How To Start Your Geospatial Career In Australia?


I have been lucky enough in my GIS career to work across the globe on a range of GIS related projects but the key underlying factor in all of these was being sponsored by or assisted by local organisations. It is not a matter of just picking a country and saying I want to work there, you need to find out the requirements for being able to do so and working in Australia is no different.

For over 10 years I ran GISjobs Australia, a leader in recruitment for the GIS industry in Australia, and by far the most common questions I got asked was “How can I work in Australia?”

There is not a single answer to this question as it relays on a range of factors. Factors like your age, qualifications, country, marital status, how long you want to work in Australia and more. I do not plan on providing a comprehensive solution here but just a guide for you to get the information you might be seeking for your specific situation.


Work Permits / Visas

Working in Australia in all cases starts with a work permit / visa, whether that is provided by a sponsoring employer or one that you obtain through the Australian Embassy closest to you. The Department of Immigration in Australia treats each case one by one and unfortunately it is not a quick process. I know people where the visa process has taken two or more years be approved. The longer you want to stay, generally, the longer the process will take.

Type of Work Permits / Visas

There are many options for people wanting to come to Australia to live and or work. The following list is directly from the Department of Immigration website –

  • Professionals and other skilled workers seeking work or business in Australia
  • People moving permanently to Australia or returning from overseas
  • Tourists, working holiday, people transiting, visiting family or friends, or visiting for business or an event
  • People studying or seeking study, training, or skills development in Australia
  • Education agents and providers
  • Employers who sponsor skilled people to work in Australia
  • Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian programs

Working in Australia
Surveyors and Spatial Scientists

One great thing for GeoSpatial Industry Professional is that the Australian Government recognises our skills as part of the “General Skilled Migration program”. More information on the specifics of this category can be found at Unit Group 2322 – Surveyors and Spatial Scientists

Applicants in this occupation may be eligible for skilled migration under the following programs: Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS), Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS), Points Based Skilled Migration visa, Temporary Business (Long Stay) (Subclass 457).

Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186)
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187)
SkillSelect (Points Based Skilled Migration visa)
Temporary Business (Long Stay) – Standard Business Sponsorship (Subclass 457)

A skills assessment is only required for certain visa subclasses in the skilled migration program. Please check whether a skills assessment is required for the visa subclass you want to apply for before contacting the relevant assessing authority.

Under the General Skilled Migration program, some occupations may only be available for state or territory government agency nomination. For a complete list of occupations, refer to the Skilled Occupation List (SOL).

See: Skilled Occupation Lists (Formerly Known as Form 1121i)

Visa Wizard

If you would like find out more about working in Australia there is a visa wizard on the Australian Immigration website. The Visa Wizard can help you find the Australian visa most likely to meet your specific circumstances.

Where to from Here

This is only the start of the process for working in Australia. Do not expect that it will be a quick process. If you want to work in Australia, start the process as early as possible; seek advice from the Australian Embassy closest to you or through the Immigration web and do not give up.

source: Empowernetwork

I am a cartographer by professional with over 25 years in the GIS / Mapping Industry. GIS has allowed me the opportunity to work around the globe in countries like Singapore, USA, New Zealand, East Timor and throughout Australia. I have a passion for helping people in the industry with their careers and have spent most of the last decade running my own GIS specific recruitment company and websites.


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