As a New Zealand citizen you can live and work in Australia without specifically applying for any type of work visa.
Your Special Category Visa (SCV) - which is electronically and automatically assigned when you use your passport to enter Australia - is all you need to both live and work in Australia.
Right now it is easier than ever for Kiwis to find a job in Australia. New South Wales and Victoria have the strongest demand for workers but Queensland and WA also have plenty of vacancies. The good news for New Zealanders planning to move to Australia is that employers are still very keen for experienced workers right now and in many cases are willing to pay higher wages to get them.
This year the top 10 occupations most in demand in Australia are:
Source: Ministers' Media Centre
In the past it was generally difficult for New Zealanders to get a job offer from an Australian employer before actually arriving in Australia. Employers were less likely to take applications from overseas applicants seriously and wanted to meet face to face before making a job offer. People told us it took them around 2-3 months after arriving in Australia to find their preferred fulltime job (casual and temp work usually being faster).
This has changed as everyone gets more used to interviews via Zoom and Teams.
We recently spoke with Matthew Dickason, CEO of Hays in Asia Pacific for local insight into the Australian job market. Here is what he had to say.
What is the job market in Australia like at the moment and what are your predictions for 2024?
Skilled professionals remain in high demand across Australia. While vacancy activity has dropped compared to 2022’s record high, it remains stronger than the pre-pandemic average, meaning employers will continue to look for suitably experienced and valued staff to achieve their goals in 2024.
What do Australian employers look for in a job candidate?
Much like in New Zealand, Australian employers value candidates who have the right technical skills, people skills and qualifications to perform the job successfully. Employers also look for relevant experience that shows a person can operate and succeed in the workplace. The top people skills employers commonly look for are adaptability, effective communication, problem solving, teamwork and a professional work ethic.
When is the best time for people moving to Australia to start applying for jobs? Before or after moving to Australia?
In general, you can start to apply before moving. First round interviews in most cases can be conducted virtually.
How long does it typically take to find a job in Australia?
That depends on your industry, skills and level of role. For instance, entry and mid-level roles can usually be found more quickly than senior or executive positions. The industry and location play a significant role. In high-demand industries, for instance, people can often secure a role more quickly.
How transferable are overseas qualifications to the Australian job market? A couple of examples we are often asked about are teaching qualifications and forklift licence qualifications.
Again, this can depend on a few factors and so it’s important people research and understand the specific requirements of their industry or role before relocating. In general, many New Zealand qualifications are recognised in Australia.
Having said this, some professions like accountancy, law and medicine have specific associations in Australia that you should contact for advice. Teachers should consult directly with the relevant education department in the state or territory where they’d like to work.
Many trade qualifications also require a person to undertake a recognition process. You can visit the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website to see if your New Zealand qualification is recognised in Australia.
How can Kiwis and other new migrants moving to Australia prepare for applying for jobs in Australia and where can they find Australian job opportunities?
To prepare, the first step is to research and understand the visa requirements for working in Australia. Further to the previous question, also research if you need an assessment for recognition of your skills in Australia. Next, adapt your resume and make sure you highlight your relevant qualifications, work experience and successes. You can download our free resume template to help. Then write a tailored cover letter for each application that clearly shows why you’re suitable for the job. To find jobs, contact recruiters such as Hays and search online job boards. When you get an interview, make sure you prepare thoroughly – our interview guide can assist.
Finally, do you have any tips for Kiwis and new migrants about the work culture in Australia?
Australia and New Zealand share many values and cultural similarities, but it’s still advisable to approach any relocation with an open mind. Be adaptable and look for ways to integrate into your new Australian workplace.
Australia does have a larger job market, and sometimes a more formal hierarchy compared to New Zealand in terms of organisational structure and reporting lines.
Aussies are also known for their direct communication style. The cost of living can also be higher, although salaries should reflect this. For those coming from other countries, take the time to watch and understand the communication styles and hierarchies in an organisation.
Building a professional network is a great way to help you understand the work culture and ask for guidance, so attend industry events, join a professional association and connect with colleagues. Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and ideas, and make sure you actively listen to others in return.
Some new migrants can also struggle with Australian slang, so do ask colleagues to explain new phrases!
Aside from actually finding work, tax is perhaps the next biggest thing you'll want to get on top of as far as earning a crust goes.
We can’t claim accountancy as one of our qualifications, so we ask you not to take the tax advice on this site as absolute. What follows is our attempt to understand and summarize the murky workings of Australian and New Zealand tax law. Treat this as a rough guide and speak with an accountant to learn more.
Most people will start paying tax in Australia as soon as they begin their job. If you are a contractor, then it’s a good idea to find an accountant within 6 months of arriving so you can find out what you need to do to prepare for your tax return at the end of the year.
If you are self-employed and have clients in both New Zealand and Australia, you will probably pay tax in Australia, but this is something your accountant can help you with.
If you own a company registered in New Zealand, you will need to continue paying company tax in New Zealand, but your individual income will usually be taxed in Australia. Again, this is something your accountant will help you determine.
Whether you pay tax in New Zealand or Australia depends on your economic and social ties, and how long you are in the country for the given year. Most people migrating to Australia will automatically become residents for tax purposes, but there are some exceptions.
This is definitely something you should check with your accountant, but if you have strong social and economic ties, personal property or accommodation in New Zealand, you may need to continue to pay tax in New Zealand while living in Australia. Some examples of situations where you may need to remain a NZ resident for tax purposes are:
For more information see the complete New Zealand Tax Residence Guide. To clarify your particular situation, we strongly recommend talking to an accountant.
To find out whether you pay tax in Australia or New Zealand, fill out this questionnaire and send it to the IRD. We highly recommend doing this before shifting to Australia so that you know where you stand.
You should also inform the IRD of your new address in Australia when you have one. If you haven’t already, it’s a great idea to register for the IRD’s online service, which means you can easily update your address while overseas and continue to be informed about things like student loan repayments or other tax obligations you may have.
One thing’s for sure, you will not be taxed twice on income you earn in Australia or New Zealand, as the two countries have a tax agreement.
This agreement also means that you can’t ‘escape’ to Australia to avoid tax debts in New Zealand and obligations like child support. The Inland Revenue and Australian Tax Office are able to share information and help each other collect tax debt.
Check out the Your tax residency info from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to learn how you’ll be taxed if you are only going to be working in Australia for part of the year.
In Australia, the first $18,200 you earn is tax free (it often works out higher than this by the time you take into account tax concessions if you aren't a high wage earner - talk to an accountant to see if this applies to you).
The current individual tax rates for the 2024 Australian financial year (1 July, 2023 - 30 June, 2024) are:
$0 – $18,200
$18,201 – $45,000
19c for each $1 over $18,200
$45,001 – $120,000
$5,092 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $45,000
$120,001 – $180,000
$29,467 plus 37c for each $1 over $120,000
$180,001 and over
$51,667 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000
Note that the above rates do not include the 2% Medicare Levy.
The Australian equivalent of an IRD number is a Tax File Number (TFN) from the Australia Taxation Office (which is the Australian version of the Inland Revenue Department).
Applying for a TFN online takes approximately 20 minutes. You will need to provide your passport or travel document number, a postal address in Australia (to which your TFN will be sent), your legal name and other names you use or have used, and contact details for yourself or your preferred contact person. Once you have applied, your TFN will be sent to you in the post and will take about 1 - 2 weeks to arrive.