How to get a job in Australia for foreigners

 If you are wondering how to get a job in Australia as a foreigner, there are many things you will have to take into consideration. For example, you must first ensure that you meet the requirements for working in Australia legally.

How to get a job in Australia for foreigners

Do you need a work visa to work in Australia?

Unless you are a citizen of New Zealand, working in Australia as a foreigner will most likely require a visa. Australia has several different visa types for all kinds of workers, including highly-skilled workers, specialized workers, entrepreneurs, and business owners. Each visa has its own set of unique requirements which are outlined on Australia’s Home Affairs website. Most likely, your job will need to be on the skilled occupation list for you to be issued a work permit.

Skilled visa

This is the most popular visa application pathway for skilled workers. It is a points-based system where you need to hold certain qualifications, work experience and language ability requirements. Under this visa there are no restrictions on the number of hours that can be worked.

Benefits: It can be permanent, but it is quite hard to get this visa. Higher salary.

Requirements: There are many different types of skilled visas, but generally:

  • under 45 years
  • have the right skills to do the job
  • meet the relevant English language requirements

Sponsor visa

This visa type allows Australian employers to sponsor specific skilled labour to serve their business needs. Under this visa there are no restrictions on the number of hours that can be worked.

Benefits: provides a pathway to a permanent residence visa

Requirements: Be nominated for a skilled position by an approved sponsor, have the right skills to do the job, and meet the relevant English language requirements.

Work & holiday visa

This visa gives temporary permission for young people who want to holiday and work in Australia for up to 12 months. There is no limit on the number of hours you can work. To apply, you will need to have a passport from an eligible country or jurisdiction.

Benefits: Online application. Stay in Australia for up to 12 months. Leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you like in that 12 months

Requirements: Must be 18 to 30 years old (inclusive). Must have a passport from an eligible country. Cannot be accompanied by dependent children.

Student visa

This visa allows you to work in Australia for up to 20 hours per week whilst studying a full-time course. There are no limits on working hours during study holiday periods.

Benefits: Easiest visa to get, suitable for students older than 6, you can bring a family member

Requirements: Providing a Confirmation of Enrollemnt (CoE).

Graduate visa

This visa is for international students who have recently graduated with skills and qualifications that are relevant to specific occupations Australia needs. It lets you live, study and work in Australia temporarily.

Benefits: It allows you to work full time for at least 18 months. You can bring your family with you.

Requirements: Be under 50 years of age. You must have held a student visa in the last 6 months.

PALM scheme

The PALM scheme is Australia's key program to address unskilled, low-skilled and semi-skilled labour shortages across rural and regional Australia.

Benefits: Work in Australia for:

  • up to 9 months if you are employed under a short term contract for seasonal work
  • up to 4 years if you are employed under a contract for long term (non-seasonal) work

Requirements: You must be a citizen and resident of a specified Pacific Island country. Be sponsored by a Temporary Activities Sponsor, and approved by DFAT to participate in the program.

Do I need a sponsor to work in australia?

It’s not always necessary to have a sponsor, but sometimes having a sponsor can help your chances of getting a visa. We see a lot of candidates coming to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa, working their first six months with an employer and then getting sponsored by that employer.

If you are not eligible for the working holiday visa, and you wish to come to Australia to work, then you should consider a temporary employer-sponsored work visa. With a temporary visa, you have up to four years to prove to your Australian employer that you are worth investing in and thus they will be more likely to continue your sponsorship to a permanent sponsorship visa such as Employer Nomination Scheme Visa (subclass 186).

If you do not have enough work experience to apply for a skills-based sponsored visa, you should consider studying in Australia, and thus gaining valuable skills and qualifications that will be beneficial in the long term. At the end of your studies, you may be eligible to apply for sponsorship jobs in Australia.

How do I get my first job in Australia?

Before you start looking for specific Australian jobs, it’s a good idea to take a step back and learn about the country’s most in-demand positions. The most in demand jobs the country has currently are positions within healthcare, retail trade, construction, technical services, and education. If you have highly sought after skills such as digital and eCommerce abilities, it may be relatively easy. Or, if you’re willing to work somewhere remote you may have less competition.

Yet it is not as simple as sending a CV to a recruiter in the hope that they will find you a job as well as a visa! If obtaining a visa prior to relocating is too hard, the next best option is to request an international transfer with a company that has offices in Australia. This is definitely a good way to get a foot in the Australian market and also have all your visa administration handled by the internal HR team.

Useful job websites in Australia

If you are wondering how to apply for a job in Australia, the best step to take is to begin your search online. This is the easiest route, especially if you are still abroad and have not relocated yet. Job opportunities in Australia for foreigners could be in the education, healthcare, maintenance, or public sector. Relevant job search websites include:


Gumtree Jobs offers you a wide variety of the most popular categories so you can decide which one to apply for. It also has a Smartphone App to make it easier for you to find the job you are looking for in and around your local community. You can apply in seconds.


LinkedIn is a social media platform with the world’s largest professional network on the internet. You can use LinkedIn to find a job, internship or connect with others and strengthen professional relationships.


Seek (which also owns Jora) is one of Australia’s largest job advertising platforms. It allows you to build a profile so that you can list your personal and work history. You will also find a choice of educational courses, which can be useful for improving your skills. 


Indeed is a simple website that is very useful and practical to find a job. You can create and publish your profile so that any employer interested in your resume can contact you. You can click on the most valued offers, or search by salary range to give you have an idea of how much you can earn from the vacancy to which you apply.

Recruitment Agency

Using a recruitment agency will give you a higher chance of getting a position. Because Australia traditionally has a skills shortage, recruitment is a big industry in Australia. A recruitment consultant monitors the market day to day and they know it so well they will also be able to advise and help you in searching for jobs and where you are best suited. If you are going to some of the larger agencies such as Hays or Randstad they have whole departments dedicated to specific industry and job types.

Tips for Creating a Resume and Cover letter

Once you have bookmarked a few positions that you are interested in, you will want to ensure you have an Australian-style CV and cover letter prepared. When working on these two documents, note that it is essential for your material to be written in Australian English. Australian English varies from American spelling and is much closer to British spelling.

In Australia, the words resume and CV are used interchangeably and refer to the same type of document (however, ‘resume’ is what you will hear most often). Unlike other countries, where resumes are kept short, it is normal for CVs to be up to three or four pages in Australia. However, if you are entry-level or a recent graduate with little experience, two pages is acceptable.

Even if a cover letter is not required, it can better your chances with an employer if you include one with your application anyway. The cover letter is used primarily to explain why you are suitable for the position you are applying for. It is an opportunity to demonstrate your organisational skills by writing a short essay about yourself.

The Most In-Demand Jobs and How Much They Pay

The following are average annual salaries for top jobs in Australia.

IT systems architect 140,000; IT manager 125,000; IT security architect 124,000; Cloud engineers 112,000; Data scientist 100,000; Python developer 100,000; IT consultants 80,000; Project managers 80,000; Telecoms technician 80,000; Devops engineer 70,000. Teacher 74,824; Accountant 64,663; Nurse 74,824; Software engineer 77,143; Architect 81,503; Marketing manager 78,270; Product manager 83,546; Web developer 60,958; UX designer 72,737.

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