Today’s Monday Mailbox question is from a young couple wanting to move to Sydney from the UK but not sure if a Working Holiday 417 visa is the way to go or maybe a 457 visa is better.

Today’s Question:

My boyfriend and I are hoping to move to Sydney at the end of the year from the UK.

Having looked at visa requirements, I am slightly confused about which to apply for and hoped you could help.

We want to move to Sydney and look for recruitment once there as we have friends that we will be staying with initially. The 457 Visa states that you need sponsorship from an employer which we will not have prior to our move and the Australian Working Holiday Visa only allows you to work for one employer for a maximum of 6 months and only stay for 12 months. Do you have any suggestions for us?

Also, sorry to bombard you, could you provide an indication of average salary expectations for us as forums that I have visited are too vague :(

Thank you so much in advance and I really look forward to hearing from you soon!

Lauren’s Reply

No worries about bombarding me with questions. I totally remember searching and searching online for answers to many questions back in 2008 when we moved to Sydney from America.

First off, here is a salary calculator from I checked it out for my field, Science, and it looked pretty accurate for what I get paid given my experience.

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You’re right about the 457 Skilled Work Visa. You will need sponsorship from an employer and the Working Holiday Visa is only for 12 months with 6 months employment, but it does get you into the country. I’ve met many people that have come to Sydney with a tourist visa or a WHV then ended up getting a job here and staying.

In fact, while we were waiting for our 457 Visa to be approved, we had a tourist visa for about week. On the tourist visa, we could get to Sydney and start our search for apartments. One caveat to that is not being able to sign a lease for an apartment on a tourist visa. We had to show proof of our 457 Visa.

The other option is a PR visa, but that’s more time consuming, more paperwork and more expensive. Given your age, at least, it sounds like you’re under 30 since you mentioned the WHV visa, and depending on your occupation it might go smoothly for you.

Update: I wrote a post on switching from a Tourist Visa or a Working Holiday Visa to a 457 Visa here with info from my migration agency partners, Visa First.

Have you checked out the Department of Immigrations SkillSelect program. You can open an EOI at no cost, enter all your qualifications ie your CV (resume) and see if any employers contact you. Of course, if you or your boyfriend get a job offer from an employer that will sponsor either of you, you then have to prove de facto. That’s another issue but one you might want to look into now. (Here’s a post I have on how to prove de facto status without being married.)

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One thing you can do now is take a look at the skilled occupations list on the immigration website and see if your current occupation is on that list. If it is then start looking into the PR visa now since given your age and skill set you’re already part way there as far as points go. If not then maybe consider the WHV to 457 Visa. Or start contacting recruiters about positions or, at least, get your cv in their database. I’ve list some recruiters here.

Sorry, I feel like that’s all really vague advice. I’m not a migration agent so I don’t know all the ins and outs of all the different visas there are in Australia, and there’s a lot.

A great place to get more answers is the 457 Visa Group on LinkedIn. It is a very active group that is well worth checking out.

Good Luck,

What Are Mailbox Mondays?

Every Monday I pick a question from an email subscriber along with my reply straight out of my inbox to share with everyone here on Sydney Moving Guide.

I don’t promise to have all the answers, but I will do my best to point you in the right direction or help you with your research as I know there is a lot of noise out there on the interwebs and good resources are hard to find.

The main goal of Mailbox Mondays is to start conversations on topics you want to know about.

So please leave a comment, or ask a question, or share more info from your experience living in Australia in the comment section below.