Whether you’re a recently qualified Accountant looking to travel or an experienced Accountant seeking a new challenge abroad, working in Australia is an option that should be at the top of the list.
With a common language and an abundance of sunshine (worth the move on its own), it’s not surprising that Australia is such an appealing destination for British expats. Relocation requires a lot of thought and preparation; however, despite the 17,000km journey between the UK and Australia, moving ‘Down Under’ can be a seamless experience.
We’ve helped countless UK professionals into Sydney Accounting jobs, so thought we’d put together an article to highlight some of the essentials for those thinking of relocating to Australia as an Accounting professional looking to take advantage of a great labour market.
Obtaining an Australian Visa
Before you can relocate or find a job, you’ll need to obtain a temporary visa. There are a couple of different paths that can be taken, depending on individual circumstances and how long you plan on living in Australia.
Consider whether you might be looking at permanent or short-term Accounting jobs and this will help determine the visa route that will need to be taken.
Two of the common immigration visa routes are:
Working Holiday Visa (WHV)
This is usually the easiest option for people not yet 31 years of age who are looking to work, live and travel in Australia for up to 12 months. Processing times may vary throughout the year, so when you do decide to apply, click here to see how long it will take. There is also a provision for a 2nd year extension should you not want to go home.
Skilled Migration Visas
Because of demand in Australia, qualified Accountants are eligible for either of the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visas, a great option if you’re thinking of coming long-term. This visa route offers a short-term visa (up to two years) and medium-term (up to four years with a pathway to permanent residency).
Our best advice is to speak with an immigration specialist to see where you stand. Although an easy process, as with most visa applications, it takes time so do keep this in mind. Starting the Australian jobs application process prior to arrival is possible if a visa has been secured, although not always necessary as once on the ground, Accountants aren’t out of work for long.
For more information on obtaining a working or residency visa for Australia, visit The Department of Immigration website, or get in touch with an immigration specialist.
Finding the Right Accounting Job in Australia
UK Accounting qualifications are recognised and respected by employers all across Australia, as they’re viewed as being equivalent to local qualifications (that certainly makes life a bit easier!). Although there are some variations in job titles, the Accounting jobs that exist in Australia are generally the same as what you’re used to in the UK.
Whether you’re looking for temporary or fixed term roles to keep things ticking over whilst travelling or are wanting to put some roots down and make a permanent move, there are plenty of job opportunities for Accounting professionals looking for Australian jobs.
Backpacking is very common throughout Australia, and there are also a lot of short-term opportunities (from a few months to a year) that cater for people travelling through. From Assistant Accountants and Bookkeepers, to Financial/Management Accountants, there is a wide range of skill sets in demand to suit backpackers on a temporary visa.
Some looking for short term temporary work will often be happy to drop down a role level as their priority is to get a job that can be done confidently with the main goal being to enjoy Sydney life, eliminating the stress that comes with striving for challenge and progression. Those looking to stay longer term can find positions that will add to their CV and be viewed favourably if returning to the UK.
We’d recommend getting in touch with a specialist Accounting Recruitment Agency prior to getting on the plane. Not only is it a good idea to have some initial meetings booked in upon arrival, but you’ll also be able to get some insight into the local labour market and the opportunities that are available.
Organising the Essentials
So, the visa is approved and the flights are booked, but don’t forget the admin for your personal life as there are a number of essentials that should be organised before moving to Australia to travel and find a job. You’ll be pleased to know that the cost of living in a city like Sydney is 10% cheaper than London, but here are some other things to think about:
- Finding somewhere to live is one of the first steps to settling in. It can be tricky to balance living costs whilst job seeking, but as there’s such a demand for Accountants here, we find that most people are only out of work for a week or two. If you know someone to stay with in the interim, this will be one less thing to think about. However, if not, there are always plenty of accommodation options. If on a budget, try websites such as Airbnb, Gumtree and Flatmates.com.au for private rooms and flat share accommodation.
- Setting up bank accounts in a new country is also a lot easier than it used to be. Setting a bank account up in Australia can even be done online before landing! The key banks here are: Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, NAB and Westpac.
- A Tax File Number (TFN) will need to be applied for, which is similar to National Insurance numbers back home. Although it’s not necessary to have one on day one, apply upon arrival to avoid paying higher tax rates.
- Transport is another point to think about. Would it be best to invest in a car or rely on public transport to get around? Because most Australian cities, like Sydney, have comprehensive train and bus networks public transport is usually a cost-effective (and less stressful) option considering the traffic congestion that affects most of our urban hubs.
- Universal Healthcare in Australia is similar to the NHS. The good news is, due to a reciprocal healthcare arrangement, GP and hospital visits can be free for UK citizens in Australia. Due to an agreement between the two countries, both temporary and permanent residents have access to this but to benefit, apply for a Medicare card after arriving.
If beaches, barbeques and lots of sunshine sounds like you, then moving to Australia might just be the answer (check out Lisa Bull’s blog to find out more from an expat Brit with a background in finance). Whether it’s to do some travelling, gain overseas work experience or settle down permanently, there are many options available and for an Accountant, it’s fair to say that the move can be a relatively easy one.
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For more information: A Guide To Working As An Accounting Backpacker In Sydney.