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You’ve packed your bags and are ready to cross the ditch to Cairns. The place has a fantastic lifestyle, and as a newly minted Aussie, you will find yourself soaking up the vibrant culture from the moment you land. But, you need a job.

As Cairns is a tourist hub, most of the jobs in the area revolve around the hospitality sector. However, there are jobs in marketing, IT and advertising also available.

If you prefer labour intensive work, then jobs in that vocation are plentiful as Cairns has several farms. However, farming is a seasonal employer, and might not be the best choice if you are looking to carve out a career for yourself in the city. Arriving from New Zealand, you will find a lot of similarities between Oz and NZ regarding work culture, laws and regulations. Although similarities abound, there is stiff competition when looking for employment.

Here we answer a few questions about searching for a job and working in Cairns. Things like how to apply for roles, getting transport, choosing a bank and paying taxes – all are things which you should be thinking about and planning for.

Do I need a visa to work in Australia?

It’s common knowledge that kiwis migrating to Australia automatically get the SCV (Special Category Visa) which gives you many rights, including the ability to work. Although this visa enables you to work and live down under indefinitely, the fact remains that it’s a temporary unprotected visa category. This means that you are not entitled to permanent residency on arrival.

Living in Australia

If you have any unique skills which are considered uncommon in Australia, you can apply for a skilled workers visa instead of the SCV. Applying for this visa will give you a leg up the job ladder and gives you a better path to permanent residency as well. This visa switch will also offer you all the rights of an Australian citizen, which includes the right to vote and apply for jobs in the Australian public service. You can get an idea of whether you qualify for it by taking an online test.

What is the current job market situation in Cairns?

Cairns is a tourist city, so there are multiple available jobs in the hospitality industry which are advertised online. Construction is another industry that has a significant number of total registered businesses looking for staff. Nearly 18% of all registered companies are in this field, so if you have the experience, you stand a good chance of landing a lucrative position.

Coming back to the current overall job scenario, the Cairns job market is “running hot” at the moment. Unemployment rates are really low at 4.1%, which paints a rosy picture. The latest report by CBC Staff Selection Trend Briefing ratified this growth, by reporting that nearly 18,200 full-time positions were added to Cairns since last year.

Some of the sectors which are seeing significant gains over the past year include Information & Media (added 1,900 positions), Construction (added 2,400 jobs), and Education & Training which opened up nearly 3,000 new vacancies. Improving trends are being seen in management positions and specialised skills such as engineering and IT as well.

That being said, the job scenario is forever in flux and might change during your search. It’s always an excellent idea to do some research of your own before applying to open positions in the city.

Is the job hunting process any different than New Zealand?

The way to find jobs in Australia is similar to in NZ. Most jobs are online, and you can search and apply for roles from NZ. Almost every potential employer is open to interviews via Zoom or Skype, and you can go through the process without having to visit Australia at all. However, before you kickstart the search, you need to be aware of the hiring seasons in Cairns which are similar to back home.

Things are slow and quiet from Christmas to New Year as most employers are busy handling the business and getting ready for the summer break. Even if you are qualified, the chances of landing a position at this time are really quite slim. Hiring picks up the pace from March, which makes it a great time to sharpen your focus and go all out with your applications.

Given that Cairns is a tourist hub and your city of choice, it will be helpful for you to know which companies and businesses are located around your area. This research will help you understand their operating months and get an idea on the volume of business they handle. You can then use this information to reach out and check whether they are interested in interviewing you.

Australia has laws which govern terms of a fair wage, allowances, and overtime. So be sure to read up on them, which will give you more bargaining power during face to face interviews. A few other things to keep in mind while job hunting in Cairns:

  • • Speak the lingo and learn more about the work culture. Learning about the Australian vernacular can go a long way when trying to get your prospective employer to warm up to you. So pop on your cozzies, bring along your esky, and chuck a snag on the BBQ! (Don’t do that at a job interview).
  • • Write and re-write your resume and cover letter. Most employers in the city want to understand what drives you, and the best way to showcase that is through an excellent cover letter. Many people don’t qualify for open positions in the city because they have failed to connect past experiences to the benefits the company can reap by hiring them.
  • • Always suit up. Considering the climate of Cairns, it might seem strange wearing a suit and tie to an interview. A lot of people have been known to appear for job interviews at hotels, cafes, and bars in beachwear which sadly didn’t quite make for a very good impression.
  • • Try to leverage the city’s employment marketplaces. There are many which operate within the town and can help you land a lucrative position. An example would be SEEK which is Australia’s largest online job-finding platform.

How to figure out taxes and choosing the right bank

Once you have moved to Cairns and working there, it is compulsory to prepare and submit your tax returns every year. Australia issues every working professional with a TFN (Tax File Number), and it falls under the jurisdiction of the Australian Taxation Office. It is similar to the IRD number you are accustomed to in New Zealand and is used to identify you as a taxpayer. However, remember that your visa status will have an impact on your taxes.

Always remember that any income or capital gains outside Australia will also have a significant impact on how you are taxed in the country. Indeed, there are tax breaks which you can take advantage of, but they are dependent on various factors like visa status, residency status, and what your assets are. It is advisable to employ an experienced tax professional to sort out everything for the first year.

Before you start work and begin paying taxes, you must open an account with an Australian bank. Many of the banks which operate in Cairns allow you to create one online so it’s one of the first things you should do. A few good banks in Cairns include Bendigo Bank, Commonwealth Bank, and Cairns Penny. Opening an account at any of their branches or online (which you can do even before you arrive in the country) is relatively simple, and it will be active once verification of all your documents is complete. If you are still unsure, you can ask your prospective colleagues or locals to suggest a sound bank with fair terms, excellent customer service, and satisfactory interest rates.

Public transport for work transportation

Cairns has a robust public transport system which you can take advantage of if you don’t yet own a car. Frankly, you won’t need one because the city’s buses and taxis take care of that. Most of Cairns is flat with wide roads that are bicycle-friendly. This means that you will find parking spots for your two-wheeled steed almost anywhere. Apart from that, there are a few more modes of commute you can consider.

  • • Public buses and coach services: Sunbus is the public transport service in Cairns. They operate buses and coaches throughout the city, starting from the northern beaches to the suburbs via the Central Business District (CBD). As they all go through the CBD, a bus is your best option. Tickets are available on a daily and weekly basis if you are commuting every day. Private bus services also cover Mossman, Kuranda, Mission Beach, and Port Douglas.
  • • Black & White taxis: The city has several Black & White taxis which you can book online. They are cost-effective, punctual and will pick you up from your door to anywhere you need to go. Some other private cab companies have applications which you can download into your phone and use it to book yourself a vehicle.

Commuting to your workplace won’t be a problem. You can choose the perfect job, not just the one closest to you. You can quickly catch a bus, taxi, or simply cycle to work. Traffic isn’t horrendous due to wide roads and exceptional city planning.

You can use your NZ licence in Australia too, for up to three months. After that, you need to apply for a Queensland drivers licence, which you can do here.

Cairns is a great place to work with a booming job market

Cairns is a beautiful city and is an excellent place to work in. It has loads of opportunities, especially if you have skills which are in high demand. Many international companies have made the city their home and employ thousands in their workforce. The city’s excellent public transport network, fantastic infrastructure, wide roads, and various eateries make the entire experience of working in the city smooth and hassle-free.

Contact us to help with the move; from your doorstep in NZ to your new home in Cairns, we have every step arranged. We make it easy to move so you can get on with your new life in this tropical paradise.

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Unlike many other movers, we will provide you with a fixed quote based on your specific list of items.

Should you wish to add or remove any items, we will adjust our fixed quote accordingly. Hence, no nasty surprises at the end of the move process.

Our Service Promise:

Our Service Promise:

  • We will listen to your individual needs and requirements.
  • We will provide a prompt, competitive quote with in one working day.
  • We will provide you with the highest level of service.
Free In-Home Consultation:

Free In-Home Consultation:

If you are moving the majority of your household items from New Zealand to Australia, one of Ausmoves experienced relocation consultants will visit your home to establish your specific packing requirements and any unique moving needs. Learn more about moving to Australia from NZ.

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