Dreaming of Life in Australia? Here’s What You’ll Need to Know

Australia is a great place to holiday and it can be just as much fun working and living here as well. But as with any country, there are a few things you’ll need to know about, and prepare for, before you pack your bags – especially if you’re bringing the kids!

Do you have the skills?

Australia’s immigration laws are stringent. While the easiest way to move here for work is to be sponsored by an employer, you can also apply for the General Skilled Migration Program. This is a program that accepts international workers to fill specific gaps in the country’s skilled employment population.

There’s a long and diverse list of skills sought out by Australian business – from IT through to medicine, business and trades. Check our article: Australia’s Digital Economy Demands International Skills for broad advice and border.gov.au for specifics on skills currently required. You’ll need to make sure your skills are included on the list and that your qualifications are recognised here too.

If you’re unsure of whether you’ll find a sponsoring employer or be accepted for the General Skilled Migration Program, put some thought into where you might live while you’re in Australia. While most visitors dream of settling on the coast and within cooee of the city, the country’s regional areas often find it more difficult to attract the specific skills they need. This is quite surprising given that Australia has many spectacular regions that are renowned for their wines, farming, outdoor adventure and relaxed lifestyle.

When it comes settling into a new town, you might also find it’s easier to settle into regional Australia, especially if you have young children. More relaxed, smaller centres will welcome you into their community, providing opportunities to quickly get to know people and become involved. This is definitely an option that’s well worth considering.

Get your children into school

Schools will be an important consideration if you are bringing young children with you. Australia has an impressive and inclusive education system which begins in the years of early childhood.

Many children attend formal or informal early childhood education and care (ECEC) before starting school at five with participation increasing through the preschool ages. By the time children are four, 87% of them attend some form of early childhood care.1

Children begin their primary education in Kindergarten, and continue to secondary school where most (84.3%) will work through until year 12 by which time they are approximately 17. School is compulsory until at least the age of 16.2

Australia offers a range of primary and secondary educational opportunities for children – including government, non-government (including faith-based schools such as Catholic or Islamic schools) and schools based on educational philosophies such as Montessori and Steiner. All schools must be registered with the state or territory education department and are subject to government requirements in terms of infrastructure and teacher registration. Within the school system there are opportunities for children with special needs and disabilities, as well as schools that select students based on academic, language, artistic or sporting excellence.

In 2016, public schools accounted for 65.4% of student enrolments; Catholic schools accounted for 20.2% and Independent schools had an enrolment share of 14.4%.2

For more information about studying in Australia visit studyinAustralia.gov.au

Get to work

So now you know you’ve got the qualifications you need to work in Australia and you can get the kids into school, where do you find a job?

By far the biggest job website in the country is SEEK. Others include Graduate Careers and Career One and you’ll find more targeted sites for jobs in specific areas. Start by doing some initial research: get online, enter your details, your qualifications and the cities and regions you’d consider working in and see what turns up.


  1. aifs.gov.au/publications/child-care-and-early-childhood-education-australia
  2. www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4221.0