At the moment, Australia is experiencing major skills shortages, especially in the resources and healthcare sectors. If you have the right skill set and are suitably qualified, why not consider seeking employment in Australia? It has a high standard of living, and a number of its cities were voted ‘most livable’ in the world last year (The Economist 2011). However, before launching a job search, some forward planning and flexibility are needed. Here are five steps to assist you.

Step 1: Do you qualify?

The Australian government has pre-determined which skills are in shortage and which are not. It is imperative that you check the latest version of the Skilled Occupations List. A visit to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website will yield these results.

Step 2: Do you speak the language?

Australia is an English speaking country. If English isn’t your mother tongue, you’ll need to prove your fluency. The standard testing is known as IELTS. Minimum scores will vary, depending on your industry. To demonstrate fluency, a score of 7 is usually needed, but for some regional jobs (for example in the mining sector), a lower score of 5 is sometimes allowed. If you have non-English speaking dependents joining you, it’s wise to start English lessons before arrival. Upon arrival, the Australian government also offers an Adult Migrant English Programme.

Step 3: Which visa?

This can be a complicated process, so if you’re unsure, it’s advisable to consult an Immigration specialist. Whether you apply for a Skilled Sponsored visa, a Skilled Independent visa, or even a Business visa, depends on factors such as age, points, if you have dependents, or whether your employer is sponsoring you or not. The Australian government has recently streamlined the visa application process and as from July 2012 some criteria will be changing. Make sure you check for any updates on a governmental website before making your application.

Step 4: Are you flexible?

Seeking employment in Australia requires some flexibility on your part. Many of the skilled jobs are located outside of the main centres in regional areas – also known as the outback! These rural areas are experiencing major skills shortages, especially in the healthcare and mineral resources sectors. Due to the fact that many local Australians are not prepared to relocate to the middle of the Western Desert, salaries are higher and rent is cheaper.

Step 5: Prepare to take a step-back

Lastly, when seeking employment in Australia, it’s important to remember that your qualifications may need to be updated. You might also want to check to see if your qualifications are even recognised.  Accept that you might need to work at a lower level than you’re used to– at least for the first year. Be aware that you’ll need some time to get accustomed to local knowledge.

With these steps in mind, you will be able to start a well-planned job search Down Under. If you have the right skills and mindset, Australia is a land of opportunities and potential.

About the author: Ang Lloyd writes on behalf of Regional Jobs Australia, offering information on jobs in Melbourne and other Australian centers and regions.


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