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The labour market in Australia is very large, with many opportunities for overseas workers to contribute. Nationally, the main Australian industries include mining, industrial transportation, finance, health and medical, education, tourism, food processing, chemicals, and steel.

There is a minimum wage in Australia, which is a federally mandated minimum that Australian businesses must pay to their employees. Note that the federal minimum wage for adult workers is $18.29 per hour or $694.90 per 38 hour week (before tax), as of July 2017. Australia is known for its generous salaries, which is a drawcard for expats who relocate to Australia. To learn more about the salary ranges offered within your field, it is useful to do research online, reading through job ads, or speak to a recruitment or employment agency.

Depending on which visa you have, you may be covered under Australia’s national healthcare scheme, called Medicare. If you qualify for Medicare, you can apply for a Medicare card, which will allow you free or low-cost medical services. All taxpayers are taxed a Medicare Levy Surcharge to fund Medicare, but if you are not eligible to receive Medicare, you can claim the surcharge back when you file your taxes. It is important to note that the Australian financial year goes from July 1-June 30th, so most Australians will file and pay their yearly taxes from July-October.

Working hours and culture

The legal working week is set at 38 hours and 4 weeks of paid holiday, referred to as annual leave, are granted per year. Although the traditional business hours are from 9am-5pm, many businesses over flexibility with working hours. Employees are also granted personal leave of at least 10 days per year, which can cover illness or leave required to care for a loved one. In addition to the annual and personal leave, staff are entitled to public holidays, which may be national or state-specific.

Visit the Workplace Authority website to find out more about salary scales, studies and surveys about the Australian labour market or about minimum wage policies at.

Australians generally are known for their relaxed and flexible lifestyles, and this culture sometimes extends into the workplace. While it is important to always act and dress in a professional manner, you may find that suits, ties, and formal business attire may not be required in your workplace as they are in other countries. Australian workplaces can also be very social, with morning teas, office lunches, or Friday afternoon drinks being common. Participating is a great way to get to know your new colleagues- despite alcohol being common in Australia, people are always respectful of those who do not drink.

A good level of spoken and written English is an important skill when applying for jobs within Australia. If you are planning a move to Australia, consider taking English language classes, either before you relocate or once you are in Australia. Australian community centres, colleges, and even churches often offer English classes for non-native English speakers, at low cost. English classes can be a great way to improve your skills, and even meet new people.

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