[clug] Another pom incoming.

Steve Barnes steve at echo.id.au
Sat Apr 14 22:32:44 MDT 2012

Hi Dave

Canberra-based IT pom here (and soon-to-be citizen in the coming months).

Speaking from experience finding "good" work in IT (ie, something that 
would challenge the skills you've outlined below), in Canberra, as a 
non-citizen can be a frustrating experience. That's not to say it's 
impossible (I have similar skills to you and been fortunate enough to 
secure 3 full-time IT jobs over the last 4 years). Rather, you'll have 
to get used to "Must be Australian Citizen" appearing on the vast 
majority of job ads.

Canberra being the national capital and relatively small (as compared to 
Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne), means 80-90% of IT jobs are either in 
the public service or in some way linked to the public service (ie, 
working for <insert large global vendor> who holds support contracts for 
.gov.au departments XYZ). This means most (but not all) will require a 
security clearance. There are a handful of departments that will accept 
Permanent Residents for IT work (for examples, see [1]).

As a non-citizen, getting a security clearance is possible but, as 
already mentioned, you would need to posses some exotic, 
hard-to-find-locally skill set - zero-g certified COBOL programmer or 
some such.

It took me 5 months of semi-serious hunting before I finally landed a 
job at a local University (applied for via their website). Recruitment 
agencies were, for the most part, apathetic. Once they find out you're 
not a citizen their interest in you tends to wane, at which point they 
invariably ask if you've considered looking for work in <insert other 
Australian capital city>...YMMV.

My advice would be to keep checking the on-line job sites, this mailing 
list and perhaps consider applying to some of the local Universities - 
suitable jobs do surface on a semi-frequent basis. If you're so 
inclined, now might also be a good time to line up some of those IT 
certifications you've been thinking about doing - something to keep you 
occupied, motivated and that bit more employable when the interviews do 
start coming in.

Sorry if this all sounds doom-and-gloom, that's not my intention. I'm 
trying to strike a balance between constructive, realistic and at the 
same time, giving you some idea of what to expect. I for one would have 
appreciated having this information before I arrived.

In summary, there ARE jobs here that are a perfect match for your skills 
and don't require you to be a citizen, they just require an 
above-average amount of digging to find.

Good luck, stay positive and let us know when you get that first job.


[1] http://www.apsjobs.gov.au/

On 04/13/2012 10:53 PM, Dave Sharpe wrote:
> Dear CLUG!
> I am an active member of the Scottish linux users group and was
pleased to
> see that Canberra has an active LUG for me to
> take interest in.
> My family and I are moving to Canberra in September.  I am struggling to
> find many jobs advertised online in my area (Linux SA, with CCNA/RHCSA)
>   that don't ask for security clearances of some kind which I A) Dont
> and B) Probably won't get due to my residual pom status.
> Do you think I am going to struggle to secure good work in Canberra?
> Thanks for any advice and will come pester you all soon,
> Dave
> --

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