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How easy is it to stay on and work Down Under?

Q We are going to Australia, and are interested in the two-year work visa. Any advice?

A Irish people are the 10th biggest takers of one-year visa sand when it comes to looking for a second year, only the Brits take up more extensions. But don't assume work is easy to find.

Like at home, try to emphasise anything that gives you some sort of competitive advantage. If you have a qualification and experience at home, try to specialise in that when you reach Australia. If you don't have a qualification, get one.

Driving is a key. Get a licence. It is a big country. Even better get a licence to drive machinery as it opens up more options.

Anything that gives you the ability to drive machinery is a huge advantage in a country where mining is booming.

Society is heavily regulated so any health and safety certs are essential. Even the guys stopping traffic for road works have to be certified.

Play to any strengths you have. If you know a lot about horses go to Scone. If you are good with farm animals, head for Townsville. If you have your diving cert and know about boats, head for the tourist resorts on the Queensland or WA coast. If you can cook, head for the hospitality industry. There is a shortage of chefs because the mining companies pay more than hotels and restaurants do.

You qualify for a second year on your visa by working in a remote region.

Some of them are not very remote at all – it goes by postcode and they are easily found on the Internet.

The whole of Northern territory qualifies, which is why so may Irish are to be found in Darwin, check out Shenanigans any night.

An important tip: don't rely on the Internet. A whole generation has grown up thinking that research is something you do sitting behind the screen. Emails will NOT be answered. You need to telephone and present yourself.

Finally be prepared for the expense of food and accommodation. You used to get two Aussie dollars to the euro, now the ratio is four to five. Perth is one of the most expensive cities I have ever been in, and the other big cities are not far behind.

Q Which airport is cheapest to fly out for a summer holiday?

A Dublin has the most options and the most services, so you will find a cheap flight if you book far enough in advance to any of the major destinations.

Last year Farranfore in Kerry had the best value for peak season, but I notice the provinces are a bit more expensive than Dublin this summer.

Belfast was about €100 cheaper than Dublin for sun holidays for a time in spring but this too is changing.

Send questions to ecorry@independent.ie


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