When the days start getting shorter and colder here in UK, the allure of Australia is ever present. Who wouldn’t like to enjoy a sunny day on the beach in Australia in November instead of a dreary and rainy day in the UK? In 2010, 339,000 people emigrated from the UK to countries all over the world, and many of them chose to settle in Australia. Australia’s culture, climate and thriving economy all go together to recommend it as a location for emigration, and it would be especially good as a retirement destination. If you are planning to move to Australia to work or to retire, there are many things to consider – some of these things are general to all emigrants and some of them specific to Australia. This article gives a quick summary of some of the basic, practical things you need to consider when moving to Australia.
The first thing you need is a clear plan. That isn’t to say that there aren’t people who just get on a plane and improvise from there – but, if you do so, you run a high risk of ending up in serious trouble. By far the best thing to do is to sit down and plan exactly what you are going to do. You should prepare for as much as possible before you set off. Try to locate important documents such as your birth certificate or medical certificates well in advance, and make sure that your passport is up to date.
The first thing you need to do is obtain a visa. There is too large a range of different visas available for working in Australia to go into all of them here in much detail. However, the two main types are nominated and independent. Nominated visas are for people who already have an offer of work in Australia or have been invited by a state or territory that requires extra workers. Independent visas are much less restrictive about what the visa holder can do but consequently harder to obtain. The system is currently in the process of transition and you should check the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s website for full details. If you already have family members in Australia (perhaps your son or daughter has already taken the leap and ended up down under?), this might make the process easier.
Another concern is health care. Make sure that you understand the health care provisions that you will be able to obtain in Australia, and have a think about investing in private health insurance if you have any concerns. Many countries have reciprocal health agreements (RHAs) with Australia enabling their residents to receive emergency medical care. However, RHAs have many exclusions, and there are plenty of countries, including the US, which do not have such agreements with Australia. What is more, health insurance forms part of most visa requirements. Because of this, it is advisable to invest in overseas visitor cover. Be warned that, if you already have health or travel insurance in the UK, there is no guarantee that it will cover you in Australia if you’re planning to reside there rather than visit! Overseas visitor cover is available from a number of different providers, and you should shop around for the best deal.
Once you have organised the basics for living in Australia, you will begin to think about the logistics of your move. You will probably need temporary accommodation in Australia while you search for a more permanent residence. Once you’ve settled, of course you’ll want to bring your possessions over, and will need to organise shipping and possibly storage for larger items. You need to think about which items you should bring to Australia and which you shouldn’t. You will not be able to bring animal or plant material into Australia nor will you be able to bring in electrical items that don’t comply with Australian regulations.
If you’re worried about homesickness, you will have plenty of British company in Australia; a recent report by the Australian government notes that 5.3 percent of the total population of Australia are British by birth, and more than half a million British tourists visit Australia each year.
This is the start, but by no means the end, of the sort of things you need to think about when considering moving to Australia. I hope it has been helpful. For more information you can check out the FCO webpage about emigrating to Australia orm, for an alternative perspective, look at this page from the Australian government about why living in Australia is great.
What do you think? Would you be happy to chuck it all in and move down under? Let us know in the comments!