12 Things you need to know if you’re thinking of moving to Western Australia

1. It’s a skills shortage- not a labour shortage: Western Australia’s mining and energy boom has created a skills shortage- not a labour shortage. There are plenty of Western Australians actively seeking lucrative jobs in the mining and energy sector.

2. Ensure your skills and qualifications are recognized before you come to WA.  You won’t secure employment unless you have the necessary skills AND your qualifications are recognized in WA before you come to WA.  Arriving in WA without the necessary skills and recognition will lead to great disappointment, long delays and financial hardship.

Before you move to Western Australia, all skills should assessed by an Australia assessing body if you wish to gain a subclass 457 visa (the visa for skilled workers from outside Australia who have been sponsored and nominated by a business to work in Australia on a temporary basis). To find information on how to assess skills, go to the Australian Department of Immigration, Immigration Network Australia, or Skills Shortage Solutions. For resource industry specific information, go to the Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA, or The Resource Channel.

News Links on the subject:
The West Australian – Get foot in door of WA’s mining boom
The Australian – Irish workers flock to greener pastures
ABC – Engineers top WA’s skills shortage list
ABC – How to score a high paying job in the mining boom

3. Not everyone is suited to FIFO: Due to the remote position of many mine sites and resource projects, many jobs are on a Fly In, Fly Out (FIFO) roster. The roster can vary, with common shifts including: 8 days on, 6 days off or 14 days on, 7 days off.

News links:
Sydney Morning Herald – FIFO, FIFO, it’s off to work we go
Sydney Morning Herald – Fly-in, fly-out jobs strain families and work loyalty

4. Perth offers a fabulous lifestyle- at a price: Perth consistently ranks very high in the cities of the world with a great lifestyle. With sun and sea and a modern city – it’s hard to beat. However, Perth is considered to be an expensive city to live in. In 2011 Perth ranked in the top 20 most expensive cities in the world. Daily costs have increased over recent years but Perth was also recently ranked the 8th most livable city in the world determined by quality of lifestyle.

News Links:
WA Today – Frightening day-to-day costs creep up the salary ladder
WA Today – Perth the world’s ’19th most expensive city’
Migration WA – Economy and Finance
WA Today – Perth the world’s 8th most liveable city

5. The rental market is very tight:  Due to the influx to migrants to support the mining boom, Perth is a rapidly expanding city. As a result, there is currently a rental crisis in Perth, with costs rising and availability decreasing. For information on rental properties, visit the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia website

News Links:
The West Australian – Perth house rents set to soar
Perth Now – Rents hit the roof in WA
The West Australian – Rental squeeze creates bidding war
WA Today – More coming to WA, but where can they live?

6. You’ll need a car:  Perth is a sprawling city, with large distances travelled regularly. Efficiently getting around Perth can be difficult without a car. Transperth, the local transport service, is reliable and offers buses, ferries and trains to help you get around the inner city.
News Links:

Perth Now – Perth growth spurt tops urban sprawl in LA, Tokyo

7. Responsible service of alcohol (“RSA”): To work in a bar in Western Australia, or any licensed venue, you must be formally trained in the responsible service of alcohol. All bar staff, managers and licensees must be formally trained in responsible service. All necessary training information can be found here.

The pub drinking culture in Western Australia is very different to Ireland. Police regularly monitor pubs and hotels to ensure that customers are not “adversely affected by alcohol”. If a customer is adversely affected by alcohol is discovered by police the doorperson, the barperson and the publican are heavily fined. So, while you may be far from drunk- you will be evicted from a pub if you show signs of being adversely affected by alcohol.

8. Healthcare is not free: You will need health insurance as temporary residents are not eligible for Medicare – the Government funded healthcare system that is generally restricted to people living permanently in Australia.

News links and information:
Health WA
Dept. of Immigration and Citizenship – Health Insurance FAQs – Visa Holders
The Australian – Hospitals say no to free visa health

9. Primary and secondary education may not be free. The children of newly arrived migrants are not necessarily entitled to free education. Please check with the WA Department of education.

10. Buy a return ticket: If you are coming out on a working holiday visa, do not buy a one-way ticket. You should also have either a return or onward ticket, or at least the funds for a fare to depart Australia if travelling on a one-way ticket. You need to have access to sufficient funds to support yourself at least for the initial stage of your holiday in Australia. You may be asked to show evidence of this on arrival to satisfy immigration officials.

More information: Australian Visa Bureau – Working Holiday

11. Insure. Insure. Insure: you’ll need travel insurance and health insurance at the very least. Don’t expect the state authorities to dig you out if you are sick or injured.

12. You’ll love the lifestyle: Perth is one of the best cities in the world. It may be an isolated city but the sunny climate and beautiful beaches ensure a happy, active lifestyle. Perth is a dynamic city and there are tremendous opportunities for migrants in here.

Come and join us- but please think and plan carefully before you make the big decision.

More information:
Move to Perth
Living In Perth