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How to get a job in Australia

Lure of high-paying jobs in Australia in a range of sectors, from mining to information technology, is attracting skilled professionals from neighbouring countries like New Zealand as well as from far away destinations like the UK, Ireland, America, Canada and India.

The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) has forced migrants from New Zealand, the US, Canada and the UK to look for high-paying jobs in Australia, which seems to have escaped the great economic recession. Certain sectors like mining have been hiring, and paying well to skilled employees from New Zealand. Job expos for jobs in Australia have recently attracted record number of attendance in Auckland.

A recent media report even suggested that Australian mining companies were offering fly Kiwis to Australia for five weeks, and then fly them back to New Zealand for a paid holiday for three weeks, offering high salaries for these long-commute jobs. This move hasn’t been well-received in Australia where local workers are struggling to get well-paying jobs.

The Australian government, in the meantime, is keen to attract highly-skilled migrants, especially in the upcoming sectors like technology. Australia promises higher wages, good weather, lifestyle and plenty of job opportunities.

A keen migrant can apply for 457 visa, which will allow them to work in selected fields in Australia for up to four years as long as they have a job offer. Once in Australia on 457 visa, many professionals then aim to convert their 457 visa to permanent residency, before becoming an Australian citizen.

The 457 Visa occupations List is prepared by the Australian Government to identify specific occupation shortages in Australia. When applying for a 457 visa, the applicant should demonstrate their work experience and/or qualifications that match an occupation that is on the 457 List.

A list of job descriptions of 457 visa occupations.

Use this job description to confirm if the tasks you have completed for your occupation meet the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) requirements.

The list includes many IT jobs such as business analysts, systems analysts, analyst/programmers, developers and telecommunications engineers which are in short supply. The Global Indian magazine understands from some Australian recruitment agents that many of these jobs are difficult to be filled from the existing talent pool in the country.

How to get a 457 visa for work in Australia?

You can apply for a job in your field in Australia. If an employer likes you, they can sponsor your work visa (457 visa). This may seem daunting, but many Australian employees are struggling to fill positions and are willing to hire from overseas as long as they can find a suitable candidate for the job.

If this doesn’t work, then you can register yourself with a labour hire company. Such company can get you to Australia on a 457 visa and you can then work for different companies as a contractor. Essentially, you will be paid by the labour hire company but you will be working for some other company.

This may sound like a strange arrangement, but it is becoming increasingly popular as it makes it easy for talented professionals to work in Australia, while it provides a diverse pool of talent to choose from for the Australian employers.

But you may wonder: Is there a skills shortage in Australia, especially in the IT sector?

The ICT professionals are the third-most difficult set of professionals to hire, after corporate service managers and engineering professionals, as per the March quarter Clarius index released in June 2012. This is largely driven by the uncertainty caused by global financial crisis.

Australia’s Westpac CIO Clive Whincup was quoted last month that he doesn’t think the bank will ever be able to hire the number of workers that it requires, making it lean heavily on outsourcing. His comments followed similar words in 2011 from his counterpart at ANZ, Ann Weatherston, who said that the skills shortage and a lack of IT graduates are accelerating the bank’s move to offshore its IT workforce.

Another Australian company, De Bortoli, found that the company’s location makes it difficult to find good employees, and as such it hires and trains talented locals and ex-locals, and uses cadetships and 457 visas.

Peoplebank, a labour hire company, believes that the difficulty of finding good hires will only get worse when the economies around the world improve.

Peoplebank CEO Peter Acheson told ZDNet Australia that certain skills would become tight again very quickly once the market picks up.

To be able to get a 457 visa, the employee should have relevant qualification; but more importantly, they should have relevant experience in their chosen field, for at least two years before applying for 457 visa.

Apart from making the visa process smoother, there’s one more advantage of working for a labour hire company – they have an obligation to keep the visa-holder employed for the entire duration of the visa.

Finally, you can come to Australia even without a job offer. You can get a visa based on points which are in turn based on your work experience. You can also migrate on a business visa.

How to get a job in Australia

  • Research: Visit various Australian job sites well before your intended time of migration. Getting a job takes time
  • Be flexible. Keep an open mind, and be prepared to compromise in the short-term for some long-run gains. You can compromise on the location, industry, position level and salary to start with
  • Permanent resident visa: While you keep trying to get a job offer from an employer that can sponsor you, you should also apply for permanent residency. This shows your eagerness to settle in Australia
  • Wider reach: In addition to applying for advertised jobs in Australia, widen your net and send your CV to companies you would like to work for, whether they have advertised a job or not.
  • Network: Use social media, including LinkedIn, and other networks like your industry body, to make connections in Australia. Remember, 70% of the jobs are not advertised.
  • Revise your cover letter and CV to match the Australian style
  • Be prepared to visit Australia for job interviews at short notice
  • Patience: Don’t expect things to work out for you overnight.
  • Enjoy: Migration can be a great learning experience, or a stressful nightmare, depending on your attitude.