Australia is the most popular destination for British expats. – some 1.3 million of us are currently living Down Under. The sunshine, incredible beaches and relaxed lifestyle are big draws for many, and once they experience Australia for themselves, they don’t want to come home!
According to a survey by Natwest, 89% of Brits said their quality of life had improved since they moved to Australia, with almost three-quarters claiming their health had received a positive boost too. If you’re seriously considering packing your bags and leaving the UK for Australia though, you’re going to need some help.
That’s why we’ve created this handy guide to moving to Australia, containing top tips and advice from experts and expats. Buying a property in Australia can be tricky, after all – there’s a lot to think about!
From sending money to Australia, to having a back-up plan, here are our top tops for moving to the Land of Oz.
1. Consider renting a property first
Since there’s no language or cultural barriers, many may think that Australia is just a sunnier, hotter, version of the UK, but nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, you won’t know what living in Australia is like unless you’ve tried it. That’s why, instead of dropping a lot of money on buying an expensive house, you should definitely consider renting first.
This will give you a chance to ‘test-drive’ Australian life and see if it’s right for you and your family. It’s also a great idea if you don’t know how long you’ll be working out there yet – you may have a temporary contract to start off with. However, be aware that house prices are rising all the time in Australia, so if you do decide to stay permanently, don’t hang around too long before buying.
2. Have a back-up plan in case things go wrong
You may be excited to move out there, but it’s wise to have an alternative plan or two, as everything might not go as smoothly as you first expected. For example, what will you do if you can’t get a job Down Under or fail to sell your home back in the UK? It may be difficult, but it’s best to be realistic about your situation.
3. Look for potential jobs before you move
It’s vital to get a good idea of what jobs are available in the area you’re planning to move to before you start packing your bags. You can easily do this by checking the various Australian job boards online, but it’s also worth contacting local recruitment agencies and employers. To give you the extra edge in your job search, apply for a permanent residence visa (if you’re eligible). Securing one will definitely boost your chances of getting recruited.
If you start to apply for jobs before the move, try to be as flexible as possible. For instance, employers are going to want to interview you, which makes for obvious difficulties so if you can’t meet them face-to-face, why not offer to take part in a Skype interview instead?
4. Don’t bring all of your belongings with you
Shipping your furniture and other belongings to Australia isn’t cheap, which is why it’s wise to leave the things you really don’t need at home – or get rid of them altogether. You can always buy new bits and pieces while you’re out there. If you’re renting a property at first, you might not need to bring any of your furniture over anyway!
When it comes to transporting your goods to Australia, the cheapest method is by sea. It will cost you around £200 for the first cubic metre and about £100 for every extra cubic metre on top of that. This means a 40ft container can cost £5,000 to ship!
5. Don’t say yes to a job offer without thinking about it first
Securing a job in Australia might be the part of the move you’re most fearful of, but that doesn’t mean you should accept just any offer without thoroughly thinking it through. Even if the job sounds amazing, you might find you don’t enjoy it once you’re over there.
Try to spend a few weeks in the area first and get to know the locals. Is it easy to get to the workplace? Are the people friendly? Does the pay cover the cost of living? These are all questions you need to answer before you know whether you’re making the right decision.
6. Understand how the property-buying process works
The property-buying process in Australia differs from the one you’re used to in the UK, so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with it. While the process is not all that complicated, there is a lot of red tape involved, which you definitely don’t want to fall foul of. Hiring a lawyer is a great idea, as they will make sure everything is in order before you sign the first contract and put down a deposit.
For a full run-through of the Australian property-buying process, advice on exchange rates and so much more, download our full guide below. Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any further questions – we’re more than happy to help where we can! We wish you all the best with your move Down Under.