Getting into Oz/NZ gaming

I'm in the UK and have been trying for a couple of months now to get a response from any of the Australian games companies there.
Is there and adversion to taking on people from overseas?

Rahnem's picture

That depends on how experienced you are. If you have a couple years worth of experience on an AAA titles you should stand a chance.

Immigration is a bitch and a plane ticket from the UK is expensive, so you have to be worth it.

Cornflake's picture

I've got over 15 years and mainly only ever done AAA stuff.
The usual thing is that I dont get a response at all.

J I Styles's picture

there's only a small number of companies in oz that will import people -- in order of likelihood, you should be targetting firstly international dev houses with an Australian studio, then secondly the larger Australian developers; since we're all lazy bastards (our global industry as a whole, not just us Aussies [;)]), don't just mail stuff in post or email and sit back -- use your time zone differences to your advantage and call when international prices are cheap and hassle people. Ask them exactly what it would take for them to take you on.

Stress that you're married to show your long term stability in this endeavour, and you want to find a company to be loyal to. With importing people, that's the #1 biggest risk. A company goes to the trouble of funding your visa, sponsoring your immigration, goes through all the headaches and red tape to get you over, then you flake and jump off to the next company that offers more $, 6 months down the track.

Cornflake's picture

Thank's that seems like good advice. It's a bit like groping round in the dark trying to find out info on companies (how long they've been going, reputation etc...).
It's just frustrating, I read a lot of stuff about companies wanting to compete more on a global scale yet very few seem to be willing to make the effort to do so.
I often wonder if its the same with people trying to get into the UK.

Rahnem's picture

I have noticed this myself, many countries seem to be willing to import expertise from outside the country, except Australia. Getting them to just reply to your email can be a trial.

What is your industry experience if you don't mind me asking?

Cornflake's picture

The usa seem pretty good at taking on people from over seas and here in the uk I've worked with a few people from abroad (mainly europe mind).

My experience is as an artist (mainly animation I guess). Been making games since I was at high school in the 80s :o)
But I'm not that old honest.

unknownuser2's picture

Well every job ive applied for in the uk ive heard a reply back and on 1 occasion had a willing participant to fly me over to start working, unfortunately this was back when i was doing my diploma and thought it best to finishit rather than fly away half way thru, now i wonder whether or not i made the right decision.

souri's picture

It's definately worth checking out [url=""]this thread[/url] from a fellow Brit who's also interested in working here.

Yeh, the lack of responses seems to be a general problem with dev companies here. Make sure you are sending your email to their human resources or job email addresses (you can look at all the posts in the jobs section to see what their contact addresses are).

Cornflake's picture

Thanks for that Souri.
It's hard to wade through all the threads when you're new here to find what you want.

Blitz's picture

From my limited experience, aussie companies will usually only be willing to sponsor international people for senior-level jobs. Generally management type positions (producer etc.), and sometimes senior programming positions (Leads, or specific skills that are hard to find). Possibly lead artists/art directors etc. they may be willing to sponsor also.
Companies won't hire internationally for junior/normal jobs, simply because it is easy and cheaper for them to get the required talent in australia!
So your problem is that you may only be considered for a job when they are actively trying to hire a new lead artist/art director etc.
Of course if you can make your own way into the country with working visa's etc. I'm sure they'd be glad to snap you up (if they are hiring!)
I guess one of the key things to remember here is, no matter how good you are etc., unless a company has a vacant position, it is unlikely they will hire you (after all, it is an extra salary they have to fund).
Good luck anyway, i'd say your best bets to contact would be...
Atari Melbourne House
Creative Assembly (maybe you could get a job at their english studio (if it still exists?) and then get a transfer :))
Irrational Games
Blue Tongue

CYer, Blitz

Cornflake's picture

Good point there Blitz, maybe it might be worth my while have a "holiday" over there and seeing a few places.
I understand why places are a little reluctant to take people from abroad on. But the utter lack of response it very off putting. A simple "no" reply would more than suffice.
Maybe I'm being a bit to cynical, but I tend to like a reply rather than being ignored.

Blitz's picture

It is annoying, but it is not specifically you, or overseas people not getting a reply. As joel said, aussie companies in general are very lazy about communicating with the outside world :( For instance, when i sent my resume out to 15 (i think) companies earlier this year, i received 3 replies. 2 were from companies who wanted to interview me, and the other was a "no, not at this time" (yay for the nice people at White Noise Games!). Also interesting to note, is one company that interviewed me, after i said "I hate companies that just ignore you, unless they want to interview you", they said "Oh we do that to". :P
Aussies are lazy, what can i say :)
I'd re-suggest joels suggestion of actually wasting some money on a phonecall to some places. It's a much more difficult thing to ignore :)
CYer, Blitz

groovyone's picture

Have you talked to the companies about paying for your own visa? If you're that dedicated to moving here, perhaps offer that as an up front on your behalf and you get re-imbursed over the course of 2-3 years.

Also it helps if you're a core person on the team (designers, or engine programmers) anything that would give them an interest in picking you from the local talent.

On another note: If you're from Canada or UK and under 28, there's this little thing called "Working Holiday Visa" that you should check out. Basically it allows to you work and live in Australia for 1 year I believe. This would be a great way of comming here as a trial period.

Blitz's picture

I'm not too sure about what the rules are for that visa in australia, but often in other countries, it only allows you to do un-skilled labour (such as waiting tables etc.), doing a skilled job such as programming would be a violation of the visa.
Once again, i'm not exactly sure of the australian rules regarding it though.
CYer, Blitz

Jacana's picture

I think the Aust visa is more like the US where they actually only want skilled labour to come in - so they want people with at least Bachlors degrees.

Basicly from what I understood of work visas in Australia is you really just needed to demonstrate why you are so good that they need to import you from another place instead of hire locally.

The best place to find out about working visa requirements would be the govt site itself. Try and do a search there for DIMA (Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affair). That is who you'll need to deal with.

I am not sure what immigration will put you through for a work visa but I know for my residential vias I had to go through a health check (hearing test, aids test, tuberculous *speling, and such) as well as a background check. I would suspect that may be true for working visas.

souri's picture

Oh, that sounds like so much hassle. Can't you just arrange a fake marriage or something instead? [:)]

DaMunkee's picture

Actually, having recently been backpacking in Oz with a bunch of Europeans, I can tell you all you need to know about the visas :) The working holiday visa that Grooveyone was talking about is really simple to get. All you need to be is under a certain age (38 I think) and you can come into Oz for a full year (or for 4 months if your coming from the US). You still have to apply, but it is suppose to be straight forward. Anyway that Visa allows you to work with ANYONE that will hire you. It's very different from the visas in the US where they have unskilled labor visas, business visas, etc... Oz pretty much has a tourist visa, this year visa and then one more permanent visa which requires sponsorship. So, if you're that keen on getting a gig here, nothing says dedication like showing up on the doorstep of some developer :)


Cornflake's picture

I presume that once you're over there and working you can then get the company to sponser you for a long term visa?
I'm going to have a look into this and see what I can dig up.

OJ's picture

While sponsoring is a solution, there's no guarantee that the Australian government will agree with the sponsorship. To get sponsorship the company who sponsors you, I believe, needs to justify your prescence in the country via your ability to do something that they aren't able to get an Australian to do. With an industry like games, which is flooded and has lots of people banging at the doors, you'd want to be pretty special ;)

I don't mean that it's not possible, I just think that it's a little more than just asking for sponsorship and having the boss say yes.

Good luck, I hope it works out!