What can I do on a Spouse Visa in Australia?

So you are in Australia and your partner has been granted a work visa, sponsorship or even permanent residency to migrate with a specialised skill. However, as the spouse, you want to know what you can do!

Fortunately, for many in this situation, getting a paid job is not an emergency situation.  This means you can take time to build quality social and professional networks, and understand Australian culture (including in the workplace) at a comfortable pace.

Interestingly, those that spend time researching and building contacts after moving to a new country, often access better job opportunities as they are better prepared and are known to locals.

Here are some options to consider:-

VOLUNTEERING – there are many non-for-profit organisations that are eager for new volunteers to help them.

Why is volunteering important?

  • Australians value people who contribute to the community.
  • Local experience – this can be an important way to prove your skills locally and gain local referees.
  • It’s a great way to practice your English language skills and meet new people.

Where to find volunteering opportunities? 

  • Your local council – every suburb is governed by a local council or shire. They often organise local events, community activities and community centres. To find out how to contact your local council, go to: http://australia.gov.au/services/service-task/contact/contact-my-local-council
  • Volunteering Australia – is a national organisation that co-ordinates and promotes a range of volunteering activities in each state. See http://volunteeringaustralia.org/
  • Volunteer Taskforce – Western Australia based. Co-ordinates volunteers to assist frail aged people and younger people with a disability, and their carers. www.volunteertaskforce.org.au 
  • Red Cross, Salvation Army, Op Shops (Op Shops sell donated clothing and furniture for charity)
  • Local schools and P&C’s (Parents and Citizens Associations) where parents of school children and local community help the school with events.
  • Interested in the environment? Try http://www.conservationvolunteers.com.au/ 
  • Local Church, Temple or Mosque
  • Try a Google search for “local volunteering [your suburb or state] Australia”
  • Google search for specific cultural groups in your area

SHORT COURSES – short ‘hobby’ courses are easily accessed and often reasonably priced.

Why are short courses useful?

  • Learn a new skill from art or cooking to business or computer skills
  • Meet like minded people who are interested in learning the same thing
  • Build your local networks and local skills

Where to find short courses local to you?

  • Your local TAFE is a great place to start. Google search TAFE or Technical Colleges in your state.
  • In Western Australia, we are lucky to have the Career Centre in the city of Perth. They can provide you with free information on a range of government and privately run training organisations that have short courses available.  See http://www.careercentre.dtwd.wa.gov.au/Pages/CareerCentre.aspx
  • Local councils can also provide information on local community short courses in your area.

JOBS  most people on a spouse visa can work without restriction (check with Department of Immigration if unsure). Given that people in this situation can be male or female and have a great variety of skills and experience, I will focus on the most common situation I have seen with my clients which is women on a spouse visa.

Consider your criteria
  • Do you need family friendly hours?  Or perhaps something local and easy to get to?
  • What skills and experience do you have that would be valued by an employer?
Where to look for jobs that may match the above criteria?
  • Local schools, small businesses, shopping centres, Councils
  • Consider businesses that have higher demand for labour between 10am to 2pm such as retail, cafes, medical centres, and educational organisations.
  • www.jobsearch.gov.au is often used by small business as it is free for them to advertise. (be very careful using sites like Gum Tree to find jobs)
  • Network – this is the same a anyone looking for a job. Who you know and who knows you, is vital in accessing the hidden job market. Just make sure you NEVER ask for a job. Job search in Australia is about how you can help the employer, so it’s better to ask about them and what they may need first.

Still unsure about your options?  Are you in Perth or Western Australia and want to discuss your career plan with someone who understands your situation from a local perspective?   Then have a look at our Career and Job Search Coaching Services or contact us for more information.

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