetist, you must have a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, must have undertaken an internship and residency in a hospital for 2-3 years, amongst other requirements. Anaesthetists also get salary raises from time to time as they continue to work and gain experience.

General surgeons are paid an average of $160,000 and can choose to become specialists thus standing the chance to earn far more per year. 

With mental health receiving more attention than in prior years, psychiatrists are becoming more and more in-demand. It comes as no surprise that they make it to this list of highest paying jobs in Australia. On an average, they get paid $125,762 per year.

3. Python Developers

Python Developers are, simply put, programmers. In IT, they design, code, and debug projects in the back end of websites and the likes. On an average, they earn $126,436 per year.

4. Finance Directors

Finance directors who create and implement strategic plans around company finances, manage the finance team, do financial forecasting, and report on profits and losses, get paid really well in Australia. On an average, they earn $166,068 yearly.

5. Senior IT Project Managers

IT professionals have made a place for themselves in every part of this evolving world. As such, IT professionals who can organize other professionals to keep up with changing trends and effectively manage the implementation and maintenance of computer systems get paid well. In Australia, they earn about $143,615 yearly.

6. Mining Engineers

Mining is one of Australia’s largest sectors. If you get a job as a mining engineer or engineering manager, you can earn an average of $120,000 per year.

7. Wellbeing Managers

Wellbeing managers are different from Human Resource managers. A wellbeing manager develops and delivers on wellbeing strategies in the workplace. As a Bachelor of Human Resource, Health Science, or Business, you can fill this role. On average, they earn $123,510 yearly.

8. Director of Operations

If you have experience running an organization, ensuring that it operates efficiently, you can make it big in Australia. As long as you can get a job in an industry where you have years of experience, you can earn up to $143,468 a year.

Can I Move To Australia Without A Job Offer?

Yes, you can. But, a job offer gives you extra points that helps you get a good score on Australia’s point-based Immigration System which gives you a better chance of getting permanent residency in Australia.

Under the Australian Government’s Skill Select program, you can migrate without a job offer as long as you have the required skills and qualifications to work in Australia. To qualify, you must have the following amongst others:

  • Be between ages 25-32 to score the most points
  • Have taken IELTS, scoring 8 bands or more
  • Have experience in a skilled occupation on the Skilled Occupations List
  • Have qualifications related to your nominated occupation

Wrap Up

Depending on what city you get a job in, you now know what to look out for. You can decide on where to live and how to live considering how much you get paid per week. If you are skilled in any of the in-demand and highest-paying jobs in Australia, you can search for jobs online in the recommended job search websites above. Keep in mind that as much as Australia features a high cost of living, it offers a high standard of living to match. Being a successful, wealthy, democratic community, many of its employed population, which is the majority are paid well enough to help maintain the standard lifestyle. There is really nothing like living in a country with a working system and Australia offers all that and more.

Sydney is a great but expensive place to live, so is Melbourne. Living in Perth or other smaller cities might help you spend less, especially on accommodation.

You don’t have a job offer? Start searching! You do? Now is the time to get your migration plans moving! To guide you on your migration journey to Australia are experienced travel experts on Urban Nomads. They don’t just put you through the journey, they follow up till you are settled in. Sign in and subscribe to the Japa Plan on the Urban Nomads platform to get access to any of these travel experts.

For free travel vouchers, tips and hacks, be sure to subscribe.

Cover photo credit: natanaelginting –


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