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Half of all the expats that move to Australia originate from the UK & Ireland. British expats relocate to Australia twice as much as other expats. The main reasons for internationals to move to Australia are the climate and the quality of life. Average rainfall in Australia is among the lowest on the planet and more than 80 per cent of Australia’s flora and fauna cannot be found anywhere else in the world.  According to a recent HSBC expat survey, setting up a new life in Australia is relatively easy, especially when it comes to finances, healthcare and utilities.

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Moving to Australia

Even though Australia is amongst the least densely populated countries in the world, 85% of all Australians live within 50 km. of the coast. By a rule of thumb, prices for a 3 bedroom house will vary more or less between 350,000 and 450,000 AUD. Like in most developed countries, Australian house prices (when measured relative to income) have been on the rise for the last couple years. Prices peak in state capitals – especially Sydney, Darwin and Melbourne. Despite this, a large percentage of expats moving to Australia choose to purchase property rather than renting it. Expats do not need permanent resident status to buy a home, although permanent residents may be able to get bigger loans and apply for a First Home Owners grant from the Australian government. Before buying, many expats choose to rent accommodation in an area they are interested in in order to get a taste of the quality of life in that particular neighbourhood.

Rent usually starts at about 1000 AUD per month. Agency and agent fees are limited by law, but tenants are usually expected to pay at least one month’s rent in advance. Bonds (between 4 and 6 weeks rent) are also payable upon signing the lease. Due to high rent prices, sharing accommodation is quite common in Australia (especially for younger expats) and ads for house-sharing can be found in most newspapers and magazines. References are an important part of an application to rent a house in Australia. Your employer or previous landlord may well be contacted for checks by agents.

Student accommodation may be difficult to find, which means that students from overseas countries are wise to apply for a place in the residence halls of their university immediately after their acceptance. Lodging (sometimes also referred to as boarding) with a host or host family or sharing an accommodation is therefore quite common for young people in Australia, especially in Sydney and Melbourne.

Shipping Furniture to Australia

In order to protect Australia’s wildlife, environment and agriculture, containers moving furniture to Australia are thoroughly inspected upon arrival. This may take up to 3 weeks. When moving your household goods to Australia, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Services will require you to complete a so-called B534 Form. Furthermore, you will be required to present a proof of identity and a packing list that states all the contents of your shipment to the customs. Shipping container to Australia will require significant preparation. After deciding on what items you want to ship, getting in touch with international moving companies is the second most important part of your removal to Australia. Usually they will ship your furniture overseas by using a container. The latter can be loaded both from international removal companies as well as from those who are moving. If items are packed and loaded from third parties (usually those moving) instead of the moving companies, there might be a risk for not insuring the furniture. It is not wise to undertake shipping container to Australia without insurance. Upon shipping furniture to Australia one should undoubtedly evaluate all advantages and disadvantages of an international removal to Australia, especially when shipping furniture.

Those who decide on shipping container to Australia are wise to hire international removal companies. They will usually provide you with different options on how to proceed when shipping furtniture, the whole household and/or baggage to destination of your choice. The process of of packing, loading and off-loading your belongings proves to be quite complex. Therefore, working with international removal companies will certainly be advantegous for those who opt for international moving. Do keep in mind that the interantional movers you select should all be part of moving associations. This way you can be sure that they fulfil certain criteria. Receiving assistance from international moving companies is one of the crucial aspects of every international removal.

Please note that the handling costs for all this are payable by the owner of the goods in Australia. Also, Duty Tax and GST may be charged, although free entrance of goods is granted to permanent residents and returning Australian citizens who have lived abroad for more than 12 months. Also, goods owned by you for more than 12 months may qualify for free entrance.

Moving to Sydney

The heart of Australia’s financial service industry is attracting more and more expats (recent estimates show that some 40% of Sydney residents were born abroad). The city’s attractiveness ensures that there are many expat communities to fall back on (most immigrants are from British, Chinese and Indian descent).  But the high quality of life comes at a price – Sydney is widely considered to be one of the most expensive places to live in the world. In other words: it would be very challenging to rent a place in Sydney for less than 700 AUD per week. For that reason, it may be wise to look for short-term accommodation before permanently settling in. Shipping your furniture to Sydney using the services of international moving companies would often help you to save a lot of money. Also it is easier than spending a quite some time looking for new furniture. Prices international moving companies charge are usually affordable and much less than the items value. Therefore, shipping container overseas should not be a stressing event in your life anymore.

The many beaches and parks do make up for the high cost of living – according to many a migrant, moving to Sydney is all about the experience (some even call it a ‘lifestyle choice’). It’s true that in few other big cities one will find such great climate and ‘outdoorsy’ atmosphere.

Moving to Melbourne

Voted the most liveable city on the planet for four years in a row in an annual survey held by The Economist Intelligence Unit, it’s hard to think of a reason why would not want to move to Melbourne. In addition, Melbourne is often referred to as Australia’s sporting capital, being home to annual  sports events in Tennis, Cricket, Golf and Formula 1. Inhabitants of Melbourne and Sydney seem to be in a constant struggle over which city is best (an argument that will never be settled – which is why Canberra was made capital of Australia). Many people in Melbourne firmly believe that the attitude of the people in Melbourne  is more easy-going when compared to Sydney and the extremely vibrant café life in the Victorian city may well prove that point. However, visitors are usually quick to learn why this city is dubbed a city of ‘four seasons of one day’; the weather there is as diverse as the population.

Moving to Perth

Being closer to Jakarta than Sydney, Perth is well-known to be one of the most isolated cities on the planet. Some believe this explains why this sunny city is so friendly to visitors. Indeed, Perth is an increasing popular destination for expats. Perth is one of the most fast-growing cities in Australia and has more restaurants per capita than any other Australian city. More importantly, many areas surrounding Perth are so-called ‘Regional Areas’ which means that because of the labour shortage in these areas, it’s probably easier to get a working visa if decide to move there. Historically, the city has always attracted a very diverse mix of migrants which means that there are lively and sizable migrant communities in Perth, especially from Southern European or Asian descent. But even the residents born in Australia often have origins in the United Kingdom.

Education and Healthcare

In Australia it is compulsory to send children to school in the year they reach the age of 6. The course of education in Australia is divided into primary schools, high schools and universities. Most expats who are moving to Australia send their children to public schools. This is free for permanent residents throughout Australia, although voluntary contributions are expected and some additional costs still apply. Some states require temporary residents to pay for tuition fees, while others don’t. Fees may vary significantly between states. Please note that practically all public schools accept enrolments based on the permanent residential address of the primary caregiver, so expats are wise to consider this when choosing the area where they wish to reside.

Private Schools in Australia often enjoy a good reputation and a higher standard of education. They also receive funding from the Australian government, but they come at a higher price; annual fees may rise to 25000 AUD a year. Private Schools often have religious (mostly Catholic) affiliations and require school uniforms.

Permanent Australian residents have access to Medicare, Australia’s public health service (comparable to NHS in the United Kingdom). A private health care system exists in addition to Medicare. Temporary residents often opt for private healthcare because costs are often comparable to the costs of public healthcare for people not eligible for Medicare – often offering them better quality healthcare. The Australian government actively encourages inhabitants to take out private health insurance, and expats applying for a 457 visa are required to prove to the authorities that they have adequate health insurance. Somewhat different rules apply to people moving to Australia from  Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Norway , Sweden,  the Netherlands and the United Kingdom – these expats still need to demonstrate adequate health insurance coverage to obtain a visa, but upon arrival they are covered for medically essential treatment in public healthcare institutions for a certain period. Please note that private healthcare is generally for non-emergencies only and that ambulance transport to a (public) hospital is not covered by Medicare!


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