Throughout your life as a budding academic you have invested in your future career; now it’s time to bite the bullet, get out there, and snag that job!


It turns out you love your study abroad destination far more than you ever could imagine (which is really saying something- you already knew you’d like Australia A LOT), and you really aren’t ready for your journey Down Under to end. Well unfortunately, that really leaves you no option but to…

…Stay and work in Australia!

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Just like this little baby koala refuses to let go of his human, you are refusing to let go of your foreign study adventure- and that’s okay! Time to yank up those boot straps and seek out a job in Oz!

So, for those of you who do not want your Aussie dream to end, here is a list of everything you need to know to find work after graduating:

The Legalities of the Work Visa in Australia

There are a number of visa options for people seeking work in Australia. It’s really important that you conduct your own research to ensure you are filling out the correct application, or you could land yourslef in a lot of trouble! Check out the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website regularly for more detailed information.

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All Australian work visas can be applied for online as well as in person. If you decide you want to go in and arrange the visa yourself, you will need to co-ordinate visiting your local Australian embassy or consulate independently. You visa will cost somehwere between $160-$3,600 AUD at the time of writing, so make sure you have some pennies in your pocket before hitting that “Submit” button!

If you are earning an income whilst in Australia, you MUST be in possession of the correct visa (and before you ask- no, getting deported from Australia DOES NOT make you a legitimate badass). Just remember to do your research thoroughly and you’ll be on your way to getting that perfect Aussie work-life balance. Say goodbye to your traditional white christmas- a hot holiday down under is ready and waiting for you!

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Here are a few of the most popular visas for international students making the transition into Aussie working life:

485 Skilled Graduate

The  most common work visa for former international students in Australia is the 485 Skilled Graduate Visa. This visa is temporary, valid for a minimum of 18 months to a maximum of four years, and is open to any individual who has completed at least two years of study in Australia.

This post-study work visa is applicable for full-time work for former students.

Employer Sponsored

This visa relies on lawfully operating Australian businesses or overseas businesses (with an Australian entity). A company in search of certain skill sets might decide to sponsor a particular individual to come and work for them. If this is something that interests you, it is advised to start searching for a company willing to sponsor you at least 3-6 months in advance, as the paperwork can be daunting and difficult to process.

Working Holiday Visa- 417 or 462

This visa is typically more popular with backpackers than the post-degree crowd, but it is still an option to keep in mind if you are looking for work in Australia after your graduation.

The first option is th subclass 417 working holiday visa. If you are a citizen of Belgium, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, malta, Netherlands, Nowray, Sweden, Taiwan or the United Kingdom, and are within the age of 18-30 you are eligible for this visa. It permits individuals to work for up to 12 months in Australia, with the addendum that you can only work for a company for a maximum of six months.

For citizens of Chile, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey or the United States, you can apply for the subclass 462 visa. Both the subclass 417 and the 462 do not limit the number of entries and exits you have, so feel free to holiday in New Zealand or trak home for some of Mumma’s home cooking!

It’s really important to note that you must apply for this visa from outside Australia, not within, so if this is your go-to plan, be sure to factor in a visit elsewhere to organise your visa!

Popular Work Abroad Options in Australia

Skilled graduates from tertiary universities in Australia are in incredibly high demand, especially if you can boast a number of advanced language skills on top of your degree. The forecast for Australia’s economy is positive, and as of 2014, a number of industries are growing rapidly and are therefore in desperate need of human resources. You know what this means? Mmmhmmm, your employment prospects are booming!

To be a little more specific, the Australian hospitality, health and tech industries are seeking talented employees. International students with degrees in relevant fields are good as gold, and management skills are in high demand in all the industries that have been mentioned. Newly-grads interested in becoming nurses, physiotherapists, clinical managers, web developers, coders and salespeople can easlity jump start their lifelong careers with a brief working stint down under.

It is advised that you target an industry or economic sector prior to starting your job hunt. the longstanding strong industries in Australia are agriculture, mining, tourism and manufacturing, so if you are drawn to any of those sectors, you won’t be hard pressed for work opportunities.

For those seeking the more laid back work-holiday visa lifestyle, consider working in Australia as an au pair, in a bar or restaurant, or as a fruit picker. You might even take it a step further and become a certified SCUBA instructor or work at an Outback station! There is an abundance of temporary work options in this vein, and considering you can have any number of jobs in your 12 month stay, why not try them all?!

Tips for Finding Work in Australia

First thing’s first- brush up on that resume!

Then, get out on the hunt!

A number of different resources are available for international students looking for work after graduating. Most successful job hunters cite websites such as and as being particularly helpful in their search for employment.

You’ll want to search diligently for available opportunities and utilise a number of different avenues. If you are already living in Australia, your best bet might be the local network you have already formed. Let people know about your plans to stay and work and see if they can point you in any good directions.

If you are looking for a more part time gig, your best bet will be to scour hostel cork boards or local websites for temporary work. Don’t be afraid to walk into your favorite watering hole or restaurant, CV in hand, smile on face, and enquire about any work opportunities. Who knows what will work out!

Cost of Living in Australia

Those who have already lived as students in Australia can easily attest to the difficulties in living there on a budget. Now, as you are transitioning into ‘the real world’ and getting your first ‘adult’ job you will likely want to trade in your cheap-as-chips lifestyle for one more fitting to a young, working professional.

At the time of writing, the minimum wage in Australia is AUD $16.87. Though this might seem hefty, earners must remember that everyday expenses in Oz are pretty high. You can expect to fork out AUD $1000-$2000 for your apartment and rental alone- that’s before you factor in utilities, food costs and, of course, after work drinks with your new colleagues!

To make a decent wage in Australia and still save a bit of money, consider moving outside the city centre or working in a less cosmopolitan city (sorry $$$ydney!)

To conclude, many international students join the Aussie work force with little to no trouble at all. If possible, you should plan on organizing your job prior to graduation. If not, there’s no doubt Australia will be waiting with open arms to welcome you back and sign your paychecks!


Image via Shutterstock.

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