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Working and Living In Australia

a split image of male working as barista and living as a backpacker in Australia

Australia’s got something for everyone, whether you love warm weather, beaches, nature, or city life!

After years backpacking in Australia, I can’t wait to tell you about the amazing opportunities this country has to offer.

There are so many excellent job opportunities in Australia that pay very well and allow you to live a great lifestyle and have an excellent work-life balance.

In this guide, I will show you what it’s like working and living in Australia as well as helpful tips to get you on your feet and enjoying its great lifestyle.

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1. The Aussie Job Market

Australia has a very strong economy and there are numerous jobs a foreigner can easily obtain. The jobs range from the entry-level with no qualifications to experienced professionals. Even entering as a backpacker on a working holiday visa you will find it very easy to obtain well-paid employment. Check out our guide for Backpacker Jobs in Australia for more information.

Australia currently has a massive shortage of skilled workers and offers visas to attract skilled workers to the country. The most common visa that is offered is the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (TSS) Subclass 482.  If you have the skills to obtain a position in one of these professions you will find immigrating to Australia much easier through a sponsorship visa

The jobs in Australia are very well paid and quite easy to obtain, see section 8 for the pay rates in Australia.

But before you get too excited, let’s take a look at the cost of living.

2. Living in Australia for Overseas People

2.1 Cost of Living

After the Covid-19 pandemic, the cost of living has increased in many countries, and Australia is no exception. However, compared to the high wages and salaries, the cost of living still enables you to enjoy a great lifestyle in Australia.

I will show you some common cost of living items to help you understand what it’s like to live in my country.

Rent: This can be your biggest expense. It is quite common here to rent a room in a shared house. In bigger cities such as Melbourne and Sydney, you would expect to pay $1,200 – $2000 per month for a room in a shared house in the inner suburbs and $800 – $1500 per month for a room in a shared house less than 1 hour from the central business district.

If you move to regional Australia or smaller towns the rent is significantly cheaper. You’d expect to pay $500 – $1,200 per month for a room in a shared house in a central location.

To rent an entire apartment within a city you would expect to pay
1 Bedroom apartment within City centre $2,000-$3,000
1 Bedroom Apartment Outside city centre $1,500-$2,500
3 Bedroom Apartment within City centre $3,500-$5,000
3 Bedroom Apartment outside city centre $2,500-$3,500

Food: Food is slightly more expensive than in Europe and United States, a single person would expect to spend $300 – $600 a month on groceries.

Petrol: Australia is relatively cheap compared to European countries but not as cheap as the US. As of 2024, you would expect to pay $1.55 – $2.89 per litre for 91 unleaded petrol.

Transport: I find the transport in cities like Melbourne or Sydney very convenient. You can take the trains or trams to get around easily. Expect to pay around $100 – $200 a month to use the train and tram systems. In other capital cities like Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth the buses and trains are the way to go with similar costs. 

In smaller towns and cities only buses are available for public transport and aren’t used that frequently so they don’t run very often. It is usually always faster (and often cheaper) to drive so the majority of Australians use a private car.

Private Car: There are a lot of second-hand cars in Australia mostly imported from Japan and South Korea. You can find a car as cheap as AUD 2,000 however you’d expect to pay $4,000 – $10,000 AUD for a reasonable second-hand car (less than 15 years old). See our guide on Buying a Car in Australia.

Sharing with you this useful website that you can use to compare the Cost of living in Australia in different cities.

2.2 Healthcare

Public hospital healthcare is free to all Australian citizens and most permanent residents of Australia. A combination of Medicare, private health insurance, and personal payments covers the cost of treatment as a private patient in a public or private hospital.

11 countries have a Medicare Partnership with Australia.

If you who don’t qualify for Medicare, it is best to get private healthcare insurance.

Here is the average annual cost of combined hospital and extra health insurance for singles:

  • Around $3,000 per year for those under 36
  • Around $3,500 per year for those between 36 to 59

Please note: The above costs are for general reference only, varying medical conditions will alter these amounts.

3. Visa Requirements

There is a huge range of visas that you can obtain to work in Australia.

The most common visas people obtain to work are:

Working Holiday Visa 417 & 462 – This visa is for 1 year and allows you to work any job you like in Australia. If you complete 88 days (1st year) or 179 days (2nd year) of eligible work you can extend for a second year or third year. This is very popular amongst people aged 18-35. See my 2nd year visa guide for more details on this visa.

Student Visa – This visa allows you to study and work for the period of your course. You can work any job you like however In July 2023 the Australian government put a restriction that student visa holders can only work 48 hours per fortnight.

Sponsored Visa TSS 482 – This visa allows you to work for the sponsored employer for 2 years or up to 4 years (if ITO applies). You have to work for this employer to keep your visa valid.

See our working visas guide for more details about the types of visas.

4. Where are the Jobs for People From Overseas?

Australia is a huge country that has a large number of towns and cities, however, there are specific areas that are more in demand for workers. In general, there is always a shortage of skilled workers in regional parts of Australia. They have even created a Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa, Subclass 489 for this. You will find it easiest to get a job in these areas and even get a visa.

I’ll give you a quick rundown of some popular professions and the best places to find jobs in those fields within Australia.

  • Agriculture – Is one of the biggest industries in Australia. It is mostly found in regional parts of Australia.
  • Construction – New South Wales and Victoria are the biggest employers for the construction industry with constant construction projects but the other capital cities will also have opportunities especially Brisbane as it prepares for the Olympics in 2032. 
  • Professional Services such as IT, Accounting, Finance, Marketing, etc: – Bigger cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth generally have a lot more job opportunities for this type of work.
  • Hospitality – Hospitality jobs in Australia are quite diverse and can range from working in a restaurant, hotel, coffee shop, or bar. The job demand varies from season to season and many backpackers gravitate to tourist hotspots.
  • Healthcare – Demand across the country, and regional areas are more in demand and pay relatively more to attract staff.
  • Lawyers – The demand and the size of the firms vary across Australia, but they are generally bigger and higher in the larger cities such as Melbourne and Sydney.
  • Education & Childcare – Demand all across Australia, the regions are likely to pay more.
  • Retirement & Aged Care – This is the most in-demand job in Australia, and you can find work anywhere in the country
  • Tourism – this job is seasonal but has big demand in Queensland, New South Wales & Western Australia.

5. Employment Prospects

The economy in Australia is very strong with an unemployment rate of 3.6% in 2024. This means businesses are doing well and are likely to continue growing and needing more employees.

The employment prospects for someone on a working holiday visa are very good. It is very easy to find a backpacker job here and enjoy working and traveling around the country. I wrote a very detailed article that gives you all the tips and tricks you need to get a Backpacker Job in Australia.

However, if you are looking for a professional job or a sponsored job and want to move to and live in Australia it can be a little more tricky but the easiest way to do so is with a sponsored visa. I have created an in-depth guide on how to get a sponsored visa.

6. Types of Jobs for Foreigners

Australia has a great economy with a huge variety of jobs. As mentioned earlier, there is a skill shortage in Australia and there is a sponsorship visa put in place by the government to attract skilled migrants to the country. We list some of the most popular jobs listed under the temporary skills shortage.

Accounting jobs in Australia with Visa Sponsorship

  • Accountant (General) ANZSCO Code 221111
  • Management Accountant ANZSCO Code 221112
  • Taxation Accountant ANZSCO Code 221113

Cooking & Chef jobs in Australia with Visa Sponsorship

Health Care Assistant Jobs in Australia with Visa Sponsorship

  • Enrolled Nurse ANZCO Code 411411
  • Nursing Manager ANZCO Code 254311
  • Veterinary Nurse ANZCO Code 361311
  • Surgeon ANZCO Code 253511

Please note: There is a vast range of healthcare job roles that offer visa sponsorship, I have only listed a few above. You can search for your specific Healthcare role to find your specific profession.

Software and Applications Programmer ANZCO Code 261399
Software Engineer ANZCO Code 261313
Software Tester Code 261314
Other Jobs in Australia with Visa Sponsorship

Don’t see your job listed above? Not to worry there are more than 600 different job role types listed on the Skilled Occupation List. You can search for your specific job here.


There is a vast range of healthcare job roles that offer visa sponsorship, I have only listed a few above. You can search for your specific Healthcare role to find your specific profession.

Popular jobs for Backpackers

Backpackers visiting the country usually look for any short-term job that will earn them enough money to get them to their next travel destination. Here are the most popular jobs for backpackers.

Check out our video and discover the advantages of each job and how to get hired

I have created a full guide on Jobs for Backpackers that has loads of useful tips and information on how to get a job easily.

7. How to Get Employment in Australia

As someone looking for work in Australia, you’ll find the job market has some unique aspects compared to other countries. Most job openings here are advertised online, with these websites being the most popular for your search:

Depending on the work you are seeking, it is helpful to create a resume and cover letter that is tailored to the Australian Market (ideally tailored for each job). While you are re-writing your resume think in terms of what your employers needs are, rather than just listing your experience.

For competitive or professional roles, it may be beneficial to pay for a written Resume as the Australian style is a lot different from European and North American resume styles.

If you are looking at getting a backpacker job also check out our Backpackers in Australia Guide that will provide you with useful tips and information to get you a job fast.

If you are looking at getting a sponsored job in Australia here are my top tips:

  1. Examine the Skills occupation list closely
  2. Be flexible in your approach and the jobs you consider
  3. Searching in the Right Place
  4. Identify potential employers
  5. Target and personalize your correspondence
  6. Always follow up on all correspondence
  7. Find the Best Person to Talk to Who Makes the Hiring Decisions
  8. Get assistance from Recruiters and Recruitment Consultants.
  9. Interview Preparation is key to getting the job. (I find if you have questions ready for the interview it shows interest and makes for great conversations)

Check out my sponsored jobs guide for more details on these top tips and how to get a sponsored job in Australia.

Backpacker Survival Guide to Job Hunting in Australia Ebook preview

8. How Much Can You Make Working in Australia?

The average pay here in Australia is $7,570 AUD per month or $90,800 AUD per year which is very high compared to other OECD countries. With this salary, you can live very comfortably in Australia and have an excellent work-life balance.

Here is a list of a range of common jobs to get an idea of the pay rates in Australia as of 2024.

Job title Hourly Rate / Annual Salary Range
Fruit Picker $25 per hour+ AUD
Hospitality $25 - 30 per hour AUD
Architect $90,000 to 110,000 AUD
Electrician $90,000 to 110,000 AUD
Civil Engineer $95,000 to 115,000 AUD
Teacher $90,000 to 100,000 AUD
Registered Nurse $80,000 to 90,000 AUD
Accountant $70,000 to 90,000 AUD
Secretary $65,000 to 80,000 AUD

As you can see the pay rates in Australia are relatively high compared to other OECD countries.

9. Final Thoughts

Working and living in Australia offers an excellent lifestyle and a great work-life balance. Many people have come to Australia sometimes on a temporary visa and decided to live here. The pay rates are relatively high compared to the cost of living so you can have a great life in Australia.

Yes! Backpackers are allowed to have a paid work in Australia. However, there are some conditions and requirements that you need to meet before you can start working.

Yes, if you have the right visa, you can live and work in Australia. There are different types of visas that allow you to do so, if you meet the eligibility and requirements

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