Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Thursday January 24th 2019

Reader concerned with migrating to Melbourne


Irene Tan says:


My husband and I received our Australian PR in March 2008 and understand that we have to meet a minimum occupation of 2 years before March 2013 (5 years). Close to 3 years have passed and we’re considering if we should migrate there as planned, especially since we now have a 2 year old boy to think of.

The key concern we have is whether we will each be able to find employment in Melbourne. My husband is working now as a lecturer in aeronautical engineering and I’m a product manager in the banking industry. As my sister has migrated to Melbourne with her family, our preference is to be there as well to have some family support.

Could you please share some tips on how we can find a job there? Also, do you know if we can request for an extension of our PR if we do not meet the minimum occupation requirement?

Thank you.


Hi Irene,

Thanks for your enquiry.

Many Singaporeans manage to get the coveted permanent resident down under but have concerns when they want to make the actual final move.

Such concerns are well warranted as uprooting to another country is a big decision affecting the whole family. The first year is the worst as everyone in the family is adjusting to a brand new culture, weather, food and even friends.

That is also why many families decide to return to Singapore within the first year as they fail to adapt well to the new environment.

Australia is fortunately a multi-racial society and you will not feel left out as there are many different nationalities here. You will still feel some racism here and there but personally I have not experience the kind that will make you want to leave the place.

My family moves to Sydney two years ago and we have a 16-year-old daughter. She enjoys her study here which we felt better suits her temperament and personality.

My wife was fortunate be transferred here by her company so work wise she is ok. We are now staying on a skilled visa class 457.

Personally, I feel that if you manage to find full time work here within the first year, things will smoothen out after a while however rough it is. If not, the journey can be destabilising and thats how some families return back to Singapore after a while.

The weather is definitely better than Singapore and you have the usual four seasons that come with most temperate countries. We don’t have snow here fortunately so the winter right now is manageable. There is also the wide space here that allows one to explore uninterrupted and you can drive out to the outskirts during weekend to get away from the city life if necessary.

Finding work here is also slightly different from Singapore. It all depends alot on your work experience and qualifications. First of all, the resume you sent out is slightly  different here as we leave out our race, age, religion, gender as compared to Singapore. If an employer needs you to fill up all the mentioned particulars, you can actually complaint to the Fair Work commission for discrimination!

Some friends who emigrated here manage to find work through the employment agents before they even step foot on the continent. They were flew over for an interview and clutched the job soon after.

Some have however stayed unemployed for many months mostly up to a year before they could find something concrete.  Many have to work casually (part time) before they find a better job later. The minimum wage here per hour is $15.00. Most manage to get $20.00 per hour depending on the kind of work you perform.

I guess it all depends on the type of skills you have and whether these skills  are those that are in demand here. Nursing, engineering, teaching are all skills that are in need here and if you fall into that  skill category, you have a  higher chance of being employed faster.

Note also that some skills/certificates  need accreditation and this may take some time before you can venture out to find a proper job.  So, if you can get your educational papers accreditated before you move over, it will save you some time.

Anyway, the taxes here are also quite high – most people get tax first before they receive their salary for the week or month. The average tax levied is around 30% but I must say that salaries here are slightly higher than in Singapore.  This is true for most mid-range jobs such as administration, logistics, management among others.

There is also higher weightage given to work experience than qualification for most jobs here. You can commonly find a colleague with a lower qualification than you working alongside  as he has the relevant experience for the job. This is quite different from Singapore which places alot of weightage on having the right qualifications before they even consider you for the position.

As for the extension of your PR status, I have heard that some friends manage to extend their visa validity before it expires. You have to check with the embassy as it is done on a case by case basis.

As uprooting and moving abroad is a big decision for the whole family, it is good to deliberate longer before making the  final decision.  To make things easier, you can also start to apply for jobs online to source for possible employment opportunities.

I do agree with your statement that  employment is the main concern of most new migrants. Once that is solved, things will definitely get easier with time.

Let me know if you need further assistance and I wish you the best in all your endeavours.



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