An insider's guide to moving to Australia
So you’re thinking of moving down under?
We totally get it – there’s glorious weather, incredible scenery and swoon-worthy beaches. Combine that with uber cool cities and you’re onto a winner – FYI Melbourne just won the world’s most liveable city for the seventh year running.
There are also some great career opportunities to be found…so what’s not to love?
It’s hardly surprising that many of us Brits are considering moving to Australia for a fresh start and a new life. It’s a great choice if you’re willing to put up with the infamous creepy crawlies. Arachnophobes need not apply.
The magical land down under has always been a popular choice for expats and is in fact the world’s most popular expat destination. At Learning People we’ve also taken the plunge, launching our very own Sydney office which we’re mega excited about. So if you’re thinking about making the move to sunnier shores, you’re in good company.
But before you pack up your most essential belongings and spontaneously hop on a plane – there’s a few logistics you will need to consider. Like finding somewhere to live for example. Oh, and you’re gonna need to look into getting a work VISA.
To help your plan your new life on the other side of the world, we’ve been chatting to current Aussie expat Sarah; below she shares her story and gives us the inside scoop on how to get it right.
‘I was bored and wanted a fresh start. I was stuck in a rut back home, I wasn’t going anywhere. I booked my visa online, it got granted within 24 hours, I booked into a hostel for a week and just went with it. Joined a job agency, found a couple of people at the hostel to share a flat with and that was it, I was set up with the basics and it all went from there.’
Here are Sarah’s top things to think about and some handy tips for moving to Australia.
Some employers will sponsor skilled workers to come over and work for them. Sounds pretty cool right? Not only do you get to move to a fab new country, but you get financial help towards doing it too. #winning.
This is the ideal scenario, but you have to do your research to see if you’ve got the skills that employers want oh so badly.
‘If looking for sponsorship, make sure you do your due diligence and check to see if your profession is on the immigration sponsored list and you have the relevant qualifications/experience.’
Don’t even think about moving without sorting your Visa; heading out there and hoping for the best sounds exciting and impulsive but you don’t want to have to face the bitter disappointment of flying back to the UK with your tail between your legs if you don’t get your application granted.
There are a variety of different Visas you can get, including Skilled Independent Migration, Employer Nomination Scheme and Business Migration Scheme. Not sure which one is right for you? Use this handy tool to help you find out which one you need.
3. Social media support
You can gain a lot of support and handy advice from social media groups, where local expats are more than happy to lend a helping hand and share their experiences. Facebook groups like Expat Australia, Poms in Oz and Sydney Moving Guide are a great way to get the ball rolling, find some aussie inspo and meet new people.
‘Joining social media groups is the best way to learn about flatshares. Plus, it’s also a great way to pick up decent second hand furniture from people who are moving back home, and just generally ask burning questions.’
We don’t know about you, but we’d like some nice furniture in our Aussie flat.
4. Finding work in Australia
Until you make your millions as the next star of Neighbours, you’re probably going to need some form of employment to pay for those boring things like bills and food – and the exciting ones like skydiving and rock climbing.
Approach a recruitment agency such as Seek to get you started with some work. Unless your profession is highly skilled and you’re able to secure a position to move to Sydney with, agencies and companies will not look at an overseas resume. So be prepared to come over with no job. It sounds scary but rest assured – the market is candidate short and good workers are snapped up very quickly, so you will find work in no time.
‘The thing is over here, if you have a bit of experience, the job opportunities are a lot more than the UK. I left the UK on £14k a year and am on almost triple that with the exchange rate. ‘
5. The finer details
As soon as you arrive you’ll need to sort a bank account, your tax file number and a Medicare card. If you already have some buddies out in Aus, hook up with them asap, even if it’s a loose connection they can provide you with some support and helpful insights.
‘Don’t get bogged down with getting a travel agency to sort out your bank account/accommodation/tax file number when you first get here. It’s all very manageable yourself.’
With renting, be aware that most apartments will ask for 4 weeks bond and sometimes 2-4 weeks rent upfront. Be sure to do some research on how much an apartment costs to rent versus your likely income to estimate the area you want to live in and style of rental you are likely to take on. Domain and Real Estate are two of the best websites for flat leases.
And finally, Sarah shared her overall thoughts on what it’s like to live in Australia and why she loves it so much.
‘It’s expensive to live here yes, but it’s the lifestyle I’ve really fallen for. There is always something to do, always something new to see or a place to explore. The people are happier because of the weather and the public transport is reliable and cheap.’