Australia is in desperate demand for engineers, with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) offering higher than average starting salaries and job security for South Africans looking to make the move, according to emigration consultants Sable international.
Speaking to Biznews, Sable’s Sam Hopwood noted that the (DIBP) has two visa streams in which engineers can apply, a Skilled Recognised Graduate Visa and a Skilled Independent visa.
The Skilled Recognised Graduate Visa is available to an engineering graduate from either a technikon or university who is under the age of 31. You must have graduated within 24 months prior to your visa application.
While applicants do not need any formal employment experience, they will also need to complete an English language test, but once successful you will be granted a visa for 18 months.
Engineers who have been working for a few years in the industry, or those who are over the age of 31, can apply for a Skilled Independent visa. This is one of the most powerful visas available for immigrants to Australia.

How much engineers earn in Australia

According to Hopwood, civil engineers are in particularly high demand in Australia. However engineering applicants in either visa stream can expect competitive salaries, usually determined by level of education and experience.
Typically, civil engineers are in demand for the following roles:
  • Site Engineer – AUD 75,000 – 95,000 (R759,030 – R961,438)
  • Project Engineer – AUD 90,000 – 125,000 (R910,836 – R1,265,050)
  • Senior Project Engineer – AUD 125,000 – 150,000 (R1,265,050 – R1,518,061)
  • Project Manager AUD 150,000 – 220,000 (R1,518,061 – R2,226,489)
For comparison, according to CareerJunction’s latest salary review, intermediate-level civil/structural engineers can earn between R34,463 and R47,074 while senior civil/structural engineers  can expect to earn between R46,738 and R70,301.

How many South Africans are making the jump

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows a big  jump in the number of South Africans who have immigrated to Australia over the past few years.
Using census data from 2011, Australia’s official statistical organisation noted that approximately 145,683 South Africans were living in the country – 8th behind the UK, New Zealand, China, India, Italy, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
According to a 2016 Australian government report, in addition to civil engineers the top 10 skills of South Africans emigrating to Australia through the country’s permanent Migration Programme in 2014–15 were as follows:
  • Accountants
  • Software and applications programmers
  • Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers
  • ICT business and systems analysts
  • Industrial, mechanical and production engineers
  • Secondary school teachers
  • Electricians
  • Other engineering professionals
  • Metal fitters and machinists
  • Computer network professionals