Part One of Three: Planning for The Move

Part One of Three: Planning for The Move

It’s hard to believe that we’ve already been in Sydney for six months (and 20 days, but who’s counting?!). It seems like time has really flown by between arriving here in the dead of summer with 40 degree heat (104 degrees Fahrenheit), apartment hunting, awaiting our furniture to arrive, starting new jobs – and then BOOM! – it was winter already and we’d barely been to the beach..

Alas, we’ve settled in quite nicely in Sydney and having had several friends/acquaintances reach out for advice on how we did it, we thought it might be good to have some posts to just direct people to rather than write the same email over and over again. There are too many components to the move to put in one post, so we’ll divide them into three parts – Planning for The Move, The Actual Move, and Once You Live Here. And so we begin…

Part One: Planning for The Move

  • Visas: There are several types of visas that you can enter the country with, but the ones that are most relevant if you are planning to move to Australia and work here for an extended period of time are the Working Holiday Visa and the 457 Long Term Work Visa
  1. The Working Holiday Visa – is for people ages 18 – 30 and it allows you short term employment opportunities in Australia for one year (cost is about $270). Caveat – you cannot work for one employer the whole 12 months, you can work for each employer a max of 6 months at which point you would need to find another place to work or see if your employer will sponsor you on the 457 Employer Sponsored Visa.
  2. 457 Long Term Work Visas – are a little bit harder to come by because a company has to sponsor you. Once you are eligible, the employer has to process your application which can take 4-6 weeks, but in the end – it’s the most common visa for expats moving to Australia to work long term. The visa lets your work in Australia for up to 4 years. Caveat – you must stay with the employer that sponsored you or, if you leave that job, get your next employer to sponsor you. Bonus – your partner (boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife) can be added to the visa as a “defacto” dependent and are free to work in Australia as well with any employer so long as your 457 visa remains valid.

You can still technically enter the country without either of these visas and just get a tourist visa (lasts a year and is about $40 at the airport) and then sort out your working visa situation when you get here.

Our situation was very unique (and quite lucky) that McKay got a job offer and was sponsored by his company on a 457. I have dual Aussie and US citizenship so I can work from Australia without a visa. 


  • Getting a Job: Obviously this will be different depending on what you do and what sort of experience you have.  I think, bottom line – at the moment Australia is in a fortunate situation where the economy is healthy, there are jobs open, and despite the physical size of the country – there just isn’t a huge population. So dependent upon your skill-set, it’s quite reasonable finding a job here.

McKay and I both work in advertising, he is a Brand Planner and I have a background in Search Marketing and Analytics. McKay writes about finding a job here in more detail in this post. If you work in advertising, and you’re reading this blog, you probably know us and feel free to reach out to us directly, it’s a small community here and can probably connect to you the right people. Otherwise, the top job hunting sites here are SEEK, Career One and of course Linked In. People don’t use Craigslist here, the equivalent is Gumtree, but it’s not the best for jobs. Probably the best advice is to just network as much as you can before you get here. Send your resume to any and all connections you have.