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Moving to Australia
A Comprehensive Guide on Relocating to Australia
There are several steps required to move to Australia including house hunting, shipping your household items, and getting your necessary visa and immigration documents in order. Unless you are from New Zealand, requirements for relocating to Australia will include a visa if you intend on living and working here.
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If you are wondering how to come live in Australia, we cover all the details in this Australia guide. So, how hard or easy is it to take up residence in Australia? If you already have a job offer or an employment contract in this country, the resettling process can be pretty simple and straightforward. It is just a matter of applying to one of Australia’s various work visa streams. For highly skilled and blue-collar workers, it can be even simpler. Why? There is a skill shortage in much of Australia. If you can create a business and job opportunities for locals, your chances of a smooth transition and successful work permit application become even greater.
Why else is residing in Australia such an excellent choice? Expats living in this country enjoy many benefits of going to Australia including a high quality of living, great education, good healthcare, fantastic work-life balance, and decent work benefits from employers.
These are just a fraction of the many things to know when coming to Australia. Learn more in each of the sections of our Australia guide.
The process of moving to Australia is no simple task. There is plenty an expat needs to prepare for when it comes to relocating, shipping, and storing their household goods in Australia. For example, if you are planning on heading to Australia, you must know the limitations on the items you can bring into the country duty-free. Personal items coming in with you cannot exceed a total value of 900 AUD (632 USD), and they must have been owned and used for at least a year. No more than 2.25 liters of alcohol is allowed to enter the country per traveler, and only 25 cigarettes or 25 grams of tobacco products can be brought in per person aged 18 years or older.
When it comes to vaccinations required for Australia, there is the main one you need to worry about, and that is the yellow fever vaccine. This is mandatory for anyone coming to Australia from a country with a risk of yellow fever. Routine vaccinations are recommended too, such as the measles vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and yearly flu shot. Specific health requirements and medical examinations will be necessary too depending on your age, the type of visa you apply for, and country you are coming from.
If you intend on entering Australia with pets, you must first figure out which group your cat or dog falls under: 1, 2, or 3. Group 1 are dogs and cats coming from New Zealand, Cocos Islands, and Norfolk Island. These pets will not require an import permit when migrating Down Under. Cats and dogs that fall under group 2 and 3 will require an import permit. These are dogs and cats that come from approved rabies-free countries, and approved countries where rabies is absent or well-controlled, respectively.
To learn more about this and much more read through the relocating section of our Australia guide.Read Guide
Good news for professional expats who may be wondering how to get an Australian visa and work permit: there are plenty of visa routes they could choose from. It is just a matter of researching on the Australian Government Department of Affairs website to figure out which visa is best suited for you and your particular employment situation.
The country’s visa requirements vary depending on the type of professional work permit you are applying for. Some of the most common prerequisites include having a Competent level of English; meeting Australia’s health and character requirements; hold an eligible job or profession; and if you are a business owner or investor, holding sufficient funds, assets, or having a minimum net value to qualify for the prestigious Business Talent visa. This is one of several permanent visas types offered by the Commonweatlh country which is equal to permanent residency in the country. The visa cost for this Australian permit is over 7,000 AUD (4,879 USD).
You may also apply to one of the many temporary visas offered to eligible applicants on a short-term work stint. These include the Temporary Skill Shortage visa, Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa, Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa, or the Temporary Work (International Relations) visa.
The visa application process is all done online on ImmiAccount via the Australian Government Department of Affairs website.Read Guide
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Accommodation in Australia is expensive, but of course, this may also depend on where you choose to live, and the type of house you decide to rent or buy. The average rent following the first quarter in 2019 was 436 AUD (304 USD) per week. Meanwhile, the most expensive city to buy in is Sydney, with the average house price being 955,000 AUD (666,036 USD).
Housing in the Commonwealth country varies. For example, in more metropolitan cities you will find plenty of studio apartments (known as “flats”) while in the suburbs you will find more single-family homes.
If you are wondering how to rent a house in Australia, you must first become familiar with the country’s 100 point check system. This is an identification system adopted by the government which many landlords and real estate agents use. Many will not rent to a tenant without them meeting the 100 point criteria.
If you are asking yourself how to buy a house in the Commonwealth country as a foreigner, the process gets even more complicated. First, any foreign non-resident or temporary resident will need to obtain approval from the Foreign Review Board to purchase property in Australia.
When you have finally settled into your new dwelling, you can set up your services such as gas, electricity, and water. The good news is that setting up utilities in the country, including phone and internet service, is not nearly as difficult.Read Guide
Understanding the healthcare system and health insurance in Australia is an essential step to your international relocation. One of the first things to note is that the country’s healthcare system is a hybrid system of both private and public schemes. Health insurance in the Commonwealth country is part of the private sector. More than 50% of the population do purchase private insurance as the public scheme (known as Medicare) does not cover everything.
If you are wondering how to find a doctor in this country, you should be able to find one quickly if you live in a major city or capital. In rural areas, you may have to travel some distance to see a doctor. To see a specialist, you will have to be referred to one by your general practitioner (GP) if you are a public patient. If you are a private patient, you are free to schedule your appointment with a specialist.
Should you find yourself pregnant while abroad, giving birth in Australia has many benefits. Your child will gain Australian citizenship so long as you are an expat with at least permanent residency status. Otherwise, your child will receive the same visa status as you (e.g., temporary residence if you are on a Temporary Work visa).Read Guide
Opening a bank account in Australia is very easy to do as a non-resident. The country’s best banks (the four big banks (National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, and Westpac)) all offer non-resident bank and migrant bank accounts for expats moving to the Commonwealth country.
If you need to send money abroad, TransferWise can be a great solution. TransferWise will allow you to spend in any currency, receive money for free, and send money internationally with surprisingly low fees — much cheaper than using your local bank. You can even get your own local bank account details in Europe, UK, US, Australia, and New Zealand with the TransferWise borderless account. Start saving money now and click here to sign up for free.
Understanding and navigating the country’s tax system will also be an important step for professional working expats to do once they are in Australia. With personal income tax being the most significant, the government has introduced many new tax laws to help workers, including self-employed, and small to medium-sized businesses. This includes a tax relief for singles (up to 1,080 AUD (745 USD) and dual-income families (up to 2,160 AUD (1,489 USD)). So, how much is the tax in the Commonwealth country? Well, this depends on the tax bracket you fall under and it is calculated at a progressive rate—the more you earn, the more you will be taxed.Read Guide
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International schools in Australia offering the International Baccalaureate, British, or American curriculum are plentiful in this country. From French, German, even Japanese international schools, you will find everything you need depending on your expat children’s needs.
The education system in the Commonwealth country is divided into three categories: primary (includes kindergarten), secondary, and tertiary (higher) education, with only primary and secondary being compulsory. After which, students can choose to pursue tertiary education at some of the best schools and universities in the country.
The school system in the country includes a different grading and school-age systems that you will have to become familiar with. For example, Australia uses the following grades in its grading system: HD (high distinction), D (distinction), C (credit), P (pass), N (fail).Read Guide
Work in Australia is plentiful, and this is especially true for highly skilled expats working in IT. The average salary in the Commonwealth country is 1,605 AUD (1,087 USD) per week for a full-time worker, but eligible, specialist workers may earn well over this median. The country also has a skills shortage of mainly blue-collar workers (plumbers, electricians, builders, etc.). These may be avenues foreign workers might consider exploring if they wish to start a business and are thinking about self-employment in Australia.
But if starting a business is not in the works just yet, an expat will need to figure out how to get a job in the Commonwealth country. This will require understanding the country’s business culture, which is pretty open and straightforward with an excellent appreciation for modesty.
Keep in mind that foreign workers working in Australia do not need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN). However, without it, they may not be able to access certain social security benefits in the Commonwealth country.Read Guide
Is it expensive to live in Australia? Cost of living in the Commonwealth country can be high. The average rent cost in the country was about 436 AUD (304 USD) per week in 2019’s first quarter. This is not including other expenses such as restaurant costs, groceries, education fees, healthcare costs, etc. You will need to budget carefully.
Driving in Australia is possible for an expat with a foreign driver’s license if you are in the country temporarily (less than three months). Otherwise, you will eventually need to obtain your Australian driver’s license to drive here. To drive with your home country’s license, you may also require an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) if your license is not in English.
You can expect reliable and high-quality public transportation in the Commonwealth country if you do not plan on driving here. Your options include the ferry, bus, tram, flights, and trains.Read Guide