The laid-back lifestyle, golden beaches and Tim Tams — Australia is a top moving destination for people around the world with so much more to offer. Intrigued? Read on to find out what you have to do to kickstart your move here!
Looking for a job? According to Australia’s Department of Jobs, there are plenty of jobs that’s available. Head on down to the Department of Home Affairs website to find a list of eligible skilled occupations and the visa programmes available. To ease labour shortages, the Australian government is looking to roll out a new plan. This would would class Darwin, Perth, Hobart, Adelaide and Canberra as regional centres for migrants.
Visa and citizenship
Given that there are over 20 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 created has created a great resource, Visa Finder, where you can simply input your details and it will recommend visas that are appropriate for you.
You might also be eligible for citizenship it you have lived in Australia for four years and have not be absent from the country for more than a year within the four years. Check out the Residence Calculator to see if you meet the residence requirements.
Cost of moving
The cost of moving varies a lot across the different companies as there is little transparency in the industry. However, you can easily get a quote on the Moovaz website. Simply input where you are moving from, expected move date and items to be shipped over and a quote would be generated for you. Alternatively, you can conduct a video survey of your items at your own time and convenience, with any camera-enabled smart device.
Ensure that you do not bring restricted items
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.
Professional movers can often advise you regarding the regulations. The team at Moovaz will provide you with the necessary information needed when they assess your items.
Australians have the 6th highest life expectancy in the world, a testament to the quality of their healthcare. However, their healthcare system might be confusing for someone new given the mix between government funding and private insurance.
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 health insurance for expats
There is a minimum level of private medical insurance you are required to be covered by if you wish to be granted a visa. 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 especially if you can only enrol in Medicare after you enter Australia.
Before buying a property, you may need approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). Depending on the type of property you purchase, you may have to pay an application fee. There is a fee estimator on the FIRB website to gauge how much the fees are. If your spouse and/or you are/is an Australian Permanent Resident(s) or Citizen(s), you might also be eligible for the First Home Owners Grant.
You can also buy a personal property with a temporary visa, but not as an investment. Once you leave 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)
Visit propertyvalue.com.au to discover your dream home and its accompanying price.
Buying a property represents a significant investment and can also be challenging if you are unfamiliar with the market. 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.
Cost of living
You will also have to account for the cost of living in the area that you want to settle in. This is on top of healthcare and housing costs. The Price Index below gives an indication of the cost of living in 10 different cities.
(Data from Expatistan)
From the diagram above, Adelaide, Cairns and Newcastle are all roughly 1% more expensive than Perth, while Sydney is 28% more expensive than Perth.
Australia also offers public, private and international schools for all ages, if you are moving with your kids. Australian universities are also ranked highly in global rankings.
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.
Some states charge a levy to expats holding onto a temporary visa. This can be so high that private schools becomes the more affordable option. Most private schools in Australia are catholic and thus may teach with leanings toward the religion. Other religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam also run independent 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.
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.
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.
(Data from AAA Transport Affordability Index, 2016)
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 tends to be distributed unequally with inner-city areas having much better infrastructure than the outer suburbs.
Car sharing and taxis
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 relatively inexpensive. However, these companies may not be active in smaller towns. Car sharing may be a good alternative, especially on days when you have items to move. Public transportation then might not be ideal due to the lack of storage space.
While Australia does have rails connecting the different states, most expats might find it faster and cheaper to fly.. However, if you are not in a hurry, the inter-state rails do offer scenic views of places that you would not see if you take an airplane.
Mobile network providers
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, as depicted by the purple areas below.
(Date from Lifehacker)
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.
Banks in Australia uses a point system and to open a bank account, you need 100 points. Below is a list of documents and its accompanying points.
|Birth certificate, passport or citizenship certificate|
|Drivers’ licence, shooters’ licence, public service employee ID card or a Commonwealth or State Government financial entitlement card|
|Land rates (This applies only to homeowners)|
|A card with your name on it. This could be a credit card, or even a store account card or a library card|
|A document with your name and address on it, such as a utility bill or bank statement||25|
The major Australian banks: ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac offer online services that enable you to open a bank account online. However, you will still need to physically go to a branch and 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.