Why consider a career in Australia as a UK citizen?

By Robert Half on 17 January 2022

Australia is a popular destination of choice for UK professionals looking for a change of lifestyle and a chance to advance their careers. Fortunately, if you’re in the UK wondering how easy is it to get work in Australia right now, 2022 could bring the ideal opportunity Down Under you’ve been waiting for.

Job vacancies in Australia increased by 18.5% in the second half of 2021 and it’s expected to take several years for immigration into Australia to reach pre-pandemic levels of around 270,000. Consequently, filling growing skills shortages has become a top priority for the country’s government as it seeks to reinvigorate the economy. While the Australian government opened the country’s international borders to multiple visa categories from mid-December 2021 – after a prolonged period of closure due to the pandemic – the recent Agreement in Principle for the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA), is also expected to make it easier for UK graduates and professionals to transfer and use their qualifications between countries.

Over the next few months and years, professionals from the UK offering comparable qualifications and fluent language skills will be highly sought after by Australian companies looking to bolster their talent in booming times. Here’s what they need to know about how easy it is to get work in Australia.

Related: How to apply for (and score) a job in Australia

Available visa pathways for UK graduates and professionals

When it comes to finding out how easy it is to get work in Australia, you might find that your circumstances fit best into one of several visa options.

  • Subclass 417 – Working Holiday Visa: This visa allows UK citizens aged between 18-30 the chance to live and work in Australia for a period of 12 months. While it’s often thought of as a great way for young graduates and professionals to fund their travel experiences Down Under, it can also offer an avenue to explore different temporary opportunities around the country before committing to longer-term visa options or career pathways. For some candidates who meet eligibility criteria, second and third working holiday visas are also offered.
  • Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage Visa: The subclass 482 visa allows you to be nominated for a skilled position by a sponsor (employer). The visa is designed to allow Australian employers to bring in skilled workers from overseas if they can’t be sourced locally. Depending on where your desired job is placed on Australia’s Skilled Occupation List, there are two visa streams available under the subclass 482 which allow stays of up to two years and four years.
  • Subclass 500 – Student Visa: Another way to launch a career in Australia is to consider the possibility of pursuing professional studies in the country while working at the same time. The subclass 500 visa allows you to participate in an eligible course of study in Australia while working additional hours of employment in certain sectors.

You can visit the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs Visa Finder to help you find out what visa options might be most suitable for your circumstances and skills. Meanwhile, online resources and locally based recruiters might be able to help you match your skills to sponsored job roles currently available around the country.

Related: Find out more about living and working in Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.

5 reasons to consider a career in Australia as a UK citizen

When considering whether a career in Australia will be the right move for you, there are many factors which can influence how easy it is to get work in Australia as well the quality of your overall lifestyle Down Under:

1. Recognition of UK qualifications and adaptability

After struggling to find staff in a tight local talent pool, many companies in Australia recognise the value of working with international talent to access the skills they need and bring a fresh perspective into the business. The similarity of several professional skills and standards between Australia and the UK makes it easy for Australian companies to onboard UK professionals with minimal training. Meanwhile, without a language barrier, candidates from the UK can also easily slot into the workforce while professional development through upskilling is easier to achieve.

The Agreement in Principle for the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is also expected to expand the number of professional qualifications officially recognised between the two countries, giving companies and candidates more clarity than ever before when recruiting from overseas.

2. Australia offers competitive salaries

In 2021, the median weekly pay for full-time employees in the UK was reported to be the equivalent of around $1,156. Meanwhile in Australia, the average weekly full-time income is higher at around $1,737. For this reason, pursuing an opportunity in Australia could be a great way to get ahead financially, whether it be saving for the future, or so you and your family can enjoy a higher standard of living compared to living and working in the UK.

To make sure you know what average salaries ranges are, check out the Robert Half Salary Guide to help you benchmark the appropriate salary for the role you’re applying for.

3. The cost of living is cheaper in some parts of Australia

While the cost of living in Australia is comparable to the UK overall, Sydney and Melbourne are known to be the country’s most expensive capitals with the cost of living in other parts of Australia being much lower.

Perth, for example, has been voted one of the most affordable capital cities in Australia to buy and rent a home. Similarly, housing affordability is also one of Brisbane’s most appealing qualities. Consequently, depending upon where you choose to locate, moving to Australia could present an opportunity to make your potentially higher income stretch even further.

4. The Australian working population enjoy similar perks and benefits to UK professionals

Similar to the UK yet unlike other countries around the world, full-time employees in Australia work an average of 38 hours per week and are entitled to four weeks paid leave every year under national employment standards.

Australians also generally enjoy a positive work culture in their jobs, with flexible working hours, remote job opportunities, and professional development having become a top priority for Australian employers throughout the pandemic.

5. A varied, high quality of life is easy to access

Wherever you decide to base yourself in Australia, all major hubs are located on the coast which means residents can enjoy the very best of different worlds right on their doorstep, from idyllic beaches and national parks to a cosmopolitan city life. At the same time, summers are generally warm and dry in most parts of Australia while winters are usually mild which means you can enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities outside work hours all year round (without necessarily spending money).

It is generally easier to achieve a healthy work-life balance in Australia compared to the UK where activities are often seasonal or require you take leave and travel.

Australian cities also offer well-developed public transport systems which are affordable and eliminate the stresses often associated with commuting in some of the UK’s dense towns and cities. Offering added reassurance to citizens relocating from the UK, Australian cities are also known for their low crime rates compared to comparable cities around the world as well as first-class healthcare systems.

Importantly, Australia has long recognised that immigration is crucial to its economy and culture. For this reason, anyone moving Down Under from the UK will be able to enjoy and contribute to the country’s incredibly multicultural society, which is unsurprisingly home to all kinds of annual events, arts, entertainments, and one of the world’s most diverse food scenes.


If you are considering a move Down Under, check out our available jobs in finance, technology, business support, or recruitment, or read our blog to find out more about how to get a job in Australia from the UK.

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