In our recent survey of 1,000 people, who were considering a move abroad, 21% described Australia and New Zealand as their preferred destination. Better quality of life (42%), better weather (41%) and improved wellbeing (32%) were quoted as the main reasons for moving. It’s easy to understand why Australia is so popular with us Brits. Sun, surf, and BBQs on the beach, combined with the Aussie values of fun, family and friends, make it a firm favourite for expats. But before you make the move consider creating a moving to Australia checklist to make sure nothing important gets missed. Read below for our top tips on what to include and things to look out for during your planning.
Top of anyone’s moving to Australia checklist should be gaining the correct visa. It’s relatively easy to get a tourist visa to Australia but permanent immigration for expats is notoriously difficult. Visas are allocated according to a points system based on whether your occupation is in high demand. Types include:
- Skilled: Independent Visa – if you’re a skilled worker under 50
- Skilled: Nominated Visa – if you’ve been nominated by an Australian state or territory and have lived there for two years
- 482 Visa – if you’re happy to work on a temporary basis for up to 4 years and have a sponsoring employer (it does enable you to bring your family with you)
The biggest challenge is getting the necessary sponsorship for your visa so this needs to be the priority right at the start of your planning process.
Travellers can carry an unlimited amount of cash into and out of Australia. Amounts of AU$10,000 or more or foreign currency equivalent must be declared. You must also declare any promissory notes, travellers’ cheques, personal cheques, money orders, postal orders or other bearer negotiable instruments, regardless of value, if requested by a Customs and Border Protection officer or police officer.
You will not be taxed at the time of transferring the money but will be taxed on the interest earned once in your bank account in Australia. If you transfer money into your bank account later from your savings back home then that also will not be taxed but if that money is income earned back home and you qualify at tax time as a resident you will have to declare it on your Australian tax return. This goes for income from rental properties back home too as that is foreign income earned according to the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia will be able to help with any banking issues. You can open an account up to three months before you arrive in Australia or up to three months after and it’s not essential to have an Australian address. All of the main banks, including The Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ and NAB, all have a migrant banking section that can help.
Deciding on where you’re going to live should be a priority on your Australia checklist. Real estate agents in Australia do not do multi-listing so can only show properties that they manage themselves, and there is no commission charged by landlords or agents. Most properties for rent or purchase are advertised on sites such as www.realestate.com.au or www.domain.com.au. There are some upfront costs for renting a property, which include;
- Deposit, usually paid when a rental application has been accepted to hold the property. This is usually equivalent to one or two weeks rent.
- Bond, usually equivalent to four weeks rent. Much like the UK, this money is held in trust until the end of the lease. This will be refunded in full, subject to there being no rent outstanding or damage to the property, other than fair wear and tear.
- Rent in advance, which can be one week or one calendar month, depending on whether the rent is advertised as weekly or monthly.
Utilities are simple to set up. We recommend using a one stop such as Direct Connect or Connect Now to assist with utility connections.
You can also use iSelect or Comparethemarket for help with home insurance, utilities and other home requirements.
Customs considerations and transit
According to our research, 62% would take the majority of the things they own when moving abroad, so if you’re moving to the other side of the world this needs to be added to your Australia checklist.
The type of transit you choose will depend on your timescales and budget:
- Air is shortest at about 14 working days but also the most expensive
- Shipping a sole use container takes between 9 -10 weeks dependent on location in Australia
- Groupage, i.e. a shared container, is the most cost-effective option and can take approximately 14 weeks.
Consignments will be trucked or railed from the closest Australian port dependent on your chosen shipping method. If its groupage for example, it doesn’t go to the closest port, it goes to the close port based on the whole container.
Australian customs control is highly rigorous. Customs are particularly concerned with anything agricultural or organic so everything has to be cleaned or disinfected before transit. Pay particular attention to tools, wood, barbecues, golf clubs, pets beds and so on – and make sure there is no soil attached. We recommend using Jeyes fluid as it has a pungent smell so the customs officials will know immediately that the goods have been cleaned.
If you’re shipping a car, you have to have been the registered owner for 12 months prior handing the car over to Crown and make sure the name on the V5 registration document is exactly the same as the person on the visa, i.e not your spouse’s name.
Healthcare in Australia is funded through the Medicare system and is available to all Australian citizens and permanent residents but not those on a temporary visa. The current Medicare levy, paid by Australians who earn over a certain income, is 2%. Those who earn more pay an additional surcharge if they do not have private health insurance (Medicare Levy Surcharge).
Medicare forms the basis of Australia’s universal healthcare system. It allows Australians to access an extensive range of health services at little or no cost, providing benefits for everything from GP visits to complicated surgical procedures.
However, it’s worth knowing that doctors and specialists have the freedom to set their own fees for the services they provide and may charge more than the rebate paid by Medicare. As a result, you may have to pay “the gap” to cover the cost of medical treatment.
General government information and services: https://www.australia.gov.au/
Time Difference – 3 time zones
Australian Eastern Standard Time – (AEST) in New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory – Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland
Australian Central Standard TIme (ACST) – South Australia and Northern Territory
Sydney is +10 hours Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Currency – Australian dollar
Country dial code – +61
Banks and money transfer :
Medicare levy- approx. 2% of income
Main utility providers:
Diamond, Powershop, Energy Australia, AGL, Origin, Click Energy and Alina Energy
Ready to start your own moving to Australia checklist and not sure whee to go next? Check out our other articles about life Down Under for more hints and tips.