How hard is it for immigrants to find jobs?

Immigrating somewhere is a pretty big deal, and can be scary enough without worrying if you’ll get work when you arrive. Finding a job often has to be the first thing you do when you are settled—so how hard is it to find jobs for immigrants?

Finding a job as an immigrant is definitely harder than it is for nationals. Employers will find it more difficult to trust your credentials since they won’t be as familiar with the institution that awarded them. But if you are willing to adapt to the jobs available, finding work shouldn’t be overly hard.

It’s mostly the difference between finding the kind of specialised job you may have been used to at home compared to just finding any work that will pay the bills. As long as you’re somewhere with plenty of opportunity, there should be work of some kind or another that you can find relatively easily.

How hard is it for immigrants to find work?

Finding a job as an immigrant is harder as employers often favour local experience and study credentials. Employers will tend to favour credentials from their home country over those earned elsewhere. It mostly depends on how specialised the jobs you’re looking at are. When it comes to finding jobs in fields that you tend to spend a long time studying for, such as healthcare, you might need to get licensed all over again to practice in the country you migrate to. This can take years.

However, it really isn’t all that hard to find work of some kind for an immigrant. Big cities are probably the best places to go, as there will always be some kind of opportunity, whether that’s in a service job, call centre, or something similar which doesn’t require high levels of education or special qualifications.

Is it easy to find a job in Australia for immigrants?

It is not easy to find a job in Australia as an immigrant because immigrants face much tougher barriers to employment than natives do. The main difference is between whether you’re looking for specialized work or just whatever you can get. While neither is guaranteed to be easy, the key to making it as easy for yourself as possible is managing your expectations.

If you were a doctor or an engineer in your home country, don’t expect another such job to fall right into your lap. That will be a great deal harder for you as an immigrant, not to mention that you’ll have to retake any qualifying exams locally to ensure you meet Australian standards.  

Is it easy to find a job in Australia for immigrants

On the other hand, if you’re living in one of Australia’s major cities, and are willing to adapt to the jobs that are available and require little experience or qualifications, finding a job will be much easier.

Do immigrants find it difficult to get employment in Australia?

Immigrants very often do find it difficult to get employment in Australia due to factors like limited English skills. Even when you take into account the basic mind-set that you should be open to any opportunities available, this still doesn’t automatically make it easy—just easier.

Like anything, it can depend on many factors, but finding a job in Australia as an immigrant is difficult. The circumstances of your particular job search may make it a bit easier or a bit harder. But it’s always going to be a lot more difficult to find employment as an immigrant than as an Australian citizen.

Let’s look into why that might be.

Why it is hard for immigrant to find a job?

It’s hard for immigrants to find jobs mainly due to linguistic and cultural barriers. Studies have shown that, broadly speaking, the single most important factor making it harder for immigrants to find work is the language barrier.[1] Employers naturally like to get to know prospective employees, and that is simply harder when your English is even slightly lacking.

It’s not even all about the language itself in terms of grammar and syntax. There is also going to be a cultural divide which some employers may just not be able to look past.

Even for an immigrant that speaks the language perfectly, there are still considerable barriers. Qualifications you earned in your home country simply will not hold the same weight. This is, among other things, simply because employers can have better knowledge of the standards of local institutions.

There are always the challenges of visas and work permits, too. These can take some time to finalize. Without them, you won’t be able to get a job at all.

Finally, there’s the simple fact that once you’ve considered all this, everything that makes applying for jobs hard in the first place still applies. Competition is fierce, and there is an abundance of qualified people for any given job.

Why is it hard for an immigrant to find a job

What are the most common jobs for immigrants?

The most common jobs for immigrants tend to be manual labour like grading, sorting and picking in the agriculture industry. These jobs are always in high demand.

Another very common industry for immigrants is the beauty and care industry. Barbers, nail technicians and jobs of this kind are very common for immigrants.

Maintenance and construction jobs are also very common. Many immigrants are employed as things like stucco masons or plasterers. Many also find work installing drywall and ceiling tiles, or working in repair and maintenance positions for anywhere that might need one.

In terms of skilled work, nurse is often a very common position for immigrants.

Do immigrants get jobs in Australia?

Immigrants do get jobs in Australia in every industry, just not at the same rate as Australian nationals. Just as in any country with a relatively high rate of immigration, immigrant workers play a key role in the national economy. That still doesn’t mean finding work is easy for them.

What we’ve said so far is not that finding a job in Australia for an immigrant is impossible. It is simply that it will be far harder than it would for a local. The service industry and entry level jobs are always out there and always available, and of course immigrants do get specialized jobs, too. But they get them at a far lower rate than nationals do.

Can I immigrate to Australia without a job offer?

Legally speaking, you can definitely immigrate to Australia without a job offer. There’s no requirement on you to have a job offer waiting for you when you arrive. There are different kinds of visas for immigrants to Australia, though, and some do require a job offer in hand.

But there is a whole visa subclass which is designed exactly for immigrants with no job offer. Visa subclass 189 requires certain language proficiency, skill assessments, and some experience in a job from the Occupation Skill List, but doesn’t require you to have a job waiting for you.

Which part of Australia is best for immigrant jobs?

Sydney is most likely the best place in Australia for immigrant jobs in Australia. It is the country’s most populous city, so there’s always plenty of opportunity for immigrant workers. Whether in a highly skilled job or an entry level service position or through a Sydney labour hire agency, Sydney has plenty of opportunity. New South Wales more broadly is always a good bet, too.

Melbourne is also a very good choice. Again, it’s a large city with a bustling international community. Employers in any area where there is already a high immigrant population are more likely to be favourable to immigrants. Melbourne was voted seven times as the most liveable city in the world.

Adelaide, too, is a great choice as it is often thought of as the seat of Aboriginal culture in Australia. This has made it very friendly to immigrant workers.

The best general advice is that if you move anywhere with a dense population, you’re in with a better chance of finding a job more easily.

How do you get a job if you are an immigrant?

To get a job as an immigrant, you will have to go above and beyond in a few ways. The first thing to say is that you’ll need to review, in detail, the local visa laws for where you are travelling. Depending on where you’re going and the kind of work you might want to apply for, you may need a different kind of visa.

Once you’ve got the basics sorted, the next thing is simply your mindset. If you’re aiming for specialized jobs, which you certainly shouldn’t be discouraged from, be prepared for added competition. You may have to prove yourself to the employer much more than someone native to the country would.

On the other hand, be prepared to adapt to whatever work is available if you are struggling to land those specialized positions. As long as you can demonstrate basic competency in a few areas, you won’t have trouble getting a job such as this. In the meantime, you can always continue looking for your dream job while having something to pay the bills.


[1] ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4347467/