Moving to Sydney FAQs

  • Gillian Duffy
  • 23 Jul 2018

What is the best time of year to get hired?

It's very busy in Sydney at the moment on the contract desk across all industries. The only quiet period is in Dec/Jan; nothing really happens until after Jan 25th (Australia day) as people are taking their summer holidays, so just bare this in mind if you are coming over in the first few weeks of Jan. Pre-year end for most of our clients, which is mid-April to mid-June, tends to be busy, as well as September/October, as companies have their budget allocation around this period and can start planning for the year ahead.

What is the current market like?

The current market is buoyant over here. It has really picked up in the last 12 months. FMCG, retail, property and infrastructure are where we are seeing most of the hiring outside of financial services.

The key drivers for this growth are:

  • Offshoring has been done –looking for growth.
  • New systems implementations/ projects
  • Restructuring of finance teams
  • Increased commercial support for the business
  • International investment in Australian businesses
  • Property and infrastructure in Sydney is booming

What is the interview process like in comparison to home?

For those of you who have not interviewed in a long time, the thoughts of interviewing can be a little daunting but don’t worry as that is what we are here for. The strong relationships that we have built over the years with our accounting clients in Sydney means that we are capable of advising you on interviewers’ styles and structures when it comes to your interview.

A first round interview usually entails a run-through of your background and achievements in your accounting roles, a question on what you know about their firm, an overview of the role and the finance team it sits in and a chance for you to ask questions. If they are going to ask any technical questions or ask you to complete a test during the interview, we will make sure that you are aware of this in advance. Everyone in Sydney is very friendly and we find that commerciality is key when you go for an accounting interview here.

What is the average pay rate for a recently qualified CA?

Newly qualified: $85,000 - $95,000 + super
1-2 years' experience PQE: $100,000 - $110,000 + super
2-4 years' experience PQE: $110,000 = $120,000 + super
Once you get sponsored or are made permanent in an organisation, there is usually a 15-25% bonus component attached to your base.

What is super?

Superannuation is compulsory over here in Sydney. It is 9.5% of your salary. You are not able to access this money until you leave Sydney. When you leave, you are able to claim this back but you can be taxed quite heavily.

What is the likelihood of sponsorship if I wanted to stay for more than one year?

Securing sponsorship in Sydney has become a lot harder in the past couple of years, with the Government tightening the grip on who gets sponsored. Most of the contract roles we recruit for are four or six month contracts, and we have noticed that those who perform very well within the initial period have a higher probability of being sponsored. Once you do receive sponsorship, you are then eligible to work in Australia for a two to four year period, depending on what the firm offers.

Other visa options

If you do not wish to come out on a 417 visa (working holiday) you can apply for expression of interest visa ?????.
You can process this from Ireland or from here in Sydney – the benefit is that you have more options when you arrive and are not limited to contract work. The approximate cost for this visa is $7k – you can apply when here in Sydney but it is 6-9 months a

Longer term in Sydney – worth looking doing this prior to your arrival
It does open up a larger pool of jobs to look at as not all companies will offer sponsorship.

Is there anything else that I can do before I arrive in Sydney?

In order to be identified for tax purposes, for super and to ensure that you’re not taxed heavily when you arrive, you will need to have a tax file number (TFN). You must be in Australia when you submit the request, or have an Australian address to send it to, so make sure to do this as soon as you arrive in Australia. You can apply for a TFN here and will require a passport and a valid working visa.

What is the cost of living like?

The cost of living in Sydney is quite high! It does take some time to get used to but once you start earning AUD, you will find that it becomes a lot easier to become accustomed to. Having money set aside for the first 6 weeks will allow for a less stressful transition and will allow you to settle in faster. Sometimes it is easy to forget that you require a deposit for accommodation (referred to as a “bond” in Sydney) and the fact that you may not get paid for a few weeks/a month after you start working (same as at home!). Here is a link of the general cost of living that you can have a look at before you make the move over.


Where is the best place to live?

When it comes to locations, a lot of people move to Bondi Junction (train line) or Coogee (bus route). If you want to travel by boat to work you can choose Manly. If you are a city slicker Surry Hills is a good choice (walking distance) or you can join the hipsters in Newtown (train line).

If I moved over on my own – what issues do I face?

  • The first few weeks, in particular can be very lonely while you get used to not having your circle of friends and family around you. Try and get into a routine as soon as possible, whether it be joining a gym, a sports club or a social group here in Sydney. The main thing to note is that everyone is extremely friendly and welcoming, as they have been in a similar situation to you, and it’s therefore important to make as much effort as possible to attend any social events, even if it seems very daunting. Say yes to everything for the first while and remember that it will get easier!
  • Opening a bank account so that you have access to cash straight away and can transfer any rent/bills. Transferwise or Currencyfair are great ways to transfer money from your Irish account to avoid heavy bank fees.
  • If you are bringing your existing mobile phone, make sure its unlocked from your carrier. All phone carriers In Australia offer Pre-paid phone sim cards, these can be purchased at most convenience stores, supermarkets and post offices. Once you’ve settled in, you are able to switch over to a contract, most of which offer cheaper rates (and free calls back home), the contract periods generally last for two years.
  • Opal card to travel on the train and bus – download the “Opal Travel” app, which enables you to look up transport times and to top up your card easily (automatic top ups are available). The “Moovit” app is another great way to research the quickest way to navigate your way around the city.

What is the average cost of rent and does this vary from location to location?

Rent ranges from $300-400 dollars per room per week excluding bills.

Other Recommendations

We advise that you have two people in mind to use as referees for when you secure a new role in Sydney. This will ideally be managers that you reported in to in your previous accounting role so that they can provide insights into your abilities and achievements. Please provide a contact number and an email address for two referees.

A number of clients also undertake a background check before you join their firm. This includes getting a police check completed to show that you have not committed any crimes in your country of residence. If you can get a clearance form from your local Garda/police station in advance of your arrival, that will help speed up the process when it comes to starting in your new role.


‘From the minute you meet the accounting team in TOM, they make you feel right at home. Not only do they look after you on a professional level, they are more than happy to help you with any queries you might have with the move to Sydney that may seem so daunting to some. Would highly recommend their services to any Irish CAs who are thinking of making the move to Australia.’

Ben Dale
Newly Qualified Chartered accountant who was placed by T+O+M in CBA.

Gillian Duffy

Gillian Duffy

Consultant - Commerce and Industry - Commercial Finance, T+O+M Executive

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