Are you an American considering a move to Australia? You're not alone! Australia is home to around 109,000 American-born residents, making it the 13th largest diaspora for Americans. As the global economy continues to shift, more and more Americans are looking to move abroad for their next job opportunity.
We've put together a guide for anyone who is wondering how to work in Australia as an American citizen. Fortunately, the process isn't too complicated, and by following the steps outlined below, you'll be on your way to living and working in Australia.
There are many great reasons why Australia is an attractive destination for U.S. expats. From its stunning natural beauty to the warm climate and laid-back lifestyle, there's no shortage of reasons to make the switch. Here are a few advantages of relocating to the Land Down Under:
Friendly and welcoming culture. Australians are known for their laid-back, friendly attitude, making Australia a great place to call home.
High quality of life. The country is consistently ranked in the top 10 best places in the world to live thanks to its modern infrastructure, beautiful beaches, and quality education system.
Fantastic job opportunities. A hub for industry and innovation, there are plenty of jobs for Americans in Australia — especially in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne.
Can Americans Move to Australia?
Yes, it is possible for Americans to move to Australia, and there are multiple ways to do it. During the height of the pandemic, Australia had strict travel restrictions in place, but those have since been lifted and the country is now open to international travelers. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for any of the following visas:
Work and Holiday Visa
Skilled Work Visa
Tourist Stream Visa
Best Visas to Seek Employment in Australia
Australia's immigration system provides many options for Americans looking to move to the Land Down Under. There are over 70 different types of visas for those who want to visit or move to Australia, meaning you'll need to do some research to determine which one is right for you. Each visa requires different qualifications and criteria, so make sure you do your homework before applying. We've outlined a few of the most popular visas for anyone who is trying to figure out how to work in Australia as an American below.
Work and Holiday Visa
The Work and Holiday Visa is a great way for American citizens between the ages of 18 and 30 to work and travel in Australia temporarily. With this visa, you can stay in Australia for up to 12 months, giving you plenty of time to explore the country while working part-time or full-time. The application process is relatively straightforward, but the processing times can be lengthy.
According to the Australian government website, 90% of Work and Holiday Visa applicants will have to wait up to eight months for their visa to be processed, which means you should plan ahead if you're looking to move to Australia soon with this type of visa.
Nonetheless, Australian work holidays are ideal for travelers who want to experience the Aussie lifestyle first-hand, while also earning some money along the way. If this sounds like the visa for you, you can make your application online via the Australian government website.
Skilled Work Visa
The Skilled Work Visa is an ideal option for American citizens looking to move to Australia permanently. This visa requires applicants to pass certain points-based criteria, which can be found on Australia’s government website, and skill assessments in order to qualify. As such, you'll need to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements before applying.
The application process can take anywhere from three months up to a year, depending on the individual circumstances of the applicant. This visa is ideal for those looking to work in Australia, as it offers the opportunity to stay for up to five years and apply for permanent residency after completing three years. Those with relevant qualifications and experience in areas like engineering, IT, or health care may find the Australian Work Visa a great option. You can apply for this visa online from either inside or outside Australia.
Tourist Stream Visa
In the era of remote work, the Tourist Stream Visa provides an excellent option for American citizens who want to move to Australia without the long-term commitment of a work visa. This visa allows you to stay in the country for up to 12 months, making it perfect for holidays or visiting family and friends.
The application process is straightforward and can take up to four months to process, but often can process much sooner. It's a great option for those who want to get the full Aussie experience without giving up their U.S. job.
Unfortunately, Australia currently doesn’t offer any kind of visa dedicated to digital nomads, but luckily there are still ways for you to work remotely in the country. The most popular option is to apply for a simple Tourist Visa, which will allow you to stay in Australia for up to 12 months.
This option is great for those who want to explore Australia while working remotely. Digital nomads looking for a more long-term arrangement may want to apply for a Skilled Work Visa instead.
How to Write an Australian Resume
Writing a successful Australian resume is an important step in applying for jobs in the Land Down Under. Before you start writing your resume, it's important to get familiar with the common resume format used in Australia. A typical Australian resume should include the following:
A professional bio
Education and qualifications
Any additional skills or achievements
It should also be concise and easy to read, with a sole focus on your relevant experience and accomplishments. Here are a few more tips to help you write an effective Australian resume:
Use keywords relevant to the job you’re applying for in your resume to help your CV get picked up by recruitment software
Use a professional email address
Give employers an overview of your experience and skills at the top of your resume
Make sure you have listed all relevant qualifications, certifications, and other educational achievements in chronological order
Make sure your resume is proofread and free of any grammar or spelling errors
Include a tailored cover letter to introduce yourself, outline why you’re the best candidate for the job, and be clear about the type of role you’re looking for
As you can see, writing an Australian resume is not that much different from writing an American one. Just remember to keep it professional and tailored to the position you are applying for.
Australia Visitor Visa
The Australia Visitor visa is an ideal option for American citizens looking to travel and explore the country on holiday. This visa allows you to stay in Australia for up to three, six, or 12 months at a time, enabling you to see the sights and decide whether or not you’d like to make a more permanent move.
If you have a remote job, you can continue to work remotely while you explore Australia. To be eligible for this visa, applicants must meet certain criteria set by the Australian government, including:
Proof that you have enough funds in your bank account to cover the cost of your stay
A return airline ticket at the time of application
Proof that you intend to return home, such as a payslip or letter from your employer
A letter of invitation from your family or friends in Australia, if this is the purpose of your trip
The application process is relatively straightforward and can be completed online through the Australian government website. It usually takes about four months to process.
What It’s Like Working in Australia as an American
Whether you’re looking for an extended holiday or long-term work experience, working in Australia as an American is full of exciting opportunities.
Australian Work Culture
Working in Australia as an American is fairly similar to life in the United States, but there are a few key cultural differences. This is perhaps most noticeable when it comes to collaboration and communication — the latter of which is typically kept informal, yet direct. Australians are highly collaborative at work, often engaging in open discussions to solve problems and share ideas, dispersed with light-hearted jokes and conversation.
It encourages a less hierarchical environment where everyone’s opinion is valued. Similar to American culture, workers are often expected to work long hours. While this may mean sacrificing some of your free time, Australia is one country that is full of leisure opportunities. Therefore, when you’re off the clock, there’s a plethora of options for you to make the most of your free time.
Australian Working Hours
The typical working hours in Australia are similar to those in America. Most people work the traditional 9 to 5 schedule, with a one-hour lunch break. However, this can vary depending on the industry and company, so it's important to research each workplace individually beforehand. In Australia, 38 hours per week is considered full-time work, so anything over this should be paid as overtime or credited back later as time "in lieu." And while a 38-hour week might be two hours short of the typical American 40-hour week, Australian workers are often expected to put in extra hours.
The main holidays in Australia are similar to those in America, with a few notable additions:
Christmas: December 25th
New Year’s Day: January 1st
Easter Monday: Dates vary between March and April
Anzac Day: April 25th
Australia Day: January 26th
There are also additional public holidays throughout the year, depending on each state. These public holidays include the Queen's Birthday and Labour Day, among others.
In addition to public holidays, workers in Australia are entitled to a minimum of four weeks of paid vacation each year, with the possibility of accruing more the longer you are employed with the same employer.
Maternity & Paternity Leave
Australian workers are entitled to maternity or paternity leave if they have worked with their employer for over 12 months. Whoever is the primary caregiver for a newborn or newly adopted child can take up to 18 weeks of time off, paid at the national minimum wage. However, some employers may offer more generous packages.
Best Cities in Australia for Americans to Find Jobs
From bustling cities to gorgeous beaches, Australia has a lot to offer Americans who are looking for work. Life Down Under can be a dream come true thanks to the laid-back lifestyle and abundant job possibilities. If you’re trying to figure out how to get a job in Australia as an American, these are some of the best cities for employment opportunities.
This bustling metropolis is home to some of the country’s top companies, with an abundance of job opportunities in manufacturing — especially biotech and food processing. This means there are plenty of jobs in Sydney for U.S. citizens with a manufacturing background or any transferable skills.
With over 100 beaches and plenty of green spaces, it’s also a great place to live. The weather is typically mild year-round, with lots of sun and rain in equal measure. Sydney is also one of Australia’s most cosmopolitan cities, which is home to a large expat community — perfect for American professionals looking to start a new career and enjoy a vibrant, international lifestyle.
Top Jobs in Sydney
This lively city is often touted as the cultural and sporting capital of Australia. It’s a great place to find work in digital technologies, finance, and tourism, with some of the country’s biggest companies, such as National Australia Bank and Telstra Group, located here. Melbourne has four distinct seasons and enjoys cooler temperatures compared to other parts of Australia. It also offers world-class restaurants, bustling markets, and plenty of green spaces for outdoor activities.
Thanks to its diverse population and rich culture, Melbourne is an excellent choice for anyone wishing to be part of an international community. The city is a great option for Americans looking for work, as Melbourne is commonly known for its welcoming atmosphere and healthy job market.
Top Jobs in Melbourne
Early Childhood Education Teacher
Perth is a great city for anyone looking for work in Australia. It’s home to some of the world’s biggest energy companies — including BP, Shell, and ExxonMobil. The hot Mediterranean climate featuring plenty of sun throughout the year makes it one of the most desirable cities to live and work in.
Perth is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia, with a thriving nightlife and plenty of cultural attractions. This coveted buzzing vibe means it’s one of the best cities in Australia for Americans looking to start a new life.
Top Jobs in Perth
The capital city of Queensland, Brisbane is a great choice for Americans looking to change scenery or establish an exciting career in Australia. This modern city boasts excellent job opportunities in the finance, technology, and mining industries, in addition to a thriving small business sector.
Brisbane is known to have a humid subtropical climate — temperatures rarely drop below 15 degrees Celsius, even in winter — and plenty of sunshine throughout the year. It’s a great city for people who enjoy the outdoors. The city is littered with lush parks and picturesque riverbanks that set the perfect backdrop for walks, jogs, or pure relaxation. It also has some of Australia’s best restaurants and cozy cafes when you’re taking a break from work.
Top Jobs in Brisbane
The Gold Coast — located in the southeastern corner of Queensland — is a surfer's paradise. Here you’ll find the breathtaking beaches and lush rainforests that make it an ideal destination for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors. The city has a subtropical climate, where you can expect 300 days of sunshine every year. It’s also home to some of Australia’s top theme parks and attractions, making it a great spot for families and people who love adrenaline-filled activities.
This area is popular for its tourism industry, but it’s also a great place for anyone who works in the sport and film sectors. The local population is very friendly, and there are many opportunities for young professionals looking to make their mark in the city.
Top Jobs in Gold Coast
Newcastle is a great choice for Americans looking to start and build on their career in Australia. Located on the east coast of New South Wales, it’s known for its stunning beaches and warm climate. The city boasts thriving healthcare, education, and construction sectors, so if you work in any of these or similar fields, it’s an attractive destination to live and work.
Since Newcastle is known for its vibrant nightlife scene, this city is a great choice for anyone who enjoys a busy social life. All-in-all, Newcastle is an American-friendly city, with many fellow expats and plenty of places to meet like-minded people.
Top Jobs in Newcastle
How to Find Jobs for Americans in Australia
Thanks to the nation’s healthy economy, getting a job in Australia as an American is not a far-fetched dream. But before you start your search, it’s important to understand the local economy and where your skills might be most valuable.
The biggest industries in Australia include:
These industries are best suited to people with specialist knowledge or experience, but there are plenty of opportunities for people much earlier in their careers as well. Outside of these industries, any highly skilled individual will be well-positioned for employment in the country.
IT workers, engineers, programmers, software developers, web designers, marketing consultants, and finance professionals will all find getting a job in Australia to be relatively easy. Additionally, hospitality, retail, and customer service positions are plentiful throughout the country. Many companies in these industries are looking for professionals with international experience, which could make you a great candidate.
To start your job search, it’s best to make use of job portals like Joblist. It’s also ideal to check with your current American employer to see whether they have an office in Australia. If you do your due diligence, you’ll be well on your way to finding the right role for you in one of the many sectors below.
Hospitality is one of the most popular industries in Australia. Some of the most common hospitality roles include:
The average salary for these positions is around AUD $68,250 per year or AUD $35 per hour.
Many employers are looking for experienced hospitality professionals, so having prior experience in the industry is an advantage. Companies commonly hiring in this industry include hotel chains, restaurants, and catering businesses.
Nursing is one of the most in-demand industries in Australia. Some of the most common nursing roles include:
Employers typically look for qualified nurses with a minimum of three years of experience. If you're a nurse, you could start your job search by looking at hospitals, medical clinics, and aged care facilities. Other common employers include pharmaceutical companies, medical research organizations, and private nursing agencies.
Australia faces a severe teacher shortage, making it an ideal place to find teaching jobs. Common roles in the education industry include:
Primary School Teachers
Secondary School Teachers
Early Childhood Educators
The average teacher's salary is AUD $86,128 per year or AUD $44.17 per hour.
To become a teacher in Australia, you will need to have a Bachelor of Education or equivalent qualification. Common employers for teachers include public and private schools, universities, and TAFE institutions.
Like many countries, Australia needs more tech professionals. Some of the most common tech roles include:
The average salary can vary widely depending on the role but typically ranges from AUD $62,500 to $91,902 per year. In some niche fields, you could stand to earn a lot more.
Some of the most common companies hiring tech professionals include banks, government agencies, and software development agencies. Additionally, startups are always looking for tech professionals with specific skill sets — so it’s worth checking out job postings in this space.
Any construction workers thinking about immigrating to Australia from the U.S. have a range of excellent salary benefits to look forward to. The construction industry is booming in Australia, with many opportunities for skilled professionals. Some of the most common construction roles include:
The salary range is wide depending on the role, but typically the average salary is an impressive AUD $98,587 per year. Thanks to the shortage of construction workers, employers are willing to pay top-dollar for experienced professionals. Companies commonly hiring in this field include major construction firms, engineering consulting firms, and government departments.
If you're a skilled engineer, Australia is ready to welcome you with open arms. Common engineering roles include:
Since the engineering discipline is so varied, there is a wide salary range. However, the average engineering salary is around AUD $111,875 per year — certainly enough to tempt many prospective applicants.
Companies hiring engineers include utilities and energy companies, engineering consulting firms, and government departments. Moreover, many tech companies are also actively looking to recruit experienced engineers.
Review and Plan
Anyone considering immigrating to Australia from the U.S. needs to plan ahead and prepare for the big move carefully. Simply uprooting your life and relocating to the other side of the world isn’t always easy, but with the right plan in place, it’s a distinct possibility.
Here's how to get started on making your dream of living and working in Australia as an American a reality:
Research the culture and cost of living. Before you even think about applying for jobs, it's important to understand what life would be like living in Australia. Make sure you factor in things like the cost of living, local culture, and any other relevant information.
Determine what kind of visa you’ll need. Depending on what you’re looking to get from your stay in Australia, you’ll need to apply for the relevant visa. Whether it’s a Student Visa, Work and Holiday Visa, or Skilled Migration Visa, make sure you weigh up your options carefully.
Look for potential employers in Australia. You can do this through online searches, networking, and job boards like Joblist. Even if you already have a few companies in mind, it's worth doing additional research into other employers. Look at different job postings to determine what type of professionals they’re looking for.
Apply for jobs that are a good fit. Once you've narrowed your list of potential employers, it's time to start sending out applications. Make sure you tailor your CV to the job description and follow up promptly with any questions or queries the employer might pose.
Prepare as much as possible for the move. If your job search and visa application are successful, you'll soon be on a plane to Australia. Before you go, make sure you've made all the necessary preparations for the move. Think about what items to pack, accommodation, transport when you first arrive, and any other details that need ironing out.
By following these steps, you’ll make your move to Australia as smooth and stress-free as possible. To start your Australian job hunt, check out Joblist for a wide range of exciting opportunities. All the very best!