Quizzically Musing

Watching the madness

Skilled Migration, Local Experience

with 19 comments

Australia recently revamped our General Skilled Migration programme.  Some occupations disappeared off the lists, some were redefined, new ones appeared.

There are several lists, these two seem to be the current ones!



It works like this.  People apply to come to Australia on the basis of their qualifications in a trade or profession that we are short of.  Sounds reasonable.  It can take them up to three years to actually get through the visa application process.   There seem to be some strange regulations, such as if they are single when they apply, they must stay single until they enter Australia, so effectively we have put their lives on hold.

The biggest problem is once they get here, employers won’t give them a job, because they have “no local experience“.  Here is another interesting article in The Australian about no local experience.  The skilled migration programme doesn’t actually find jobs for these people, they are on their own.

So here is the situation in a nutshell.  Government runs the migration programme based on analysed demand for certain skills.  Employers, who presumably need these skills, then won’t employ the very people who come here on the basis their skills are needed.

This is nothing short of ridiculous.  We have highly qualified psychologists and chemists driving taxis.  A personal friend of mine arrived with a Master’s degree and ended up being a credit controller for a few years. 

When I arrived in Australia, I had no local experience either, yet I had a job the same day I decided to stay here.  That was back in 1974.  Things were different then.  Also, I didn’t have too much of an accent, I looked “the same” and my culture wasn’t that dramatically different and I didn’t need a visa.  I just stayed.  I was allowed.

Even those who were initially migrants themselves seem reluctant to hire newer migrants. 

Get over it!  At the moment it is like we are bringing people here under false pretences.  They apply for migration on the basis we, as a country, have said we need people in their occupation.  They get here and we won’t hire them? 

Give people a chance.  It isn’t just the skilled migrants.  Humanitarian visa people fair even worse.  They find it even harder to become employed: often their English may not be as proficient as a skilled migrant for instance, or they do not have the education a skilled migrant has.  So we won’t give them a job, then the rank and file “aussies” complain they are draining the public purse.  NOT BY CHOICE, I can assure you.

Employers, take your blinkers off.  Give these people a chance.  Implement a longer trial period if you like, but stop using “no local experience” as an excuse.  They have to get some, what makes you so precious as a company that you have to wait until someone else gives them local experience?

Ronald MacDonald, gumboots and broccoli have nothing in common, yet all three are part of life in Australia.  So are our migrants: many of US are migrants.  We arrived with no local experience either.

I would like to see the government more strongly encourage employers to stop using this “no local experience” discrimination.  For it is a form of discrimination. 

Have you rejected a migrant for a job lately?  Did you use no local experience as a reason?  Why?


Written by Robyn Dunphy

May 14, 2011 at 7:52 am

19 Responses

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  1. I am an electrical engineering graduate having almost 6 years latest experience as an electrical engineer in repair, maintenance and implementation works in a government university and a large state own oil terminal in Bangladesh. I have experience in telecommunication too with a word renowned vendor for 3. 5 years however I am not claiming this at is point as that one is 6 years back.

    I moved here in Australia as a permanent resident under skilled migration almost 4 months back and applied around in 100 positions advertised by different agencies and employers unfortunately couldn’t manage a single interview let alone grabbing the job. Suppose its due to the substandard resume and cover letter of mine I am not getting any call. My question is how about others? We full filled all the requirement posed by DIBP and EA before coming here then whywe have to deprive of with the lame excuse of not having local experience??? If so then the DIBP should readdress its migration policy so that the people come through those policies will not be deprived for not having local skill.

    We all who are migrating under skilled category had a very brighter academic and professional record in our own country or otherwise. Why people’s like us will run for a job which a merely 10/12 class student deserves?

    If this continues, I am pretty sure in the nearest future Australia will suffer from skilled shortage. I know some of my friends and colleagues who moved to America are in a good shape grabbing the job in their professional track though they completed master’s over there. But in Australia even having a local master will not guarantee you a job in your major area.

    The agents and employer even don’t hesitate to tell we can’t hire you because you don’t have local experience!!! What a ridicule it is??? It’s time to questing the migration policy of Australia.


    August 14, 2015 at 12:47 pm

  2. Hi, I recently arrived to Australia based on skilled immigration. Job recruiters just rejected my applications on bases of no local experience. Which as you mentioned is ridiculous, then why do they invite skilled immigrant.??
    Unless they give us a job on what bases do we get a local experience??


    May 17, 2014 at 10:39 pm

  3. I’ve been rejected for so many jobs here due to lack of local experience. Well, they need to employ me so I CAN GET local experience right? I’m a qualified teacher with over 10 years of experience and I can’t even get a retail assistant job.


    March 6, 2014 at 2:18 pm

  4. I came across your post while looking up “getting local experience for migrants” on the internet. It is ironic that the Australian government invites skilled professionals into their shores so easily even though locals do not seem to want them. My reserve to agree with the notion that Australians are discriminating is now entirely gone, unfortunately.

    At any rate, I want to thank you, Team Oyeniyi, for posting your comments so openly. It may not address the problem many of us migrants are facing right now, however there is still something to be said about misery loving company. I wish everyone who reads this the best of luck, and like everyone else, I hope our time comes soon.

    P.S. If you find any underground society that gives us migrants a chance to prove our worth, let me know. 🙂


    August 29, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    • Hi CM,

      I hope you see many of us DO want to give immigrants a chance!

      I hope you find something soom.

      Team Oyeniyi

      August 30, 2012 at 8:58 am

  5. Ann, Cathy and Ellux – I wonder if it is worse for women, or is it just that the men do not speak out?

    Team Oyeniyi

    May 17, 2012 at 8:54 am

  6. I’ve just applied for a job here in the UK for an administrator in a real estate agency. I was told that I probably won’t get the job because I don’t have experience in an English real estate agency. But I have extensive experience in the Australian and Italian real estate industries. Migrants are not often treated well the world over. A lot of people need to get over themselves.

    Cathy Powell

    May 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm

  7. Me too. I am a CPA in the Philippines with 9 years work experience. I’m a Certified Internal Auditor also and currently enrolled in CPA Australia program. But with those qualifications, I’m still in the same situation as yours. I’m spending 6 hours everyday just submitting my resume online. What I have gotten so far were phone interviews from the recruiters but when they learned that I don’t have any local experience, they were no longer interested to talk to me. After more than a month of job hunting, I never get a chance to land my foot at the doorstep of any recruiter or employer.


    May 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm

  8. I am planning to enroll to CPA program soon but I got information from employment agent that even CPA designation wouldn’t help me without local experience.My husband was more successful and he found job in 1 month after we came here so I really have determination to succeed. I tried to apply for any kind of job, to work in shop, anywhere, but I didn’t get any response, not even rejection letter.Does anybody here think that it is normal after 200 job application nobody dial your phone number, not even for labor job?


    March 21, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    • I have tweeted for you – not sure it will help, but worth a try.

      Agents in Australia very rarely communicate unless your are on the short list. Happens to us locals as well, I assure you.

      As for other jobs, you end up being over qualified. Caught between a rock and a hard place, I know.

      It is difficult. Have you tried doing volunteer work in hospitals (for example). It helps you build a network and if a job becomes vacant, perhaps you may be in with a chance. Also, apply to companies who advertise directly. Drop your resume off at local companies you might like to work for.

      Team Oyeniyi

      March 21, 2012 at 11:04 pm

      • I have already applied directly to companies, I even tried to go into companies and to give them my resume in their hand but when I come to the person at receiving desk they told me to apply online and they don’t give me a chance to speak with anyone.The only thing that I haven’t done yet is volunteering work.Maybe that is solution, if I manage to find someone who will hire me to work for free!The last solution is to try to find a job in another town and to move somewhere else. I know that the Sydney and Melbourne are popular destination for migrants and maybe in some other town would be more easy to find something to start with. Sorry for long mail:)


        March 21, 2012 at 11:41 pm

  9. […] There are plenty of people without 309 visas, after all!  Add this complication to the “no local experience” issue and the difficulties are […]

  10. I have the same situation here. I recently arrived with an engineering masters degree and relevant experience. But I was rejected by a few employers for ‘not having local experience’. Anyway I am optimistic and hope employers will recognize my potential.


    July 29, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    • Good luck is all I can personally offer, I’m afraid! Your situation is proof of the problem!

      Team Oyeniyi

      July 29, 2011 at 12:29 pm

  11. […] My husband is desperate to start work as soon as his feet hit the tarmac, but I am well aware this may not be an instant thing, for the reasons I discuss on Skilled Migration, Local Experience. […]

    • Hi, i recently came to melbourne , same words since three years when i been in sydney , NO LOCAL EXPERINCE, am an accountant 10 years experince, you know that the standards are same , and the methodology , seriously what is going on?? ,


      February 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      • It can be very difficult and I have no solution for you, I am afraid. All I can do is encourage employers to gove people a chance.

        Team Oyeniyi

        February 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      • The same thing is with me, I am accountant from Croatia with almost 11 years of experience in Senior Accountant rule.I came in Sydney 4 month ago and still struggling to find a job because of luck of “local experience”. I applied for about 200 jobs but nobody even called me, the only feedback i get is rejection mails with the same text. It took me 2 years to get in Australia, I left my job that I was satisfied with in return for being unemployed and to look at Sydney bridge and Opera house- that is absurd situation.I feel so disappointed!Hopefully, one day I will succeed in finding that precious job without “local experience”.


        March 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm

        • Ellux, I am very sorry for your experience. I hope you are successful soon. Have you joined CPA? They have a jobs webite.

          Team Oyeniyi

          March 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm

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