Finding a Job in Canberra/ACT

Canberra is Australia’s capital and located in the Australian Capital Territory, which is why you will often find Canberra mentioned with the abbreviation ACT. It’s Australia’s largest inland city and the eighth largest city.

However finding a job in Canberra may not be so easy, certainly not for an expat. Unemployment might be low but there are challenges for expats looking for work in Canberra so you need to bear this in mind when considering moving to the ACT. You will also need to be a permanent resident unless you are looking for work on a Temporary Visa.

State Sponsorship in Canberra

The Federal Government is the largest employer in Canberra and if you are lucky enough to have an occupation that is on the State Migration Plan Occupations List then you may be able to get state sponsorship. State sponsorship does not guarantee a job however and you will still have to compete with native Australians for current job vacancies, but if the state is willing to sponsor you then it’s a step in the right direction and it brings you closer to getting that vital visa which you’ll need for many of the jobs advertised. Discover if your skills are listed on the ACT Occupation List 2012-2012.

Security Clearance

Be warned that many Federal Government jobs require applicants to apply for security clearance and only Australian citizens can be awarded this clearance. Such security clearance can be waived by a department or government agency if the occupation is a highly sought one and no suitable Australian citizen has been found but this is rare.

Also note that being a permanent resident does not make you a citizen. Once you are a permanent resident in Australia you will need to apply to become a full Australian citizen and pass the Citizenship Test. More information on becoming an Australian citizen is on the Australian Government Website.

This is one of the reasons why so many expat sites fail to mention much about getting work in Canberra. If you want to live and work here you need to be determined and bloody minded.

Private Sector Jobs

The private sector makes up around half of all jobs advertised and there are certain areas within this sector that are struggling to fill vacancies so all you can do is to contact those companies. You can still try government agencies but your best bet might be with private sector companies. Ask them if they will consider employing a permanent resident and go from there. On all the expat forums the advice is the same, just keep trying and you may get lucky. There are a few who make it onto the jobs market but do you need to be stubborn and not prone to giving up! You could also try contacting a few agencies who should be able to give you some pointers in the right direction.

A couple of agencies to try are and It’s hard, but not impossible for an expat to find work in Canberra.