Your guide to working in Australia as a Canadian

Piyush Singh

Embarking on an adventure Down Under? Whether it's the draw of its golden beaches and mammoth waves or exciting job opportunities that you can’t get your mind off of, ease your transition with our guide to working in Australia as a Canadian. We'll unpack everything - from applying for a visa to searching for a job and managing finances with options like Wise!


Table of contents

Australian Work Visa Procedures for Canadians

Before you think about making the move down to Australia, you’ll need to apply for a work visa to be eligible to work there. Let’s explore the various visa types, the application processes, and what you’ll need to apply.

Working Holiday Visa

The Working Holiday Visa is an enticing, flexible option that allows visa holders to do short-term work (from farm work to hospitality roles) and travel to and from Australia as many times as they want.1 The visa allows you to live and work in Australia for up to a year, with the chance to extend for a second or third year if certain conditions are met.

To be eligible, you must hold a passport from an eligible country, be 18 - 30 years old (or 35 for some countries), and not be accompanied by dependent children or family members.

Cost: 635 AUD1

Temporary Work (International Relations) Visa

If you’re interested in taking on roles at an international office in Australia, you’ll want to check out the Temporary Work Visa. With this visa, there are different streams, each with specific eligibility requirements. You can apply for each of them in or outside of Australia. Here’s an overview of all of them:

Government Agreement stream

The Government Agreement stream is for Canadians whose work aligns with a bilateral agreement between Australia and Canada.2 Individuals whose professions serve a national interest, like researchers or high-ranking professionals, are often eligible, as long as they have sponsorship from an approved government agency or invitation from the Commonwealth. This visa allows you to stay until the time specified in the visa grant notice (up to 2 years).

Cost: From 355 AUD2

Foreign Government Agency stream

This stream is designed for specific workers who represent a foreign government, such as those employed by a foreign government as a foreign language teacher.3 Individuals must be supported by a government agency or an Australian school – if you’re a teacher. You can stay in Australia until the time specified in the visa grant notice for up to 4 years.

Cost: From 355 AUD3

Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or Consular) stream

The Domestic Worker stream is made for those 18 or older to do temporary full-time domestic work in Australia within the household of someone holding a Diplomatic (Temporary) visa.4 The visa allows the individual to work in Australia for the time their employer is posted in Australia, and they are permitted to stay until the time specified in the visa grant notice (first visa up to 12 months).

Cost: From 355 AUD4

Privileges and Immunities stream

This stream is for those working in the diplomatic domain.5 Canadian diplomats who represent international organizations or those with statutory privileges and immunities. To be eligible, you have to be nominated by an eligible sponsor and have a letter from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). You can stay for the time specified in your visa grant letter.

Cost: Free5

Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) stream

The PALM stream is specifically for workers from select **Pacific Island countries **looking to work in specific sectors, such as the agriculture or hospitality industry.6 The visa lets individuals work in short-term seasonal contracts for up to 9 months or long-term non-seasonal contracts for up to 4 years.

Cost: From 335 AUD6

Temporary Skill Shortage Visa

This visa invites skilled workers to fill job openings that can’t be filled by the Australian workforce.7 Eligible participants need to be nominated for a skilled position by an approved sponsor, have the required skills, and meet the English language requirements. The visas under this category are:

Short-term streamUp to 2 years1,455 AUD
Medium-term streamUp to 4 years3,035 AUD
Labor Agreement StreamUp to 4 years3,035 AUD

Temporary Activity Visa

The Temporary Activity Visa is right for those looking to do specific short-term work in Australia in areas like social or cultural activity, research projects, or special activities.8 Eligibility relies on accomplishment details and evidence of support, and there are also different streams that will allow you to stay from up to 3 months to up to 4 years, including the Entertainment Activities stream and the Religious Work stream.

Cost: 405 AUD8

International account and card

Working in Australia as a Canadian can bring plenty of excitement, but it also means dealing with a lot of financial dilemmas relating to conversion rates, money transfers, and the like. A multi-currency account and card is a fantastic solution that will allow you to connect your Canadian and Australian accounts seamlessly. With Wise, you can use your account to hold and manage money in over 40 currencies, which will cushion those international transfer fees.9,10

One of the many benefits of using Wise is that you get access to the mid-market rate.11 That means you’ll save much more than if you were to use marked-up rates which might promise zero fees or discover fees only when it’s time to pay. And the savings don’t end there, as Wise lets you only pay for what you use, with complete transparency at each step.12 Here’s what you’d pay for sending money home from Australia:

The true cost of sending AUD to CAD

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

Taking a break from work? The Wise card can help you spend like a local no matter where you are, whether you’re taking a short trip to New Zealand or going back home to Canada.13 With Wise, international money management doesn’t have to be complicated.

Professional life in Australia

Adapting to work life in Australia will be important as you transition to your new normal. With the changes in the way people work around the world, are there differences between on-site, remote, and hybrid working in the country?

Full-time employees who work on-site typically work an average of 38 hours a week and pay their taxes through their Tax File Number (TFN).14 Hybrid work will be most similar to full-time work, as employers usually employ individuals full-time but are more relaxed in where they work. For fully remote work, Australia’s guidelines are more flexible, but tax implications can vary depending on where your employer is located and whether you’re a contractor or employee.15

Job Search Strategies in Australia for a Canadian

Once you’re ready to start your job hunt, knowing the right networking strategies and where to look will set you on the path to success. While job hunting might be quite similar to how it is in Canada, networking in Canadian-specific groups or expat groups can help you make useful connections. You might also want to attend events or meetups relevant to your field.

Australian job platforms cater to a wide range of sectors and professions – there’s the universal LinkedIn, Australia’s number one job platform, SEEK, and even more niche job boards like Jora. Be sure to use the resources available to catapult your career!
















Sources verified on 15 November 2023

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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