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Making the move to Australia

Moving to a new country is an adventure like no other. There’s so much to think about and organise, even before you step onto the plane. So here are some ideas and resources you can use to make sure you get off to a great start with your new life in Australia.

First, it’s time to take care of the paperwork. Securing a visa can take time so it’s important to start early. Depending on your reasons for moving to Australia you may need a work, business, student, family or visitor visa. Visit the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection website to find out more.

From deserted beaches to cosmopolitan city centres, Australia is a land of contrasts, with something on offer for everyone. The state and region you choose will have a big impact on your lifestyle and your budget. For example, housing costs in Sydney are now similar to London, with a median house price typically more than twice that of Hobart’s.

You can start your research before you leave by viewing houses for sale or rent on popular websites. Depending on your needs, make sure you investigate which schools, public transport and amenities are available nearby. Then, once you’ve narrowed down your search to a suburb or a single property, we can help you further with a personalised Property Report.

Depending on your visa, there may be limits on the types of jobs you can do and the number of hours you can work. But if you’re planning to search for work, there’s no need to wait until you arrive before exploring the job market. The Australian government’s Jobsearch website is a great place to start.

It’s also a great idea to polish your resume and gather references from past employers. Don’t forget to have them translated into English if they’re not already.

When you’re moving to the other side of the world, choosing what to take and what to leave behind can be a big decision. You’ll also need to plan early if you want furniture and other goods to be shipped as it can take about four months for your belongings to arrive.

Start by going online to compare the cost of buying furniture, electrical goods and homewares in Australia—it might work out less than shipping, and chances are you can find familiar brands on sale here for your new home. Check out the websites of large removal companies—they often have handy checklists that can help you plan your move.

Australia’s world-class public healthcare system only offers subsidised treatment and medication to permanent visa holders. If you’re eligible, you’ll need to apply for a Medicare card.

If you’re not eligible—because you’re on a 457 working visa, for example—you’ll need to take out private health insurance. You can compare private health insurance schemes on the Australian government’s Private Health website.

Shop around, get quotes and make sure you have enough money for:

1. The move to get here. This can include the cost of shipping your belongings, transporting a pet, as well as travel and travel insurance costs.

2. When you arrive:

  • Short-term rent until you find somewhere with a longer lease or buy a property
  • Bond for a long-term lease (this is normally about two weeks’ rent but varies according to the area you’re looking to live in)
  • Day care if you have children—there could also be a bond payable upfront for this, which again varies depending on the day care you’re looking at
  • Transport costs, as you’re likely to use taxis and public transport a lot when you first arrive until (or if) you buy a car
  • Your day-to-day living costs, i.e. food, new phone/SIM card etc.

If you’re an international student, you can find out about typical living costs for students here on the government’s Study in Australia site.

Setting a budget can be challenging when you’re working with an unfamiliar currency. You can use our foreign exchange calculator to convert Australian dollars into your own currency, then add up your everyday living costs with our handy budget planner to help you manage your financial goals once you’re here.

You can also get organised in advance by opening a bank account online up to three months before you travel. That way, you can transfer your money quickly and securely before you leave home so it’s ready and waiting when you arrive.

Fortunately, our Migrant Financial Services team are here for guidance. You can also open an Australian bank account online up to three months before you travel to Australia, so you can have funds ready and waiting for when you arrive.

Father and son standing on a rock overlooking an Australian valley

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Things you should know

The advice on this website has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the advice, please consider its appropriateness to your circumstances. Please view our Financial Services Guide.