Australia Migration, Immigration Australia, Migrating to Australia
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0208366, 0426675, 0641256, 0742456 and 0640237
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Getting a Job in Australia and New Zealand

Getting a Job in Australia and New Zealand

Often people will ask the question 'how easy will it be to get a job in Australia or New Zealand?' There is no easy answer to this question, which depends on a wide range of factors:

  • English Language
    This is critical. Unless you are fluent in English you will find it very difficult - or impossible - to get a skilled job.
    Arguably, the current standards for migration to Australia, which make it possible in some cases to migrate in the skilled stream with an IELTS score of 5.0 (or even 4.5 for some regional schemes), do not require this necessary level of fluency, which realistically equates to an IELTS score of 7.0 or higher.

    Unskilled work does not require the same level of English, but is not as well paid and will carry fewer prospects for advancement.

    The same applies to people who migrate through the Family Stream, or as dependents of skilled migrants. Learning English is essential both for economic and social reasons. Anyone with less than fluent English skills who has access to the Adult Migrant English Program should participate fully in it.

  • Qualifications
    Many migrants will find that their qualifications are not taken seriously by Australian or New Zealand employers. The fact that they may have been recognised officially by the government as part of the migration process does not mean that an Australian or New Zealand prospective employer will also do so.

    Local qualifications are generally preferred over others. People from the United Kingdom may have fewer problems than those from other countries, simply because many Australians have lived or worked in the UK for a while and are familiar with the British system.

    The majority of migrants to Australia would be advised to get an Australian qualification after migrating to Australia. An Australian university should give you a reasonable amount of credit for your overseas studies. As a permanent resident you will pay the same fees as other Australians, but will not qualify for Austudy (a welfare payment made to some students) for your first 2 years of residence.

  • Work Experience
    Same applies as with qualifications. The fact that you may have worked for the Number 1 company in your home country may not make much impression on an Australian or NZ employer who has never heard of it. You can promote your case by including information on your former employer with any job application - a link to its website may be useful - but in many cases this will not be of great benefit.

    Migrants from some countries - such as the UK - may not be affected to the same extent as others, although even they will still be at some disadvantage to those with local experience.

    If you are planning to migrate you must be prepared initially to take a less skilled (and less well paid) job than you are qualified for, to earn some dollars and get local experience while you look for something better.

  • Location in Australia / New Zealand
    Depending on your previous work experience, you may find job prospects better in one part of Australia than elsewhere. Plus, the economic cycle affects different cities in Australia at different times. If you have a background in manufacturing companies, you will have more chance of finding a suitable job in Melbourne, and to a lesser extent in Adelaide. If you've worked in finance companies, Sydney is the major centre of employment, while those with a background in resources should look at Perth.

    That's not to say there are no manufacturing jobs in Sydney, or finance jobs in Melbourne, it's just giving an indication of the specialisations of these cities. Brisbane is something of a mixed bag.

    NZ is a simpler employment market. Most jobs are in Auckland, although the cost of living is higher and there's a lot of congestion. Wellington has some jobs and is less crowded than Auckland, its disadvantage is its climate. The only other major centre in NZ is Christchurch on the South Island, with a job market even less diverse than Wellington. Across most of New Zealand, jobs are quite scarce unless you have a specific skill that is in demand locally.

  • Flexibility
    You may find it easier to get a job (depending on your skills and experience) if you are prepared to live outside the major cities in Australia. While it's not generally advisable to move to a country town and hope to find work in the short term, many recruiters in the cities are looking for people to work in regional or remote areas, often places where many Australians are not too keen to live. But the pay is often good and you will get good local experience this way.

  • Personality
    Your own personality and attitude are very important. In terms of your personal grooming and presentation, you must adapt to Australian / NZ standards, not expect Australians and New Zealanders to adapt to yours.

    You need to understand that some Australian and NZ cultural standards may be different to yours. For example at a job interview, if you don't make eye contact with the interviewer you will almost certainly not be selected for the job. While in some cultures, avoiding eye contact is a sign of respect, in Australia and New Zealand it will just make you look untrustworthy.

    Australians express themselves in a different, and probably more robust, way than you might be used to. If this is going to make you uncomfortable, then you should consider whether Canada or New Zealand - or somewhere else - might be more suitable for you.

    It is essential that you understand what cultural differences there are between your new home and your current country, and begin to adapt yourself. When you go to Australia, you must be prepared to 'think Australian.'

    Be prepared for setbacks. They happen to everybody. What's important is your attitude. As an example, you will almost certainly be rejected for many jobs before you finally get accepted for one. Will you be prepared to accept a rejection as a normal part of life - which is what any Australian looking for a job has to do - or will you put it down to racism or something like that? If the latter, then you will probably not be very happy migrating - there is some racism in Australia and NZ, like there is anyway, but most Australians and New Zealanders are not racist in any way. However, if you approach Australians and New Zealanders with a mindset that assumes they will be racist, then it's likely that your suspicions will be confirmed. Simply because most people will deal with you the way you deal with them.
    Note: This applies almost as much to those from the UK - who can be the target of good-natured 'pom' jibes - as much as it does to those from non Anglo-American backgrounds.
  • Migration to Australia is not easy, and is not for everybody. You must consider carefully what you hope to achieve by migrating, and what you are prepared to give up in order to achieve it. Most people do have the alternative of building a life in their home country, and for many people this will be a better decision.




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