Moving to Australia from New Zealand?

Get all information you need to make a successful and stress-free move across the ditch.

When it comes to moving overseas and finding work, many things will determine your success, but we think the greatest factor is preparation.

At OFX, we’ve teamed up with leading professional recruitment consultancy company Michael Page to bring you some solid advice when it comes to looking for work as an expat in Australia.

Michael Page is part of PageGroup, which helps facilitate matches between job seekers and employers, providing advice on salaries, employment markets and regional information for clients and candidates across more than 30 countries. When you arrive in a new country, it might take a while to truly settle. There are a few things you can do to speed things up and make a truly successful international career move.

Do you have the right to work?

It sounds obvious, but before you move to Australia in the hope of finding a job, it’s important you know whether you have the right to work. For example, those with a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (457), are permitted to work for one employer for up to four years, but this can be significantly shorter if the sponsor is a new business. The Australian Government’s border and visa page has more information on this and a number of other visa types.

Michael Page’s Global Opportunities team provides guidance for job seekers moving between Australia, New Zealand and the UK on finding work in a new country.

Decide when you want to arrive at your new destination

Many professionals arrive in Australia during the summer, not knowing that December and January are typically slow periods for hiring. Hiring activity tends to pick up again in March. Similarly, many Aussies head over to the UK during the summer months, not knowing that this is when recruitment slows down. Conversely, temporary work may increase to cover employees on their annual leave.

Transfer your qualifications where needed

Some qualifications are not recognised in Australia, meaning foreign workers may require additional training to become fully qualified. For example, if you’re a professional in accounting, legal or construction, employers may have particular requirements for local qualifications. These could limit your job opportunities unless you can obtain equivalent qualifications to practice.

Make financial arrangements

Moving to Australia will mean exchanging your local currency to Australian dollars, and you’ll want to get as much out of your local currency as possible to make your funds stretch. Once you’ve set up your Australian bank account, send your money with a foreign exchange service to avoid your bank’s high exchange rates and transfer fees. At OFX, not only do we offer highly competitive rates, but we also give you the option to set up regular payments, which automatically transfer your money to your Australian bank account as often as you like (for up to 12 months).

Get your resume suited to local standards

Recruiters often make tweaks to candidate resumes to make them more suitable to local employers. Resumes in Australia are usually just a couple of pages and highly geared towards listing past achievements as well as responsibilities. You should also ensure you can provide references in English that can easily be verified, for example, providing a written reference with the referee’s contact details so the potential employer can quickly follow up.

Zero in on the job search

In today’s job market, there is an abundance of strong local candidates. It can be difficult to outperform professionals with a background in their home market. However, all is not lost. A combination of patience and a focused job search can go a long way. When searching and applying, here are some things to keep in mind:

Research the market

When you arrive in Australia, it’s advantageous to have an understanding of the company or companies you would like to work for. This may determine which State and area you want to move to. Other questions to ask yourself include: ‘Will it be suitable for my family?’, ‘Where is my industry experience most in demand?’, ‘Is the office relatively easy to commute to?’ Michael Page provides help with this in their City Guides.

Be flexible

Many candidates accept contract or interim roles before finding permanent work in the local market. This may allow you to get your foot in the door and gain more local experience, making you more competitive.

A word of warning

Many candidates assume they can shift careers as easily as they can move country, however, this is rarely the case so keep this in mind when considering a career change. Landing a new role in a foreign country can be difficult enough, let alone making a career change simultaneously. To find out how PageGroup’s Global Opportunities team can help your international career move, or for more general information, visit their Global Opportunities page.

Finally, here are some additional things to consider for expats planning on working in Australia.

  • Factor in the shipping of your personal belongings which can be anywhere between 1-3 months.
  • Consider whether you want to rent or sell your current home.
  • Remember to change your mailing address across all your correspondences.
  • Apply for an international driver’s licence.
  • Depending on your country of origin, you may need travel insurance when visiting Australia.
  • Prioritise setting up a local bank account (which you can often do from home) and tax file number (TFN) to avoid being heavily taxed on your income.
  • Research the best superannuation fund for your retirement. You can redeem the super you have accumulated upon leaving Australia.

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Can I help you find something else?

If you need advice on moving to Australia from New Zealand, I’ve created a helpful little questionnaire to point you in the right direction. It takes less than 30 seconds, so give it a go!


  1. K& D REEVE

    June 10, 2020 at 12:34 am

    Hi JJ,
    Both my husband and I are both NZ citizens and close to 50 years of age and early 50s, we are thinking of migrating to Western Australia to join family there. Do you think we can get a government job easily with NZ citizenship? At our age, we don’t want too much job pressure so that we can live longer :). Both of us have university qualifications and are still working in the financial services (insurance) in NZ at present. When we read through about Australian PR, it seems quite difficult to get. Eventually we would like to live there permanently. Could you please advise back?

    • JJ Smith

      June 10, 2020 at 11:11 pm

      Hi K & D Reeve,
      Thank you for your comment.
      To be eligibility to apply for public sector jobs you must have Australian citizenship or permanent residency, as it is an essential requirement for permanent positions in the public sector. Non-permanent residents who have an appropriate visa and working entitlements are eligible to apply for fixed-term appointments.
      For more information on migration, see the Department of Training and Workforce Development Migration WA website (
      Regarding PR and then citizenship, I recommend you check out Immagine Immigration –
      They offer a free Preliminary Evaluations that let you know whether or not you’re a good candidate for migration –
      They can help you figure out if it’s worth your while to go ahead with a detailed assessment by looking at your general prospects for migration based on factors such as your work experience and/or qualifications, your family set up and whether migration is a viable option for you to explore.
      The free evaluation includes:
      – A basic overview of your information.
      – A licensed adviser will contact you to let you know whether they think it’s worth your while to take the next step in defining a strategy for your migration.
      If you’re really serious about moving to Australia then you can complete a full assessment – this option covers all your bases and provides you with a cost, timeline and strategy outline for a potential move.
      Immigration specialists save you a lot of time and give you a better chance of getting an Australia visa.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

  2. Penny

    September 30, 2019 at 9:03 am

    Just want to say how informative your site has been, thank you! I lived in Brisbane quite some time ago and also somewhat ‘young’. Now that I’m a older, lot more wiser & a solo Mum, I certainly have a plan in action. Having additional information from your Site lessens the worry of being unprepared for the unknown especially for the sole responsibility for my children whose care and duty away from my safety net of ‘home’ is daunting, scary but also extremely exciting. Looking forward to the move and the great journey ahead with much more peace of mind.

    • JJ Smith

      October 9, 2019 at 12:16 am

      Hi Penny,
      Thank you so much for the feedback.
      You learn a lot when you move away from home and it’s nice being able to help people in a similar situation.
      Let me know if there is anything I can help you with.

  3. joy minchington

    August 17, 2019 at 2:08 am


    My husband and I have been running motels for 20 years, and would like to work and live on the gold coast. Running accommodation business where would I look for that kind of work. I have gone on to some of your job sites but none seem to have many jobs at all, would they be with the motel brokers sites?

    Kind regards

  4. Roimata Hansen

    July 8, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    Hi JJ,
    I am in a similar predicament as above writer, I work as a Medical Administrator and have done shift work in previous yrs as well.
    Is it better for me and it is just me to arrive on the shores of Adelaide with CV in hand after sending off CV’s to the hospitals in Adelaide looking for similar positions as what I left?
    I have plans to fly into Adelaide end of August 2019 and start my OE adventures there.
    I had thought of coming over as a visitor and then also look around and have interviews as well.
    My concern on that would be that I would need to fly back for a further interview or better still to start employment. So I thought to resign my position, fly over to Adelaide and the rest is history!

    • JJ Smith

      July 22, 2019 at 1:46 am

      Hi Roimata,
      Thanks for your comment and sorry for the delay in replying.
      As you are in the healthcare industry, I recommend you contact HCA Healthcare Australia and get their professional opinion:
      They should be able to give you advice on gaining employment in the healthcare industry, but they may even be able to get you a job in Australia.
      Regarding visiting Adelaide before you leave permanently, I always think it’s a great idea, but a lot of people just pack up and go, so it is really up to you.
      Good luck with your move.

  5. Rutu

    April 11, 2019 at 12:15 am

    Hi JJ,
    My name is Rutu and I have been on the look out for jobs in OZ for a while now. Having applied unsuccessfully for jobs through recruitment agencies to finding jobs on LinkedIn and applying; I have come to a point where it is starting to feel beyond hopelessness. My main reason for moving is for better work opportunities and development.
    I have been told by family and friends to try and apply for a job while I am still working in NZ, but given that I probably lack the competitive edge compared to someone who is readily available to take up a job over there means my best shot is to move there and then find a job.
    I wanted to ask you, if I were to take on that risk of permanently quitting my job here and moving there, how many months allowance should I give myself in order to find a job? Any tips would be very helpful as I am not sure how much longer I can remain stagnant at my current job.
    Kind Regards,

    • JJ Smith

      April 11, 2019 at 12:17 am

      Hi Rutu,
      Thank you for your comment. Sorry for the delay in replaying.
      I wish I could give you an answer, but there are way too many variables based on your individual circumstances. Industry, experience, references, etc.
      Honestly if I was you I would keep an eye out for cheap flights and visit the city you are planning on moving to in Australia and personally go see recruitment companies that recruit in your industry and discuss your situation with them. Or even apply for jobs while there. Professionals that recruit in your industry will be able to give you the answers you are searching for.
      Visiting Australia will show you are serious and is your best chance of finding someone else to help you find a job. Of course you could call some companies first and see if you can get anywhere. A phone call is better than the hundreds of emails they would receive every day.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.


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