5 Tips for Engineers moving to Australia

emigrating, job advice, skilled migrants, visas,

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If you are a Civil Engineer considering emigrating to Australia, it is important you get yourself organized to make this transition as smooth as possible.

From the experience of our Recruiters and Candidates who moved Down Under from abroad, here are some tips on emigrating to Australia.

Tip 1: Research your visa options

Many Applicants want to be sponsored to work in Australia before researching visa options available to them. Since the abolition of the 457 sponsorship visa, obtaining a sponsorship has become difficult and the number of sponsored visas has plummeted.

Thankfully, there are many visa options for Civil Engineers, Surveyors, or Construction Professionals and you don’t necessarily require a sponsorship visa. You can explore them on the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs website or you can find an immigration agent to advise you.

Because Civil Engineers and Surveyors are in demand in Australia, these occupations are listed on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and qualify for a variety of visas such as the Skilled Independent 189, the Skilled Nominated 190, the Skilled Regional Nominated 489 or the Skilled Regional Sponsored 489 visas.

You can find the full list of eligible skilled occupations here. You might also be able to submit an EOI (Expression of Interest) through the online tool SkillSelect.

Find out more about SkillSelect 

An EOI is not a visa application, but a confirmation that you would like to apply for an Australian visa. If your EOI is successful (you have got enough points), you will be invited to apply for a visa. This service is free.

If you want to work in Australia for a short period of time, there are plenty of options to choose from depending on your country of origin. For example, Working Holiday Visa 417 and Work and Holiday Visa 462 allow you to work in Australia during your stay.

You can apply online, the visa costs are fairly low, and processing times are quick.

Tip 2: Don’t put things off

Obtaining a visa can take a long time and what many Applicants are not aware of, is that most visas have age restrictions. For example, a Working Holiday Visa has age restrictions of 30 or 35 years old depending on the country.  

For the Skilled Independent Visa 189, age is also very important. Applicants in the age bracket 25-33 years old score 30 points, whereas older applicants in the age bracket 40-45 years old get only 15 points.

If you are applying for a PR visa (Permanent Resident) it will take you a couple of months to gather all required documents and the processing times can take anywhere between nine and twelve months.

Tip 3: Seek Professional advice 

While the application process for many visas is simple, some visas are riddled with tricky questions and requirements. In such circumstances, it might be worth seeking advice from someone who has successfully applied for the same type of visa or from a registered migration agent.

For example, verifying a relationship status for a partner visa is complicated and as many as 38% of applications are refused on the basis of unsuccessful verification. Refusals need to be taken to the Tribunal and this adds significant costs and delays. Sometimes it’s worth paying a bit of extra money upfront to avoid very costly mistakes!

Tip 4: Plan ahead

Moving to another country is a life-changing decision for you and your family. That’s why you will need a detailed plan for your move.

If you have young children, it might be wise to have the family join you at a later date once you have secured employment, found a place to live, and purchased a car in the new location.

Having to live in a hotel with a family and not having a means to get around can be very stressful. 

Here is a list of some of the things you need to do before relocating:

  1. Sell or rent out your current property.
  2. Cancel house insurance if you are selling your property.
  3. Close utility accounts if applicable (gas, electricity, water, Internet, phone).
  4. Close bank accounts if applicable.
  5. Set up a bank account in Australia so you can transfer money (NAB offers this service).
  6. Gather all medical records for your family including immunization history, dentist files, and optical prescriptions.
  7. Sell your car and cancel your car insurance.
  8. Redirect your mail.
  9. Set up power of attorney for a close family member so they can represent you if necessary.
  10. Find a support group on Facebook where you can ask questions.
  11. Save three to six months of living expenses if you haven’t secured employment. You will need a deposit to rent a property.
  12. Research tax agreement between Australia and your country.
  13. Research driving license regulations.
  14. Obtain a reference letter if you are currently renting a property.
  15. Stock up on prescription medication, but make sure you have accompanying paperwork to prove why you need it.
  16. Book airline tickets.
  17. Book temporary accommodation.
  18. Book relocation services if necessary.

Tip 5: Contact recruitment agencies

While it may be impossible to secure employment before you arrive in Australia, you should contact recruitment agencies before you board the plane. They will be able to discuss with you: employment options, the Australian CV conventions, remuneration, and job search techniques. And if you are lucky, you might get a job offer or an interview before you even move Down Under.  


If you are a Civil Engineer, a Construction Professional or a Surveyor who would like to be part of the infrastructure boom in Australia or New Zealand, register your CV here or search our jobs.

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While visa applicants do not have to use a migration agent to lodge a visa application with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, many individuals applying for an Australian visa may prefer to enlist the services of a trusted professional.

The Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) keeps an up-to-date list of registered migration agents.

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