Working in Australia

The Australian labour market can be very tough or very welcoming. How easy it is for you to find a job depends on the local business cycle, your training and experience, what job you are looking for and in which industry you want to work. As back home, it is of course easier for you to find a well-paid nice job if you have relevant training and experience. Experience seems to be more important than training for employers down here and if you can point out that you’ve done same or similar tasks before, it will be much easier for you to get a job.

The wages between different professional roles is varying a lot. The national minimum wage was in the tax year 2018-19 around $18-19 per hour ( If you have specific skills and relevant experience you will find jobs with a much higher salary, and if you are well trained in a high demand role with a few years of experience, you will be pleasantly surprised at the salary you are offered in Australia.

The general unemployment rate in Australia is around 5% (March 2019) and youth unemployment for young adults are around 11% (Oct 2018).

Finding a job

Job sites in Australia

There are several large job sites in Australia and many of the jobs are advertised through recruitment agencies working on behalf of employers and companies. A recruitment agency acts as a gatekeeper and in general takes care of the first interview to then decides if they think you are interesting enough to be presented to their client.

  • Adzuna (  Search engine that is said to list every job from all sites and websites.
  • Career One (  The local version of (a large American website).
  • Indeed (  A local version of the international site Indeed.
  • Jobs Jobs Jobs (  A smaller website, not as many ads as Seek and MyCareer.
  • Jora (  A local version of the international site Jora.
  • My Career ( In Addition to a lot of job advertisements, MyCareer also has a variety of articles with tips on writing a CV and career planning. You can set up alerts that send you emails when a job that meets your criteria is posted.
  • Seek (  The biggest job site with thousands of jobs and lots of articles and tools for jobseekers and those looking to change their careers.

Even if you do not have a medical degree and ten years of experience, there are still many job opportunities out there. If your English is OK and you are not too picky, you probably won’t find it too difficult to get a livelihood during your time in Australia.

In addition to the biggest search engines above, there are also several smaller ones and some of these specialize in backpackers and travellers:

Job-search preparations

You will find that your merits from your home country will have a small impact (unless you worked for a company that also exists in Australia) and your fine education from a prestigious university back home will not raise any eyebrows in Australia. Instead, the employer will ask you about what specific experience with similar jobs you have had before and they will be interested in finding an employee who is productive right from the very first day.
It is difficult to get an employer interested in you if you are still back home (even in professions with a shortage of people). Being in place in Australia makes it much easier when applying for jobs since you are available for interviews (and a quick start), so having a local Australian telephone number is key. But to save you some time, you can still prepare a few things before the trip:

  • Plan A: write a two-page long general CV (in your best English of course) focusing on the industry you want to work in (you then tailor this to suit every application once you have arrived).
  • Plan B: as a plan B, you can also prepare a CV and a personal letter for less qualified jobs (like working in a shop or in a bar) just in case it turns out to take longer than you expected to get your first job after arriving.

For more qualified jobs, it is good to have some references prepared (people willing to by email and phone attest how good you are). It is best if you can get recommendation letters in English from a couple of former employers and colleagues. A good letter of recommendation clearly explains:

  • What your former employer is doing (do not expect the Australians who read the letter to know any of the companies in your home country).
  • What the role and title in your previous workplace was, and what tasks you were responsible for.
  • What your managers and colleagues liked about working with you.
  • How your Australian recruiter can contact your references (via email and phone) to ask questions and possibly ask for more information about you.

If you do not have much work experience, you should still do your best to identify experiences that may be relevant to your job search. Did you have a seasonal job somewhere, someone willing to say a good word or two about you? Have you ever been active in any association (perhaps as a youth leader within a sports club, or in the church)? Have you had any position of trust in a student organization? All experience of working independently, taking responsibility and solving problems in groups can be presented as useful experience when you are looking for a job!

One last thing you can do when you are still at home is to log in to the various job sites and set up email alerts, so that you will receive email when jobs you are interested in are advertised. Let the sites’ automatic filters handle your job search for you! Also, read some of the many articles on job search, writing a CV and the Australian labour market (you will find these under the article section) on My Career (

Some backpackers I have talked to said it was harder than expected to find jobs. Many Australian employers assume that backpackers will soon resume their travels, making employers reluctant to hire young backpackers on a working holiday visa. Therefore, it may be worthwhile in your application to emphasize that you plan to stay for a longer time (if this is the case), and thus remove any suspicions that you will leave after just a few weeks.

The same backpackers have also told me that it can be hard to find a job when there are many other backpackers competing for the jobs. For example, there are especially many backpackers in Sydney in December and January, so during that time it can be difficult to find jobs at cafes and in stores in the central city (where many hostels are located). If the job hunt is going slow, it may be worth looking for a job in a suburb or another district.

Checklist before you start a job

On more qualified and senior jobs, you get a detailed job description and an employment contract with everything written down, but this is not the case on most backpacker jobs. It is up to you to take control and clarify what applies before you start working (but feel in the situation and don’t be too troublesome – if you ask too many critical questions, you are running a risk of being labelled as difficult to deal with).

Clarifying the job conditions

  • What is your title? – If you are working in regional areas and want to use this job to apply for a second or third working holiday visa, it is important that you are employed within the “right” professional role.
  • Can you get a role description and contract? – If your employer gives you a list of your responsibilities and an employment contract, read it carefully, sign it and save a copy for yourself.
  • What are your terms of employment? – Are you a casual or contract employee? This has a direct impact on the salary you receive. If you must work overtime, how are you going to deal with such a situation?

Clarify who your employer is

  • Which company do you work for? – In some workplaces (for example, on a farm), it is not entirely clear who is hiring you; The farm, the hostel or a staffing company?
  • Make sure you know your employer’s company name, ABN (Australian Business number), postal address and who you can contact if you have questions about your salary and tax. – All this information is important when you later want to ask to get the tax back or if you find that something is wrong with your salary payments.

Clarify the salary

  • What will you get paid per hour/day/week/fortnight/year as you work? – Many sales jobs pay you based on how much you sell. If they do not pay a guaranteed basic salary on top of this, you are running the risk of working all day and barely getting paid at all. If you work at a farm during peak season, you may work 12-hour shifts to get the harvest in on time, so even if the daily salary is OK, the hourly wage will not be as good.
  • Will you get something more in compensation in addition to your salary? – If you work at a café or restaurant, you might get a free meal after the session? If you work at a farm, you may get discounted accommodation in connection with the farm?
  • Work-trials? – Many employers want you to do a work-trial for them. Make sure you have already clarified whether you are paid for the trial period or not. Many bars and cafés let you do work-trials for a few days, and sometimes they do not pay you for this (except letting you keep the tips you earn).

Tax and pension matters

  • Will your employer pay all your taxes for you? – If you get paid cash in your hand, you are running a risk of illegally getting paid under the table, which means the employer is not reporting you working for them and they are not paying any tax for you. Some companies say they pay your tax, give you your salary in cash and then let you later discover that they never paid any income tax and instead kept that money to themselves.
  • Will your employer give you a PAYG report? – A PAYG summary (Pay As You Go) is a report that at the end of each financial year (or at the end of your employment) sums up how much salary and tax your employer has paid for you. You must have a PAYG from each place you have worked at to be able to declare the tax and to be able to ask for a possible tax refund at the end of each financial year. For people who are full-time employees year after year, your PAYG summary will arrive at the end of June each year (as the new financial year begins on July 1).
  • Will the employer pay out pension and to which fund? – If you earn more than $450 (before taxes) a month, your employer must also pay 9.25% of your salary as pension into a pension fund. When you leave Australia, you can ask to get some of that money back, so it is important to know exactly where your pension money is being deposited.

Questions about the workplace

  • How is the area where you are going to work? – Working in a shop at central Bondi is one thing, but if you apply for a farm job in some remote area it may be worth finding out what it’s like to live there. What do the employees do in their free time? How much does it cost to live there and how do you transport yourself between work and home? Is there any public transport or do you need your own car? When you are off work, how do you get to the pub, beach or shops?
  • Who else is working there? – Will you work alone, or will you be surrounded by thirty odd backpackers? Will you have like-minded colleagues and work mates to share the days with?


Instead of a lot of detailed warnings, I would like to remind you of the old saying; If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. For example, be on your guard when offered a sales job or a job at a farm where they promise that you will earn thousands of dollars if you just work hard enough. You don’t want to be working ten-hour days with picking fruit just to discover that you barely earned enough for the rent.

Also, if you must pay someone to get a job, you might want to think twice. Some hostels try to get you to pay accommodation several weeks in advance and promise that you in return will get a job (which then never shows up).

If you are told to go somewhere immediately so as not to miss out on a job offer, are required to make a deposit to get a job, or if your employer avoids giving you details of what the job is, then you should be sceptical. There are plenty of jobs, so don’t get into something that doesn’t feel right or where you feel forced or uneasy.

Jobs for backpackers

Here are some common jobs for young travellers with limited work experience.

Bartender, waitress and kitchenhand

With only a little work experience it is easy to find a job at a café or a restaurant (especially during the tourist season as the number of guests increases). If you can carry plates and take orders in a nice manner, can handle a cash register or make good cappuccinos, it should not be too hard to get a job at a restaurant or a hotel.

Do some “study visits” at a few cafés before you apply for a job. Sit down as a regular guest but pay attention to how the waiters and waitresses take up orders, what questions and common phrases they use and how they work. When you are asked to trial-work one day, you already have a fair idea of what the job is about. The easiest way to find these jobs is by walking around and presenting yourself. Include a personal letter or a short CV along with your contact details so that they can contact you after closing time (café’s do not have time to handle a jobseeker during peak hours).

Some of these jobs are also advertised on the major job sites – for example, there is a list of “Hospitality & Tourism” jobs in Sydney at Seek ( You can also get lucky and find job ads under the job section on Gumtree (

To serve alcohol, you must have an RSA certificate. RSA stands for Responsible Service of Alcohol and is a framework of rules regarding the serving of alcohol. If you do not have such a certificate, it is difficult to get a restaurant job where they serve alcohol. You will find a list of companies that organize approved RSA courses on, for example, NSW-government’s website (

Jobs at hostels (reception, cleaners, kitchenhand)

Some travellers who stay in a youth hostel for a longer period manage to negotiate to stay at the hostel for free in return for their services, by working for a few hours at the hostel every day (with cleaning, repainting, maintenance or working at the reception). Talk to the managers at the hostel where you live if there is a possibility to work extra in return for discounted accommodation. If they know that you are planning to stay on their hostel for a longer time they might be interested.

Jobs on fruit farms

Jobs on fruit farms are very seasonal, depending on harvest times and the crop being harvested. Do not underestimate how demanding these jobs are – you cannot do this if you have trouble working in a physically demanding role or getting dirty! Many choose to work at a farm for three months just to stay for another year on a second working holiday visa (as from 1st of July 2019, second WH visa holders can work 6 months in the same type of roles to be eligible to apply for a third WH year). When the harvest time arrive, the farmers are desperate for help and you will easily find a job on any farm. Harvesting and fruit picking work varies between different areas and different seasons. There are a lot of different crops to harvest (apples, currants, peaches, bananas, apricots, melons, oranges) all over the country.

You will meet other travellers from all over the world and you will be seeing Australia’s stunning landscape up close. Being in good physical shape and coping with long days of hard physical work is a must. On many farms, the fruit pickers start working around 7 in the morning to avoid the worst heat in the middle of the day and you must make sure that you have sunscreen, hat, durable clothes and shoes with you.

You will find that there are hostels that focus on communicating jobs between farmers and backpackers and these “working hostels “is a great start for you to find jobs in the region. When I worked as a banana picker outside of Cairns, I lived in such a hostel. There, the residents are mainly focused on working and resting, less on parties and trips. Some farms pay hourly wages, while most pay according to how much you pick (how many buckets you fill, how many boxes you pack and so on). Some farmhouses give you accommodation and food, but it varies. Good workers who want to stay longer are uncommon, so if you do a good job and are reliable you will get more varied and challenging tasks. You will usually receive your salary at the end of each week.

The Government’s job site Harvest Trail ( has a great list of jobs on farms and information on which crops are picked where and when. On Harvest Trail, you can search for jobs in different parts of the country as well as finding information on which fruits and what time of the year a harvest is taking place in a chosen city. Very useful for planning your trip, especially their guidebook “The National Harvest Guide” (PDF) ( with its 120 pages about working as a fruit picker.

WWOOF – Willing Workers on Organic Farms ( is a large organization that organizes jobs on farms where you get food and living for a few hours of work every day.

Step by step, here’s how you find a job on a farm

  1. Start by deciding what time of the year and in which state you want to work.
  2. Go to Harvest Trail and use the “Town and Crops Map” search function ( to find what crops are harvested in the current months and in which cities.
  3. Select a city from the list of areas and start looking for hostels that have contact with farms in the area. Googling for things like “working hostel [area]”.
  4. Call the hostels and ask about the job situation and whether they have any beds available. If they say that there are plenty of jobs, arrange transport, go there and start working.

Work as an au-pair

Working as an au-pair means working with children and taking care of household chores in a family in return for food and accommodation (and often pocket money). Great fun for most, but sometimes disappointing if there is disagreement between you and your host family, so make sure you and your host family agree on important issues before you agree to the role. Aupair World ( is a great site for au pair ads around the world, including Australia. Another au-pair site is the Aussie Au Pairs (, focusing on ads from families in Australia.

A common mistake is that you and your host family have not agreed in advance about what is included in your work and how much you are expected to work. Avoid misunderstandings by documenting (for example, in an email) how many hours per week you are going to work, for how long, what your duties are and what compensation you will receive. Then you and the family have a written description that you can use if you later discover that you are expected to work more than what you agreed to, or if they want you to do things you didn’t commit to. If that is the situation, you can also ask for extra pay or extra leave if you must work extra a few times, but without an agreement it is very difficult to argue for why you deserve an extra day off.

There are many au pairs in Australia and in your free time you might find new friends who are in the same work-situation as you, someone to seek support from and to discover the city along with.

Volunteer work

Working as an unpaid volunteer can be a fun way to gain new experiences (but of course not something that makes you a millionaire) at the same time as doing a good deed for any non-profit organisation. The job site Seek ( has an entire section intended for volunteer work called Seek Volunteer ( The non-profit association Volunteering Australia has its own recruiting site for volunteers named Go Volunteer (

Good to know when searching for a job

Here are a few different terms that are worth knowing of when looking for jobs in Australia.

Industrial award

An award is like a work-collective agreement, but unlike an agreement between the Union and the employer, instead it is a binding decision of a state agency (either federal Fair Work Australia or each respective states Industrial Relations Commission), which regulates labour market conditions. An award dictates matters like minimum wages and holiday compensations for all employees in a specific industry and not just at a specific workplace.

Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA)

When trade unions and employers negotiate a framework agreement for all employees, this is called enterprise bargaining and the agreement that all parties agree on is called an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) or collective agreement. Unlike awards that apply to an entire industry, collective bargaining is usually limited to a specific workplace.

Casual employee

Being employed as a casual means getting paid for exactly the numbers of hours you have worked. Companies use casuals to quickly acquire extra staff at peak hours. Many backpackers who work at an hourly basis are employed as casuals. A casual employee can work regular hours or shifts at a workplace but does not receive the same benefits as permanent staff (full-time or part-time employees) in regards of paid holiday or paid sick days. As compensation for the uncertain employment and lack of holiday savings, you earn a slightly higher hourly wage as a casual than as an ordinary permanent employee.

Obvious disadvantages of working as a casual are:

  • Workhours are not guaranteed (making it hard to know when you will be working and how much you will earn).
  • There is none or a very short period of notice if your employer wants to terminate your employment, and weak or no grounds to support you if you disagree on your termination.
  • No paid holiday or paid sick days.

Permanent or full-time employee

Working as a permanent employee is called to be a full-time or part-time employee. Full-time is equivalent to 38 hours a week but in many industries, overtime is common, and many people work up to 40-50 hours a week. You have right to at least 20 days of paid annual leave and you “earn” your holiday-days from the first day you start working.

As a part-time employee you are entitled to holiday/annual leave and sick leave in proportion to how much you work; For example, if you work 50% of a full-time role, you are entitled to 10 days of holiday per year.

Additional terms to know of

Here are some additional terms that you may encounter and that are worth knowing of.

  • Fixed-term employee – Fixed-term employment is a contract of employment that often is used for jobs and projects that are time-limited.
  • Contractor – Someone who works as a contractor is not employed by the company that they work for but is often a sole trader that sends invoices for their services. Many freelancers work as contractors and have their own one-man company (called sole trader).
  • LAFHA – Living Away From Home Allowance is a kind of allowance that some employees receive from their employer to cover the increased cost of living as a result of working in a place other than the place of residency. If you are negotiating a permanent employment with a high salary, you may be able to get a LAFHA clause in your contract – check with your employer’s HR department. LAFHA costs nothing to your employer but allows you to lower your income tax and is therefore an attractive way to raise your disposable income every month. Many foreigners have earned thousands of dollars on LAFHA when working in Australia.
  • Package or Total Package – When you negotiate your salary (this applies only to permanent employment, backpackers rarely get such questions), your employer will ask you what salary claims you have. If you say for example $100,000 you will receive the counter question “base or package? “, which means your employer wants to know if your request is in basic salary (excluding pension savings) or if this is the total salary package you want (including 9.5% pension and maybe other benefits).
  • Base Salary – The basic salary you receive in compensation from your employer. Does not include your pension contributions (9.5% on top).

Sick days and holiday compensation

All permanent employees in Australia receive a minimum of 4 weeks (20 days) of paid annual leave every year and they are accumulated during the year you are employed. After working for 6 months at a company, you will have earned 2 weeks of holiday. You start your employment with an annual leave balance of 0 and for every week you work, you fill up your annual leave balance with more hours. If you do not have enough holiday-days for a longer period of leave, you can apply for an unpaid holiday. This is called unpaid leave or leave without pay.

As a permanent full-time employee, you are entitled to 10 paid sick days per year. You can also use these days to take care of a family member who is sick – this is called carer’s leave. Sick days accumulate from year to year, which means that if you did not use any of your sick days at your first year of employment, you will on your second year have a total of 20 sick days.

If you get a long-term illness and run out of sick days, you must use your savings or a private health insurance to support you. Your employer will not pay more wages than the entitled numbers of sick days. Because of this, many people get an income insurance that covers this, covering either partly or the total loss.

Frequently asked questions about working abroad in Australia

Question: Is it true that you have the right to go to Australia on a regular tourist visa and look for a job? If you then are offered a job, can the employer apply for a temporary work visa for me?

Answer: What you ask about is a bit of a grey zone. If you go to Australia on a tourist visa to look for a job, then the purpose of your trip is not tourism, and the border control can refuse you entry at the border if they find your CV and certificates etc. in your luggage. I have heard of this happening. However, I also know that there are those who have been on a real holiday here and then just happen to “stumble” on a job offer during the visit, making them convert to a job visa.
I also know of people who came to Australia on a student visa, they studied and then got job offers that suited them top-notch resulting in the employer sponsoring them. The temporary work visa that most people use is called Temporary Skill Shortage Visa and you can read more about it on the Australian Immigrations website (

Question: I’ve read about 457 visas that let me live and work in Australia for up to four years. How do I get one?

Answer: The 457-visa was used up to 2018, and was then replaced by the TSS visa ( Just like the previous 457-visa this is used to help Australian companies to hire talented foreigners.

Question: How many hours a week is it normal to work in Australia, and how many weeks of vacation do you get?

Answer: One working week consists of 38 hours per week. Holiday law legislation gives you 20 days guaranteed holiday a year as a permanent full-time employee, and you are also guaranteed 10 days of paid sick leave.

Question: I wonder how the job chances are for someone with a graduation X who wants to move to City Y in Australia? How much do you earn?

Answer: In general, the labour market is strong in Australia, but if your profession requires specialist training and some form of certification (such as dentists), you cannot simply start working in Australia, but must have your qualifications translated into the Australian equivalent. That said, there is an easy way for you to assess how easy it is to find a job in a specific place – by counting job ads.
Visit a site like Seek ( and search for ads that are right for you in the area where you want to live. If you find many ads, it’s a strong indicator of how high the demand is for your specific profile. To begin the process of translating certifications, licenses, and training certificates from a different country to the Australian equivalent, it is a good idea to look at the Australian government’s page “Qualifications and Skills Recognition” ( If your profession is on the list of occupations in which Australia specifically want to attract immigrants, it is possible that you more easily can get a working visa granted. On the list you can also see which organisation is responsible for assessing whether your overseas education is within the Australian standard or not ( For example, to get an idea of the median wage in your particular branch, you can find payroll statistics at PayScale ( and Seek (

Question: I’m going on a Working Holiday next year and want to start a local business in Australia. Do you have any tips?

Answer: As I understand the rules, you can use the corporate form Sole Trader. To understand how it works, you can start by reading on the Australian government’s website for international entrepreneurs (, as well as on the Australian Tax Agency’s (ATO) website ( and (

Question: I have been offered a job at a café in Sydney, paying me in cash. What are the risks when getting paid under the table in Australia?

Answer: That your boss gives you your salary “cash in hand” is in general a sure way to know that no tax is paid. There are two rules to be aware of when you work in Australia: The immigration regulations for your visa, as well as the tax rules on how much tax you should pay.
The biggest crime you can commit is to break the rules of your visa (for example, if you are in the country on a tourist visa but work without having a work permit linked to your visa, or if you stay in the country without permission after your visa expires) . Thus, violating the immigration rules is a really bad idea, and I know of several visitors who have been sent back home and then weren’t allowed back in Australia after having ignored the visa rules (in some cases they were even detained for a few days in waiting to be flown back home).
However, to “only” be ignoring paying tax as a backpacker seems not to be “as serious”. I recommend, of course, that everyone should pay taxes, but I have never heard of anything more serious than people having to pay a penalty tax because they have worked without declaring their income.

Question: I’m wondering what to focus on in my CV and in my personal letter. Do you have any tips or advice on what might work best in Australia? Is it harder for us as foreigners to get a job?

Answer: If you have an attractive professional experience, a visa that allows you to work, you reside in Australia and can speak English, I wouldn’t worry too much of the chances of getting a job being lower just because you are a foreigner. When writing your CV, I think you should try to use the STAR format. Star stands for Situation-Task-Actions-Results.
Describe your previous tasks and what you did on previous jobs, instead of describing what a nice person and what a good team player you are. Australian companies hire you to fill a function, not to find someone with general skills to fit into the group in the office. Many make the mistake of not being sufficiently specific when describing their work-experience in their CV, and instead write about what nice people they are, which is of less interest down here.
Do not hesitate to confidently describe how useful you are and what results you have achieved. Some foreigners (at least us Swedes) are raised to be very humble, and in comparison to for example a confident Indian or American applying for the same job, a highly qualified Swede can seem like a junior who barely has any knowledge at all because of the Swede’s cultural ways of not talking about themselves in high terms.

Question: I’m in the middle of a career back home but want to try my wings by moving to Australia to work for a year. What do you think about the chances for me to get a job from a distance? I am still young enough to apply for a Working Holiday visa.

Answer: The Australian labour market is quite dynamic and if you are not available to on the spot go on interviews or can’t start working within a couple of weeks, it will be difficult for you to get a job. Unless you are very talented in a niched role, without any Australian local competitors applying for the same position, I unfortunately think it will be difficult for you to get a job while still being at home. I suggest you take a chance, go to Australia on a win or loss. Worst case scenario, you get a fun trip and maybe get to work in a less qualified position for a few months while looking for a more qualified job that suits you better.

Question: Is it relatively easy to get different kinds of farming jobs in Australia for a foreigner?

Question: Is it relatively easy to get different kinds of farming jobs in Australia for a foreigner?

Answer: I think yes, provided that:

  • You are focused and willing to do some hard and physically demanding work.
  • You find out in which region it is harvest time and get there straight away.
  • You stay at a working hostel and ask the staff for help finding farm jobs nearby.

Question: My partner and I want to emigrate from Sweden. She has a degree in X from school Y, and I have a Z-degree. My degree, however, is a vocational training and not a Bachelor or Master. Does this minimize my chances of later obtaining a permanent residency or citizenship?

Answer: Start by taking a look at the lists of shortage professions to which Australia wants to attract immigrants ( If you then read more about the specific visas these professions are linked to (see the codes at the top of the page I linked to) then you can apply according to respective visa’s requirements. For some visas you can later apply for a permanent visa, for others you can obtain permanent residency at once. It is all about whether Australia is in high demand of your profession, and whether you are prepared to settle in a regional area in order to obtain a permanent residence visa – many professions on the list are vocational training roles that don’t require any university degree.

Question: My American boyfriend is moving to Melbourne in a month for a 3-year transfer with his current job, which means that he will have a temporary job visa for up to 4 years. Is it correct to assume that I, as his partner (not married), can join him on his visa (if we can prove being in a relationship for the last 6 months)? I work in finance in London at present and would rather not terminate my contract before I know I can find a new job in Australia. Must my visa be all done before I can apply for Australian jobs? Many job ads seem to require applicants to be “citizens or permanent residents only “.

Answer: I suppose your partner’s employer will arrange a TSS Visa For him (, and that you as his accompanying de facto partner will receive a TSS Subsequent Entrant Visa ( The beauty of that visa is that you will be free to work and study in Australia, and there is nothing to prevent you from looking for a job wherever you want. As you say, most serious employers want you to work for them for longer than a short period, and if your partner will stay for 3 years then you can, in the same way, promise your employer that you will not leave the country before that. When the ads say that they are only aimed at citizens or those with permanent residency, they want to communicate that they are not interested in sponsoring any foreigner. In your case, they will see you as a local candidate who they do not need to arrange the visa for, and I am convinced that they will therefore be interested to call you to an interview. The easiest is of course to apply for work once you are in place, but of course it means some uncertainty. Can you take leave from your work for a while just in case it doesn’t work out in Australia?

Question: I will soon go to Australia for 6 months, in hopes of working while there. I wonder if it is worth looking for a job through my hometown’s local websites, which helps to look for jobs in Australia against a fee? Or is it better to look for a job via Australian recruitment sites?

Answer: The most important thing when applying for a job is to be available on site, to be able to come and trial-work or to go on interviews. If you are a backpacker and are looking for less qualified jobs where there will be many other local applicants, so I think you should save your money and look for work once in Australia instead of trying to search from back home.

Question: I’m going to travel around the world and planned to work a little during my trip (to earn some needed money). I understand that most people want to stay longer, but I don’t really wish to dwell on a place for more than two weeks. Do you think I can get a job at a farm and earn some dollars even if I tell them I only plan on staying for two weeks? How much do you roughly earn as a fruit picker, and what do the hostels cost? I understand that it varies, but what’s your guess? The point is, which goes without saying, being on the plus-side moneywise after working :)

Answer: Yes, I think you can work just a couple of weeks at farms where they are just looking for unskilled fruit pickers. I worked as a banana picker for a couple of weeks when I backpacked in Australia 20 years ago. I don’t know about the average pay though, but the minimum wage in Australia is about $18 per hour, so I’m assuming that a day’s work will pull in about $140 a day. What hostels in different cities cost you can see on a site like, but I would guess at about $40 night for a hostel in the countryside.

Question: I am planning to start doing farm work in Byron Bay to get my 88 days of regional work, so I can return on a second Working Holiday visa before I turn 30 years old. While doing the farm work, can I have a second income from other employers, e.g. from overseas companies? I work as a freelancer in web/film. Can I invoice companies and get paid on my Australian bank account?

Answer: I am not aware of anything that forbids you from simultaneously working extra on a distance. Good luck, I hope you get your second Working-Holiday visa!

Question: I have never used English in work previously, but I believe my English is OK. How important is it to be able to speak fluently from start? I am especially thinking about how it is working in the IT-industry where many words can be difficult to understand. Do companies show patience in this matter?

Answer: I doubt no one requires fluent English and talking with an accent is not a problem either, but if your English is so inadequate that you and your colleagues and customers do not understand each other, you will probably have some problems.