Getting a job or finding the right employment before you emigrate to Australia can help with your visa application and with your move. You’ll have somewhere to land, a readymade social network made up of co-workers, and an introduction to local Australian society when you do drinks after work or other work-centred social events.
The Australian visa system appears fiendishly complex, though a majority of British migrants will use one of the workers’ visas. Having a sponsor for your visa application can help because there are two major types of workers’ visas: points-based and sponsored. Points based visas are awarded on the basis of a points system and the aim is to get migrants with skills that Australia as a whole needs.
If you’re the wrong age or you have the wrong qualifications it’s easy to fall foul of the points system and not qualify. A sponsored application, on the other hand, means you can bypass the points system – from the immigration service’s point of view a sponsored application is like a specific invite to you from a specific Australian.
How do you go about getting a sponsored application? You’ll need to look at the Australian government’s Visa Wizard to guide you through the process, which can be bewildering, but the guidelines are that you’ll need to have a job that’s on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL), and be under 50 and with a clean police record. Your employer needs to enter their own forms, and the process is expensive: you’ll pay at least £2, 000 to go down this route.
If you want to arrange a job in Australia before you make a visa application, so you can try to get an employer sponsored visa, there are several options. If you have family in Australia, you can ask them for help in scouting out employment opportunities. Otherwise, you can try searching through sites like Seek.com, Australian JobSearch, the Australian government’s job search site, or a host of commercial sites – some of which specialise in a job sector, some of which promise to help you sort out your visa and some of which offer general employment listings.
There are also a range of employment agency sites offering similar services.
If you can’t find what you want online, there are expo events too, where employers and recruiters look for workers with the skills they need. It’s important to be aware that many of these events aren’t regulated very strictly and to remember that they’re run on a for-profit basis. Make sure you know what you’re agreeing to, and where your money’s going.
If you get a skilled work visa through SkillSelect as an independent skilled migrant, or you enter by other types of visa., you might find yourself looking for a job in Australia from within the country. Obviously that has the advantages that you’ll see many more adverts and hear about more opportunities, and you’ll have more chance to physically visit employers, as well as being freed from the restrictions imposed by the type of work you can get an employer nominated visa for.
One major advantage of searching for a job from within Australia is that, just like in the UK, the majority of job opportunities – the figure quoted is about 70% but for obvious reasons, no-one really knows – are never really advertised, in newspapers or anywhere else. Recruitment takes place by networking, so Australian contacts in the line you want to work in are worth their weight in gold at this point!
As well as searching the online job ad sites, you can use local and territorial newspapers too. If you’re in Melbourne, look in The Age; in Sydney, the Sydney Morning Herald is your job-search friend; Brisbane residents should scan the Courier-Mail, and if you live in Perth, there’s The Western Asutralian.
Another option is to divide the jobs market by sector rather than place. If you decide to try this method, take a look at The Australian Chamber of Commerce website or Forbes Australia for listings by industry.
If you’re a recent graduate, there are graduate careers opportunities within many companies; they’ll often offer openings at careers fairs, or through websites like GCA (Graduate Careers Australia).
Submitting Your CV
When the time comes to send your CV out to companies, you might want to adjust the format to fit Australian norms. CareerOne.com offers a resume guide, one of many online resources designed to help you tailor the presentation of your overseas achievements to Australian eyes. If you’re an overseas applicant, your cover letter assumes an even greater importance. You should make sure you disclose your immigration status on your cover letter. If your immigration status is secure, the fact that you crossed the world to start a new life will often strike employers as impressive – they’ll see drive, ambition and motivation.
Another sign of ambition and motivation is following up your applications. If you’ve made an application and heard nothing for a couple of weeks, in UK business culture that’s often a sign in itself. In Australia, there’s nothing wrong with phoning the company and chasing things up. It doesn’t make you look like you can’t take a hint: it makes you look like you really want the job!
You have a significantly better chance of being hired if you can attend an interview in person, but you should suggest interviews over a video call facility like Google+ or Skype as a backup.
Not everyone can get in on an employer sponsored visa, and not everyone wants to go to the time, effort and expense of getting an Australian visa, only to face searching for work when you arrive in Australia. There are other options. Try combining Australian holidays with job-seeking – you can use the time to scope out which part of Australia would suit you best and get a feel for housing, culture, climate and social life too. If you get an interview and the employer likes you, you can talk to them about sponsoring your visa. Other options include volunteering though organizations like SEEK Volunteer. Anything that lets you spend time in Australia and develop contacts can help you down the road as well as acclimatising you to Australian culture and life.
The Australian jobs market is vibrant and many employers are actively recruiting, so start with the SOL, investigate how you want to manage the visa process and remember that if you have useful skills, there’s almost certainly a place for you in Australia.