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Tough job market for expats in Canberra

I wanted to put up a post to talk about how it can be hard to get a job in Canberra.

Particularly there are many people coming to Canberra (The ACT) on a Skills visa, but upon arriving find that they are not able to access much of the job market here.

If you are not an Australian citizen, then jobs for government projects are usually off-limits as they require Australian citizenship. This requirement can be overcome with a waiver for some positions, but generally this will only happen if you have a unique skillset and the waiver must be sponsored by a company, and therefore it is better if the company brings you here.

There is a smaller portion of the overall market that is accessible to expats, related to back-office jobs that do not process government project information. Examples we have seen in Internations are accountants, HR, and marketing roles. There is another portion of the market without restrictions - and those are the universities.

Nevertheless, it is better to have a job, or have very strong prospects before coming to Canberra. You are required to have AUD20k of savings to come here on a skills visa, but Canberra is an expensive city and it is easy to burn through that in less than a year.

Some of our members are now investigating transferring their skills visa to other regions - hopefully they will post with their experiences!

Let's be honest - we'd love you to come to Internations in Canberra, but we don't want you to have a hard time on your move!!! If you are set on coming to Australia, it might be better for you to look at bigger cities with more non-government markets (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide). Or at New Zealand in Wellington or Auckland.