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Destination Down Under

I could use some insight from someone familiar with working abroad. I’m a college senior who’s graduating soon, and I plan to move to Australia with my long-term boyfriend. He got a really good job offer at a tech company there.

I’ve never traveled outside of the US, so I started the process of getting my passport. I’m also trying to figure out my own working situation. I’d like to start a career in marketing, since that’s what my degree concentration is.

How’s the job market in Brisbane? Are there jobs promoted specifically for American expatriates? Any help would be much appreciated.

You certainly aren’t the first American to leave the US for foreign soils and a life abroad. While some people might limit themselves to temporary excursions, others choose to begin careers and settle down for the long haul. Those who opt to work and live abroad usually have a challenging time acquiring the necessary visas to do so. There’s plenty of bureaucratic hoops to jump through successfully. Fortunately, Australia happens to be a major outlier when it comes to letting foreigners contribute to their workforce and economy.

Mimi McFadden at The Atlas Heart wrote a guide to getting a work visa. Expect to be pleasantly surprised. However, the visa expires after one year. That means that, while it would grant you entry into the country, you’d still need to find another way to extend your stay beyond that time. Mimi also mentions that some of her friends landed careers and were eventually awarded visa sponsorship, because they were considered too valuable to let go. It’s possible that you could find positions there advertised with Americans in mind; however, there are no guarantees.

It’s important to remember that starting your career is no trivial endeavor, especially if you intend to jumpstart it as an expatriate working abroad. You’re in luck, though, because the city of Brisbane maintains a public resource designed to help those trying to find work. There are multiple career databases cited there that should serve as great places to start. The writers also echo Mimi, in terms of skills shortages and rarity. If you have a unique skill or one that is comparatively difficult to find in Australia, you’ll definitely have an advantage.

White-collar careers related to marketing most definitely exist in Australia. There are boutique agencies that offer SEO services in Brisbane. There’s also no shortage of web development companies local to Australia that could use marketing expertise. At the end of the day, the grand majority of organizations rely on marketing, to some extent. That means your educational background and career path is highly relevant. The trick is finding the right fit.

Also, be aware of the fact that the Australian job market is in the process of recovering from an economic downturn from the mining boom. The good news is that things look much more promising. The shifting economic focus is having an impact on how and where residents live, which is something you’ll have to navigate when you arrive there. Ellen Lutton at Domain explains the relationship between the two trends. She goes so far as to reveal which property markets to watch carefully. Take her perspective into consideration when the time comes to explore housing.

You have some further research to do. Also, don’t underestimate the value of having a discussion about your plans with your boyfriend. You’re both in this together.

“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” – Danny Kaye


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