Emigrating to Australia is an obvious choice if you’re in search of a high standard of living, a glorious climate and the outdoor life.
Of a total labour force of about 8 million, three -quarters are employed in the service sector and the rest in the public sector.
The major changes in recent years have been the fall in employment in the manufacturing industries and the increase in numbers working in community service as well as the other service activities. Agriculture forestry and fishing provide employment for under 10% of the workforce and around 1% work in the mining industry.
Over half the work force belongs to a trade union. The Australian Council of Trade Unions is a powerful organisation dedicated to a policy of job protection and high wages for its members. In the early 1990s an agreement was reached whereby direct pay-bargaining between companies and employees was allowed for the first time, thus ending many decades of centralised bargaining. However, the work ethic is poor in comparison with other countries, particularly in Asia and the workforce has become accustomed to high wages and automatic pay rises. However, due to the recession and to increasing international competition an element of productivity bargaining is beginning to replace across-the-board increases.
Business suits should be worn in Melbourne and Sydney. In Brisbane and Darwin, a lightweight suit should be worn for an initial business meeting but otherwise informal dress (shirt, tie and shorts) is worn.
Appointments should be made in advance. Business cards are extensively used. A lot of business is done over drinks and the Australians favour straightforward say-what-you-mean approach.
First names are used straightaway and should be given over the telephone when answering.
The Commonwealth of Australia is situated in the Southern Hemisphere and covers an area of almost 7.7 million square kilometres, it is approximately 3,200 km wide (or about the same as Moscow to London).
The country is bounded to the north by the Timor and Arafura Seas, to the east by the Coral and Tasman Seas of the South Pacific Ocean and to the south-west by the Indian Ocean.
Australia is made up of the following States and Territories: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, Northern Territory and Canberra (which is the capital).
Geographically, Australia can be divided into four regions:
The Coastal Plains: a series of narrow, fertile belts on forest and farmland, which lie along the whole eastern and south-eastern coast making up the bulk of the farming land.
The Eastern Highlands: a broken chain of mountains averaging around 1,000 meters, known as the Great Dividing Range, running the length of the eastern coast from Cape York in Queensland down to the south-eastern seaboard of Victoria. Some of Australia’s highest peaks are in the south-eastern area where they receive more snowfall, some years, than Switzerland. The highest peak is Mount Kosciusko at 2,193m.
The Central Eastern Plain: Stretching through grass and scrubland in western Queensland to the fertile Murray Darling Basin in New South Wales and Victoria
The Western Plateau: Almost three-quarters of the land is an ancient plateau averaging about 300 meters above sea level; this vast arid tableland extends over almost the whole of Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia.
There is also a wide diversity of climate, ranging from tropical in the north to temperate and cool in the south-east and Tasmania. In the central regions desert conditions prevail.
The seasons vary with the latitude but are approximately: Spring (September-October), Summer (November-March), Autumn (April-May) and winter (June-August). In the north the year is divided into wet and dry seasons, the wet seasons occurring in summer with heavy monsoon rains from January to March. In the cooler areas of the extreme south-west, south-east and Tasmania, rainfall is distributed throughout the year, increasing in winter with snow in the highlands.
Most parts of the country enjoy a large measure of sunshine. Perth, capital of Western Australia, has on average eight hours of sunshine a day while all the capital cities enjoy an average of at least five hours. However, temperatures vary considerably and in some capital cities can change very rapidly.
Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne ad Canberra usually have a dry heat in summer with temperatures rising over 38C during heat waves. In Perth, summer afternoons are made bearable by the ‘Fremantle Doctor'; a cool humid wind that blows off the Indian Ocean. Sydney and Brisbane have subtropical climates and the humid conditions can be uncomfortable, from early January to mid-March in Sydney and from mid-December to mid-March in Brisbane. Summer in Tasmania is similar to that in north-west Europe.
Winter in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, and Brisbane is generally very pleasant (similar to that of the South of France) but temperatures are lower in Melbourne, Canberra and Hobart. Inland areas experience extremes of both heat and cold; generally the atmosphere is clear and there are long periods of sunshine by day but nights can be very cold with temperatures well below freezing point.
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, is the Federal capital and seat of government: Most Commonwealth Government departments have their headquarters in the city. The city is well laid-out and has a number of distinguished buildings; notable are the Australian High Court and the National Gallery, which houses the famous ‘Ned Kelly’ series of paintings by Sidney Nolan.
Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, is the largest Australian city. It also the oldest and not so well planned. There are many one-way streets, more than in any other Australian city and so driving can be rather tiresome. It is famous among other things for its harbour, bridge and opera house.
An urban renewal programme is underway in city centres areas such as Paddington where some old houses with iron lacework are being rehabilitated, though many old buildings are being demolished and replaced by blocks of flats.
Good transport facilities are available from the city centre to all the inner suburbs, both by road and rail. However, the city is so spread out that many of the outlying suburbs are poorly served by public transport.
Melbourne, capital of Victoria, is situated on the apex of Port Philip Bay, by the banks of the Yarra River. Known as the city of churches, Melbourne is unique in that it is the only capital in the country still using trams as the main method of travel and they are particularly effective when dealing with the rush hour crowds. Both the centre of the city and the suburbs have excellent shopping facilities, and some of the best facilities for sport in the country. It is notable for its many fine parks and gardens both within the inner city and the suburbs.
It was the national capital until the 1920s, and was the country’s business and cultural centre until the 1960s. There is great rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney, but it scores over the latter in style, high standards of restaurant, shopping facilities, and architecture. It is the most cosmopolitan of Australia’s cities due to the large number of immigrants, particularly Jews and Greeks (the largest number outside Athens), from Europe since the Second World War, and most recently Chinese and Vietnamese. In all there are some 170 ethnic groups in the city.
Brisbane capital of Queensland straddles the broad Brisbane River and is encircled by a chain of hills. The city is one of Australia’s largest river ports and its third largest urban centre. Brisbane’s border encloses 960 square kilometres and within that area lives nearly half of Queensland’s population. It is the largest growing state with 50,000 migrants a year both from other parts of Australia and from overseas. The city is prospering due to its proximity to markets in the Pacific region. Brisbane reflects a strong Californian influence. The average family dwelling is a singe storey house standing in its own plot, often with a swimming pool and boat; the car is an essential means of transport. The city, which is beautifully landscaped, has a fine array of public buildings, excellent shopping facilities, over 100 parks, theatres, cinemas and swimming pools.
Adelaide the capital of South Australia is one of Australia’s best-planned cities. Situated on the banks of the River Torrens, the city is surrounded by spacious parklands, all within walking distances of the city centre. There are numerous easily accessible coastal beaches. Amenities include plenty of theatres, night-clubs and art galleries. Suburban shopping centres are strategically placed and parking is rarely a problem.
Adelaide was christened the Festival City in 1960, when the first biennial Adelaide Festival of Arts was staged. This festival is now one of Australia’s most important cultural events and celebrities from all over the world come to take part in it. Adelaide also has its own Festival Centre built overlooking the Torrens River; it is impressive, functional and futuristic. There is a 2,000 seat concert theatre, a 650 drama theatre, a 350 seat experimental theatre and an outdoor amphitheatre for 12,000. A wine festival and Festival of Arts is held bi-annually.
Perth, capital of Western Australia is closer to Singapore than it is Sydney. It lies on the Swan River some 17km from the bustling port of Fremantle and was generally thought to be the most English of any Australian city until the 1960’s and Australia’s great immigration drive.It has many fine buildings and commercial houses and is well served with parks and gardens. The city’s pride is King’s Park, 400 hectares of natural bushland and botanical gardens, lakes and waterfalls on Mount Eliza, 1 mile from the city centre. The city’s economy is currently booming.
Darwin, a town originally established in 1869 under the name of Palmerston, sits astride a peninsula projecting into a fine natural harbour. The city is expanding rapidly, owing to the growth of tourism in the Territory and commercial development: a Trade Development Zone has been established near the city centre attracting companies dealing with imports and exports.
The Australians are sports loving people, which is not surprising considering they are endowed with such abundance of sunshine, space and unrivalled facilities for sport. With the exception of team games, there is no need to join a club to play, as there are many public courses and courts available on payment of a fee.
There is no type of sport which is not actively pursued in Australia, either as a spectator or as a participant. The most popular sports are tennis, cricket, swimming, surfing, football, riding, bushwalking and water skiing.
For water sports enthusiasts, there are fine sandy beaches within easy reach of all the capital cities. Additionally, all cities and large centres have Olympic size swimming pools.
Tennis is played all year round and the courts are numerous, although demand always seems to exceed supply. Skiing is popular and starts in June. The best known resorts are Perisher Blue and Thredbo (5hrs from Sydney); Mt Buffalo, Hotham and Falls Creek (3hrs from Melbourne).
Cinemas are a popular form of entertainment and all the cities and country towns are well equipped with spacious, air-conditioned cinemas. Some continental and other foreign language films are shown in the growing number of ‘arts’ cinemas in the cities.
Although some Australian cities are not well endowed with ‘live’ theatre companies, those that do exist enjoy considerable prosperity, and their number is supplemented by amateur companies that stage regular productions.
The exception is Melbourne, which has over 70 theatres. Each state has its own symphony orchestra and orchestral concerts are extremely popular. The Sydney Opera House provides fine facilities for opera and ballet and there are frequent visits by companies and solo performers from Europe and the United States.
There are national parks within easy reach of most cities, including the Blue Mountains National Park, Royal National Parks and Kuring-gai near Sydney and Kosciusko National Park south of Canberra.
National parks in the Northern Territory include Kakadu, and Uluru (Ayers Rock) near Alice Springs, offering spectacular landscapes, with rock paintings as evidence of the long history of habitation by Aboriginal culture.
There is an abundance of wildlife, from the marine creatures found on the Great Barrier Reef off the Coast of Queensland to the plants and animals of the tropical forest and bush lands. Many hundreds of species are native to Australia and, indeed, many can be seen only in a particular habitat in one area of the sub-continent.
Each city has a botanical garden, perhaps the most notable being Kings Park in Perth, which contains numerous plants and animals native to Western Australia as well as the Koalas, Wallabies, Budgerigars and eucalyptus so typical of Australia.
All Australian cities have good libraries and are well stocked with a wide variety of literature; this is either free or at a nominal charge.
Evening classes and day classes are available in a great variety of subjects. These are run by the Council of Adult education
If you had the impression that all Australians are beer-swilling Les Patterson lookalikes with hats surrounded by corks then think again. Australia is a multicultural race where over 140 different cultures are represented. This melting-pot of civilisations has given rise to a race of new Australians.
Multiculturalism is being encouraged by the government, the idea being that new blood is good for the country and leads to new ideas; immigrants (one in four people is either a first or second generation settler) are not required to assimilate, but rather to keep their own identity. Radio and TV programmers are broadcast in 57 languages and there are any number of ‘ethnic’ publications available.
Australians are very much an outdoor people, with alfresco dining and spectator sports occupying a large part of leisure time. However, just as many people nowadays go to galleries and museums as to sporting events. Live theatre, music, the arts, crafts etc. are flourishing in both major cities and smaller towns.In recent years Australians have acquired a greater sense of national identity and pride in their country.
An increasing number support the Australian Republic Movement whose aim is to sever links with the UK Crown. Despite closer economic and tourist links with Southeast Asia, few Australians consider their country as part of Asia.
The total population of Australia is almost 18 million. Around 10 million live in the south-eastern states of New South Wales and Victoria. Eighty per cent live within 30 km of the sea.
The vast majority of the people are of European heritage; most of the early settlers came from Britain but since the Second World War immigrants have been accepted from many parts of the world and the major cities, in particular, are now cosmopolitan. (The White Australian Policy was abandoned in the early 1970s).
Australian has accepted around half a million people as refugees since 1945. The main non-European ethnic minorities come from Hong Kong, Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, India and Sri Lanka. The Aboriginal people number some 250,000.
If you want to work in Australia, you will need skills or business abilities that will contribute to the country’s economic growth. You will need to pass a points test, which will assess you on the basis of skill (qualifications and experience in your occupation), age and language abilities, amongst other factors. Good English is essential for most occupations in Australia, if you are to find a job to match your skills and qualifications.
Australian labour market conditions vary significantly from time to time and between regions. Each occupation receives a Labour Market Rating, which is regularly reviewed by each State and Territory Government. Bear in mind that if you are willing to live outside major metropolitan centres, your application will stand a greater chance of success, because the Australian Government promotes a special scheme to help fill regional skill shortages. For many jobs in Australia, applicants must be eligible for membership of a professional or industry organisation and/or be able to be registered with an Australian state authority before they can work in their occupation. We will need to ascertain whether any such restrictions apply in your case.
Perhaps you would prefer to work for yourself, managing a business in Australia? If you have experience of running a successful business or substantial investment portfolio, or a track record as a senior executive in a large company, you may qualify on this basis.
If you have any family connections in Australia, this could certainly help with your visa application. We will fully explore this possibility on your behalf.
It is up to us to find a way of ensuring that you score sufficient points to reach the pass mark. But if you do not, all is not necessarily lost. Provided that you reach what is termed the pool mark, your application will be held in reserve for up to 24 months after it is assessed, in case a newer, lower, pass mark is set – or your circumstances change.
Be careful, though. The Australian Government varies the pool and pass marks from time to time in order to regulate the number of people arriving in Australia. You must reach the pass or pool mark in force at the time your application is assessed by the migration office, not when your application is lodged! So the timing of your application could be critical.