Australia and the United Kingdom have a strong relationship which has resulted in many UK citizens visiting, and even moving to, Australia. The countries have a long history of collaboration, trade, and investments. This together with shared heritage, mutual interests, and common values have motivated more and more people to migrate across borders.
Many people living in the UK choose to move away from the rain and cold weather to the sunnier Australian climate. It’s not as simple as just booking your flight and packing up your home though.
We recently spoke to ‘Hire a Mover’, an Australian company with expert knowledge on emigrating to Australia. Here they share important information that you need to know about moving to the ‘Land Down Under’ to help make the transition smooth and productive.
According to the Australian Department of Home Affairs, approximately 1.2 million people who were born in the UK were living in Australia by the end of June 2014. These numbers are increasing, making UK citizens the largest community of migrants in Australia.
So, what considerations need to be made to make the move as smooth as possible?
- Visa requirements
Although it is fairly easy to visit Australia with the free eVisitor visa, this only allows UK citizens a visit of 30 days per year. If you want to live there then you will need to follow the migration policy. This policy can be fairly strict, making it slightly more difficult for people to make the move.
Depending on the reasons for which you want to move to Australia, you will need a different type of visa. The UK government’s official page describes the various visas needed to migrate.
Some of the most used visas include the Skilled Independent visa, Skilled Nominated visa and the Temporary (skilled) Work visa. Other visas include the 457 visa for working via sponsorship, the Student visa, and the Spouse visa amongst others.
- Find work and accommodation
The easiest way to earn passage across Australia’s borders is via occupation.
If you successfully receive your visa once you have followed all the necessary steps, the next priority is finding a place to live. As the housing market is very expensive, it is important to do thorough research before leaving the UK. While it is a popular option to rent a home that is furnished, many do go the unfurnished route. This can be expensive though, as furniture in Australia can get rather pricey when everything adds up. Depending on your life stage, it is recommended that you rent a room and live with other people, at least in the beginning while you find your feet. You can find rooms on websites such as Gumtree and Flatmates.
- Plan and protect your money
Another priority to organise before leaving the UK is to set up an Australian bank account. It is a fairly easy process and can be done online with your UK information. Some of the biggest banks in Australia are Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank (NAB) and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ). You can find the necessary information and documentation to apply for a bank account on all of their official pages.
Handy tip: Be sure that you have plenty of savings when you arrive in Australia as the average cost of living and expenses are much higher than the UK.
- Take care of your possessions
The next step is to consider all of your belongings and decide what to do with them. If you’re moving permanently, you may choose to sell, rent or move out of your current living place. If you own a car, you will most likely choose to sell it. In most instances, you probably won’t be able to take all of your possessions with you, at least not all at once.
A good alternative is to explore self storage as a solution. Self storage facilities, such as Storage King, have many customers who use self storage as part of their emigration needs. Flexible leases are offered depending on how long you want to leave your belongings in the storage unit and what size unit you require.
Most self storage facilities also offer packaging materials for sale on site. Items such as boxes, bubble wrap and more are sold on site to make the process stress-free and simple. Hiring a van is also a possibility, making your life easier during potentially stressful times.
Any reputable self storage company will prioritise security in order to keep your belonging safe. Leading self storage facilities will offer high-tech security measures such as CCTV, electronic gates and alarm-equipped units.
Another advantage is easy accessibility so that you can access your belongings whenever you want or need to. There is often a lot of back and forth as you make final arrangements for your move abroad, so having a unit that you can visit as needed can make a big difference.
- Live like a local
There are some aspects of Australian living that you have to get used to if you want to have a smooth transition. One of the biggest changes that you have to pay attention to is the harsh sun. For that, Aussies have a simple Slip! Slop! Slap! rule which means slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat!
Another aspect to be cautious of are the bushfires. Australia survives more than 50 000 annual fires so be aware of the fire alarms and government warnings.
If you are a beer lover, don’t miss out on learning their strange beer sizes. These depend a lot on the where you’re living in Australia but don’t be surprised if you witness some awkward sizes such as pony (140ml), a butcher or a seven (200ml), middy or a pot (285ml), schooner or a pint (425ml), and imperial pint (570ml).
Hopefully the above will make your move Down Under a smooth one. If you need some more information from individuals that are already living in Australia and have been through the process that you’re about to go through, try some of the websites and forums for Australian-based UK expats such as Lononer in Sydney, Britz in Oz or British Expats.