Make The Move: Ireland To Australia

Written By:
Rebecca Adlington
Marketing Manager
If you're an Irish lawyer looking for a change of scenery and a new challenge, Australia could be the perfect destination for you. Home to multiple legal markets, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, Australia has a thriving legal sector, and there are plenty of opportunities for Irish lawyers to live and work there. In this article, we'll take a closer look at how Irish-qualified lawyers can make the move to Australia and enjoy a new adventure.  

Getting started  

Australia's legal market is one of the most diverse and dynamic in the world. With a population of over 25 million people, Australia is home to a wide range of legal firms, from small boutique practices to large multinational firms.

Many law firms in Australia specialise in different areas of law, so it's important to research firms that align with your experience and interests. The location you wish to live in Australia will also narrow your search. Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane are all very different and have something unique to offer lawyers. Sydney has the highest cost of living but hosts the top firms and clients, closely followed by Melbourne. Brisbane and Perth have a hot year-round climate and more affordable housing.

Visa requirements  

The next step to working as a lawyer in Australia is to understand the visa requirements. Irish citizens can apply for a subclass 482 visa, which allows skilled workers to live and work in Australia for up to four years. To be eligible for this visa, you'll need to have a job offer from a law firm in Australia, meet the English language requirements, and have the necessary qualifications.  

Securing a role  

Irish-qualified lawyers are looked upon favourably by Partners in Australia. You will need the right experience (min 2PQE) and motivation to want to live in Australia for a long period. From your initial research you will likely have an idea on the firms that would complement your skills, however there’s no doubt that working with a legal recruiter with knowledge and feet on the ground will be in your best interest.  

Australia is home to some of the world's largest and most successful law firms, including Clayton Utz, Allens, Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, Ashurst, and MinterEllison. These firms have a strong presence in Australia and also operate globally, with offices in key cities around the world.

Australia also has a thriving small firm and boutique practice sector. These firms often specialise in specific areas of law, such as family law, intellectual property, or employment law. They may also cater to specific industries, such as the arts, technology, or the environment.

A good legal recruiter will advise on all your options and have connections within all of the top law firms to help you secure that all-important interview. They will be your mentor and support every step of the way, helping you even to negotiate salary and re-location packages.  

*Salary rates in Australia tend to be similar to Dublin, although you could earn more depending on the type of firm.

‘’The legal sector in Australia is highly regarded and is known for its innovative approach to legal services. With close ties to Asia, the market is competitive, with firms constantly striving to provide high-quality legal advice to clients across a wide range of industries. Law firms will offer Irish associates exciting and challenging work and the opportunity to step up in your career. The process itself is relatively smooth with sponsorships approved in a timely manor. From application, you could be in Australia within 3-4months.’’ - Dylan Morrison – Senior Legal Consultant.

Qualifying as a lawyer in Australia

Once you have your visa and have secured a job in Australia, you'll need to obtain the necessary qualifications to practice law in the country. The requirements for practicing law in Australia vary depending on the state or territory, but in general, you'll need to complete a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice or similar program, and then complete a period of supervised legal practice.

You may also need to complete additional courses or exams to become admitted to the local bar association in the state or territory where you plan to practice. It's important to research the requirements in advance and ensure that you have the necessary qualifications. Again, your recruiter and chosen law firm will help you with this process.  

Working in Australia

Working in Australia as a lawyer can be a rewarding experience. The legal sector in Australia is highly regarded, and there are many opportunities to work on complex cases and develop your skills. You'll also have the opportunity to work with lawyers from all over the world and gain exposure to different legal systems and cultures.

Australia is a great place to live, too. With its diverse landscapes, friendly people, and high standard of living, it's no wonder that Australia is a popular destination for people from all over the world.

The Irish community is HUGE in Australia. Irish immigration to Australia began in the early 19th century, as a result of the Irish Potato Famine and other economic and social factors.

The Irish community in Australia is proud of its heritage and celebrates it through a variety of cultural events and festivals. St Patrick's Day is one of the most popular events, with parades and celebrations taking place in major cities across the country.

There are many Irish clubs and societies in Australia, providing a sense of community and connection for those with Irish roots. These organisations offer a range of activities and events, including language classes, music and dance performances, and social events. Gaelic Football and Hurling have even been played across Australia and New Zealand for many decades by Irish immigrants, visa workers and backpackers. There are now approximately 3 000 players involved in Gaelic games in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart, Wellington and Christchurch.

The Irish community in Australia also includes many Irish-owned businesses, particularly in the hospitality industry. Irish pubs and restaurants can be found in cities and towns across the country, and many of these businesses have become popular gathering places for the Irish community and their friends.

In short, you will easily find fellow Irish companions!  

‘’Being of Irish descent, I’m lucky enough to have an Irish passport and have reaped the benefits by living in both Sydney and London. There’s no doubt that the lifestyle in Australia is unique and I encourage everyone with the means to experience the lifestyle Australia has to offer.'' - Dylan Morrison – Senior Legal Consultant.


Working as a lawyer in Australia can be a great option for Irish qualified lawyers who are looking for a new challenge. With its growing economy, vibrant culture, and thriving legal sector, Australia offers plenty of opportunities to build a successful legal career. Just be sure to research the visa requirements, obtain the necessary qualifications, and network to find a job. With the right preparation, you could soon be enjoying a new life and career in one of the world's most dynamic countries.