Working in Australia

Your Dream, We Care!

1. According to the United Nations, Australia is the second best country in the World to live, due to its excellent quality of life index. The UN establishes a qualification, also known as Human Development Index, based on an annual survey of social progress and economic indexes of the 187 countries. Australia is on top because it has a great access to education, high life expectation and socioeconomic well-being.

2. Australia is also the second happiest country in the world. The famous and well recognised journal “The Wall Street Journal” gave this title to Australia after analysing eleven welfare variables used by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that created the Better Life Index. Australia has high values in all variables assigned by the index: employment, income, housing, community, education, work-personal balance, environment, citizen participation, health, life satisfaction and safety.

3. It is well-known that Australia has an active economy that has been strengthened over the last decades. International commerce is orientated to the fabrication of high value products and services. It has a skilled workforce, the socio-political backing of democratic institutions, social harmony and a lifestyle that is an example throughout the world.

4. The visa approval process of the qualified migration program takes, on average, 18 months, which is considered fast compared to other countries. For the practice of several occupations in Australia, a professional validation prior to the granting of the visa is required, which facilitates the insertion in the local labour market.

5. The Australian educational level is recognized worldwide for its excellent quality. This gives credit to the high proportion of foreigners who make up the student population of Australian universities, who represent more than 10% of the total number of students enrolled in these institutions.

6. Since its founding, Australia has been a nation of immigrants and has become a tolerant and multicultural society, with absolute rejection of racial discrimination.

7. Australia is considered one of the safest countries on the planet. It has low levels of crime and efficient police forces. In general, Australian citizens feel proud of the peaceful society in which they live.

8. The Australian climate is quite tolerable. It varies according to the different regions. While the North is tropical, the South has seasons. Winters are mild compared to North America and Europe.

9. Australia has one of the lowest population density levels per square kilometre in the world. For this reason, there is a need to populate the country to ensure the subsistence of the economic system and social security.

10. The Australian lifestyle favours the enjoyment of free time with family, friends, sports and contact with nature. Work is a fundamental value of society, but must be accompanied by the necessary time for rest and recreational activities.
For more information about how to work in Australia with your available degree, you can seek advice from our professional, Samphas Lim, our licensed migration consultant in Australia, as seen the photo above.

Knowing the average living costs in Australia is an important part of your financial preparation. For your reference, here are some of the costs associated with living and studying in Australia (all costs are in Australian dollars).

The costs below are an approximate guide only. Students should be aware that these costs can vary depending on your study location in Australia.

Hostels and Guesthouses – $75 to $120 per week
Shared Rental – $85 to $215 per week
On campus – $70 to $240 per week
Homestay – $215 to $275 per week
Rental – $135 to $370 per week
Boarding schools – $11,000 to $21,000 a year
Other living expenses
Groceries and eating out – $650 to $220 per week
Gas, electricity – $25 to $110 per week
Phone and Internet – $15 to $35 per week
Public transport – $12 to $35 per week
Car (after purchase) – $120 to $200 per week
Entertainment – $65 to $120 per week
Minimum cost of living
The Department of Home Affairs (opens in a new window) has financial requirements you must meet in order to receive a student visa for Australia. From 1st February 2018 the 12 month living cost is:

You – $14,290
Partner or spouse – $5,100
Child – $2,040
All costs are per year in US dollars.

The Australian Government provides information and guidance on managing your finances. You can read more at (opens in a new window)

The ‘Insider Guides Cost of Living Calculator’ is also a useful tool to help estimate your cost of living (opens in a new window) in Australia (opens in a new window).

Working Conditions & Wages

Australian working conditions are often considered some of the best in the world. Contributing to these high standards is the fact that Australian industrial relations are characterized by high union membership numbers and a federally driven, but state controlled, mandatory arbitration and conciliation system.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average weekly total earnings of workers living in Australia averaged A$1056.16.

Average Wages by State

State / Region

Average Weekly Earnings

Australian Capital Territory $1,310.42
New South Wales $1,054.71
Northern Territory $1,185.53
South Australia $933.78
Tasmania $905.93
Victoria $1,021.82
Western Australia $1,187.65
Queensland $1,052.82

(Source: ABS | Australian Economic Indicators February 2012)

Australian working conditions are regulated by federal legislation, workplace agreements, awards and contracts. The Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard protects the minimum wage, maximum work hours and minimum leave entitlements of all employees in Australia.

The average Australian working week is currently 36 hours from Monday to Friday however this does vary considerably across occupations and industries. A standard working day for a trade occupation is typically 7am to 3.30pm, while working hours in most offices are 9am to 5pm, with rest and meal breaks. Overtime rates of pay and flexi-time arrangements in the workplace are becoming more common and are often negotiated in an occupation’s award.

A recent survey conducted by insurance agency AXA found that the average retirement age for Australians is 57 years. This is considered a relatively young age, given that the qualifying age to receive the Age Pension in is currently 60 years for women and 65 years for men.

Many Australian employers have readily employed immigrant workers, especially in times of labour shortages. Migrants with the best prospects for finding employment in the Australian labour market include those with strong proficiency in the English language, recognised post-secondary qualifications and high skill levels.


Working for your lifestyle

Working hours in Australia vary according to your employer, your position and the type of industry in which you’re employed. A national 38-hour working week was introduced in 1981, since reduced to 37 hours. However, many people work longer hours, particularly employees in factories, who often work ten or more hours’ overtime per week. (A survey in 2003 showed that almost a third of full-time employees work more than 48 hours per week.) A standard working day (without overtime) for a blue-collar worker is from 7 or 8am to 3.30 or 4.30pm, while working hours in most offices and shops are from 8.30 or 9.30am until 4.30 or 5.30pm, with an hour’s break for lunch.

As an international student in Australia, you are required to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the entire duration of your study in Australia. But there are also other types of insurance which you may find useful.

Overseas Student Health Cover
International students undertaking formal studies in Australia, and their dependents (for example, spouses and children under 18 years old), must obtain OSHC. It includes cover for visits to the doctor, some hospital treatment, ambulance cover and limited pharmaceuticals (medicines). OSHC insurers can provide a range of different OSHC products. These may range from a basic product which covers only the compulsory minimum services to comprehensive products which cover, in addition to the compulsory minimum services, extra services as specified under the particular policy. You can find more information, including a list of the providers and average costs, on the Department of Health (opens in a new window) website.

Remember, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship requires overseas students to maintain OSHC for the duration of time they are in Australia. For further information please visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (opens in a new window) website.


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