Ciara Kenny

The Irish Times forum by and for Irish citizens living overseas,

Destination in Focus: Australia

***New feature on Generation Emigration*** Every Thursday, we’ll focus on a different destination for Irish emigrants, with practical advice on jobs, visas, and accommodation, and useful links to social networks and emergency assistance. Please add any info you think would be useful in the comments section. First up: Australia.

Thu, Nov 24, 2011, 09:06


Australia was a popular destination for young Irish people on working holiday visas during the boom, and as the global financial crisis didn’t strike as hard here as it did elsewhere, it is now one of the major receivers of Irish immigrants seeking more long-term employment.

Unemployment levels in Australia were just 5.2% in October, one of the lowest rates in the world.

Occupations in particular demand include construction, engineering and mining, health and medical services, hospitality and tourism, IT and computing, and accounting and finance. For a full list of skills in demand, see the Skilled Occupation List which includes all professions and jobs which are prioritised for visas.

Figures released by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) show that 1,460 Irish citizens were granted primary 457 visas in the last year until 30 September 2011, a significant increase on the figure of 830 for the same period in 2010.

The number of Irish people granted Working Holiday Visas between June 2010 and June 2011 was up almost 50% on the same period the previous year, with 21,753 visas given.


All visitors to Australia need to apply for a visa in advance of arrival. The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) website has detailed information about requirements for each type of visa.

Skilled workers: Skilled workers can apply for an employer-sponsored visa, which can be temporary (known as a 457 visa) or permanent. For a list of skills in demand in Australia, see Australia’s Skilled Occupation List.  If you don’t have sponsorship but your skills match those on the list, you can still apply for a visa under the General Skilled  Migration (GSM) programme.

Working holiday visas: For those aged 18-30, the working holiday visa is the easiest way to get into Australia. It allows you to work in the country for 12 months, which can be extended for another year if you do three months work in regional Australia on your first Working Holiday visa. You may only work with each employer for a maximum of six months.

Students: Many academic and vocational courses will entitle you to a student visa, which will also allow you to work part-time during the term and full-time during holidays. The Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students is an official government website listing all eligible courses.

Find a Job

A good way to judge your chances of finding a job down under is to check the Skilled Occupation List, which mentions about 200 occupations that are in demand.

If you are travelling to Australia on a working holiday visa or a non-sponsored skilled workers visa and want to work straight away, it is best to start searching online before you go. is a government-run jobs database with tens of thousands of positions listed by location, by occupation, and by industry.,, and are some of the most popular commercial job sites. If you have decided where you want to live, local branches of international recruitment agencies such as Hays and Manpower will be helpful.

Remember that the cost of living and income tax rates in Australia are lower than they are in Ireland, so compare the net income rather than the gross salary when considering the wage on offer.

Find a place to live

Furnished and unfurnished rental properties can be found on the following websites:

Furnished Property Group and Stayz rent furnished apartments and houses for short-term stays, which will suit working travellers or those looking for a place to stay while they find their dream home.,, and (specialising in Sydney properties) are useful websites offering long and short-term leases. is holding information nights about emigrating to Australia, New Zealand and Canada around the country between 28 November and 7 December 2011. See

Irish clubs, business and social networks

Irish Club of Western Australia:

The Celtic Club, Melbourne:

Irish Club, Adelaide:

Gaelic Club, Sydney:

Canberra Irish Club:

Irish Community New South Wales:

Cumann Gaeilge na hAstráile (Irish Language Association of Australia):

Lansdowne Club: Irish business network in Australia:

Rendezvous353: Business and social network for Irish people around the world

Enterprise Ireland, Sydney:


Irish Embassy, Canberra:

Irish Consulate, Sydney:

Irish Chaplaincy Australia: St. Patrick’s Church, 2 Wellington St, Sydney NSW 2026. T: +61 (0)2 9365 1195.

Irish Australian Welfare Bureau and Resource Centre: Not for profit organization which assists people from the Irish community who are in distress:

Irish Australia Support Association of Queensland: Not for profit organisation for vulnerable Irish:

Irish News

Irish Scene (news and entertainment), Western Australia:

Irish Echo newspaper, Sydney:

Other useful links