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Working in Australia

Thinking about making the move to Australia for work? Whether you’re planning a short term working holiday or making plans to establish your career down under, here are some of the main points to consider.

Do you have the right visa?

First things first. In order to work in Australia you’ll need to have the right visa. The type of visa you have will also impact the type of work you’re able to do in Australia.


Deciding on the right visa to suit your needs can be confusing. Fortunately, the Department of Home Affairs has a handy Visa Finder tool on their website that can help you determine the right visa for your needs.


Are your qualifications recognised?

Whether it’s driving a forklift or looking after kids, you’ll need to check if your qualifications and credentials will be recognised in Australia. It’s worth checking whether you’ll need further qualifications or additional accreditations to do the same role in Australia.


Take working in hospitality, for example. Whereas in many parts of the world knowing how to pull a pint may be enough, in Australia before you can only serve alcohol once you have gained your Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certification. . In other industries you may need to demonstrate English language proficiency or sit a trade test.


Is your paperwork in order?

Before you start your job search, it’s a good idea to have all your relevant documents together. That means not only having an up-to-date resume but also having other important documents such as professional certifications, references and academic transcripts. Having as much of your affairs in order can make all the difference should you see a job you want to apply for and need to act in a hurry.  


What about paying tax in Australia?

Generally speaking, if you’re working in Australia you’ll be required to pay income tax, which will usually be deducted on your behalf by your employer. For more information on tax requirements and rates take a look at the Australian Taxation Office website.


Once you’re in Australia and intend to start working you’ll need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) and supply it to your employer. This will help ensure you pay the right amount of tax – and if you don’t supply it to your employer you could be taxed at the top marginal tax rate.


What is superannuation?

In most cases when you work in Australia your employer will be required to pay a percentage of the total amount of your salary into your superannuation account into a superannuation fund for you (and you can top it up with your own money). Superannuation is a long-term investment that is designed to fund your retirement. You can either nominate your own superannuation fund or let your employer pay it into a fund of their choice.


Generally money paid into your super fund can only be accessed once you reach retirement or when you leave the country permanently. That means if you’re only planning on being in Australia to work for a short time you may be able to claim your super back when you leave. You can find out more about superannuation here or for further info on claiming your superannuation back visit the Australian Taxation Office website.


Find out more about superannuation


How easy is it to open a bank account in Australia?

Chances are your employer will need your Australian bank account details to pay your salary or wages into directly. Fortunately opening a bank account in Australia can be surprisingly straightforward. Once you arrive in Australia, you can open up an everyday bank account online with Westpac and receive money straight away into your new account. You’ll then need to verify your ID in one of our local branches before you can start using your new account.


Find out more about opening an everyday bank account in Australia.

Things you should know

This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general in nature. It is intended as an overview only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.