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Moving to Australia

A Comprehensive Guide on Relocating to Australia

If you intend on living and working in Australia, the first step to take to move here is organizing one item: Your visa. Unless you are from New Zealand, it is a requirement to have a work visa before moving to Australia for a new job. But what comes after? How can you move easily to the land of kangaroos and the Great Barrier Reef? This guide covers everything you need to know.

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

You want to move to Australia. But how? And what do you need to move to Australia? Don’t worry—our guide covers everything you need to know, from the benefits of moving here to choosing (and getting) the right visa for you. 

Many expats want to know if it is hard or easy to relocate to Australia. If you already have a job offer or an employment contract in this country, the resettling process is pretty simple and straightforward. You just apply to one of Australia’s work visa types. There is also 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 moving to Australia right for you? Well, 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 things to know when moving to Australia. Read on and learn more in each section of our relocation guide.

relocating

Relocating

Whether you are moving abroad for the first time or relocated multiple times before, the process raises many questions. Our complete guide to relocation will ease your doubts along the way, from the initial preparations to how to negotiate a relocation package, we help you GO! prepared with the key answers.

There is plenty an expat needs to prepare for when it comes to moving and shipping to, and storing their household goods in, Australia. This is especially important for people moving from areas like the US to Australia. For example, there are strict limitations on the items you can bring into the country duty-free. The personal items you bring cannot exceed a total value of 900 AUD (650 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, the main one to make sure you have 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. Learn more in this section of our guide.

If you intend on moving to Australia with pets, we also detail how you must first know the 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. 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.

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Visas & Work Permits

Good news for professional expats who may be wondering how to get an Australian visa and work permit: there are plenty of visa types to choose from. It’s just a matter of figuring out which visa is best suited for you and your particular employment situation. You can also book a phone call with our Australian immigration experts. They will do all the research on your behalf, taking your doubts away and guiding you through the online visa application process to increase your chances of success.

The country’s visa requirements depend on the type of professional work permit you are applying for. Some of the most common factors to meet in the visa application process include needing a competent level of English language skill, meeting Australia’s health and character requirements, and holding an eligible job or profession. 

If you are a business owner or investor, you must also hold sufficient funds, assets, or have a minimum net value to qualify for the prestigious Business Talent visa. This is one of several visas that is equal to permanent residency, but the visa cost for this permit is over 7,000 AUD (5,100 USD). Read this section for more detailed information.

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housing

Housing

In this section of the guide, we look at accommodation in Australian cities, which is famously expensive whatever type of house you choose. Average rent prices in the capital, Sydney, hit 600 AUD (430 USD) per week in the beginning of 2020. The most expensive city to buy in is also Sydney, with the median house price being 995,000 AUD (725,000 USD).

Great housing is also difficult to secure in Australia, as the housing market is incredibly competitive. You need to know how to rent or buy a house as a foreigner before you even start looking. For instance, 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 tenants who do not meet the 100-point criteria. Learn what this means in this section of our guide.

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 Australia, including phone and internet service, is not nearly as difficult. If you read this guide and still struggle, feel free to contact us about our settling-in service. Our experts can guide you through the steps you need to take to set up your utilities.

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healthcare

Healthcare

Understanding the public healthcare system (known as Medicare) 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 Australia is part of the private sector. More than 50% of the population purchase private insurance. This is because the Medicare health insurance card does not cover everything.

This section also covers the practicalities of healthcare here. When you know how to find a doctor in Australia, being attended to should happen quickly if you live in a major city or capital. In rural areas, you may have to travel some distance to the nearest hospital. 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 as long as you are an expat with 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). We explore more at the bottom section of this guide.

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Banks & Taxes

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 and migrant bank accounts for expats moving to Australia. In this section of the guide, we teach you everything you need to know about getting your first account here.

This section also covers how much tax you may pay in Australia. Understanding and navigating the country’s tax system will also be an important step for professional working expats to do once they arrive. You will learn how the government has introduced many new tax laws to help workers, including self-employed people and small to medium-sized businesses. This includes a tax relief for singles (up to 1,080 AUD (780 USD)) and dual-income families (up to 2,160 AUD (1,600 USD)). Tax itself is calculated at a progressive rate—the more you earn, the more you will be taxed. 

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education

Education

This section looks at public and international schools in Australia. The country’s international schools offer the International Baccalaureate, British, or American curriculum as part of French, German, even Japanese speaking environments. Available in major cities, you should be able to find the school that suits your expat child’s needs. 

The education system in the Commonwealth country is divided into three categories: primary (includes kindergarten), secondary, and higher education, with only primary and secondary being compulsory. After completing these stages of the school system, students can choose to pursue higher education at some of the best schools and universities in the country. For 2021, there are 37 top universities in the country, with 6 of these being in the top 100 institutions worldwide.

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working

Working

This section looks at work opportunities in Australia, which are plentiful—especially for highly skilled expats working in IT. The average salary in Australia is 1,605 AUD (1,200 USD) per week for a full-time worker, achievable in mid-level jobs. Eligible specialist workers, such as those in IT careers, may earn well over this. The country also has a skills shortage of blue-collar workers (plumbers, electricians, builders, etc.). Self-employed foreign workers might consider starting a business in these sectors. 

If starting your own business is not viable yet, an expat will need to figure out how to get a job before moving to Australia. This will require understanding the country’s business culture, which is pretty open and straightforward and has an excellent appreciation for modesty. In this section, we explore not just Australian business culture, but Australian social security for employees, and even how to apply for (and get!) a job in the country.

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living

Living

Living in Australia is the dream of many expats. But what is it actually like to become a resident here? This section explores the pros and cons of living in the country, from the beautiful weather (definitely a pro) to the remoteness of the island (for some expats, a negative aspect). If you’re interested in diving deeper into the cost of living in Australia, we have created a full article on the subject, where  you can find out if your salary will cover your living expenses.

Something else you can learn about in this guide is driving in Australia. Expats living here long-term will eventually need to obtain an Australian driver’s license to drive, or an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) if your license is not in English. If you would rather not drive, then you can expect reliable and high-quality public transportation options. This includes the ferry, bus, tram, flights, and trains, depending on which part of the country you are in.

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Updated on: September 18, 2020
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