Moving Guide – Australia

Moving to Australia

The laid-back lifestyle, golden beaches and Tim Tams – these are just some of the most iconic things of Australia and the country has so much more to offer. Intrigued? Read on to find out what you have to do to kickstart your move here!

Jaden Foo

Melbourne expert

Jaden Foo

Melbourne expert

Overview

Australia, the world’s sixth largest country by total area, is surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. The country boasts an extensive coastline of over 34,000 kilometres, and is home to some of the most amazing beaches in the world. If you love the sun and the sand, this is the perfect place for you! People from over 100 countries have migrated to Australia over the years, making it one of the most culturally diverse places in the world. With its quaint neighbourhoods and communities, many have settled down and made Australia their new home.

Weather & Climate

Australia is an arid country with tropical northern and temperate southern coasts. It experiences all 4 seasons throughout the year with summers occurring with a maximum average of 29°C and winters with 13°C.The maximum rainfall is experienced between March and June with an average of 25-100 mm every 3 months.

Cost of Living

A$2500-3000 per month

This average includes house rent, utilities, food, mobile bills, transportation etc. They may vary with several factors like the number of members in a family, preferences and choices of accommodation. A three course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant would cost A$80 or a casual meal at McDonald’s would be equivalent of A$11.

Tax Rates

Income tax (2018-2019) – For residents, the taxes applied on income of more than 18,200 starts from 19c for each $1 rise. To find out if you are a resident, or any tax related information, visit https://www.exfin.com/australian-tax-rates

Goods & Services Tax – set at value of 10% by the Australian government and it is the main source of income of the government.

We love
  • A great cup of coffee and Australia’s signature breakfast
  • Scenic routes and amazing national parks – be sure to visit iconic landmarks like the Twelve Apostles, Blue Mountains and Uluru
  • Incredible vineyards
We’re not a fan of
  • Uninvited snakes and spiders in Australian homes

Cities in Australia

Adelaide

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Green city • Wine capital • Cultural • The festival state

Brisbane

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Friendly • Inclusive • Progressive • Nation’s coolest city

Canberra

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Friendly • Laid-back • Iconic • Down to earth capital city

Gold Coast

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Golden beaches • Great night life • Theme parks • Best lifestyle in the world

Melbourne

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Vibrant • Multicultural • Great coffee • World’s most liveable city

Perth

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Lovely sunny days • Best wine • Relaxed lifestyle • Yummy fish and chips

Sydney

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Cosmopolitan • Great surfing • Multicultural • World’s most beautiful harbour

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Visa & Employment Passes

Australia currently has 6 types of visitor visas, 3 studying and training visas, 22 family and partner visas, 21 working and skilled visas, 5 refugee and humanitarian visas and 14 other visas.

Visa and Citizenship

Given that there are over 50 types of working and skilled visas, figuring out which one applies to you can be tedious. To help you out, Australia’s Department of Home Affairs has created a great resource, Visa Finder, where you can simply input your details and it will recommend visas that are most appropriate for you.

You might also be eligible for citizenship it you have lived in Australia for 4 years and have not be absent from the country for more than a year within that duration. Check out the Residence Calculator to see if you meet the residence requirements.

Employment Permits

All immigrants intending to work in Australia, are usually required to obtain a work permit. The work permit may differ, depending on the purpose and duration of stay in the country. For student visas, it often comes with the additional benefit of working for up to 20 hours per week during the academic term, and for as long as they want to during semester breaks. Regulations also allow family members of all visiting students who have joined them in the city, to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week.

Job Opportunities

A$82,436 per annum

Average Salary (as of Q2 2018)

IT Services, Financial Services, Retail

Top Industries

To stand a better chance, do look out for networking opportunities with companies that you are interested in, check out some of the online job portals or professional and trade associations.

Work permit process for foreigners

Every foreigner, except for those moving from New Zealand, will need a work permit. A work permit/visa will give you the freedom to work legally without hassle. The process involves the following:

  • Finding an employer to nominate you: To get a working visa, you will need an employer to submit a nomination form on your behalf
  • Visa application: This process involves filling out a lot of forms correctly without error. Do take your time when filling up the paperwork
  • Visa appointment: You will get called for an appointment, after which, you will be informed if it was accepted or not
  • You can then apply for a professional visa to live and work for up to four years
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Housing & Connectivity

Traditionally, rented accommodations are in shorter supply in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne.

If you’re looking to purchase property while you’re there, recent rules made it a little more complex for non residents. For general, well-intentioned residents, there is little barrier to purchasing property, unless it has to do with huge investment purchases.

Housing Rental

A$1,679

Average Rental per month

When on the hunt for a property, you may hear words such as “flats”, “houses” and “units”. Generally, locals refer to apartments as flats. Houses on the other hand are larger and includes an outdoor space. Units are usually referring to larger flats with split levels like a house but built in blocks like flats. You can search for rental prices online on realestate.com.au.

Buying Property

A$903,859

Median House Price (Dec 2017)

Where applicable, do obtain an approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) before purchasing your property. Application fees may apply for certain types of property. The fee estimator on the FIRB website would give you a good gauge on how much the fees are. If you/your spouse is an Australian Citizen/Permanent Resident, you might also be eligible for the First Home Owners Grant.

You can also buy a personal property while holding a temporary visa, but not as an investment. Upon leaving the country, the property will be sold.

Given the sheer size of Australia, there are plenty of locations where you might want to stay in. In a report by realestate.com.au the top ranked lifestyle suburbs, based on factors such as proximity to a beach/river, schools, parks and transit times to the nearest CBD, were:

  • St Kilda West, Melbourne, Victoria (median house price $2,177,500 and the median unit price is $575,000)
  • South Brisbane, Brisbane, Queensland (median house price is $867,500 and the median unit price is $550,000)
  • Dutton Park, Brisbane, Queensland (median house price is $850,000)
  • Spring Hill, Brisbane, Queensland (median house price is $895,000 and the median unit price is $377,500)
  • Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, Queensland (median house price is $910,000 and the median unit price is $515,000)

propertyvalue.com.au is a good site to check out prices of your desired property.

Mobile Network Providers

A$50-80

Average Mobile Phone Bill per month

The four largest telcos in Australia are Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile. Before you settle on which telco to use, be sure to ask if the telco has coverage in your area. 3G and 4G coverage make up less than a third of the country’s land mass.

Utilities Cost

A$195.39

Average Utilities Bill per month

Basic utilities for a month can be estimated to be A$195.39 generally. Whereas, for students studying in Australia, this amount is as low as A$35-$140, for gas and electricity specifically.
Sydney is the most expensive city according to price index with Melbourne and Canberra next in the list.

Internet Service Providers

A$60-80

Average Internet Bill per month

According to Gizmodo, the fastest internet speeds are provided by Aussie Broadband, iiNet, TPG, Internode and Dodo. To compare the prices of the various broadband providers you can use youcompare.com.au and iselect.com.au. You can also look at reviews of the various providers on productreview.com.au. As with choosing a mobile network provider, contact the internet service provider to confirm coverage in your area.

Getting Around

84.3% of Australian households said that they had at least one car, with more than half owning more than 2 cars according to the census of 2016.

Public Transport System

A$150 per month

Average Public Transportation Cost

Public transport
Depending on your location, you might not need a car. For example, public transportation systems in the Greater Capital Cities are comprehensive. You will find rails, buses, ferries and trams to be convenient for your daily commute. Outside of the capital, options are far fewer and tend to be distributed unequally with inner-city areas having much better infrastructure than the outer suburbs.

Car sharing and taxis
As alternatives to the public transport system in Australia, GoGet, GreenShareCar, Hertz 24/7 and Flexicar allows you to pay a fee to use a shared car and then return it to a dedicated lot. Taxis and Uber are also available. However, bear in mind that these companies may not be active in smaller towns.

Intercity Transport System

Intercity transport
While Australia does have rails connecting the different states, most people might find it faster and cheaper to fly. If you are not in a hurry, the interstate rails do offer scenic views of places that you would not see if you take the plane.

Driving in Australia

Laws and driving regulations are different in each state. Some states require you to carry an International Licence with your current foreign licence. Other states require you to carry your current foreign driver’s licence together with a formal translation of your licence into English.

In most Australian states and territories, you are able to drive on a overseas licence as long as it is still current.  This does not include the Northern Territory.
You are only allowed to drive the vehicle which your overseas license authorises you to drive. You must drive according to the conditions set forth in your overseas license.

Relocation Essentials

Here’s a quick guide to relocation essentials like banking matters, education and healthcare.

Banking

Banks in Australia use a point system. To qualify for setting up a bank account, you would need 100 points. Below is a list of documents and its accompanying points:

• Birth certificate, passport or citizenship certificate [70]
• Drivers’ licence, shooters’ licence, public service employee ID card or a Commonwealth or State Government financial entitlement card [40]
• Land rates (This applies only to homeowners) [35]
• A card with your name on it. This could be a credit card, or even a store account card or a library card [25]
• A document with your name and address on it, such as a utility bill or bank statement [25]

Major Australian banks include ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac. They offer online services that enable you to open a bank account online. However, you will still be required to head down physically to a branch to present the 100 points worth of documentation before you can start making withdrawals.

To decide on which bank to settle on, you can use finder.com.au to compare interest rates of the various savings accounts offered by the various Australian banks.

Healthcare

Australians have the 6th highest life expectancy in the world, a testament to the quality of their healthcare.

Medicare
Medicare is Australia’s publicly-funded system of universal medical coverage. Under this system, Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents are covered for primary healthcare services. These include treatment in public hospitals and complete/partial coverage of doctors’ consultations.

If you are a resident of a country that has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia, you might be entitled to limited Medicare benefits. Countries that have RHCAs with Australia include Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK. Take a look at the Medicare website to see if you are eligible.

Compulsory private medical insurance for expats
As part of the visa requirements, there is a minimum level of private medical insurance coverage you need to obtain. This is if you are not eligible for Medicare. Even if you are from a country with a RHCA with Australia, you might still need health insurance to qualify for your visa since you can only enrol for Medicare after you enter Australia.

Education

Australia offers public, private and international schools for all ages. Australian universities are also ranked highly in global rankings.

Public schools
The majority of Australian and a significant number of expats send their children to public schools. You might need to pay a fixed tuition fee based on the state or territory that you are in, depending on your visa. The school that you can send your children to depends on your catchment zone. As such, many expat parents choose accommodation based on the quality of nearby schools. Do take note that you may be required to provide proof of residency before your child can enrol into most schools.

Private schools
Some states charge a levy to expats holding on to a temporary visa. This can be so high that private schools becomes the more affordable option.

International schools
International schools are also popular among the expat community, especially since most of them offer International Baccalaureate programmes. However, the fees for international schools can be extremely high and the popular schools tend to have long waiting lists, with pre-enrolment exams.

Universities
5 out of the top 50 universities ranked by QS are located in Australia: Australian National University (24th), University of Melbourne (39th), University of Sydney (42nd), University of New South Wales (45th) and University of Queensland (48th).

In particular, Australian universities are ranked within the top 10 for subjects such as Accounting & Finance, Anatomy & Physiology, Anthropology and Law.

All Things Aussie

Here are more facts and information we think it’d be useful for you!

Holidays

National Public Holidays include:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Australia Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Anzac Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

All other public holidays such as Queen’s Birthday and Labour Day are individually declared by the state and territory governments. For more information, please visit the Australian Government website.

Fun Facts

  • In 2005, the government issued a ban on saying the word ‘mate’ at Parliament House. The ban lasted for 24 hours and was overturned
  • Australia was the second country in the world to allow women to vote
  • The Great Barrier Reef has its own postbox. You’ll need a special Great Barrier Reef stamp to send out mails from there though!

Do’s and Don’ts

Australia is known to have one of the tightest quarantine laws globally to protect their ecosystem. On a side note, they also produce an entertaining factual TV show titled Border Security: Australia’s Front Line, which shows the extent of their strict laws. Food, plants and animal materials in particular are highly controlled. Familiarise yourself with the various regulations in place and click here for more information on customs and quarantine.

Famous Things

  • The Outback
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Koalas and Kangaroos
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Blue Mountains
  • Bondi Beach

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