How to get a job in Australia from the UK

By Robert Half on 31st March 2022

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Before the pandemic, there were 1.2 million people living in Australia who were born in the UK, which means almost one in every 22 people in the country have made the move Down Under. But for the many people who consider moving from the UK to Australia in search of a better lifestyle, knowing how to get a job in Australia from the UK and obtaining the right visa have traditionally been the biggest challenges.

Fortunately, the upcoming Agreement in Principle for the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is expected to open the door to more career opportunities for professionals moving from the UK to Australia. Under the FTA, it will become easier for skilled professionals including accountants, lawyers, and engineers (among others) to transfer and use their UK qualifications in Australia – and obtain the necessary work visas. Specifically, the UK and Australia will establish a clear framework to facilitate and simplify the two-way movement of qualified professionals between the countries.

If moving from the UK to Australia is something you’re interested in and would like to understand more about how to get a job in Australia from the UK here are some of the key tips and considerations.

Make sure you have the necessary Australian work visa

When it comes to finding out more about how to get a job in Australia from the UK, you need to familiarise yourself with the available visa options. With the Australian government recently reopening international borders to different visa categories, here are three of the most common visas available to professionals moving to Australia from the UK:

Find out more about why you need to consider a career in Australia as a UK citizen

Be open about your visa requirements when applying for jobs

If you need a work visa, it’s advisable to be open about this when applying for jobs in Australia. Being upfront about your visa requirements allows the prospective employer to consider whether they can facilitate your career move from the UK before spending time assessing your individual suitability for the role.

Skills shortages accelerated by the pandemic and the upcoming FTA which makes it easier to transfer qualifications from the UK to Australia means more Australian companies are becoming open to the idea of sponsoring UK professionals, so now really could be a great time to apply. You could contact local recruitment agencies or reach out to companies directly before applying for a job to find out which jobs or employers are most likely to offer sponsorship opportunities.

Decide which cities you are most interested in

While Australia as a nation is generally known for its high quality of life and outdoor lifestyle, there are still some significant differences between its major cities. For example, while all major Australian cities are near the coast and not far from stunning beaches and sprawling bushlands, Brisbane and Perth are more well known for their lower cost of living and housing affordability compared to Sydney and Melbourne. Meanwhile, because Melbourne and Sydney are the largest and most populated cities, they could offer more choice when it comes to the arts and entertainment if the city buzz is more what you’re looking for. Above all, depending on what you value in your lifestyle, there’s something for everyone in Australia, but it’s important to know where to find it.

Find out more about living and working in Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.

Check pay

In 2021, the median weekly pay for full-time employees in the UK was reported to be the equivalent of £611. Meanwhile in Australia, the average weekly full-time income is much higher at around £920. Recent candidate shortages and the swing towards digitisation have also driven up salaries in certain sectors such as finance and technology.

Before applying, make sure you know what the average salaries ranges are for the job you are applying for and region you’re interested in. The Robert Half Salary Guide could be a useful tool to help you benchmark the appropriate salary for the role you’re applying for.

Research the market

Find out which role types are in demand and where the shortages lie – you could use the Australian government’s skills shortages list to help you refine your research or contact a local recruiter to help you. Finding out what some of the biggest companies are in Australia in your sector could also help you identify employers that are most likely to sponsor professionals from the UK, but you should always do your research into company culture to make sure you’ll be a strong fit, regardless of the opportunities available.

Alternatively, if you already work for an international organisation in the UK, it might be worth speaking with your employer to find out what relocation options might be available in Australia.

Check if you have the necessary qualifications

Even though there are many similarities between the countries, culturally and professionally, you should make sure you have the required qualifications to meet role requirements in Australia. While the FTA will mean more UK qualifications can be recognised in Australia, you could consider upskilling where there are differences you can overcome.

Engage your network

Let people know that you are considering moving to Australia from the UK, including updating your LinkedIn profile and joining expat networks on social media. By making your network aware of your intentions, you might encourage a flow of information and advice from people already living and working at your desired destination, as well as useful hints and tips based on concrete experiences.

Visit job boards, websites, and speak to recruiters

While checking UK-based job boards and websites for international opportunities could be a great place to start, you should also explore Australian job boards, such as SEEK, Indeed, CareerOne, and Adzuna. Creating a profile on SEEK will give you immediate access to the biggest job board in Australia.

At the same time, send your resume to recruiters, preferably specialised recruiters in your field such as Robert Half for finance, tech, business support, and recruitment. Job boards and recruiters could be great leads to employers who might be open to the possibility of sponsoring UK professionals for hard-to-find roles.

When you have found the job you want to apply for

The process of applying for a job in Australia is very similar to applying for a role in the UK, but when applying from overseas, there are specific considerations to take into account.

Be open about why you want to work in Australia

Use your cover letter to state your reasons why you want to move to Australia when submitting your application. If no cover letter is required, send an email to the hiring manager explaining why you’d like to relocate to Down Under. Giving clear reasons will give the employer certainty that you’re likely to remain in the role for the long term, otherwise local candidates are more likely to be the preferred choice.

While it’s important to acknowledge your international move and motivations, remember that an employer wants the best candidate for the job, so stay focused on your qualifications for the role and why you should be the preferred candidate regardless of where you live.

Tailor your resume to the job

Explain how your skills and experiences will make you the best candidate for the role – especially if your employer will be required to sponsor your visa. Provide specific examples of how you’ve met and exceeded expectations and if a role includes location-specific elements such as building a local client base or understanding local business prospects, highlight the transferability of your skills and willingness to learn. Also adjust your resume to Australian standards.

Prepare for interview questions about relocation

There are plenty of questions that an employer could ask to help them understand your motivations for moving, so it’s important to anticipate and prepare for them. Here are five things to keep in mind when responding to questions about your relocation:

  1. Focus on the career opportunities that Australia has.
  2. Explain how you have the necessary skills or have undertaken training to get all the skills you need for Australia specifically.
  3. Show your commitment to your new destination and role by being clear about what you want to achieve from taking on work and moving to Australia.
  4. Talk about your adaptability and willingness to try new things, citing examples of how you’ve effectively moved into new roles and contexts in the past.
  5. Be clear in your head if this is a short or longer-term move and explain that in your interview.

Rely on video interviews

Phone interviews have become increasingly common as a result of the pandemic. If the interview is however carried out over video, make sure you’re prepared for the video interview format.

Take a look at our available jobs in finance, technology, business support, or recruitment if you are considering a move Down Under.

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