If you are considering immigrating to Australia to live and work, it’s likely that you’ll immediately think of the major cities of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne as possible locations to settle. However, there are reasons to widen your list of potential places with the government offering some incentives for regional work in Australia.
What Is Meant by Regional Australia?
The Australian Government defines the regions as follows:
- Category 1 – ‘Major Cities’ of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane
- Category 2 – ‘Cities and Major Regional Centres of Perth, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Wollongong/Illawarra, Geelong and Hobart
- Category 3 – ‘Regional Centres and Other Regional Areas’ which includes any area not listed as category 1 or 2 above.
Regional incentives are available for skilled migrants who migrate to locations classified as Category 2 ‘Cities and Major Regional Centres’ or Category 3 ‘Regional Centres and Other Regional Areas.’ You can check if the city or area you are targeting is a designated regional area on the Visa Go Australia website. Check which category a postcode falls into.
Regional Incentives to Migrate
The Australian Government has created new visas providing a pathway to permanent residency and has also committed regional funding for facilities such as sports clubs, language learning and community hubs to help migrants to settle in the regions.
Australia’s regional migration program consists of:
- Two skilled regional provisional visas that provide a pathway to permanent residence
- Skilled Worker Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)
- Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494)
- Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191)
- Additional points under the Skilled Migration Points Test for skilled migrants nominated to live and work in regional Australia
- More options for international students who graduate from regional universities
The aim of these programs is to encourage more migrants to immigrate to places in Australia other than the three major cities to help solve skilled worker shortages across the country.
In the past year, some states, including Western Australia, have also relaxed visa criteria such as the length of work contracts, requirement for a certain level of English, and amount of funds needed to be brought into the country, as well as waiving the $200 visa fee to attract a larger migrant workforce. 
Preparing for Work in the Regions
If you are immigrating to find regional work in Australia, there is some preparation you’ll need to do.
Understanding the culture
It is important to understand the culture when looking for regional work in Australia. Outside of the major cities, you will find people are very welcoming, down-to-earth and have a great sense of humour. Australians value people who aren’t afraid to try something new and many of them are very keen on sports, especially cricket and Aussie football, so having some knowledge of these topics can be a great way to get the conversation flowing.
Aside from your working visa you will also require the following:
- A Tax File Number (TFN), without which you will be taxed at 46.5% so get this sorted out as soon as possible
- An Australian bank account – you can open a bank account online or in person
- Copies of any qualifications you hold
- An up-to-date resume tailored to the sort of jobs you would like to get
- A mobile phone with an Australian or international SIM card so agencies and prospective employers can contact you easily
Australians generally have a ‘can do’ attitude, and employers will be drawn to staff who are positive and can be flexible in the workplace.
There are a wide variety of roles within regional Australia that are available for migrants to take, including everything from agriculture and accountancy to zookeeper and zoologist.
Transitioning from a 12-month Working Holiday visa
If you hold a 12-month Working Holiday visa (subclasses 417/462), it is possible to transition to the Skilled Worker Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) visa that can lead to permanent residency. Ensure you leave sufficient time before your Working Holiday visa expires to complete the new visa application process.
Starting the Process of Immigrating to Australia
Immigrating to Australia as a skilled migrant is becoming easier as the government looks to fill open vacancies by making visa in Australia more available . To find out more about how to start the process, visit the immigration section on the government website or check out these FAQs.
Sending money from Australia
Working in Australia can provide a good income as wages are higher than in many other parts of the world. Although living costs are also likely to be higher, you may have surplus money available. This means you can send money from Australia to family in other countries to help pay regular monthly bills such as groceries and rent.
The simplest way to make a money transfer is using the Western Union money transfer app. You can send money direct to your recipient’s bank account, to an agent location for them to pick up cash, and also to a mobile wallet depending on what country you’re sending money to. If you need assistance to complete your cross-border payment, check out the frequently asked questions in our Help Centre.