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Having chosen to do what is known as skilled migration, my husband and I enlisted an immigration agent to submit our visa application. In enlisting the help of an agent only to advise us and submit our application for a visa, we did a very independent move. The process cost 5000$AU and took two years and once we got here the real work of finding a job started.
For many, like yourselves, two years can be a long wait particularly as you don't know if your application is going to be successful or not. The alternative is a job sponsorship visa. This is by far the quickest way as the process can take as little as 4 weeks and having a job to come to solves all the waiting and job hunting stress.
Whilst based in Switzerland we tried to get directly sponsored by an information technology company, (my husband's profession), but in our experience they weren't in themselves very forthcoming. Since living here we have found that most companies outsource their overseas recruitment.
There is a skills shortage here, particularly but by no means only, in the medical profession and trades. Listed on the official Migration Occupations in Demand are, to give a sample, Anesthetists, Civil Engineers, Dentists, Hospital Pharmacists, OT, Brick layers, Plumbers, Welders, Plasters ......the list goes on. (for a copy contact details are given below).
With trades there is a shortage of apprentices and little home trained skilled workers growing up in the trade profession due to the way the training is organized. So if you are exceptionally skilled but 45 or over this is a good visa option. You could come and train tradespeople. There may be some options available to you under the Employer Nomination Scheme. What happens here is that with the help of a specialist migration company (www.aussiemigrant.com email:
) you are matched up with an employer who is seeking to recruit someone with your type of skills (trade). The employer may well be able to sponsor you to migrate.
Skills assessment forms and sponsorship assessment forms do tend to frighten people off as for all visa types but selection is based on experience or qualifications or a mixture of both depending on the nature of the job. It is possible to cross over on several categories and produce a mixture of supportive application evidence. For example, a plumber by trade may currently be working in another job but can apply using all his experience. In a portfolio demonstrating ability, evidence can range from customer recommendations, to photos of jobs done, as well as written references, depending on the nature of the employer/industry you are hoping to be sponsored by.
As with all visa types ask for advice and keep an open mind. Give as much information about the nature of your experience, background and knowledge of your skills as well as qualifications. Formal qualifications aren't the only way for all professions.
Talking to an Immigration Agent, it is clear that companies struggle to get themselves ready to sponsor people, even though they desperately need to bring in skilled workers. To sponsor someone companies need to: offer a good salary, provide a moving package, write a good solid contract with a job outline and description, they have to prove their commitment to training existing Australian residents, produce various information about themselves as an organization and be of a certain size in number. For many this has been hard work in the past but is now becoming essential and an easier process.
Looking for Work Once Here
One of the problems independent new immigrants encounter is finding work once here. I picked up a job teaching (the field of work I've been in for 5 years) in an institute of higher education, without too much trouble. It does on average however, take up to six months to get a first job here.
To avoid too much disappointment it is worth enlisting with as many recruitment agents as possible, as well as checking job ads in the papers. For searching for general work Job Network is the government agency for job searching and there is the Saturday newspapers advertising jobs (The Courier Mail for Queensland). The best website we've found for professional, trade and general local jobs is Careerone www.careerone.com.au and Seek www.seek.com.au. For a list of recruitment agencies: www.brisbanecitylife.com.au/bcl/jobs.htm.