Australia is the sixth largest country in the world, but has a population of less than 25 million, meaning that the natural beauty still shines bright, and it is not overrun nor overcrowded. The untouched wilderness and diverse range of wildlife is just part of the appeal to expats. In general, the high quality of life and low levels of stress are really what make Australia a truly wonderful destination for anyone seeking a positive change of scenery.
Country Facts and Interesting Information
- Capital: Canberra
- Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD)
- Languages: English
- Major Religion: No state religion, slim majority of Christianity (just over 60%)
- Largest Cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth
- Officially the Commonwealth of Australia
- Population: approximately 24,329,400
Process of Moving Overseas to Australia
Australia was originally founded by immigrants from the UK (mostly convicts, in fact), but it has since diversified and opened its doors to people from all over the world. More recently though, due to its popularity, Australia has had to reign in the open door policy and impose stricter limitations on those hoping to call this beautiful country home. If you are considering a move to Australia, you will need to first find a reputable international moving company to help aid you with the logistics, and help you through the often complicated and overwhelming process of relocating abroad.
Checklist for Moving Company
Most people have never undergone such a dramatic transition, such as moving overseas and becoming an expat living in a foreign country. For this reason alone, you will need the aid of a professional, and not just any professional will do. You want to find a moving company that can offer you the following and is able to work closely with you to remove as much stress as possible from the entire process beginning to end. The following checklist is by no means all-inclusive, but it is a great jumping off point for those about to undertake the adventure of a lifetime to Australia.
- Experience in Australia – Many companies will ease your mind with a long track record of proven successful relocations, but the number of years in business only shows you a small part of the entire picture. It is absolutely essential that you enlist the help of a company with direct experience in Australia. Because every country has unique import and immigration laws, only a moving company with expert knowledge will be able to navigate the specific requirements smoothly and get you and your belongings safely and efficiently to your final destination. Find someone, like International Moving Companies, Inc., who has adequate experience and familiarity with Australia, or else your moving experience will be less than positive.
- Stellar Reputation – Again, just because a company assures you they have completed thousands of moves, does not necessarily mean they were all positive experiences. Do your research. Check online consumer review websites, such as Angie’s List and Yelp, then cross-check their standing with the Better Business Bureau. Until you have heard firsthand from a previous customer, you won’t truly understand what you can expect when dealing with this particular company.
- Full-Service, Budget-Friendly Packaging – Be wary of overseas moving companies who pressure you into a one-size-fits-all type of full-service relocation package. International Moving Companies, Inc. prides itself on taking the time to get to know you and your personal situation, so we can customize a moving services bundle that meets your needs while adhering to your budget. Give us a call today, so we can create a free, no-obligation quote based on your exact requirements, and we’ll let our expert agents show you what makes us a cut above the rest.
In order to become a citizen of Australia, certain criteria must first be met. These requirements are as follows:
- Must be a permanent resident for a minimum of one year
- Must have lived continuously in Australia for the past four years
- Must be physically present and have not been out of the country for a cumulative total of 12 months during the previous four years
- Must be of good moral character
Getting around on public transportation is both affordable and convenient if you are located in a major city. There are also suburban train lines in most of the major cities as well. Taxis operate all over Australia, but can definitely be expensive if you need to take them often. For this reason, those who live outside the major hubs rely almost entirely on driving themselves in their own personal vehicle. As a tourist, you are legally able to drive in Australia with your foreign driver’s license or your international driving permit accompanied by your foreign driver’s license. This is great news for those only planning on staying a short-while (less than three months), but if you plan to reside in Australia long-term, you will need to get an Australian driver’s license.
Rules and regulations regarding foreigners driving in Australia differ from state to state, so you will need to check into your local area’s laws to determine the specific protocol. The good news for expats is that the U.S. is on the approved list of countries that require no practical or written test in order to obtain an Australian driver’s license in nearly all of the territories. In order to obtain your resident driver’s license, you simply need to have a valid foreign driver’s license and be over the age of 25.
If you have decided to import your own personal vehicle into Australia, there are a number of steps you will need to follow. A comprehensive guide is available on the Australian government website and is a great cheat sheet to help walk you through the process from start to finish. The only aspect it doesn’t cover is how to find a reputable auto transport company to aid you in the actual shipping procedure. The following are the minimum requirements for any auto transport company you may consider working with:
- Knowledge of Australian import rules and regulations. Not all international auto shipping companies are created equal, so you want to find one that is an expert in knowledge regarding the laws in Australia. For example, the company you select should be able to tell you immediately that first step in the import process is obtaining an Import Approval Permit. Without this one crucial step, you will not be able to get your vehicle into the country at all.
- History of successful personal vehicle transports. Most all international moving companies offer auto transport, but not all excel at it. International Moving Companies, Inc. specializes in auto transport and is proud to say that they are an industry leader in that singular aspect of relocation.
- Affordable shipping packages. Many people will tell you that between duty and goods and services taxes, it is not worth it to bother bringing a vehicle with you when you relocate. With Australia, that is simply not the case. New and used vehicles up to 30 years old are only subject to a 10% duty tax and a 10% GST calculated based on the vehicles value. Those charges alone will not come close to the cost of purchasing a new or used vehicle upon arrival. However, if you contract with a company that gouges you with the shipping prices, it will definitely take away from your bottom line. Choose someone with an affordable transport fee, a great track record, and expert know-how and you will be able to drive your own vehicle on the roads of Australia in no time at all.
Australia has a quintessential Western culture, influenced in large part by the British, with concessions and changes derived from the unique geography of the island countryside. The Aboriginal people, who are thought to have been around for over 60,000 years, also have had profound impact on the culture of modern day Australia. Even though, they make up only about 2.5% of the current population, much of the art and literature in the country still bears resemblance to the ancient civilization of the Aboriginal culture. Of course, it bears noting, that the British originally used Australia as a sort of banishment location for criminals, which is how the original Western influence arrived.
In general, Australia is a very wealthy country. With low rates of poverty and relatively high Gross Domestic Product per capita, the average wealth ranks the country second in the world (after Switzerland). The most lucrative industries include export-based mining, banking, and manufacturing. Although unemployment rates are comparably low, it can be difficult as an expat to secure steady employment. It is definitely in your best interest to began the application process before your move, setting up interviews via Skype if possible, so that you can seamlessly transition into your new career upon arriving. Most employers will require a work visa, but if you can provide proof that you have began the process, you will have a leg up on the competition. The following is a sample of job listing websites to help you begin your search:
- Tribus Lingua
- The Good Careers Guide
- Career One
- Graduate Careers
- Australian Government Job Search
- Travel Jobs
Phone and Internet
Similar to most first world countries, the majority of Austalians have mobile phones, although land lines are also available if desired. There is a huge market for both mobile phone carriers AND intenet providers, so make sure you do your research to determine the best fit for you. A prepaid phone and/or internet plan may suffice if you don’t plan on staying long, but if Australia will be your new home country, a contract plan is probably your best bet. The government of Australia actually provides a wonderful resource that supplies you with any and all information you may need regarding communication service in the country.
All postal service is handled by the Australia post, which operates much the same way as the United States postal service, if not more efficiently. Unlike certain countries where the postal service is unreliable and corrupt, you can expect to have great service when sending to and from Australia.
There are an exorbitant number of different visas available in Australia, classified into six main categories:
- Visitor Visas
- Working and Skilled Visas
- Studying Visas
- Family and Spousal Visas
- Refugee and Humanitarian Visas
- Other Visas
It may be easy enough to narrow down which particular classification of visa you will need, but due to the many different subclasses, it is in your best interest to utilize the Visa Finder in order to get a more accurate idea of what you type will be required. You can also ask your international moving company for advice, and if they are not able to answer your questions outright, they can usually direct you to someone with expert knowledge who can help.
Cost of Living
Unlike many other popular expat destinations, Australia is not sought after due to a lower cost of living. In fact, the country of Australia is home to some of the most expensive places to live in the world. On average, the cost of living is right around 10% more than the United States.
By law, it is required that all citizens of Australia over the age of 18 vote in elections, referendums, and by-elections. You can enrol to vote here, and you will need to provide proof of identification. Of course, again, this requirement to vote only applies to Australian citizens, so until you have satisfied those minimum requirements (as previously stated) and become a citizen, you are unable to participate in any electoral activities.
Healthcare (both quality and systemic set-up) in Australia ranks high above that of the United States, and many other first world countries. Healthcare is funded by both public and private sectors, with the majority of the population falling under the public category known as Medicare. The public sector coexists with privately funded insurance that certain individuals and companies may choose to purchase. Generally, only the wealthy choose private insurance, and most often it is because they would be penalized if their income is over a certain threshold and they participate in universal healthcare.