If you are re-locating to Australia, figuring out what is involved can be a bit like putting together a tricky puzzle. Creating a timeline, saving money, getting jobs and leaving behind friends and family are just a few of the steps you will have to take. The following list is an attempt to simplify 10 of the top things to know about and provide some great resources to help make moving to Australia a smoother process.
In order to move to Australia (or travel here for a vacation for that matter), you must have a proper visa. It is electronically attached to your passport and allows you entrance into the country. Some visas are more easily obtained than others. If you are looking to re-locate permanently, for example, your visa expenses and paperwork will be much more extensive than coming over as a student.
Many options are out there for you depending on your skills, work history, age and education. You can easily apply for a working and holiday visa if you are younger than 31 and want to travel and obtain casual work for 12 months. Students registered in an Australian university can apply for a student visa and there are ways to stay longer after you graduate under another type of visa. If your profession is on the skilled occupation list, you might be able to qualify as an independent migrant without an employer sponsorship. There are literally hundreds of occupations listed. You can check out the Australian immigration website to get visa applications and the specific qualifications for each.
A user friendly website that can narrow down which type might suit you is www.nationalvisas.com.au. You can take various assessments to see where you qualify and even speak to an immigration specialist over the phone.
Most importantly, the visas can be expensive, the paperwork intensive, and it might take a while for approval. Some visas cost over $5000 and if you don’t get approved, your money is not refundable. Be very careful to make sure you meet all of the criteria before applying. Once you do, read all of the fine print and include every last piece of paperwork required so you are not held up. Then, wait patiently!
If you are coming to Australia for any length of time, you must decide if you want to sell everything you own and start over or ship your household goods. Australia uses 220-240 volt electricity so if you are migrating from a country that uses a different voltage, you can leave behind your electrical items for sure. You can buy small converters for things like hair dryers and mobile phones. And, you can purchase small transformers if you want to convert electricity for televisions and other small appliances. Keep in mind that transformers are heavy and bulky, so you wouldn’t want too many of those. A good website that can help clarify this is www.adaptelec.com
If you have decided to ship your items, you can retrieve quotes from moving companies who specialise in international shipping. You will probably find they are all pretty comparable in price. Depending on how far you are from a port, there may be intermediate transportation costs involved. For an additional fee you can also have professional packers pack your goods. This not only saves you time, but you will be able to ensure it is packed correctly and safely. Also, when your goods go through customs clearance in Australia, it is more likely to pass without as much scrutiny because it has not been “packed by the owner.”
Check the list of prohibited items and make sure to include detailed descriptions of the inventory. If you hire professional packers, they will do this part for you as well.
You will need replacement insurance for your goods. The two most common types are: “Total Loss” and “All Risk.” Total Loss only protects you for a certain dollar amount if the entire shipment is lost or damaged. All Risk ensures you can replace any item inside your container for its full replacement value if it is damaged or lost in the shipment.
When weighing out whether this process is worth it, consider the cost (a six meter container may cost $10-$15K to ship). Some shippers base the price on the weight of the container and some are a flat rate for the size of the shipment. You should have someone inventory your goods prior to shipping so there are no surprises on moving day. You want to make sure you can fit the items most important to you.
Also, consider the length of time the shipment will take. Allow for a few weeks of a delay on top of the estimated time the shipment is expected. Then, tack on a couple of weeks for it to clear customs. A shipment of household goods can easily take up to three months to arrive in Australia depending on where it departs. Check out International Movers for more information on this subject.
Cost of Living
Numbeo.com will compare cost of living between various cities around the world. Depending on where you live in Australia, costs for rent can vary wildly. If you want to be in the city centre in Sydney, for example, a one-bedroom apartment can cost more than $2000 per month. If you are willing to commute and live outside the centre, you can cut that price in half.
Electricity, gas and water prices will run you around $200 per month on average. If you want Internet, there are a variety of options depending on where you live. It costs around $50 per month. Petrol prices are around $1.50 per litre at the moment. Food prices can vary greatly depending on where you shop. Woolworths and Coles are the higher end shops, while Aldi always has cheaper bargains.
Other things to consider are entertainment, clothing, and eating out. All of those prices are much higher in Australia compared to the US. A movie ticket will cost around $20 and the average pair of Nike running shoes will set you back at least $150. Don’t expect to pay less than $20 per person for a dinner out. It will be closer to $30 if you want a drink to go with it! The cost of living is worth it for most people if you consider the beautiful lifestyle and weather you can experience down under!
These three tips are crucial things to look into before moving to Australia. In our next blog we will go through schools for your kids, housing options and buying a car.