A Comprehensive Guide to Moving to Australia: Tips and Considerations

A Comprehensive Guide to Moving to Australia: Tips and Considerations

The benefits of moving to Australia are plenty: high living standards, good income rates, quality healthcare, world-class education, strong economic development, a straight-forward pathway to obtaining permanent residency, pleasant climate year-round, rich natural beauty, welcoming local culture…

Moving to Australia is a dream come true, but it requires careful planning and consideration. From visas to choosing the right city, here’s a comprehensive guide to make your relocation as smooth as can be!

Visa and timing

Before anything else, do your research on the visa application process. Australia offers various visas for different purposes — work, study, family, or skilled migration. Timing matters, too. Consider seasons, job markets, and personal circumstances when deciding when to start your visa application process.

Each Australian visa has specific criteria, typically involving English proficiency, health checks, and practising an eligible profession. Work visas often include family visa options for eligible relatives. These encompass various categories like skilled workers, specialised professionals, short-term employees, trainees, and the Business Talent visa for seasoned entrepreneurs. While this grants permanent residency, it comes at a higher cost.

Fortunately, Australia offers a relatively straightforward path to permanent residency, achievable after living in the country for four years with certain visas. This status offers numerous benefits, including indefinite stay, loan eligibility, sponsoring family members for residency, and even working in New Zealand.

Deciding on a location

Australia is vast and diverse, with each state offering unique lifestyles. Consider factors like job opportunities, climate preferences, cost of living, and amenities. Cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth each have their distinct appeal — research thoroughly to find the best fit for your lifestyle. (Take a look at Claymore Thistle’s detailed location guides to learn more about all of Australia’s major regions and cities!)

Finding accommodation

When narrowing down your choice of residence, consider proximity to work, schools, healthcare facilities, public transport, safety, and community vibe. Renting before committing to buying property is often a wise choice to get a feel for the area.

On that note, let’s talk about short-term accommodation versus long-term accommodation.

When relocating, many people (especially companies relocating their employees) view short-term accommodation as a quick and easy housing solution. They don’t want to commit to a long-term lease straight away since they want the flexibility to search for longer-term housing once they are ‘settled in’ and have gotten to know their new city a bit better. While this might sound like the best route to take, it isn’t for everyone.

Short-term accommodation during relocation can be costly, cramped, and limit your sense of belonging. To avoid these issues, secure a long-term lease with the aid of an experienced relocation agent on the ground in Australia. An agency such as Claymore Thistle offers comprehensive relocation services, handling everything from property search and lease negotiation to utility setup and pet relocation. Your agent can provide further support with a wide range of services, including furniture shipping, storage arrangements, airport pick-ups, and even first-day-of-work transfers, to ensure a smooth transition to your new home.

To ship or to shop

Decide which belongings are worth shipping and what you can buy upon arrival. Shipping personal belongings offers comfort and convenience, ensuring immediate familiarity in the new living space. It can also be cost-effective for larger items such as furniture and electrical appliances. On the other hand, opting to sell your belongings and purchase new items upon arrival provides a quick solution and a fresh start. It can however be a costly and time-consuming process.

Ultimately, personal preferences, budget, and moving timelines determine the best approach. If you decide to ship your belongings instead of buying everything new off the shelf, keep in mind that working with a relocation agent could grant you access to major shipping discounts since most agencies have extensive networks of industry professionals they regularly partner with.

Relocating your pets

Pet relocation is much simpler these days, thanks to professional agencies easing the process. For Australia, only cats and dogs are permitted, subject to specific travel requirements based on country groups. These requirements include microchipping, vaccinations, blood tests, and import documentation that needs careful planning, ideally starting six months prior. Working with a pet relocation agency ensures timely compliance and a stress-free journey for your furry friends.

Schools, universities and daycare

Australia boasts renowned educational institutions like the University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, University of Sydney, Australian National University, and University of New South Wales, attracting a large number of international students.

For families, it is crucial to understand enrollment processes, school zones, and education quality in your chosen area to make informed decisions when relocating. This is another step of the relocation journey where you will greatly benefit from the services of a relocation agent, who can help you set up interviews and submit applications at the schools, universities and daycare facilities that are best suited to your family’s needs.

Healthcare, finance and other administrative considerations

Healthcare in Australia is facilitated through Medicare, a free public healthcare system accessible to citizens, permanent residents, and those seeking permanent residency. This system offers widespread access to public healthcare services at minimal or no cost. Some expatriates from specific countries, such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Malta, Sweden, Slovenia, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Ireland, Italy, and the Netherlands, are also eligible for Medicare. For temporary residents not covered by these nations, private health insurance is available.

Setting up a bank account in Australia is a straightforward process. Within six weeks of arrival, individuals can open a local bank account using their passport. Tax residency in Australia is determined by residing in the country for at least six consecutive months per year, subjecting residents to personal income tax calculated progressively based on their earnings.

Specific medical exams and vaccinations may be required during the visa application process, influenced by factors like age and country of origin. While some vaccinations like yellow fever are mandatory for entry, others such as the annual flu shot, polio, measles, and chickenpox vaccines are recommended but not compulsory.

Transportation

Wondering if you should buy or rent a car in Australia, or stick to public transport options?

Renting a car is a great temporary solution, while purchasing a vehicle may be a smarter decision for those planning to stay in Australia for at least a year or longer. Renting a vehicle in Australia typically requires a valid driver’s permit, passport, and credit card. Upon arrival, European, United Kingdom, and United States driver’s licences are valid for three months. Beyond this period, obtaining an Australian driver’s permit is vital if you prefer driving yourself around.

If you don’t want to buy or rent a car, rest assured. Australia’s public transport system is robust, cost-effective, and convenient, linking major cities with flights, trains, and buses. Within cities, trams are popular for daily commuting. Additionally, ride-sharing services like Uber, Ola, and DiDi offer convenient short-distance travel options.

Investing in Australia

Don’t necessarily want to relocate to Australia, but thinking of investing or expanding your business to this country?

Australia is a major financial hub in the Asia Pacific region with strong links to Europe and America, offering diverse prospects for businesses in sectors like construction, finance, healthcare, and more. The Australian government offers various benefits for business owners, including tax incentives, venture capital opportunities, and government grants to promote economic growth and job creation.

Factors to consider when moving a business to Australia include relocation costs, business structure establishment, and tax obligations. Visa application for business purposes is crucial, and various options exist, such as the Business Innovation visa, Business Talent (Permanent) visa, and overseas business sponsorship visa.

Ready to make that first step?

Based in Australia, Claymore Thistle is an international relocation agency that was born out of the joy of helping others fulfil their relocation dreams and settle into their new homes with ease.

With expertise in the local property market, Claymore Thistle’s relocation agents can offer invaluable insights into optimal living areas tailored to individual preferences, considering factors like commute, schools, and community amenities. Beyond housing, their support extends to visa applications, introductions to local services, and personalised guidance throughout the relocation journey.

Book a free consultation to chat with one of their relocation experts and head over to the Claymore Thistle blog for all the best insider tips for moving to Australia!

How can Australia rethink its migration programme to attract and retain skilled workers?

How can Australia rethink its migration programme to attract and retain skilled workers?

Throughout the years, Australia has welcomed millions of people from all corners of the world, each bringing their own unique culture and contributions to Australian society.

Australia is currently facing various labour and skills shortages with the aftermath of the pandemic and further to this, long visa processing times are potentially causing Australia to lose valuable talent to other countries.

Major shortage of skilled migrants

Earlier this month, many were reminded of these challenges when Australian politician and Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil called for a fundamental overhaul of the country’s migration policy. According to O’Neil, Australia’s migration system is broken, complex, un-strategic, expensive, and slow — not serving the best interests of migrants nor the nation’s future.

O’Neil has been a vocal advocate for reforming the migration system in Australia, which she believes is outdated and in need of significant changes. At present, she is calling for a more targeted approach to migration, with a focus on industries where there are skills shortages.

Highly-valued migrants that the world is fighting for today, face bureaucratic delays coming to Australia while receiving red-carpet treatment in other countries, she said during an AFR workforce summit in Sydney. Despite a national shortage of nurses, for example, it could take an overseas nurse up to three years and as much as $20,000 to have their qualifications recognised in Australia.

Since 2005, O’Neil explained, the number of net-skilled permanent migrants coming into Australia has stayed roughly the same — around 30,000 each year. Over the same period, however, the rate of issuing temporary visas skyrocketed. Today, Australia has around two million temporary visa holders, which is double the number in 2007. (This excludes visitors and people travelling through the country.) Having around two million temporary migrants in a national population of about 26 million has major implications for the country’s economy and workforce success. This shift in direction of the migration programme happened without strategic planning or serious public policy discussions, O’Neil said, continuing to question whether the large group of temporary migrants in Australia are driving the country forward with the skills and capabilities needed for the future.

The lingering effects of the pandemic

Travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic cost Australia more than 80,000 people, marking the country’s first net migration decline since World War II. The reopening of borders has instigated a necessary increase in migrant arrivals, and is set to continue growing this year.

With the ongoing effects of the pandemic on travel and employment patterns, however, it is estimated that Australia will lose close to half a million migrants by 2025/2026. Many experts on the subject are pointing fingers at Australia’s failure to provide sufficient financial support for international workers during the pandemic. Considering the Australian economy’s reliance on international skills and talent, it is even more crucial for the government to rethink its approach to attracting, managing, and retaining migrants — permanent and skilled migrants, in particular.

Tapping into the potential of international students

O’Neil also emphasised the need for the Australian government to present the country in a more desirable light to tap into the potential of international students. Many international students studying in Australia are effectively forced to leave and implement their skills and education elsewhere. Out of those who stay in the country, around 40% do not live up to their full potential because they end up in jobs they are overqualified for. According to O’Neil, this is partly due to Australia’s inefficient system for integrating graduates into the workforce.

At the moment, Australia is enjoying an influx of international students who are eager to travel and explore after the limitations of remote, online education during the pandemic. Australia is thus in a prime position to provide international students with more incentive to remain in the country and use their skills and youthful energy to positively contribute to the country’s economic growth.

What is the solution?

I believe Australia’s migration system needs to be reformed to strike a better balance between competing interests — the country’s multicultural identity and economic growth on the one hand, and, on the other, concerns over the impact of migration on housing, infrastructure, and wages along with the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.

This could involve a range of measures, including increasing the capacity of the refugee intake programme, providing more support to refugees and asylum seekers once they arrive in Australia, and reforming the asylum process to make it more efficient and effective. By taking these steps, we can ensure that Australia remains a compassionate and welcoming country for those in need of protection.

Another issue that needs to be addressed is the impact of migration on housing and infrastructure. It is common knowledge that Australia is experiencing a rental housing crisis. The growing population is putting pressure on the availability and affordability of housing, as well as the quality of infrastructure. To address this, there is an urgent need for coordinated planning and investment, with a focus on ensuring that new arrivals can settle in areas where there is sufficient housing and infrastructure.

For interest’s sake, a new report published by UNSW Sydney outlines a comprehensive strategy for tackling the housing crisis in Australia. The report suggests a range of solutions to address the current housing crisis, including changes to zoning laws, increasing affordable housing supply, and introducing a rental subsidies program. The report also calls for greater investment in social housing and the implementation of policies to protect tenants from unfair eviction and rental increases. The authors argue that these measures are necessary to address the growing housing affordability problem in Australia, particularly in cities like Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Finally, we need to recognise the importance of skilled migration to the Australian economy. Many industries, including healthcare, technology, and education, rely heavily on skilled migrants, and we need to ensure that the migration system can meet these labour market needs. This could involve targeted migration programs and increased support for migrants to help them find work in their field of expertise.

Need guidance with migrating to Australia? Claymore Thistle is a professional international relocation agency with years of experience in personal and corporate relocation.

Book a free consultation today to speak to one of our relocation experts.

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