Posted by Oliver Meredew on October 19th, 2016.
With economic uncertainty on the rise in the UK in the wake of the EU Referendum result and the future of UK jobs being called into question by ‘Brexit’, it can be worth taking a look elsewhere for employment options – and Australia is one of the most popular destinations with UK nationals looking to advance their career abroad.
If you’re thinking of working in Australia, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, there are a few bases to cover before you take the plunge and start clocking in Down Under.
Australia is a world away from the UK, both literally and when it comes to its landscape. While the UK is dotted with medium to large cities throughout the British Isles, the geographic middle of Australia is made up of a number of sparsely populated deserts.
With that in mind, the best places to look for work in the country are the most populous locations, which cover the east, southeast and southwest coasts of mainland Australia, as well as the north and south of Tasmania.
The capital of Australia is Canberra, although this isn’t on the list of the top five largest cities; these are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. Perth is the only one of these in the southwest of the country. Understandably, larger urban areas are likely to offer more in the way of employment opportunities than smaller rural locations – but you can also expect to come up against more competition for the top positions in particularly popular locations.
In order to work legally in Australia, you’ll need to have the right visa. The Australian visa system covers a wide range of different circumstances for potential workers in the country, but two of the most common are the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457), as well as the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189).
In the former case, if you have been sponsored by a business owner, it’s possible to move to Australia and work for up to four years. This provides plenty of time to get fully acquainted with the country and consider more permanent visa options if you wish to continue working in the country.
However, if you’re looking for a less specific, but potentially longer-term, entrance into Australia the Skilled Independent visa may be the option to pick. This works on a points-based system, where if you match the skills required for certain in-demand occupations, it’s possible to score high enough so that you can enter the country to work as a permanent resident. While this method of entry does require an invitation from the Australian Government, it is still worth looking into if you have in-demand or specialised skills.
When planning to work in Australia it can be difficult to know where to start when hunting for the perfect job or a promising career. Thankfully, in the digital age there are plenty of options at your fingertips for tracking down employment opportunities.
Recruitment services, such as those offered by multi-award-winning global recruitment company Hays are a perfect choice to discover jobs in a variety of sectors across Australia, including banking, construction, insurance and sales, among others.
When it comes to salary differences between the UK and Australia, the latter nation wins out overall. While UK average weekly wages have been steady increasing at a fairly patchy rate over the 2015-16 period, a much smoother upward climb has been recorded for Australia over the same period.
With the ongoing volatility for the Pound exact figures are subject to change, but at the time of writing the average monthly disposable salary difference between the UK and Australia (according to numbeo) was almost £1000 higher in the latter nation.
Taking a look at some specific roles according to comparison site PayScale, the average annual wage for an Accountant in Australia is around AU$55,185, while for a human resources manager, the typical yearly income can be around AU$84,709. In both cases, the average income per job for Australia exceeds that of the UK.
It’s worth remembering that working in Australia doesn’t come without its costs, whether they be rental or mortgage fees or more general upkeep. In this area, Australia falls slightly short, as numbeo estimates that living in Australia is around 18% higher than in the UK, with rent coming in around 40% higher.
When factoring in the on-average higher wage in Australia compared to the UK, however, this essentially balances out the proportionally higher level of rent and living costs.
Knowing whether you are or aren’t considered an Australian resident for tax purposes can help enormously when it comes to working out if where you need to pay tax, as well as how much you might need to pay.
Even if you only intend to work for a few years in Australia before returning home, this can still result in you being considered a ‘tax resident’ of Australia, which means that different tax brackets will apply compared to being considered a ‘foreign tax resident’.
Other regular fees worth knowing about are the Medicare levy (2% of taxable income), as well as the varied state of ambulance fees found across Australia. In the latter case, these can be minimised if you are a temporary or permanent resident, as memberships can be purchased to avoid hefty fees if you need to be taken to hospital in an ambulance.
While English is the common tongue across most of Australia, some workplace practices are quite different to the UK, although there are also similarities between the working attitudes adopted in the far-apart nations.
On the similarity side, there can be a dizzying amount of legislation for foreigners to get used to, mainly when it comes to strict enforcements on opening times, health and safety and job security.
A difference is in workloads; if you keep refusing extra tasks instead of stretching yourself, this can lead to opportunities drying up due to perceived inexperience.
Another difference that is mainly isolated to offices is that even though seniority does exist, the general feeling is that the office is all part of one big team, which goes some way to eliminating discomfort when communicating with both subordinates and superiors.
Once you’ve started bringing in earnings, depending on the circumstances, you may need to send money back to the UK to support family, make mortgage payments or just top up a bank account. This can be simplified by using one of TorFX’s services – Regular Overseas Payments, or ROPs.
These can be set up to automatically transfer specific amounts of funds between accounts on a regular basis, which goes a long way to eliminating the worry of accidentally missing a payment or transferring late.
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