Moving to Australia: The first 30 days

TransferWise content team
15.03.17
4 minute read

The first couple of months in a new country, especially with kids, can test even the most experienced expats. Starting from scratch can be both exciting and overwhelming.

Here are a few tips for getting through those initial hurdles in Australia.

Right to work in Australia

office space

Australia is renowned for it’s tough immigration laws.

Acquiring a visa can be a long and arduous process but it is not impossible. If you’re not already sponsored by an employer, you might be eligible for to apply for the General Skilled Migration Program, which is a path for skilled workers to emigrate to Australia. In 2015–16 Australia’s permanent migration program approved 189,770 places, with 10% of those coming from the United Kingdom. 128,550 of those places were delivered in the Skill Stream.

Using a points system, you can qualify to work in Australia in your specialised field. First check that your qualifications are recognised in Australia. Then, check the skills list. Occupations on the skills list are diverse, ranging from fields such as education, medicine, business, shipping and trades.

For those willing to embrace a country lifestyle, it’s often easier to obtain a visa if you’re willing to move to Regional Australia. Another avenue is the Business Innovation and Investment visa for entrepeneurs. Check out the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Control to review your options.

Finding Work

laptop office

Qualifications and visas aside, how do you go about finding work in Australia?

The largest job website in the country is SEEK. Subscribe to sites such as Graduate Careers or Career One. There are specialised sites for jobs in most fields including tourism, education and IT. Recruitment agencies can also help you.

Like anywhere, networking opportunities and professional organisations exist and are an excellent way to meet people and make contacts. And while who you know is important, these connections are often built over time. Don’t try to sell yourself on first meeting. It doesn’t work with Australians. However do let people know you’re actively looking for work.

Finally, find out if your resume needs to be adapted to the Australian job market. A local layout and spellcheck can help land that dream job.

Finding somewhere to live

australia

Where to live is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make.

The location you choose will influence everything from work and schooling choices, to lifestyle. Australia really is a beach-obsessed nation, with 85% of the population living close to the coast. Wanting a piece of the great Aussie beach dream narrows your choices down to over 30,000 kilometres of coastline. The Coastal Studies Unit at the University of Sydney has counted 10,685 beaches in Australia.

Your options range from beachside suburbs in major cities, to large regional towns, to small coastal villages. Your lifestyle will be dictated by the weather in the location you choose, so work out if you want four seasons or a year-round warmer climate.

Another, often overlooked, area of Australia is further inland. The towns of Regional Australia might not have the beach, but will make up for that with a cheaper cost of living, tight-knit communities, and more visa options for those wanting to stay.

Finding schools for your kids

schools

Australia has a high standard of education, and while ages for school attendance vary from state to state, most children attend school between 5 and 17 years of age.

65.2% of Australian students attend public schools. This is especially true for the primary years, with parents often waiting until the secondary years to send their children to private schools. Fee based, non-government schools include schools of varying religious denominations, Montessori and Steiner schools, those that specialize in areas such as music and the performing arts, and schools for children with disabilities.

Enrolling into the public school system is as simple as turning up at your local school, with proof of residence. Some public schools are so good they are known as magnet schools, with parents moving into the school zone just so their children can enroll there. Ask around, meet with schools, and decide what is the best fit for your family.

You’ll find that it’s not only your child who needs to find the right place, but the wider school community is often where you’ll find friends as well.

Setting up a business in Australia

business

Setting up a business in Australia is as easy as registering a business name with Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).

The ASIC website takes you through the simple steps of checking that your business name is available, registering and paying online. You will need an Australian Business Number (ABN) or be in the process of applying for one. There are four main business structures in Australia: sole trader, partnership, company and trust.

Our in depth guide on starting a business in Australia is a good place to start.

Get a bank account

bank account

Opening a bank account is going to be pretty important.

The good news is, some banks allow you to open up an account before you arrive online. That means you'll be able to use a service like TransferWise to send money over in advance of travelling. Win.

Check out our post on opening a bank account in Australia for some more info.

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