Finding a job in Australia is daunting at first, but there are many available, it’s just about finding what is right for you.
Australia is a great place to go as a young traveller. You can earn good money and still experience the country at the same time.
Working Holiday Visa information
Australia has a partnership with over 40 countries who are allowed to apply for a Working Holiday Visa. There are two separate visa subclasses – 417 and 462. You will be applying for one or the other depending on where you come from. They both have different working terms. For more information on the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program check out the Australian Government website.
If you have acquired a Working Holiday Visa for Australia you should be aware that it is only legal to stay in the country for 12 months and work for a single employer for no more than 6 months. However, if you partake in a certain type of work, you can apply for an extension.
Extending your visa: What you need to do
You may apply to extend your visa for up to 3 years. To apply for a second Working Holiday Visa, you must complete 3 months (88 days) of specified work during your first year. To apply for a third Working Holiday Visa, you must complete 6 months (179 days) of specified work during your second year.
This required work depends on your home country and what subclass you have acquired.
- plant and animal cultivation
- fishing and pearling
- tree farming and felling
- plant and animal cultivation in northern Australia and other specified areas of regional Australia
- fishing and pearling in northern Australia only
- tree farming and felling in northern Australia only
- tourism and hospitality in northern Australia only
The long and short of it is, if you want to stay for longer, you have to get your hands dirty and work hard in a job that might not be very appealing.
Ways of finding a job in Australia
Gone are the days where the best method of applying for jobs was in person. Although handing your CV out face-to-face is still an option that can work, there are many other ways to put yourself out there to potential employers. If you see somewhere you want to work, email them directly. This ensures your application will land in the right hands and not in the bin! Alternatively, there are many sites online that will assist you in your job hunt.
Seek is Australia’s main employment marketplace which offers the opportunity to search for any job you want around the whole country.
The Backpacker Job Board is a great way of finding a job in Australia. They specify in providing jobs for those on a Working Holiday Visa, so all recruiters that post vacancies are happy to receive applications from working holidaymakers.
The best way to find a job on Facebook is to join relevant groups. Start by searching for ‘jobs in Australia’ in your Facebook search bar and clicking on ‘groups’. There are plenty available. Join threads and turn on notifications to keep up to date with potential employment opportunities.
Many people have started listing work they have available on Gumtree as it’s free for both parties. If you’re struggling to find work you can even create an ad for yourself offering your services and contact information for anyone looking for help.
Indeed is the number one job site in the world, connecting employers to potential employees. Simply search for whatever kind of work you are hoping for and specify a location. This can be as broad as ‘Australia’ if you’re not sure which area you want to be in.
This recruitment service is dedicated to helping travellers on a working holiday visa finding a job in Australia.
Examples of jobs available in Australia
Construction work is a great option to acquire a visa extension if you have a subclass 417 visa. You can find work easily in the cities around Australia, however for construction to count as specified work you need to work in regional Australia. What classifies as regional Australia can be found on the GOV website.
You can no doubt make a lot of money working in this industry. Anything from $25-40 AUD per hour. And when you are working to save, this will add up very quickly.
The only catch to working in construction is that you will need to acquire a “White Card” before you can start. This can be done by completing an online course and paying a fee of around $40 AUD. Make sure you obtain one that is valid in the correct state that your job will be in.
You will also need to find the correct PPE (personal protection equipment) for completing the course and for the job itself. This includes steel cap boots, ear protectors, safety goggles and a hard hat. Luckily you can pick these items up for fairly cheap from stores like Kmart or Target. Or you could get the gear you need from other backpackers that are moving on. Try using Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, or even ask around in a hostel.
Farm work is the go-to option for a lot of backpackers that are looking for work to extend their visa. Depending on the time of year and where you are situated in Australia, there can be lots of work available. However, this all does depend so it’s good to check the harvesting seasons before you make your plans.
There are a few things to watch out for with farm work. If you are offered piece rates, it may not be very rewarding financially. This will mean you get paid depending on how much fruit you pick for example. This can mean you end up getting paid under the minimum wage if you do not pick enough.
Farmers, in general, can be known to take advantage of backpackers, making promises they may not be able to keep and making you work long hours for little reward. So be careful.
Farm work is, however, a good option if you are a couple, as there are opportunities to work together in groups which makes the experience a bit more pleasant.
A great way to find work is often by turning up to places where you know there are farm jobs available. There are many working hostels who will put you on a list for a farm job. Alternatively, find out who the recruiters/managers are in the area and approach them directly. Known areas that offer farm work include Dubbo, Gatton, Bundaberg, Bowen and Innisfail to name but a few.
Finding a job in Australia does not have to be hard. Casual bar or restaurant work is fairly easy to pick up, especially in big cities like Sydney or Melbourne. You can again earn pretty decent money. Picking up anything from $18 – $28 AUD an hour.
It’s a nice way to work and still enjoy your time. Instead of feeling stuck in the middle of nowhere you can immerse yourself into the “Hospo” scene in some really great locations. You will need to complete an “RSA” (Responsible Service of Alcohol) course if you want to work in hospitality. Like the White Card, these course certifications can vary from state to state so be sure to do your research before booking.
You can also find casual or part-time work in retail if you don’t feel confident with pouring schooners.
Some bars and restaurants may also offer “cashies” (cash in hand jobs). There are positives and negatives with accepting this kind of arrangement. Yes, you won’t pay tax but you will most likely be offered a lower wage. It is also technically illegal of both the business and yourself, so you would have to keep it on the down-low and avoid adding wedges of cash into your Australian bank account.
If you are in official employment, you will also have to pay superannuation (retirement fund), but you can claim this back when you leave the country with a DASP form (Departing Australia superannuation payment).
Office work / Career development
If you are coming out of University or from a serious job in your home country, there is the possibility to find work in an avenue that is best suited to your skills or career aspirations.
Working in a 9-5 will provide some sense of normality and allow you to enjoy weekends whilst earning a decent wage.
If you do find a company you enjoy working for, unfortunately, you can only work for them for 6 months. But if you get really lucky and impress some people you could even be offered a sponsorship, where the company will pay for you to stay in Australia and continue to work for them.
Be careful when planning where and when you want to work if you want a career-minded job. If you have less than six months left on your VISA, companies may not take you on as anything less than this time might not be worth their while.
Best job to look for
The best job we came across whilst in Australia was working on a solar farm. The jobs count as construction and the farms are more than likely located in a regional area of Australia. The pay is amazing at around $40 AUD an hour and as you will be living outside of a city, it’s easy to save this money up. It’s best to try and find where there are any solar farms in the pipeline so you can arrange your movements around this. They are notoriously hard to get on, so look in advance and make sure you are first on the list.
No matter what Working Holiday Visa you are on, do not stress too much about finding a job in Australia. It will happen. Sometimes you may have to compromise or wait a couple of weeks but mostly, it’s about being in the right place at the right time and putting yourself out there.
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