Working in Australia

Australia is highly industrialized and manufactured goods account for most of the gross domestic product. Its main industries include mining, food processing, and the manufacture of industrial and transportation equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, textiles, machinery, and motor vehicles. The continent also has valuable mineral resources, including coal, iron, bauxite, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, mineral sands, lead, zinc, natural gas, and petroleum; the country is an important producer of opals and diamonds.

The Australian labour market can be very competitive. How quickly you can find a job in Australia depends on economic factors, qualifications and skills, the type of work you are seeking, and particular circumstances which may affect the availability of certain types of work in different parts of the country.

The government sets laws on wages and work conditions. The laws ensure a fair and just work life. The laws are about the types of legal agreements that define the work relationship between employers and employees. They vary between collective bargaining of unions to individual common law contracts. The agreements determine the amount paid to an employee, the hours worked and conditions such as safety, leave, allowances, training, anti discrimination and more. Australia has a long tradition of strong support for work laws. This makes the work place fair, safe and productive so that both employers and employees earn rewards for their effort.

Your success in gaining employment depends on a number of factors. The factors include; where you plan to work, economic conditions, your skills, your qualifications and the demand for employees.

Some occupations have special requirements. This could include registration or licensing with a government authority and/or membership of a professional or industry association. The Australian Skills Recognition Information site helps you to find out how you can have your qualifications recognized.

When you find a job vacancy that is suitable, the advertisement will tell you how to apply for the position and the name of a person to contact for more details. Your application will usually require:

  • a cover letter stating the position you wish to apply for and why you should be considered for the position based on your skills, experience and qualifications
  • a resume showing your personal details (name, address, phone numbers, email address etc), skills, previous jobs and experience, education and qualifications
  • copies of references from previous employers, or details on how to contact them on your resume
  • copies of educational and trade certificates relevant to the job

Job Services Australia can help you with writing job applications and interview techniques. For more information visit the Job Services Australia website.Everyone in Australia has the right to share in and enjoy the Australian lifestyle. This includes the right to work and earn wealth. That wealth helps you to enjoy the pleasure of a free and equal society. We all expect each other to contribute to and share in Australia's wealth. The government taxes the income that you earn to provide for the common good of all Australians.

If you do not already have a source of income or a job available, and provided your visa allows it, you will need to look for work. Approval to migrate does not guarantee a job.

Before you start work or at the start of a job, there are a few things of which you should be aware.

Bank account

In most cases you need a bank account to receive your pay.

Tax File Number (TFN)

This is most important. You need a TFN for your tax file number declaration.

TFN Declaration

You must complete a TFN declaration for each employer for whom you work. Your employer calculates the tax rate you pay with information you provide on this form. If you do not give your TFN, you will pay the maximum rate of tax. Your employer will give you a TFN declaration to complete.

Occupational health, safety and welfare

Employers have a duty to protect your health and safety in the work place. When you start a new job, your employer must give you instruction, training and supervision on health and safety matters. Depending on the job you have, your employer will supply you with safety clothing and equipment.


You pay income tax on all money that you earn. Your employer takes tax out of all employees pay and sends it to the tax office. At the end of the financial year (30 th June), you receive a statement showing your total pay for the year and the tax paid by you. You use this statement for your tax return.


This is a special savings system to save money for your older age, when you no longer work. Your employer must contribute to your superannuation as part of your pay. You can choose to contribute to any fund approved by the government. If you already have a superannuation savings fund overseas, there is important information that you can find out about from the tax office.

Source: Australia Department of Immigration and Citizenship