Australian cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane continued to rate among the highest for quality of life with criteria including; political, social, economic and environmental factors, personal safety and health, education, transport and public services. The culture is very similar to South Africa, and with a large South African community in Australia and New Zealand this remains a very popular destination for qualified accountants. The economy is developed with a high quality of life (although cost of living, especially in place like Sydney, are quite high). The key opportunities are in the finance, oil, gas and power, mining, building and infrastructure markets. There is quite an influx of people from Asia due to its close proximity, and this has had a cultural impact as well.
Immigration rules in Australia are quite strict, and if you don’t an Australian passport or have family there you basically have 2 options:
- Employee sponsored visa – i.e. the 457 visa, which is the most common work visa and allows you to work in Australia for up to 4 years. It is also transferable to another employer since 2009, which gives some more flexibility.
- Skilled migrant program – Annual quotas per occupation is set and skilled workers can apply for a visa under this program without having to be sponsored by an employer. Annual quotas will cap the number of skilled workers from each occupation allowed into the pool each year, to stop it from being dominated by particular occupations. Once these places are filled (which they quickly do), applications will be closed off until the next year.