Since 1945, more than 7.5 million people have moved to Australia according to parliamentary figures. Historically, the UK has been the primary starting location of migrants, but 2011 saw Chinese nationals relocate Oz. Today, China and the UK remain the most abundant sources of ex-pats, which means Brits are in good company when they opt for a life down under. However, as anyone with experience will tell you, making the decision to move is just the start of the process.
Despite Australia’s reputation as one of the world’s “immigration destinations”, it’s not easy to pick up a visa. In fact, if you’re planning an indefinite stay, you’ll need to make sure you’ve checked off all the right boxes before you jet off.
The Australian Emigration Checklist: Build a Budget
Depending on where you live in Australia, the cost of living will differ. However, one thing you’ll probably already be aware of is that the economy as a whole is performing well. Even a cursory look at the Australia 200 market shows a solid level of activity from traders and proves that the outlook is optimistic. Similarly, the Australian Dollar is always trading well on the forex exchanges, compared to the neighbouring New Zealand Dollar. Away from the financial markets, figures from Trading Economics predict a GDP annual growth rate of 2.9% by 2020.
In layman’s terms, this basically means that Australia’s economy is strong. On the one hand, that’s good for anyone walking into a well-paid job. On the other, it does mean life could become more expensive. Indeed, when you compare the cost of living in the UK to Australia, rental prices are, on average, 23.32% higher in the former. On top of this, groceries cost 31.58% more than in the UK. What this suggests is that your preparation needs to include some form of budgeting. Travelling to Australia without a sense of the economic standards could leave you short of money when you need it the most.
Get Your Visa
Naturally, a very important checkbox you need to tick is the one that’s stuffed with paperwork. Under Aussie law, you’ll need a number of things in place before you’ll be granted permission to travel. If you’re a UK resident, you can emigrate under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) Program. For those with an employer or family members already resident in Australia, you can go the sponsorship route. Anyone on their own will have to apply through the independent visa pathway aka subclass 189.
Although there are various nuances to each application, the general things you’ll need in place from a bureaucratic standpoint are: you’ll have to be under 50, speak English, have a job (preferably from the required skills list) and have passed health, character and criminal tests. Assuming you pass the basic requirements, have a job lined up as well as a place to stay, you’ll have cleared the first hurdle. The second thing you need to think about is the economy and your finances.
Don’t Forget About Friends
Photo by Mike Wilson on Unsplash
The final thing to keep in mind when before you finally depart is your social life. It’s easy to get tangled up in legal red tape and purse strings but forget about your quality of life. As you can see from our pages, there’s always something going on in Australia. Whether it’s one of the legendary PURE club nights or an event on the beach, people are always doing something. However, if you don’t keep yourself informed or make an effort to interact, life can get very lonely very quickly.
Our pages for ex-pats in Oz are a great starting point for meeting people but don’t limit your searches to just that. Find groups and venues catering to your interests and make enquires before you go. The worst thing you can do is travel to Australia without having some form of social outlet. Sure, you might not like it when you get there, but it’s important to have a starting point. Indeed, if you can keep this in mind and make sure you’ve planned a sensible budget, everything will go smoothly before the big move.