Your Guide to Working in Australia

Posted by Richard Poulter on Thursday, November 21, 2019

Working in Australia offers many benefits besides great weather and beautiful beaches. With some of the highest average salaries in the world, a strong economy and a good work-life balance, it’s no wonder many people look for construction jobs in Australia. If you’re thinking about working abroad, Australia may well be just the ticket.

Why Choose Australia

As recently as July 2019, the Australian Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business projected strong growth for civil engineering professionals in Australia over the next five years. Current statistics estimate there will be 28,000 job openings in this field until 2023. Yet with a current labour force of 53,300 people (as of May 2018), that equates to over 50% more civil engineering professionals required to fill this gap. While civil engineering jobs in Australia are available across the country, they tend to be concentrated in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and Western Australia.

Construction Projects in Australia

There a large number of infrastructure projects in Australia, based on Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List. Motorway upgrades, metro extensions, and airport expansions dominate the High Priority Projects list, the majority of which are planned to be delivered in the next five years. This is supported by a number of High Priority Initiatives like optimising the rail network and building enabling infrastructure like electric vehicle charging networks. Sydney is a particular hotspot, however, projects are available across Australia.

How to Work in Australia

Please note that Maxim Recruitment is a construction recruitment agency and does not offer any immigration or work visa advice. Please consult a specialist advisor, such as BDO Australia, for help and advice.

There are several available visas designed to help civil engineering professionals work in Australia, such as the Temporary Skill Shortage visa or the Employer Nomination Scheme. Civil engineering professionals are included on Australia’s Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List, which also shows the visas that each role is eligible for: civil engineers, technicians, quantity surveyors, estimators, and construction project managers are all included. 

Which Australia Visa Do I Need?

Australia has a wide range of visas for workers, depending on your situation. This is a brief overview of the different types of visas you can apply for, but always consult specialist advisors for advice on how to apply Australia immigration. Australian visas currently include:

  • Temporary Skill Shortage visa: Lets an employer sponsor a skilled worker when they can’t find an Australian to fill the vacancy. You’ll need an approved sponsor (i.e. an employer), and you must meet their English language requirements. If granted, it will let you stay for up to 4 years.
  • Employer Nomination Scheme visa: If you want to stay for a longer period of time, this visa lets employers sponsor skilled workers to live and work in Australia permanently. 
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (Subclass 494) visa: Opening for applications on 16 November 2019, this new visa class is also a permanent, employer-sponsored visa, but it allows workers to live in regional Australia (designated areas includes all of Australia except for Sydney, Melbourne Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.) Applicants need to work for an employer in regional Australia and meet the English language requirements.
  • Skilled Independent visa or Skilled Nominated visa: This is a points-tested visa that you can submit an expression of interest for if you meet the criteria. You’ll also have to undergo a skills assessment. If accepted, you’ll be invited to apply for the visa and, once granted, can work anywhere in Australia on a permanent basis.
  • Temporary Graduate visa: If you’re a graduate in a civil engineering discipline thinking of working in Australia, this visa lets you work and live in Australia for up to 18 months.

Planning Ahead

Some Australia visas take up to two years to be approved, so it’s worth getting the process started well ahead of time if you’re considering working in Australia, particularly if there’s a specific project you’re interested in working on. That said, with the strong pipeline of upcoming infrastructure projects in Australia, there will be plenty to keep you busy whenever you arrive. Maxim Recruitment has many good employer contacts in the region and can help you find the perfect position for your skills – send us your CV or alternatively, sign up for our job alerts to keep updated with the latest civil engineering jobs in Australia. 

About the Author

Richard Poulter
Construction Recruitment Director, Hong Kong
I am responsible for the recruitment business in Hong Kong, Asia, and the Middle East. I was a civil engineer and project manager for 15 years before becoming a construction industry recruitment consultant in 2004. I am based in the Hong Kong office and specialise in placing professionals in engineering, project management, planning, HSEQ and risk.
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