The things you NEED to know about living and working in Australia
There is more to moving to a new country than just making sure you can get a visa. As well as finding somewhere to live, you may have to deal with a new corporate structure, different public holidays, a change in wages and a change in how much your lifestyle will cost you.
With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at things you should keep in mind before making the move to the land Down Under.
Getting a house
The same as if you were moving cities, the first thing you’ll have to nail down in a new country is somewhere to live. It may be advisable to stay in a hotel in your chosen area to get a look at the neighbourhoods you’d like to buy/rent in. From there you can look into renting a property.
Based on the information gathered by Numbeo, renting a 1 bedroom apartment in the city will cost you just over £1,150 per month, dropping to around £840 outside of the city.
If you’ve done your research and are looking to buy a house, be warned that prices have been on the rise in the recent year.
According to the Bendigo Bank-Real Estate Institute of Australia figures from June last year put median house prices at:
• Australia: $658,608, up 2.4 per cent
• Sydney: $929,842, up 4.9 per cent
• Melbourne: $688,000, up 3.5 per cent
• Darwin: $625,000, up 6.8 per cent
• Canberra: $560,000, up 0.7 per cent
• Perth: $535,000, down 2.7 per cent
• Brisbane: $475,000, down 1.5 per cent
• Adelaide $425,250, up 0.1 per cent
• Hobart $382,500, up 6.3 per cent
Calculating your cost of living
Before you leave to start your new life, it’s important to know how much that will cost. While getting somewhere to live is great, if you can’t afford food, you won’t have a great time.
Use websites like Numbeo to give yourself a rough idea of how much your weekly shop would cost before you leave. It’ll allow you to budget the money you have and make it last throughout your job hunt/until you get you first pay check. Here are a few important(ish) examples:
|Price in London||Price in Sydney|
|Mid-Range Meal Out||£50.00||£41.68|
Don’t let the excitement of finding a new house and shopping in a new city let you forget about one of the most important things that you need to do when moving to Australia.
It is possible to open an Australian bank account when you’re still in your home country. Banks such as Australia - Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Westpac and ANZ all offer this service. Not only will it bulk up your credit rating, but it’ll also stop you using your home nation bank card – which usually means hefty overseas charges.
If you do wait until you arrive to open an account, you may have to wait. Most banks will need confirmation of your residency such as a utility bill – which could take a few weeks.
Once you’re earning, you’ll need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) to help you manage your tax. They aren’t compulsory, but if you don’t get a TFN you may be over-taxed or unable to receive benefits.
All health care is provided under the umbrella of Medicare. Different states and territories have their own health department, regulating their hospitals and GPs. In most cases, when you need medical care you will need to pay for it.
Medicare is a scheme that gives residents of Australia access to health care. Some procedures and treatments are free under this system. This allows you to be treated by an appointed doctor at a hospital without a charge, so it’s important to be signed up for this service. Other treatments are paid for, but Medicare subsidises part of the bill in the form of a tax refund.
There is also the option of paying for private treatment via health insurance. Costs and covers vary, so be sure to choose the right insurance plan for you.
To find out more about Australia's Medicare service and to determine your eligibility, visit their website. While it may not be for everyone, it is encouraged by the Australian Government, who offers incentives for those who take out private health insurance.
Check your qualifications
While you may have a degree, upon entering Australia, it’s advised that you get your qualifications formally recognised by the relevant authorities.
If your career is a trade (catering, construction, engineering, electrical), Trades Recognition Australia will help you find a way for your qualifications recognised.
For other career paths, your qualification may translate straight into the Australian workforce. You can check if your qualifications are recognised by clicking here.
Certain professions will require additional training to gain employment.
Most expats will look for work before leaving for their chosen destination. Today, there is a whole host of websites where you can look for employment overseas. From there you’ll either be invited to undertake a phone or Skype interview to assess your personal skills and see if you’re the right fit for the job.
You can also be sponsored by your current employer to move Down Under.
Now you’re working
• A working week for the Australian workforce is 38.5 hours long.
• The average holiday allowance is 4 weeks per year, pro-rated for the amount of time you’ve been with the company.
• Each of the eight states in Australia has their own paid public holidays (so be sure to check the area you’d like to be working!)
* To encourage workers to stay with a company for a long time Australia has adopted Long Service Leave. After 10 years of employment with one employer, you start to accrue an extra week of holiday every year!
The pension’s scheme in Australia is called Superannuation. Generally, employers have to put around 9% of your salary into a fund of your choice. You can also add into the fund yourself. The Australian Taxation Office has more information about the funds you can choose.