How to Work in Australia as an OFW

Have you ever thought about living and working in the land “Down Under”? That’s right! We’re talking about a vast country located in the southern part of the globe: Australia. For several years now, many Filipinos have been coming to work in this country, with some even living here permanently and calling it as their second home.

With diverse landscapes, such as the natural beauty of the “outback” to the vibrant towns and cities all around — Australia is a fantastic place to be in. Interestingly, there is a high demand for workers in various industries: healthcare, agriculture, education, skilled trades, tourism, information technology, and more.

The fact that Filipino-Australians comprise the third largest immigrant community (just behind Chinese-Australians and Indian-Australians) also makes this country a top choice for Pinoy job seekers. In this article, we will take a closer look at how you can work in Australia as an overseas Filipino worker (OFW).

How to Work in Australia as an OFW


There are various “pathways” to working in Australia. Some people get hired as skilled workers for a temporary period, before getting the chance to work and stay permanently in the country. Similarly, some people start out as students (e.g. undergraduate or graduate), before getting the opportunity to work, and eventually, to stay permanently in Australia, as well.

Of course, to be able to work in Australia, you need to have a working visa. Depending on the type of job and visa that you will apply for, you need to meet certain requirements, including age, physical fitness, educational attainment, skills, training, and job experience.

Types of Work Visas

There is actually quite a number of Australian work visas… more than 40 different types, in fact! Here is an overview of several types of work visas that you can apply for. These have been grouped into “temporary” and “permanent” types, respectively:

1. Temporary Visas

As the name says, these visas are valid for a limited period only. These visas are issued for different purposes, depending on the job vacancy or demand:

  • Temporary Work (International Relations) Visa (Subclass 403). This visa is issued during special circumstances only, with the purpose of improving Australia’s international relations.
  • Temporary Activity Visa (Subclass 408). A visa that enables the applicant to perform certain types of work on a short-term basis in Australia.
  • Skilled-Recognized Graduate Visa (Subclass 476). This visa enables recent graduates (i.e. engineering graduates) to live, work, or study in Australia for up to 18 months. They must be under 31 years of age, and must have completed a degree or higher qualification from a specified institution within the past couple of years.
  • Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482). A visa that enables employers to sponsor qualified workers for a position wherein they cannot find a qualified Australian citizen.
  • Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485). This visa enables international students to live, study, and work in Australia after they have completed their studies.
  • Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 489). A visa that is issued to skilled workers who would like to live and work in a specific region of Australia. Notably, those who are granted this type of visa may eventually apply for a Regional (Permanent) Skilled Worker Visa (Subclass 887).
  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional Visa) (Subclass 491). This visa is issued to qualified people who have been designated by a state or territory government to live and work in regional Australia.
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 494). A visa that allows regional employers to address specific labor shortages in their region. If they are not able to find a qualified Australian worker, they can sponsor skilled workers from other countries.

2. Permanent Visas

As the term says, the following visas come with the possibility of becoming permanent residents in Australia:

  • Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186). This visa enables skilled workers appointed by an employer to live and work in Australia permanently.
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187). A visa that enables skilled workers appointed by an employer to live and work permanently in a specific region of Australia.
  • Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189). This visa is issued to guest workers, New Zealand citizens, and Hong Kong or British (overseas) passport holders to live and work in Australia permanently, provided that they have the necessary skills.
  • Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190). A visa that enables designated skilled workers to live and work as permanent residents in Australia.
  • Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa (Subclass 191). This visa enables workers to live and work in Australia permanently, as long as they hold an eligible visa and meet the income requirements.
  • Global Talent Visa (Subclass 858). A permanent resident visa issued to people who are recognized internationally, with exceptional and outstanding achievements in relevant fields.
  • Skilled Regional Visa (Subclass 887). This visa is issued to those who have lived and worked in specific parts of regional Australia on a previous eligible visa. This visa enables them to work and study anywhere in the country, as well as apply for citizenship.

These are just some of the work visa options for Filipinos and other nationalities who would like to stay in Australia. Please note that the visa depends on your specific skills and job experience. Meanwhile, the processing time for these visas also vary, from as short as a few weeks, up to two years or even more.


When applying for an Australian work visa, here are some of the most important documents that you need to prepare:

  • Passport;
  • Filled in questionnaire;
  • 1 colored photo;
  • Official letter from an employer about a job offer;
  • Original and copy of the document on the work permit; and
  • Information about the position(s), income received, and available savings of the applicant.

Aside from the above, other documents may be required, depending on the specific type of visa you are applying for. For more details about additional requirements for specific types of visas, please visit the official website of the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs.

NOTE: The Department of Home Affairs is an interior ministry of the Australian Government. It is responsible for overseeing border control, citizenship, emergency management, immigration, law enforcement, multicultural affairs, national security, refugees, and transport security, among other concerns.

Most Popular Jobs in Australia for Overseas Filipino Workers

As mentioned earlier, the most popular industries in Australia are healthcare, skilled trades, agriculture, education, tourism, and information technology. And so, here is a list of the most in-demand jobs in the country, grouped according to industry:

  • Healthcare – nurses, doctors, medical technologists, occupational therapists, caregivers, etc.
  • Skilled trades – construction managers, electricians, engineers, plumbers, welders, fabricators, metal workers, automotive mechanics, metal fitters, machinists, vehicle painters, panel beaters, truck drivers, etc.
  • Agriculture – livestock farmers, agriculturists, farm technicians, meat boners, slaughterers, slicers, etc.
  • Education – subject teachers, English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers, early childhood teachers, childcare workers, primary school teachers, secondary school teachers, teaching assistants, etc.
  • Tourism – hotel managers, hotel staff, receptionists, chefs, cooks, restaurant managers, waiters, waitresses, housekeepers, etc.
  • Information Technology (IT) – software developers, software and applications programmers, cybersecurity specialists, software engineers, business and systems analysts, etc.

How to Become an OFW in Australia

Are you thinking about becoming an OFW in Australia? Here are some of the major steps that you’ll need to take:

1. Find a job that fits your skills and credentials.

Before anything else, you need to check if there are jobs that fit your educational background, skills, training, job experience, and other credentials. The best place to look would be at the official website of the Philippine Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), which has a list of approved job orders for OFWs around the world, including job orders in Australia.

Notably, DMW is an executive department of the Philippine  Government. It is responsible for protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of OFWs and their families.

2. Verify if the job is offered by a licensed manpower agency.

For each job order, there is a manpower or recruitment agency offering it. Be sure to check if this agency is accredited or licensed by the Department of Migrant Workers. You can do this by searching for the agency’s name at the DMW official website.

If, indeed, the agency is licensed by the DMW, you can contact them to inquire about applying for the job.

3. Check if the job is included in Australia’s SOL.

The acronym SOL stands for “Skilled Occupation List.” Basically, it is a list of jobs that are in-demand in Australia. In other words, these are the occupations with “shortages” of qualified workers. If the job you are applying for is included in the list, this could increase your chances of getting your visa application approved.

To verify if the job you are seeking is part of the Skilled Occupation List, do check out this webpage on the official website of the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs.

4. Apply for your Australian work visa.

Together with your manpower agency and prospective employer, gather and prepare the requirements for an Australian work visa. As mentioned previously, there are different visa types available, depending on the job you seek. Moreover, there are temporary work visas, and visas that could lead to permanent residency.

As part of your application, you will also need to take a language test, while also having your skills and credentials assessed.

English Language Test. In particular, your proficiency in the English language will be evaluated, using standardized tests such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). These tests are accepted by the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs. The score that you need to achieve on these tests would depend on the specific type of visa that you are applying for.

In the Philippines, the IELTS is conducted by the British Council as well as the International Education Specialists (IDP). (NOTE: The British Council is an international cultural relations organization of the United Kingdom; meanwhile, IDP is an Australian-listed company that provides global education services). You can choose from either a paper-based or computer-based test.

Skills and Credentials Assessment. Keep in mind that each job involves a specific assessment authority. For example, if you’re applying to be a pilot, your skills and credentials will be checked by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). On the other hand, if you’re applying to be an agricultural technician, your skills and credentials will be checked by the Vocational Education and Training Assessment Services (VETASSESS). Head to this webpage and view your job to verify which authority (or authorities) will be involved in your case.

Of course, as part of your Australian work visa application, be sure to prepare your high school diploma, college diploma or certificate, transcript of records (TOR), English language test certificate, and other related documents.

5. Prepare for moving to Australia.

As soon as your visa is granted, you can now start preparing for your move to Australia. Yay!

Work Visas for Spouses or Partners

Interestingly, most Australian work visas come with the option to include your spouse or common-law partner in your application. Another scheme enables spouses or partners to apply for the same type of visa as you (as the main applicant).

For instance, if you have a student visa and you can work for limited hours (e.g. maximum of 40 hours every two weeks), your spouse and partner would also have the same type of visa as a student and as a worker (with limited working hours also).

In any case, whether you decide to include your spouse in your application, or if they would apply for the same type of visa… Either way, you will still need to prove that your relationship is genuine by providing a marriage certificate, joint bank accounts, lease agreements, and other documents.

Licensed Recruitment Agencies to Australia

One of the first — and crucial steps — to working in Australia is finding a trusted recruitment agency. Fortunately, the Philippine Department of Migrant Workers (DMWs) has a list of accredited agencies that are licensed to facilitate the recruitment of OFWs to Australia, or any other country, for that matter.

Below is a list of manpower agencies that are licensed by the DMW when it comes to deploying OFWs to Australia:

  • 101 Mojo Int’l Corporation;
  • 1st Dynamic Personnel Resources Inc.;
  • 21st Century Manpower Resources Inc.;
  • 7107 Islands Placement and Promotions Inc.;
  • Admiral Overseas Employment Corporation;
  • Advance Group Link Manpower Services Inc.;
  • Al-Kingsmen International Manpower Services Co.;
  • AMI Global Recruitment;
  • Archangel Global Solutions Incorporated;
  • Ascend International Services Inc.;
  • Bison Management Corporation;
  • BM Skyway General Services and Trading;
  • Building Better Lives Manpower Services International Inc.;
  • Camox Philippines Inc.;
  • Caves Treasures Manpower and Construction Corporation;
  • Cirrus Global Inc.;
  • Continuous Resources International Inc.;
  • CPL Masters Recruitment Agency Inc.;
  • East West Placement Center Inc.;
  • Golden Rammad International Manpower Services;
  • H.M.O. International Recruitment Inc.;
  • Ikon Solutions Asia Inc.;
  • Interasia Outsource Inc.;
  • International Skill Development Inc.;
  • IPeople Manpower Resources Inc.;
  • Joblane International Manpower Services Inc.;
  • Leits Go International Recruitment Inc.;
  • Multi-Orient Manpower and Management Services Inc.;
  • Omanfil International Manpower Development Corporation;
  • Power Horizon International Resources Inc.;
  • Principalia Management and Personnel Consultants Inc.;
  • Profile Overseas Manpower Services Inc.;
  • QRD International Placement Inc.;
  • SGS Human Resources Corporation;
  • Staffhouse International Resources Corporation;
  • Uniplan Overseas Employment Inc.;
  • VFG International Placement Inc.; and
  • YWA Human Resource Corporation.

NOTE: Head to the official website of the Philippine Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) to view the full list of manpower agencies that are accredited to recruit OFWs worldwide, including land-based as well as sea-based OFWs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Meanwhile, here are some frequently asked questions and answers about working in Australia as an OFW:

1. Who are qualified to work in Australia?

The qualifications to work in Australia would depend on the specific type of job you are applying for. Generally speaking, you need to meet certain requirements such as age, educational attainment, physical fitness, skills certifications, and job experience.

2. What are the requirements?

There are different types of Australian work visas, each with its own set of documentary requirements. That being said, the most common requirements include your passport, filled-in questionnaire, colored photo, an official letter from your employer about a job offer, and other important documents.

3. What are the most in-demand jobs for OFWs?

Healthcare, skilled trades, agriculture, education, tourism, and information technology are among the most popular industries in Australia these days. Hence, the most in-demand jobs include: nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, engineers, mechanics, electricians, livestock farmers, farm technicians, subject teachers, ESL teachers, early childhood teachers, hotel staff, chefs, cooks, receptionists, software developers, cybersecurity specialists, and many more.

4. How can I become an OFW in Australia?

There are different “pathways” to becoming an OFW in Australia. You could start out as a student or as a temporary worker before eventually applying for permanent residence. Meanwhile, if your job happens to be on Australia’s “Skilled Occupation List” (SOL), this could increase your chances of getting hired or becoming a permanent resident faster.

In any case, the steps involve finding a job and a licensed manpower agency, taking the necessary steps such as passing an English language test and having your credentials checked by an assessment authority. Once you have your working visa, you can start preparing for your move to Australia!

5. How can I learn more about working in Australia?

You can learn more about becoming an OFW and working in Australia by checking out the official website of the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs. Similarly, you can also get in touch with the Australian Embassy in Manila, whose contact details are provided below.

Contact Information: Australian Embassy in Manila

Here are the contact details and location map of the Australian Embassy in the Philippines. Their office is situated in Makati City, Metro Manila:

Address: Level 23 Tower, RCBC Plaza Tower 2, 6819 Ayala Ave, Makati, 1200 Metro Manila, Philippines
Telephone: +63 2 7757 8100

Google Map:

Video: Tips for Getting a Job in Australia

Would you like to know how you can increase your chances of getting a job in Australia? Watch this video featuring helpful tips and advice from Ms. Rhea Lorraine, a Filipina nurse who is based in Australia:

Additional Reminders

What’s it really like to live in Australia? Here are some tips and information about the weather, language, culture, lifestyle, and other matters about living “down under”:

Diverse Weather. Australia is such a vast country, and so the weather differs greatly, depending on your location. For instance, the northern part of the country is described as more “tropical,” whereas the southern part is characterized by rainy winters and mild summers.

Australian English. When it comes to spoken and written English, the language is closer to British English, rather than American English which most Filipinos are familiar with. The Australian English accent and vocabulary is also unique. But don’t worry… You prepare yourself by watching different videos about this topic!

Work-Life Balance. When it comes to work, Australians are known to have a more casual or relaxed attitude, with the average working hours at around 38 hours a week. This gives you a great opportunity to balance your work with other activities, like family time, household chores, hobbies, sports, and outdoor fun!

Speaking of the outdoors, most Australians are known to lead active lifestyles and participate in various sports… So why not become “active” yourself? You could join clubs for basketball, soccer, cricket, swimming, and many other sports!

Emergencies. It’s quite common to encounter wild animals and extreme weather in Australia. Thus, it’s essential to be prepared for emergencies. Notably, most local governments in the country have emergency warning systems… so make sure that you are familiar with them!

Filipino Communities. As cited earlier, there are many Filipinos living in Australia these days. Be sure to connect with Filipino communities in your area, so you can expand your network and have a support group, as you settle in your second home!


With its natural landscapes, laid-back lifestyle, and career opportunities, Australia is definitely a top choice among many Filipinos. If you are keen on living and working in this beautiful country, we hope that the above guide has been helpful!

On the other hand, if you have ever thought about living in the Middle East, consider working in Kuwait. There are many Filipinos living and working there, too! Check out this article about how you can become an OFW in Kuwait.