You’ve invested in your career throughout your academic studies and now it’s time to cash in and find a job. But wait! You love your beloved study abroad destination more than you thought you would (which is saying something, because you expected to love Australia a lot!), and you can’t bear the thought of leaving Oz just yet. That leaves with no choice but to… find work in Australia! It’s high time you pull up your boot straps and find a job down under.
Here’s everything you need to know about finding work after graduating in Australia.
The legalities of work visas in Australia
There are a number of different visa options for those looking to work in Australia. It’s important to note that you should conduct independent research to ensure you are filling out the app for the right one! Check out the Australian government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website regularly for more detailed information.
All work visas can be applied for online or in person. Should you choose the latter, you will need to coordinate visiting your local Australian embassy or consulate independently. Your visa will cost you between $160-$3600 AUD at the time of writing - so make sure you have a few pennies in your pocket before you hit the “Submit” button!
If you are earning an income while residing in Australia, you MUST be on the proper visa (no, being deported from a country does NOT a badass make). Just remember to do things right and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the Aussie work-life balance (yes, a hot Christmas holiday is awaiting you!).
Below, we outline a few of the most popular visas for international students transitioning to the working world of Australia.
485 Skilled Graduate
The most common work visa for former international students in Australia is the 485 Skilled Graduate visa. This temporary visa is valid for a minimum of 18 months and up for 4 years, and is open to any individual who has completed at least 2 years of study in Australia.
This Post-Study Work visa is applicable to full time work for former students.
This visa relies on lawfully operating Australian businesses or overseas businesses (with an Australian entity). A company in search of certain skills sets may sponsor an individual to work for them. It is advised to start searching for a company willing to sponsor you at least 3-6 months in advance, as the paperwork can be quite daunting and difficult to process.
Working Holiday Visa - Subclass 417 or 462
This visa is typically more popular with backpackers than the post-degree crowd; however, it is still an option to keep in mind if you are looking for work after graduation in Australia.
The first option is the subclass 417 working holiday visa. If you are a citizen of Belgium, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan or the United Kingdom and are within the age range of 18-30 you are eligible for this visa. It permits individuals to work for up to 12 months in Australia, with the addendum that you can only work at a company for a maximum of 6 months.
For citizens of Chile, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, or the United States, you can apply for the subclass 462 visa. Both the subclass 417 and 462 do not limit the number of entries and exits you have, so feel free to holiday in New Zealand or visit your family for your birthday!
It is important to note you must apply for this visa from outside of Australia, not within, so if this is your go-to plan, be sure to factor in a visit elsewhere to organize your visa!
Popular work abroad options in Australia
Skilled graduates from tertiary institutions in Australia are in high demand, especially if you can boast various language skills on top of your degree. The forecast for Australia’s economy is positive, and as of fall 2014, a number of industries are growing rapidly and in need of human resources. You know what this means? Your employment prospects are good!
Specifically, the Australian hospitality, health, and tech industries are seeking employees. International students with degrees in relevant fields are good as gold. Management skills are in high-demand in all of the aforementioned industries. Newly-grads interested in becoming nurses, physiotherapists, clinical managers, web developers, coders, and salespeople can easily jump start their lifelong careers with a brief working stint down under.
It is advised to target an industry or economic sector prior to starting your job hunt. The longstanding strong industries in Australia are agriculture, mining, tourism, and manufacturing, so if you are drawn to any of those, you won’t be hard pressed for work opportunities.
For those seeking the more laidback working-holiday visa lifestyle, consider working in Australia as an au pair, in a bar or restaurant, or as a fruit picker. You might even take it a step further and become a certified SCUBA instructor or work at an Outback station! There is an abundance of temporary work options in this vein, and considering you can have any number of jobs in your 12 month stay, why not try a variety of them?
Tips for finding work in Australia
First things first - brush up on that resume! Next, start the hunt. A number of different resources are available for international students to find work in Australia after graduating. Most successful job hunters cite websites such as Seek.com and Gumtree as being particularly helpful in their search for work.
You’ll want to search diligently for job opportunities and utilize a number of different avenues. If you are already living and working in Australia, your best bet might be your local network. Let people know about your plans to stay and work and see if they can point you in any good directions.
If you are looking for a more part time gig, your best bet will be to scour hostel cork boards or local websites for temp work. Don’t be afraid to walk into your favorite watering hole or restaurant, CV in hand, smile on face, and inquire about any work opportunities. Who know’s what will work out!
Cost of living in Australia
Those who have lived as students in Australia can easily attest to the difficulties in living there on a budget. And now, as you are transitioning into "the real world" and getting your first "adult" job you will likely want to trade in your cheap-as-chips lifestyle for one more fit for a young professional.
At the time of writing, the minimum wage in Australia is AUD $16.87. Though hefty seeming, earners must remember that everyday expenses in Oz are quite high. You can expect to fork out AUD $1000-2000 for your apartment rental alone. And that's before factoring in utilities, food costs, and, of course, after-work drinks with your new colleagues!
To make a decent wage in Australia and still save a bit of money, consider moving outside the city center or working in a less cosmopolitan city (sorry, $$$ydney).
To conclude, many international students join the Aussie work force with little to no troubles at all. You should plan on organizing your job prior to graduation if possible. If not, there's no doubt Australia will be waiting with open arms to welcome you back and sign your paychecks!