kids running out the school gate

FAQs for teachers migrating from the UK to Australia

With established offices in both the UK and Australia, Smart Teachers has been helping teachers migrate between the two for years. If you’re a teacher in the UK planning on moving Down Under, our international resourcing team can help ensure you've got everything you need to step off the plane and into the classroom.

We field enquiries from around 3,000 UK teachers per year, all keen on migrating to Australia. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions: 

When can I start applying for teaching jobs in Australia?

Once you have a visa.

Your visa is your right to work in the country, but also your gateway to being considered for roles.  

Most teaches tend to opt for obtaining their own (i.e. one that is not reliant upon employer sponsorship) because schools in Australia rarely elect to sponsor.

The most common visas for UK teachers migrating to Australia are: 

To check if you qualify for a visa, we recommend speaking with Monet at the Down Under Centre for a free visa assessment. Contact Monet on 020 3376 1555 or send her an email.  Note, independent visas have age limits, so please check the links above to see if you meet the age requirement before contacting Monet.

A less common visa is the sponsored TSS visa, which is either a 2 year or a 4 year visa.  A school must offer you this visa- it cannot be secured independently.  Schools would cover a portion of the costs (not all costs), and the paperwork. There is no age limit for this visa.  You must have at least 2 years experience teaching to qualify for this and only the experience after you qualify at an Australian level is counted. 

If sponsorship is your only visa option, or you would rather go down this visa route, please do let us know and we can keep you in the loop on any opportunities.  You must be flexible on location and starting dates as sponsorship is more likely in regional Australia. 

  • Read about the TSS visa here
  • Read our Independent visa vs Sponsorship visa guide here
  • The Australian Government also offers a nifty Visa Finder on the Home Affairs website. 

What’s the teaching market like in Australia?

While the UK is in the midst of a teacher shortage, Australia is not quite at the same extent. But don’t lose heart! Provided you have a strong CV, some great references, and a visa, you’re more than halfway there (especially with Smart on your side).

The market in Australia is constantly fluctuating, and can vary from state to state, but in general:

  • Primary is a competitive market in Australia so if you’re a primary teacher it might be worth considering supply as a back up (known as Casual Relief Teaching or CRT in Australia). 
  • There is little chance of lining up a Primary job before you fly over, however, we will keep an eye out for opportunities as soon as your visa is secured.
  • For secondary teachers the job market is more abundant. Many subject areas are in hot demand.
  • There is a better chance of lining up Skype interviews and securing jobs before you go with subjects like Science, Maths, Design Tech, MFL, and English.  Unfortunately, subjects like PE and Geography can be competitive.
  • If you’re travelling on a Working Holiday visa, you can generally only work up to six months with one employer. Smart Teachers can help with short term contracts, but you may want to consider supply as a backup as this visa limits your options.
  • Positions in regional parts of Australia (the Outback or rural towns) are less competitive and schools are more likely to consider Skype interviewing overseas candidates.
  • There are more vacancies on the east coast than the west, as Western Australia in particular is a competitive state.
  • Similarly, positions in ideal beach locations in Queensland are particularly competitive e.g. areas like the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

Will my qualifications be recognised in Australia?

To teach in Australia, you must hold a degree that equates to a minimum of four years’ tertiary study. That must include university-based assessment on site, and at least 45 days’ supervised teaching practice in primary or secondary schools. For example:

  • A four year Bachelor of Education degree; or
  • A three year Bachelor’s degree (in anything) plus a PGCE in Primary or Secondary 

A few things to note:

  • The GTP is not recognised in Australian schools, nor are any qualifications for Further Education, Assessment Only PGCEs, PGCEis, or post-14 PGCEs.
  • Schools Direct, SCITTs, or any unusual routes to PGCEs can bit hit or miss with teaching registration AND with skilled visa applications. 
  • If you weren't on site at a university for lectures and assessments during your PGCE, then it can cause a lot of issues with gaining teaching registration; however, we have had teachers successfully obtain registration with SCITTS and Schools Direct.  It depends on your course provider- everyones application is different and we suggest contacting the boards of education for advice before booking flights.
  • QTS is not recognised in Australia as the Australian system does not have an equivalent.
  • If you have any concerns, we suggest getting teaching registration or contacting the boards for advice before committing to the visa.

Australian Teaching Registration

All teachers MUST hold teaching registration with the appropriate board of education.  You only need to register with the board of education of the state you intend to teach in, but you can apply for multiple states through mutual recognition (not NSW)

You can apply for Australian teaching registration online via the websites below; however, New South Wales will NOT let overseas teachers complete this online and it must be done on Australian soil.  

Allow 10-12 weeks to apply online for teaching registration.  For New South Wales, the process should take around 15 working days.

For more information, check out our post on How to Register as a Teacher in Australia.

Once my visa is sorted, how can Smart Teachers help?

Before you go:

  • We can help “Aussify” your CV so it is optimised for Australian principals (that’s Aussie for head teachers).
  • With your permission, we will request references from your most recent employer/s to help bolster your application and start speccing your CV into Australian schools.
  • In some cases we may be able to arrange Skype interviews prior to departure.
  • If you are looking for work while you wait for your visa, our UK team can help with short term placements and daily supply across London and the Home Counties. If you’re outside this region, our sister agencies Vision for Education and ABC Teachers can also assist.
  • Our office is based in London so you can contact us any time for dedicated, local support (in the same time zone!)

When you arrive:

  • Smart Australia offers a premium education recruitment service, specialising in permanent and long-term contract teaching jobs within the independent school sector. Browse the latest vacancies.
  • We also have a specialist division, Smart Leaders, for those seeking roles in school leadership (e.g. head teachers, deputy head teachers, heads of department, etc).
  • Our established network will ensure you are alerted to jobs quickly (often before they are advertised publicly), maximising your chance of securing a teaching job in Australia.
  • Our service to teachers is completely free. We are paid by the schools we recruit for, who pay an agreed fee for the services we provide.

When should I get the ball rolling?

It’s never too soon to start researching your visa options. Some visas can take up to a year to process, so plan ahead.

  • As soon as your visa is secured, just send us your CV and we can start making your Australian migration dream a reality.
  • If you're relying on sponsorship, send us your CV and indicate you are seeking the sponsorship TSS visa.  Please note, you must be flexible about where/when you can start work as these opportunities are not that common and tend to be offered in regional parts of Australia. 
  • Read our Independent visa vs Sponsorship visa guide here

Busting to know more? Smart Teachers appears at various webinars and live events throughout the year. Come say g'day and meet other like-minded teachers who are migrating to Australia too. 

Who do I contact? 

Your go-to girl in our London office is Sarah Devereux.  Sarah is a former primary teacher who has taught in both Australian and UK classrooms. She has also gone through the whole migration thing herself, so she really knows her stuff.

Phone: 020 7065 7500

But I'm moving the other way! 

We can help you too. If you're thinking of teaching in the UK, but have no idea where to start, give us a call! 

Send your CV here and we'll get back to you.