Partner/Spouse Visa holders

Guide for newcomers to Australia on a Partner/Spouse Visa

This guide was developed after consulting a sample group of dependent visa holders who participated in the Rangoli Project. This project focused on understanding the barriers secondary visa holders faced in securing employment commensurate with their skills and experience in Australia. If you are on a partner/spouse visa or planning to move to Australia on a partner visa, this guide will help you to navigate before and after your arrival in Australia.

We have divided the guide into pre-arrival and post-arrival steps to assist you.


Prepare for the change

Be mindful that things will be different in a new country.  Be ready to adapt to changes you may experience in Australia.

Get your education qualifications assessed by a relevant professional body

Assessing authorities in each state or territory have their own procedures, time frames and fees. The assessment of your qualifications and professional experience by the assessing authority can take some time. The assessment time varies between different authorities.

You will need to prepare a number of documents including academic transcripts and translated certificates. Read more information about the various assessment authorities in each Australian state or territory.

Start working on your English language proficiency and get a recent and valid English proficiency certificate

To gain employment in Australia, you will need a working level of English. This means that you will need to be able to use English at the level required to perform your occupation. Some qualification assessment authorities and employers require recent formal test results that show your English proficiency level. It’s important you research the requirements to work in your field before you arrive in Australia.

Practice your English language skills and, if possible, enrol into an English class or course. Depending on the country, it would be cost- effective. Effective communication skills will assist you in your search to secure employment post-migration.

Take tests to measure your English proficiency such as IELTS, TOEFL, PTA, Cambridge, OET. Visit Home Affairs for a list of approved testing bodies and test score requirements.

Obtain a transcript of your qualification from your educational institutions

Get your qualification certificates translated into English. Make sure you have both the Certificate/Testamur (originals) and the transcript of results for all years of study. You may have to have your certificates translated again in Australia.

The Department of Home Affairs offers a free translation service. You may be eligible to have up to 10 personal documents translated into English, within the first two years of your visa grant date through the Commonwealth Government's Free Translating Service.

Visit Translation Services or phone 1800 962 100 for more information. You can also use a NAATI qualified translator, which is a paid service.

Get your professional work experience recognised in Australia by relevant board
Learn about the settlement services available in Australia

Visit your nearby Centrelink office if you have specific questions or visit them online for more information.

Start learning about laws, rights, and responsibilities in Australia

All people working in Australia, including newcomers, are entitled to basic rights and protections in the workplace.

To know more about the rights and responsibilities visit Fairwork Australia.

Prepare your resume and create your professional LinkedIn profile

If you don’t have one already, create and prepare your LinkedIn profile. Access labour market information and start making connections in Australia. Contact relevant professional bodies.

Learn how to set up a LinkedIn profile.

Work on your digital literacy and soft skills

You have a greater potential to get hired with sound digital literacy and soft skills. Digital literacy refers to the working knowledge of tools like email, Google suite, Microsoft Office, collaboration apps, Zoom and the company intranet, which are embedded in most of the jobs. Soft skills such as creativity, collaboration, and effective communication are vital in a workplace.

Develop your understanding of superannuation

Once you get a paid employment, your employer will pay a portion of your salary/wages into a super fund for you. These payments are known as super guarantee contributions or concessional (pre-tax) contributions. It is a legal requirement for employers to pay superannuation into a super fund. Visit Australian the Taxation Office for more information.

Develop your understanding of the numerous awards and remunerations in Australian workplaces.



Prepare essential documents

Open your bank account

Go to a nearest bank of your preference and open your bank account. Learn to manage finances and budget while looking for job opportunities.

 Obtain a Tax File Number

Employers will request your tax file number (TFN) for taxation purposes. Visit the Australian Tax Office (ATO)  for more information.

Connect with settlement services after you arrive

Settlement services include Adult Migration English Program, access to Medicare services and Centrelink payment. Access to some of the services is restricted based on your visa category. Learn more about the waiting period for different visa categories.

Obtain/transfer Driver’s licence

A valid C/CA licence is one of the primary requirements for many jobs in Australia. Depending on your country, you may require a verification letter from the license issuing authority from your home country. More information about requirements.

Actively seek information for job opportunities

Job Readiness programs/services are offered by both community organisations and private providers to assist you with resumes, cover letters, and job seeking techniques. Develop workforce readiness by participating in Kaleidoscope Job Readiness workshops and Kaleidoscope Mentoring program.

Kaleidoscope has developed a short video that explains the importance of mentoring from a mentee's perspective.

Use, or LinkedIn job opportunities. Start applying for jobs. If you are unsuccessful you should seek feedback from the employer to improve your resume and skills.

Be prepared to study

You may need to do further study in your area of expertise to meet Australian standards. For example, in regulated professions such as medical, accounting, nursing, teaching or trades, a gap training course opens up employment opportunities.

Understand the value of networking and start early

Networking is very important. Start early by attending professional events. Identify your professional bodies and stay updated by connecting with them on LinkedIn. Find a professional who can mentor you in your professional field. Kaleidoscope has developed a short video that explains the importance of networking from a mentee's perspective.

Have realistic expectations

Settling into a new life in a new country and culture takes time. Gaining employment will take time. Set realistic, achievable goals for yourself, such as introducing yourself to 10 professionals from your field. Develop workforce readiness by participating in Kaleidoscope Mentoring program.

Gaining local experience is essential

Be willing to take volunteer opportunity in the early stages of your settlement. This will expand your professional network and you will gain an understanding of Australian workplace culture at the same time.

Having Australian workplace experience is essential to improving your employment prospects, so you may have to take a related job and gain valuable experience about working in Australia.

Build your communication skills by attending events around your suburbs e.g. library groups, social or sports group. Stay connected with community events by following your local government social media platforms. Volunteering WA has more about volunteering opportunities in your state.

Kaleidoscope has developed a short video that explains the importance of volunteering from a mentee's perspective.

Learn about Australian workplace culture

The workplace culture in Australia may be different to the work culture in your home country. The Australian has produced a guide for migrants on Australian workplace culture. Sign up to attend our job readiness training where we explore this in one of the modules.

Build and maintain your support system

Start meeting new people around you and build connections by joining informal groups such as parents group, activity and hobby groups in your local community. Stay connected with your friends and family back home. Emotional support helps you to maintain your wellbeing while coping with changes and challenges.


You can also download this information if you prefer in a pdf or word version.