Australia as destination of choice for US H1B visa holders
The rationale for the H-1B program is straightforward. The U.S. has a shortage of workers with specific skills, and the H-1B program allows firms to import the best and brightest to fill those gaps.
The H-1B program has however been corrupted by a large and growing share of firms that use it for cheap labor and to facilitate the outsourcing of jobs. Gaping loopholes make it very easy and legal to pay below-market wages, and at the end of a contract what do you do ? Go back ?
Australia may be the solution.
Why Australia ?
Australia is a first world multicultural safe and economically sound country that offers a superior lifestyle for its citizens and residents.
Boasting one of the lowest unemployment levels of any country, combined with high incomes and a first class education, healthcare and social security system, Australia has become a country of choice for migrants from all parts of the world. And Australia would welcome skilled H1B visa holders as permanent residents.
Australia in 20 quick facts:-
- It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area
- Australia is a developed country and one of the wealthiest in the world, with the world's 12th-largest economy. In 2014 Australia had the world's fifth-highest per capita income
- Australia has the second-highest human development index globally,
- Australia ranks highly in many international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and the protection of civil liberties and political rights
- Australia has six states—New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD), South Australia (SA), Tasmania (TAS), Victoria (VIC) and Western Australia (WA)—and two major mainland territories—the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the Northern Territory (NT)
- Australia is a wealthy country; it generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications, banking and manufacturing
- In terms of average wealth, Australia ranked second in the world after Switzerland
- The Australian dollar is the currency for the nation (approx 1 USD = AUD 0.8)
- All of Australia's major cities fare well in global comparative livability surveys - with 4 cities in the global top 10: Melbourne reached top spot for the fourth year in a row on The Economist's 2014 list of the world's most liveable cities, followed by Adelaide, Sydney, and Perth in the fifth, seventh, and ninth places respectively
- Australia has grown at an average annual rate of 3.6% for over 15 years, in comparison to the OECD annual average of 2.5%
- Australia was the only advanced economy not to experience a recession due to the global financial downturn
- 24.6% of Australians were born elsewhere and 43.1% of people had at least one overseas-born parent: the five largest immigrant groups were those from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, China, India, and Vietnam
- Although Australia has no official language, English has always been entrenched as the de facto national language
- Australia has no state religion; Section 116 of the Australian Constitution prohibits the federal government from making any law to establish any religion, impose any religious observance, or prohibit the free exercise of any religion
- Australia has an adult literacy rate that was estimated to be 99%
- Australia has the fourth highest life expectancy in the world
- Australia introduced universal health care in 1975.Known as Medicare - all permanent residents and citizens have access to Medicare
- Main cities are all coastal cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, with the capital Canberra the only land locked metro area
- A new survey by IT recruitment firm, Greythorn, suggests that the Australian information technology sector is heading towards a "huge" skills shortage within the next five years.
- Contrary to many beliefs, Australians do not have pet kangaroos (although there are millions of roos) and no, we do not live in fear of our spiders and sharks
Getting a visa for Australia
There are 4 main streams or categories of migration.
- The skills stream is a points tested migration stream, with key considerations being
- Age: 20 to 50
- Qualifications: You have to be qualified i.e.. have a degree, a diploma or a formal trade qualification
- Work experience: Your occupation has to be on a skills list called the SOL which is generally a list of occupations in demand in Australia, and you have to have 3 or more years work experience in your occupation
- English abilities: all applicants regardless of country of citizenship must meet the English language criteria usually via a test such as the IELTS or OET or TOEFL or Pearsons
- Other factors: Partner or spouse skills, State sponsorship, work experience in Australia and Australian study or qualifications are also considered
- The family stream caters for spouses, partners, prospective spouses, dependent children and parents
Business and investor stream
- For business owners and/or investors intending to establish or buy a business in Australia
Employer sponsored stream
- Allows eligible Australian employers to sponsor an offshore employee to work in Australia on a temporary basis and on a permanent basis (specific conditions apply for permanent sponsorship)
The usual visa process
Most applications for permanent visas under the skills stream require a 3 stage process, with the combined processing time averaging between 3 and 9 months.
- Stage 1 - a skills assessment. This is where a specific authority determines whether the combination of your qualifications and work experience meets the requirements for your occupation, for visa purposes.
- This process can take anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks, depending on the occupation
- Stage 2 is a pro forma application made to the department of immigration, called an EOI stage. This stage is combined in many instances with the support of a state.
- This process can take anywhere from a week to a maximum or around 8 weeks
- Stage 3 is the actual main visa application stage, and this usually takes between 2 and 4 months
On grant of your permanent residence visa, you have the right to indefinite stay in Australia. a Permanent residence visa has no conditions or restrictions.
You are free to live anywhere, work anywhere, work in any occupation and you have immediate access to social security benefits such as Medicare, schooling, and a host of other benefits. After 2 years in Australia you are also eligible for unemployment benefits as well as social security programs for students, government tertiary study support, housing and pensions.
When your visa is granted, you must activate the visa. This is simply an entry you have to make into Australia, and must usually be made within 6 to 9 months after visa grant. You can move over permanently or just visit Australia to investigate housing, lifestyle issues, and attend employment interviews.
Obtaining citizenship of Australia
You can apply for citizenship of Australia, and get your Australian passport after you have lived in Australia for 4 years.
A few Q & A's
How difficult is it to secure a job in Australia ?
Statistically, 84% of new immigrants are secured in a job within 60 days, and 90% within 3 months. Professionals typically have no problem getting numerous job offers after they have been granted permanent residence. Generally, the more generic occupations take a bit longer to secure employment i.e.. general administrative persons.
What will I earn in Australia ?
With a minimum wage for unskilled hospitality workers under age 18 starting at approx $ 18 per hour, the wage rates increase substantially with skills and qualifications. Among full-time workers, the average wage is $72 800 per year. This would be pre tax.
In addition to your salary, you employer must contribute a min of 9.5% of your salary towards your pension fund.
Examples of industry average salaries
- IT - $ 96, 736
- Professional, technical and Scientific - $ 93,350
- Mining - $ 129.714
- Construction - $ 76,705
- Financial services - $ 89,822
What is the cost of living in Australia ?
The average cost of living for a family of 4 in a major city in Australia, including housing, 2 cars, insurance, food and utilities, education and general entertainment would be approx $ 48 000 per year for a fairly high standard of living.
Cost of typical goods in Australia
- $2042: Cost of a basic health insurance policy in Australia for a family of 4, cheaper than the US.
- $28: Cost of a standard men's haircut in Australia. India has the cheapest cuts at $3.19 and Tokyo the most expensive at $44.57.
- $17: Cost of a pack of Marlboro cigarettes in Australia - the most expensive ciggies in the world.
- $38,500: Cost of a new Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI in Australia. In New Delhi you pay just $18,577 but in Singapore you pay $110,381.
- $70: Cost of a pair of Adidas Super Star 2 sports shoes in Australia - the third cheapest in the world after China ($50) and India ($64)
- $8.20: Cost of a pint of beer served in a bar Australia
- $3.55: Cost of a 2 litre bottle of Coca Cola in Australia
Australia as multicultural destination
Australia is know for embracing migrants. There is no prejudice towards immigrants, about 50% of Australians are migrants themselves or their parent migrated to Australia.
Our US based Australian Migration Law consultants are standing by at our offices to assist you on your pathway to Australia
We also offer skype and telephone consultations