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ACA Accountant / Auditor

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Hi all, 

I have recently completed my ACA with the ICAEW here in the UK and I have just submitted my EOI for a 189 visa (External Auditor or Accountant General). I am expecting, or rather hoping, to have 70 skilled immigration points when it finally comes to applying. 

I am currently earning approximately £45,000 + bonus in the UK (before PAYE, NI, Benefits & Pension) working for one of the "big 4" in the Audit sector. I live with my partner in a 2-bed house, in the suburbs of quite an expensive city, and we pay £900 pcm rent.

If my application is successful, my partner and I would like to move to either the Gold Coast or Wollongong. My concern is whether I could earn enough money to pay rent, put down a deposit, raise a family, and have a good standard of life (like I do in the UK).  Indeed lists the average accountant salary in the aforementioned cities as $63,409 for GC (vs. the average of ~$51k) and $81,520 for the Gong (vs. the avg of ~$52k). 

Obviously, it's possible as I am sure there are accountants which have managed this in GC/Gong 😉. Money/career/salary isn't my main focus - I just want to be confident that I can provide a decent standard of living for myself and my future family in Australia.  

If anyone can add any input on the following questions/concerns that'd be awesome.


- Is 70 points enough for 189 External Auditor/189 General Accountant? 

- What's the job market like for Auditors and/or first-time movers from practice into industry in GC/Gong? 

- Has anyone made the move from UK practice to Aus Industry directly? Any tips you can share?

- I don't intend to be an auditor for the rest of my life (😂). Some of my colleagues who qualified with me have moved into Group Accountant/FP&A type roles within industry. What's the general attitude of Aussie employers towards people who have qualified and worked in the UK? It doesn't seem likely that I could rock up in Australia with no Australian work experience and land a job as Group Accountant. 

- I could do a secondment/transfer to the Gold Coast or Wollongong offices of my current firm but this ties me to the company and the audit sector - this is definitely an option but I'd rather do the more tradition 189 visa route (if possible). 

tldr: Can I move to Gold Coast/Wollongong with BSc Accounting & Finance, ACA, 4 years Big 4 experience and land a FP&A/Group Accountant role paying $80k+ per year? 













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Posted (edited)

I've been looking at a similar route to you and after some research and people's feedback on here, it's likely that due to the high saturation of applicants for Accountants, a lot of Accountants are now turning to apply via auditing so the points needed for both professions is high and competitive, 75-80 points desirable. So if you have 70, you may be waiting a long time. 

If you work for one of the big 4 accountancy firms and have an option to transfer, I would think that may be a quicker route although a skilled independent visa is much more preferable for your own security. Post qualification experience is also generally required.

A lot of people also gave me feedback that Accountants may be removed from the skilled lists in the near future because of their over subscription. 

Interested to follow your journey (as it may give me some hope!) 

Good luck! 

Edited by Captain_Tor
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She slept with wolves without fear, for the wolves knew a lion was among them...

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The problem you face is that Immigration is swamped with applications from accountants from India and Asia.   Even before I retired, I noticed that most of the accountants in Sydney offices were Chinese (either Hongkinese or Malaysian).  They do well in the application process because they're able to score very high points, even though their spoken English is usually not that good.  As Captain_Tor said, competition is now so fierce that many of these applicants are now switching to apply as auditors, making that saturated as well.   

Therefore, unless you can find a way to boost your points, you will be waiting a very long time to get invited.   I would normally advise against taking the temporary visa route because although there is an opportunity to transition to PR later, it's far from guaranteed and a very long, stressful process.  However, if it's with your current employer and you can negotiate good terms (i.e. relocation costs there and back etc), then I'd say it would be a good option in your case.

As to whether you can have a good life - it depends where you choose to live.    Having lived in the UK a couple of years ago, I'd say the cost of living is much the same in both countries, except for the cost of housing.   The cost to buy or rent a home varies enormously across Australia, and the expensive areas don't necessarily have higher salaries to compensate. Check out realestate.com.au to get an idea of costs in your preferred areas - and bear in mind real estate agents doctor the photos shamelessly.  

  • Thanks 1

Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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10 hours ago, Captain_Tor said:


Thank you both for your respective replies.

Both have given me food for thought. I think, in order for my application to have a greater chance of success, I may have to go down either the 190 visa route (I believe I'll get an additional 5 points for NSW state sponsorship) or the internal transfer within my current firm.

I guess this leaves 

- What's the job market like in non-Sydney NSW cities? Wollongong and Newcastle would be my first choices.

- Has anyone gone down the 190 external audit/accountant route to NSW from the UK? Or has anyone done a secondment with big 4 firm which ultimately led to PR? 

Unfortunately, most of the jobs I see with my current firm in NSW are Financial Services Audit. This is renowned for having terrible hours and high staff turnover (hence the job adverts). 


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