Australia and Britain may be miles apart geographically but share many similarities which make it a popular choice for Brits looking to move overseas. For starters, there’s no language barrier and many cultural aspects of Australian life derive from its historical links with Britain: place names, food and drink, sport to name a few.
Choosing to move to Australia is often a life style choice. In general Australians have a, “work to live” attitude and with great weather almost year round they are geared towards outdoor living and making the most of leisure time. When you combine this with healthcare and education standards comparable to Europe, and an economic environment that is currently looking healthier than most developed nations, a move down-under becomes an appealing proposition.
For more information about what you'll need to know before your house move abroad, check out our article, What to know before moving to Australia.
Where in Australia?
Australia is huge, it’s the largest island in the world and distance between towns can be hundreds of Kilometres, for example Sydney to Melbourne is a 10 hour drive. The most popular conurbations are Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – the three biggest cities in Australia. All have sizeable central business districts and a wealth of economic and entertainment activities at their centre. They spill out in larger flatter suburban areas. There is uniformity to Australian cities, much like other new world cities, as they were built on grid formats, but each have their own unique feel.
Sydney is the most cosmopolitan, and largest, city down under. Melbourne, Victoria, is often said to be the most British in its architectural style and is the second largest. Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, and the Gold Coast are increasingly popular with newcomers as the area is developing fast and enjoy excellent weather. This expansion is fuelling a vibrant jobs market so can make a great location for newcomers. For those thinking of moving to Australia for work it is possible to secure removals quotes to Australia here at reallymoving.com.
You can see all Australia has to offer here: http://www.australia.com
Working in Australia
The Australian job market has performed well, even through recent global economic down turns. Australia is blessed with a huge landmass and a wealth of natural resources which help to underpin it’s economy through continue mineral and material sales to developing economies like China and India.
For Brit’s moving to Australia there are a number of opportunities ranging from jobs in the Mining sector, through to hairdressing. There are a number of skills sets that are highly desired in Australia. Brit’s with these skills will find entry and employment pretty straight forward, but the legalities of applying for the correct Australian visa is crucial.
There are a number of options open to Brit’s wishing to work in Australia. The two most popular are the Employer Sponsor option and the Skilled Migrants visa. For most Brits moving to Australia it will most likely be one of these visa’s that will best suit you.
The Employer Sponsor visa allows Australian employers to hire people from overseas to fill vacancies they cannot fill through the domestic labour market. On this visa the employee has to remain employed by the employer for at least two years. After this time the employee can apply for permanent residence status. The Skilled Migrant visa allows people with a certain skills set, that is sort after in Australia, to legally gain employment and apply for residency.
Many Brits who receive a job offer in Australia are surprised to find 9.5% of their salary going to superannuation or ‘super’. This is what Australians call pension funds. You can understand more about compulsory Australian superannuation here: http://www.industrysuper.com/understand-super/
Health Care in Australia
Australia has a fairly complex healthcare system, comprising both public and private hospitals and medical practitioners and literally dozens of insurance schemes set up to fund them.
The state-run healthcare scheme is called Medicare. This is an Australia-wide health insurance scheme, funded through income tax. Healthcare under Medicare is available to all citizens and permanent residents of Australia. In addition to Medicare, many Australians choose to take out some form of private health insurance and some have it provided through their employer.
All Brit’s moving to Australia must get registered with Medicare and establish what they are covered for.
The Medicare site will inform all arrivals of how to apply for a Medicare card: http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/dhs/medicare
Buying In Australia
Anyone who does not have Australian citizenship or a permanent residency visa is considered a foreign investor and generally can only buy property off-plan or vacant residential land on the condition that construction of a residential dwelling starts within 12 months.
The Australian government through the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) regulates the sale of Australian property to new arrivals to Australia. Brits will need to identify the right property they are permitted to purchase this can be done through independent agents who will also assist with the FIRB application.
The process is very different in England where a solicitor writes a contract which is legally formed between the parties and the purchaser has the right to withdraw until exchange of contracts; in Australia the purchaser does not have this option. In Australia once a property is identified and negotiations are complete the estate agent writes the contract, including conditions. These, once signed by the purchaser, become legally binding after a small cooling off period of only two business days in most states. Once cooling off is complete and the contract is binding it is then handed to a conveyancer or solicitor to instigate settlement.
House prices have begun to rise in recent months, making houses in Australia some of the most expensive in the world with the average price for residential property at $545,000.
The figures below show the median property prices for the main cities:
- Sydney – AUS $780,000 (Approx £375,000)
- Melbourne – AUS $605,000 (Approx £290,000)
- Perth – AUS $550,000 (Approx £265,000)
- Brisbane – AUS $475,000 (Approx £230,000)
- Adelaide – AUS $450,000 (Approx £215,000)
Below are the averages for the states as a whole and reflect that house prices significantly fall once you move away from the city centres and fashionable surrounding suburbs.
- NSW – AUS $645,000 (Approx £310,000)
- VIC – AUS $550,000 (Approx £265,000)
- WA – AUS $600,000 (Approx £290,000)
- Queensland – AUS $440,000 (Approx £210,000)
- SA – AUS $400,000 (Approx £220,000)
There are a few other consideration and transactional cost when purchasing property in Australia. The Global Property Guide outlines these costs, which include the usual Stamp Duty, Conveyance fees and agents fees. There is also capital gains tax to consider when selling. You will be liable to tax at the standard income tax rates for non-resident individuals in Australia, which range from 29-45 per cent. A double taxation treaty between the UK and Australia means you will not pay CGT twice but only at the higher rate in either country.
If you have a permanent visa for Australia you may qualify for reduced stamp duty as a first time buyer. In most states this only applies if you are building a new house, but rather than try to work out the rules there is a calculator that has the rules built in here:
Finally, non-permanent residents or non-citizens of Australia can obtain a mortgage once approved by the FIRB. Maximum loans of 80 per cent LTV are available on repayment and interest only terms, for up to 30 years.
Moving your possessions
For a move abroad of this size it’s advised to use a reputable international removal company experienced in container shipping to Australia. By choosing a firm that is affiliated with a trade association you are ensuring they are adhering to industry standards. The FIDI Global Alliance is the largest global alliance of independent quality international removal companies.
When shipping to Australia the approximate shipping times are based on estimated dates announced by the shipping line operating the vessels. The estimated time of arrival for full containers is 6-8 weeks and 8-12 weeks for share a container service to Australia.
You can find out information about international removals and moving overseas on reallymoving.com.
When your shipment arrives in Australia your shipping company should have arranged for your belongings to be customs cleared by Australian Customs and Border Protection Services. To assist them with this you will be required to complete an unaccompanied effects statement.
All goods entering Australia are subject to Duty Tax & GST however, a personal or household effects shipment will qualify for free entry of Duty Tax & GST if your goods have: been owned and used for 12 months or more by you, be a first time migrant who is taking up permanent residency for the first time, returning Australian Citizen who has been living outside of Australia for 12 months or more.
The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service regulate the importation of personal and household effects and your goods are subject to inspection upon arrival. It is important for you to be given the correct advice before you decide to ship certain items. The AQIS officer will select certain items for examination, all quarantine examination, treatment and associated handling costs are payable by the owner of the goods in Australia.
Setting up a Bank Account
Bank accounts are relatively easy to open in Australia. You will require proof of identification such as a passport or driving licence, proof of an address in Australia and as a precaution, a reference from your UK bank.
The bank accounts work pretty much the same as your UK account does, just be mindful that even basic current accounts have monthly charges – usually around $5 – and using other banks cashpoints can incur a charge.
For more information about moving your bank to a local one abroad, take a look at our article, changing bank accounts when moving overseas.
The leading banks in Australia include Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, ANZ and St George.
page last updated May 2014