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Moving to Australia Guide

As the world gets more connected, the opportunities to move abroad for work become more and more common. In this guide, we take a look at one of the most popular destinations for international migrants: Australia.

 

Australia at a Glance

  • Population: 23.13 Million.  The number of expats living is Australia is relatively small with British expats, who number about 1.4 million, being the largest single group.
  • Currency: Australian Dollar. At the time of publishing one AUD is worth 1.67 GBP and 1.42 Euro
  • Largest Cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth
  • Official language: English
  • Main industries: Finance, mining, media, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and education.

Visas and Government forms

Visas are required to live and work in Australia. The type of visa and the requirements to get it vary, depending on whether you are looking to move permanently or just for a couple of years. Australia has a reputation for being strict when it comes to issuing visas; however they are fairly easy to obtain for professions where there is high demand for workers. Many countries also have reciprocal arrangements for specific industries.

Most people looking for work in Australia apply for a 457 Business Visa. This visa is issued to skilled workers who have a sponsorship from an Australian employer. For derailed information about visas and how to apply, visit the Australian Government website at www.australia.gov.au.

Finding Work

As we mentioned one of the easiest ways to obtain a visa is to be sponsored by an employer. In most cases that means it is necessary to find a job prior to moving to Australia. If you are under the age of 31 you may wish to apply for a Working Holiday Visa, which allows you to work for six months. During this time you can look for a more permanent position and hopefully complete the process for a 457 Business Visa.

Those industries facing a shortage of skilled workers include mining, engineering, oil and gas, renewable energy, construction, and operations and commercial management. Certain areas of the country also face shortages in other areas such as education and healthcare.  

It should be noted that much like Australian society in general, the business culture is laid-back and fairly informal. Most employers offer excellent holiday time as well as long-service time and other attractive benefits.

Cost of Living and Banking

Australia is a beautiful country with lots of unspoiled wilderness, great beaches and nice weather. The country’s popularity as a destination, coupled with its size and relative remoteness, contribute a great deal to the high cost of living. Fortunately most companies pay very well and hourly wages are high.  

Here are some costs in the largest cities with all prices shown in Australian dollars.

Perth

  • 3 course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant $100.0
  • 1 dozen eggs $4.97
  • Monthly travel pass $147.50
  • 1 gallon of petrol $4.57
  • Basic utilities $202.00
  • Internet 471.00
  • One bedroom apartment $1,200 to $1800 depending on location
  • Three bedroom apartment $1,888 to $2810 depending on location
  • Average monthly salary after taxes $4213.00

Brisbane

  • 3 course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant $80.00
  • 1 dozen eggs $3.00
  • Monthly travel pass $155.00
  • 1 gallon of petrol $4.66
  • Basic utilities $180.00
  • Internet $69.00
  • One bedroom apartment $1,323 to $1,750 depending on location
  • Three bedroom apartment $1,997 to $3,075 depending on location
  • Average monthly salary after taxes $4,158.00

Sydney

  • 3 course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant $80.00
  • 1 dozen eggs $4.92
  • Monthly travel pass $160.00
  • 1 gallon of petrol $4.77
  • Basic utilities $174.00
  • Internet $65.00
  • One bedroom apartment $1,757 to $2,564 depending on location
  • Three bedroom apartment $2,934 to $4,763 depending on location
  • Average monthly salary after taxes $4,541

Melbourne

  • 3 course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant $80.00
  • 1 dozen eggs $4.99
  • Monthly travel pass $140.00
  • 1 gallon of petrol $4.66
  • Basic utilities $174.00
  • Internet $65.00
  • One bedroom apartment $1,280 to $1702
  • Three bedroom apartment $2,044 to $2995 depending on location
  • Average monthly salary after taxes $4,500 depending on location

In general the Australian economy is very strong and continues to grow.

Banking in Australia

The Australian banking system is considered to be one of the best in world.  Customers have a choice of a number of banking options.  The major banks offer a full menu of banking services. Credit unions, mutual banks, and building societies are also available. These institutions provide more limited services but may well suit your particular needs.

Opening a bank account in Australia is a fairly easy process and most of the major banks have a migrant services desk to aid non-residents with setting up a new account.

Australian banks use a “100 point” system to verify account holder’s identity.  Documents are assigned point values, with a total of 100 points needed to have full account access. It is possible to open an account with less than 100 points, however you will only be allowed to make deposits. Withdrawals cannot be made until the 100-point total is achieved.

Primary documents

These count for 70 points. They include:

  • Birth certificate
  • Birth card issued by NSW Registry of Births
  • Citizenship certificate
  • Current passport
  • Expired passport which has not been cancelled and was current within the preceding two years

Secondary Documents

40 point documents:

  • Driver licence issued by an Australian State or territory
  • Road and Maritime Services photo card\
  • Licence or permit issued under a law of the Commonwealth, a State or Territory government
  • Identification card issued to a public employee
  • Identification card issued by the Commonwealth
  • An identification card issued to a student at a tertiary education institution

35 point documents:

  • A document held by a cash dealer giving security over your property
  • Council rates notice
  • Land Titles Office record
  • Document from your current employer or previous employer within the last two years
  • A mortgage or other instrument of security held by a financial body

25 point documents:

  • Marriage certificate (for maiden name only)
  • Credit card
  • Foreign driver licence
  • Medicare card
  • EFTPOS card

Major Banks

Even though the banking system is well developed, the choices as to where to open an account are fairly limited if you are looking for a full-service bank.  Four banks, known as the “Big Four”, are the primary banks in Australia.  Despite their dominance, the banks offer competitive rates for service:

  • Australia and New Zealand Banking Group
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia
  • National Australia Bank
  • Westpac Banking Corporation.

Housing

A look at the prices above for the four largest cities illustrates that finding a place to live can be rather expensive. What is doesn’t show is how quickly the rental market moves. Residents in Sydney often complain about the difficulty in finding a new apartment or home as vacancies are filled extraordinarily quickly.

In order to rent an apartment you need to provide proof of income, credit worthiness and references. New residents in Australia may also be required to make a refundable deposit with their application.

Healthcare

The Australian healthcare system is one of the best in the world, and is considered one of the reasons Australians have the one of the world’s highest longevity rates. The healthcare system is called Medicare and is a mixture of public and private. All Australian taxpayers contribute at least 1.5% of their income to the Medicare program. The remaining funds necessary for the system to work come from central government. Private cover is also used by Australians to cover the cost of healthcare.

Those entering the country on a 457 Business Visa are required to prove they have adequate cover for any medical needs prior to entering the country.

Education

State schools are free and are considered to be of a very high standard. The school year runs from January to December with several multi-week breaks throughout the years. Most schools offer a fairly large number of extra-curricular activities, especially in sports.  

Each state is responsible for setting the standards and schedules for the public and private schools in that particular state.

As always if you are looking to move money to Australia, TransferGo has excellent rates that are not compared with any bank.

2017-02-10

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