Overview

Australia, the world’s sixth largest country by total area, is surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. The country boasts an extensive coastline of over 34,000 kilometres and is home to some of the most amazing beaches in the world. If you love the sun and the sand, this is a great place for you! People from over 100 countries have migrated to Australia over the years, making it one of the most culturally diverse places in the world. With its quaint neighbourhoods and communities, many have settled down and made Australia their new home permanently.

Read more: Visit our Covid-19 Update – Going to Australia page for the latest news about moving or travelling there during the pandemic.

(Last updated: 28 May 2021)

Weather + Climate

Unlike Singapore, Australia is an arid country with tropical northern and temperate southern coasts. It experiences all four seasons throughout the year with summers occurring with a maximum average of 30°C and winters with 10°C. The maximum rainfall is experienced between March and June with an average of 25 – 100 mm every three months.

Cost of Living

A$3,724 per month (as of 2021)

This average includes housing rent, utility costs, food, transportation, mobile bills, and many others. Cost factors are affected by the number of members in a family, living preferences and forms of accommodation.

Holidays

National Public Holidays include:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Australia Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Anzac Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

All other public holidays such as Queen’s Birthday and Labour Day are declared by the territory and state governments. For more information, please visit the Australian Government website.

Tax Rates

Income Tax (2020-2021)

  • A$18,201 to A$45,000 – 19 cents for each A$1 over A$18,200
  • A$45,001 to A$120,000 – A$5,092 plus 32.5 cents for each A$1 over $45,000
  • A$120,001 to A$180,000 – A$29,467 plus 37 cents for each A$1 over $120,000
  • A$180,001 and over – A$51,667 plus 45 cents for each A$1 over A$180,000

Goods + Services Tax 
Set at a value of 10 percent by the Australian government, and it is the main source of income of the government.

Dos + Don’ts

Australia is known to have one of the tightest quarantine laws globally as a means to protect their ecosystem. On a side note, they also produce an entertaining factual TV show titled Border Security: Australia’s Front Line, featuring the extent of the strict laws. Food, plants and animal materials, in particular, are highly controlled. Familiarise yourself with the various regulations in place and click here for more information on customs and quarantine.

Famous Things

  • The Outback
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Koalas and Kangaroos
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Blue Mountains
  • Bondi Beach

Fun Facts

  • The government issued a ban on saying the word ‘mate’ at Parliament House in 2005. The ban was overturned after only lasting for 24 hours
  • Australia was the second country in the world to allow women to vote
  • The Great Barrier Reef has its own postbox. You’ll need a special Great Barrier Reef stamp to send out emails from there though!
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Visa + Employment Passes

Australia currently has several types of Visitor visas: 3 Studying and Training visas, 23 Family and Partner visas, 24 Working and Skilled visas, 5 Refugee and Humanitarian visas and 13 other visas.

Visa + Citizenship

Given that there are over 50 types of working and skilled visas, figuring out which one applies to you for your move can be tedious. To help you emigrate better, Australia’s Department of Home Affairs has created a great resource, Visa Finder, where you can simply input your details, and it will recommend visas that are most appropriate for you.

You might also be eligible for citizenship if you emigrate and have lived in Australia for four years and have not been absent from the country for more than a year within that duration. Check out the Residence Calculator on how to find out if you meet the residency requirements.

Immigrants looking to migrate and work in Australia must first acquire a work permit. Depending on the duration of stay and purpose for staying, the work permit issued may differ. Student visas come with the benefit of being able to work up to twenty hours weekly during their academic terms, and for however much they are able to during breaks in the semester. The family members of immigrant students who joined them are also able to work for up to 20 hours weekly.

Work Permit Process For Foreigners

Every person looking to migrate to Australia, excluding the ones relocating from New Zealand, must obtain a valid work permit. Having a work visa or permit enables you to work in the country without legal hassles.

  • Find a valid employer to submit a form nominating you so that you can obtain a work permit
  • Application of visa: Fill out the necessary forms accurately and correctly
  • Appointment for visa: Applicants will receive a date for the appointment, and will subsequently be informed if their application is successful
  • Successful applicants can then start applying for a professional permit to work and live in the country for a maximum of four years
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Job Opportunities

Employment Permits
Average Salary (as of Q2 2020): A$89,122 per annum

Top Industries: IT Services, Financial Services, Retail

For good working opportunities after relocating, try looking for business networking chances with businesses that you have an interest in. You may also explore professional and trade associations or online occupation portals.

Job Seeking Sites
LinkedIn | Glassdoor | SEEK | Indeed | CareerOne | ApplyDirect | Jora


Housing + Connectivity

Generally, for bigger cities such as Melbourne and Sydney, homes for rent are not widely available. Recent changes in home purchasing rules in Australia may make the buying process for non-residents more complex. However, well-intentioned residents have fewer barriers for property purchases except for big financial investments.

Buying Property

Average Monthly Rent (as of 2021): A$2,151 (in normal area) and A$3,192 (in expensive area)

Median House Price (as of February 2020): A$549,918

When on the hunt for a property, you may hear words such as “flats”, “houses” and “units”. Generally, locals refer to apartments as flats. Houses, on the other hand, are larger and include outdoor space. Units are usually referring to larger flats with split levels like a house but built in blocks like flats. You can search for rental prices online on realestate.com.au.

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Housing Rental

Where applicable, do obtain approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) before purchasing your property. Application fees may apply for certain types of property. The fee estimator on the FIRB website should give you a good gauge on how much the fees are. If you/your spouse is an Australian Citizen/Permanent Resident, you might also be eligible for the First Home Owners Grant.

You can also buy a personal property while holding a temporary visa – but not as an investment. Upon leaving the country, the property will be sold.

Given the sheer size of Australia, there are plenty of locations where you might want to stay in. In a report by realestate.com.au the top-ranked lifestyle suburbs, based on factors such as proximity to a beach/river, schools, parks and transit times to the nearest CBD, were:

1. St. Kilda West, Melbourne, Victoria
Median House Price is A$2,075,000 and the Median Unit Price is A$587,500 (as of May 2021)

2. South Brisbane, Brisbane, Queensland 
Median House Price is A$976,250 (as of June 2020) and the Median Unit Price is A$482,000 (as of May 2021)

3. Dutton Park, Brisbane, Queensland
Median House Price is A$1,000,000 (as of February 2021) and the Median Unit Price is A$442,000 (as of August 2019)

4. Spring Hill, Brisbane, Queensland 
Median House Price is A$1,143,450 and the Median Unit Price is A$415,000 (as of May 2021)

5. Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, Queensland 
Median House Price is A$1,075,000 and the Median Unit Price is A$520,000 (as of May 2021)


Mobile Network Providers

The four largest telcos in Australia are TelstraOptusVodafone and Virgin Mobile. Before you settle on which telco to use, be sure to ask if the telco has coverage in your area. 3G and 4G coverage make up less than a third of the country’s land mass.

Average Monthly Phone Bill: A$50 – A$90

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Internet Service Providers

Average Monthly Internet Bill (as of May 2021): A$75.62

According to Gizmodo, the fastest internet speeds are provided by Aussie BroadbandiiNetTPGInternode and Dodo. To compare the prices of the various broadband providers, you can use youcompare.com.au and iselect.com.au. You can also look at reviews of the various providers on productreview.com.au. As with choosing a mobile network provider, contact the internet service provider to confirm coverage in your area.

Average Monthly Utility Bill (as of May 2021): A$219.80

Basic utilities for a month can be estimated to be A$219.43 generally. Whereas, for students studying in Australia, this amount is as low as A$35 – $140, for gas and electricity specifically.

Sydney is the most expensive city according to price index with Melbourne and Canberra next in the list.


Getting Around

According to Australian households, 84.3 percent have said they had at least one car, with more than half owning more than two cars according to the census of 2016.

Public Transport System

Average Monthly Cost (as of May 2021): A$150 per month

Public transport
Depending on your location, you might not need a car. For example, public transportation systems in the Greater Capital Cities are comprehensive. You will find rails, buses, ferries and trams to be convenient for your daily commute. Outside of the capital, options are far fewer and tend to be distributed unequally with inner-city areas having much better infrastructure than the outer suburbs.

Car sharing and taxis
As alternatives to the public transport system in Australia, GoGetGreenShareCarHertz 24/7 and Flexicar offers shared car services for us. Taxis and Uber are available for use, but these services may not be available in the smaller cities.

Intercity Transport System

Australia has rail networks for citizens and visitors to travel to different states. Many people prefer taking a plane ride as it can be much cheaper and quicker, but the interstate rail network provides great views that flying does not offer.

Driving in Australia

Australian driving laws and regulations differ for each state. While some states may need you to possess an International Licence along with your current foreign licence, others may need you to have your foreign driver’s license along with a formally translated version in English.

In many territories and states in Australia, barring the Northern Territories, you will be able to drive with an overseas licence if it is still valid and current.

Additionally, you are only legally allowed to drive the specific vehicle that your overseas license authorises. Your overseas licence dictates the conditions that allow you to drive.


Healthcare

Australians have the 6th highest life expectancy in the world, a testament to the quality of their healthcare.

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Medicare

Medicare is Australia’s publicly-funded system of universal medical coverage. Under this system, Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents are covered for primary healthcare services. These include treatment in public hospitals and complete/partial coverage of doctors’ consultations.

If you’re a resident of a country that has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia, you might be entitled to limited Medicare benefits. Take a look at the Medicare website to see if you are eligible.

Compulsory Private Medical Insurance for Expats

As part of the visa requirements, there is a minimum level of private medical insurance coverage you need to obtain. This is if you are not eligible for Medicare. Even if you are from a country with an RHCA with Australia, you might still need health insurance to qualify for your visa since you can only enrol for Medicare after you enter Australia.


Banking

Major Australian banks include ANZCommonwealth BankNAB and Westpac. They offer online services that enable you to open a bank account online. However, you will still be required to head down physically to a branch to present the 100 points worth of documentation before you can start making withdrawals.

To decide on which bank to settle on, you can use finder.com.au to compare interest rates of the various savings accounts offered by the various Australian banks.

Banks in Australia use a point system. To qualify for setting up a bank account, you would need 100 points. Below is a list of documents and its accompanying points:

  • Birth certificate, citizenship certificate and passport [70]
  • Valid licences include drivers’ licence, public service employee ID card, shooter’s licence or a Commonwealth or State Government financial entitlement card [40]
  • Land rates for homeowners [35]
  • A valid card with your full names on it such as credit or library cards [25]
  • A document with your name and address on it, such as a bank statement [25]
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Education

Australia offers public, private and international schools for all ages. Australian universities are also ranked highly in global rankings.

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Universities

5 out of the top 50 universities ranked by QS in 2021 are located in Australia: Australian National University (31st), University of Sydney (40th), University of Melbourne (41st), University of New South Wales (44th) and University of Queensland (46th).

In particular, Australian universities are ranked within the top 10 for subjects such as Accounting & Finance, Anatomy & Physiology, Anthropology and Law.

Public Schools

Many Australians and expats send their children to public schools. Depending on the territory or state that you are in, and also depending on your visa, you may have to pay specific tuition fees. In addition, the catchment zone dictates which schools you can send your children to. Parents often choose accommodations in regards to their proximity to quality schools. In many cases, proof of residency will be needed before enrolment can begin.

Private Schools

Some states charge a levy to expats holding on to a temporary visa. This can be so high that private schools become a more affordable option.

International Schools

International schools are also popular among the expat community, especially since most of them offer International Baccalaureate programmes. However, the fees for international schools can be extremely high and popular schools tend to have long waiting lists, with pre-enrolment exams.


Pet Relocation

Shipping a pet to Australia is a tedious task that requires a significant amount of time and preparation. Here’s a general breakdown of the costs needed to relocate with your furry friend.

Quarantine

All pets are required to undergo a 10-day quarantine, which can be extended to at least 30 days. 

Australia’s only quarantine service is in Mickleham, Melbourne so you must fly your pet into Melbourne Airport. Here are the different fees for the quarantine:

  • A$33 entry per animal 
  • A daily rate of A$29 per animal 
  • A$30 document clearance per animal 
  • A$30 per 15 minutes of veterinary examination per animal 
  • A$1,200 post-entry quarantine (PEQ) charge 

The typical 30 days in Australian quarantine for one animal will probably cost you at least A$2,200. Add this to the permit costs and you’re looking at nearly A$3,000.

Animal Import Permit

A$480 for one animal and a further A$240 per additional animal.

For detailed information about pet relocation to Australia, read here. 
For legal and custom matters, read here. 
To make relocation with your pets easier, read here.

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Cities in Australia

Sydney

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