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Moving to Australia - What Engineers need to know!

Tags: engineering, Global, career tips...

Australia’s engineering sector continues to underpin the strength of the local economy with significant projects such as the Inland Railway and Western Sydney Airport bolstering growth within the industry. The large scale of infrastructure projects is set to create a substantial number of engineering jobs, and represents the largest infrastructure spending in 30 years.

If you're a skilled and experienced engineer who is considering living and working abroad, then read on to find out what you need to consider before moving down under...

What you need to consider before moving to Australia

There are a few factors to take into consideration before moving down under. So before you pack your bags, here's your handy checklist:

1. Get your job and visa sponsorship before booking your flight

You should aim to secure employment before moving to Australia. Once your prospective employer has made an offer, they will then be able to sponsor your visa to live and work in Australia for a maximum period of four years, after which you will be eligible to apply for permanent residency.

In April last year, the Australian government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

There will be new requirements under the TSS visa, which include but are not limited to:

  • A requirement for visa applicants to have at least two years’ work experience in their skilled occupation
  • Mandatory labour market testing, unless an international trade obligation applies
  • Capacity for only one onshore visa renewal under the Short-Term stream
  • Capacity for visa renewal onshore and permanent residence eligibility after three years under the Medium-Term stream

For employer sponsored permanent skills visas, eligibility requirements will also undergo reforms which include, but are not limited to:

  • Tightened English language requirements
  • A requirement for visa applicants to have at least three years’ work experience
  • Applicants must be under the maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application, (unless exemptions apply)
  • Employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)2.

Click here for more information on the visa reforms!

2. Consider the cost of living

Before making your move, you should research and weigh up the cost of living to ensure that you are well prepared to settle in without any unnecessary financial pressure. According to Numbeo.com, the cost of living in Sydney is pretty similar to London. Food is broadly similar, with soft drinks, imported beer and bottled water being more expensive in Australia. Transport-wise, Australia wins on fuel prices, monthly travel passes and the average costs of cars.

Although rent will be a big concern for anyone not in a position to buy a property outright, purchasing a house will always be a trickier task than finding somewhere to rent, and in Australia it’s no different. If you’ve lined up a job, it’s vital to investigate exactly how far your potential purchase is from a town, your place of work and other amenities such as schools and shops. The price of land can also be a surprise to many, as most major settlements are along or near the coast, meaning competition for building space can be tighter than you might expect.

If you plan to rent a property, many Australian employers will pay for a month’s worth of accommodation upon your arrival to the country.

3. Get your tax and pension affairs in order

Non-residents are taxed at a rate of 32.5c in every dollar earned up to A$80,000, with increasing tax rates for earnings above A$80,000 (2015-16). However, foreign residents do not have to pay the Medicare levy. In order to ensure that you’re not losing any British pension rights, you should check your UK tax and National Insurance position with HMRC.

In most cases, your employer or sponsor must pay you compulsory superannuation (or pension) contributions, currently 9.5 percent, which is included as part of your total salary package. You have the right to choose which approved scheme you would like your superannuation to be paid into. You can find out more about this by visiting www.ato.gov.au/super.

4. Tie up any loose ends

There will always be loose ends to tie up, and it’s important to stay on top of them. For example, if you own a property, you need to decide whether you will rent, sell or leave it vacant. In addition, if you’re moving out with family, then shipping should also be taken into consideration. Most families have items that they want to take with them that can’t be taken on the plane, and these will need to be shipped over. If your new employer hires a number of expats they should have transportation companies that they use themselves and could recommend to you. Many employers tend to provide at least some financial assistance with these matters.

In short, not only is an international move a great adventure, but it can also significantly improve your professional prospects. Australia is a place where people from all over the world come to share and contribute to a modern nation living experience. Although the land down under may not have the history of some other countries, it certainly has a bright future ahead.

Are you a qualified Engineer looking for a new life in a new country?

At Search Global, we are actively recruiting skilled and experienced Engineers to work within a number of Australia's Rail, Road & Highway, Utilities and Aviation infrastructure projects. Our team of recruitment specialists will provide relocation assistance and get you on the road towards a brand new and exciting chapter down under! For more information, you can contact James Cannon here, or see our other vacancies around the globe in a number of different sectors, simply click the button below!