By in Moving Fundamentals January 24, 2014

Did you know that there were about 90,000 Americans living in the Land Down Under,  according to the latest census carried out in 2011, up from 60,000 registered in 2001? If you want to join this rising wave of US citizens that are moving to Australia, there are certain things to know about this magnificent country that is also a continent.

Have you been wondering how to move abroad? First things first, gather all the documents and find the perfect location to settle down. This is a country with almost the same size as mainland US, meaning there will be plenty of places you can call home. Still, keep in mind that about 90% of Aussies live somewhere on Australia’s 16,000-mile-long coast.

Are you looking for work or higher education? Don’t worry; there are more than a few options for expats to explore. Research and read about culture and customs before you go, and the fitting-in process will go a lot smoother. There is so much stuff to think about, and hopefully, this guide will help you find your footing during the relocation process.

Gather All the Documents Before Moving to Australia

Did you know that over six million Americans live overseas? If you want to be one of them, there are a few steps you have to take. Before you hire a top-notch international mover to handle your relocation, you should make sure that you have a proper visa, work permit and other essential documents needed to travel abroad. Make a checklist – it will help you with the organization – and you will know at any moment what papers and documents you obtained so far. You should collect:

  • A visa application form, which can be found on the DIBP website
  • A valid passport, as well as a copy of the biographical information
  • Copies of your birth certificate
  • Two photos in passport size
  • Police clearance
  • Proof of paid visa fee

After you gather all of these, you can apply for a visa. Let’s get into some more details of this process.

Step One Is Applying For a Visa

Do you want to become a permanent resident? You should know there are different ways to achieve that status. Go online and check if you meet all the set for permanent visas before you apply.

Explore all the possibilities you have when it comes to the duration of your stay in the Land Down Under. Australian Government offers expats different types of visas, depending on their reasons for relocation.

How to Get a Skilled Workers Visa?

There are a number of visa types that you can apply for, and they all depend on your specific situation. Do you want to apply for a skilled workers visa? If so, you should make sure that you have met all the requirements:

  • You are under the age of 45
  • You have sufficient proficiency in English
  • You applied for an occupation that can be found on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skill List
  • You had your skills assessed by a designated authority
  • You passed health assessments and character assessments

When you are done with the skilled visa application, you should think about other legal requirements you are bound to meet if you want to make this breathtaking country your new home.

Don’t Forget About the Driver’s Licence

Have you decided to ship your car? If you did, you should consider getting a valid driver’s license, as well.

Did you know that driving regulations vary from state to state here? Meaning, some of the six federal states require you to have an international license, while others allow you to drive with your current one. Check the government site to find out if you need to change your license or not.

Get a binder and collect all of your documents in it.

Figure Out an Efficient Way to Find Work

Moving overseas can be a real ordeal sometimes. Do you already have a job lined up for you? If not, you should start looking for work as soon as possible. Receiving a job offer or an employment contract beforehand is the simplest way to settle down legally, especially if you are a highly-skilled worker.

What is the easiest way to start searching? Go online, check out sites such as SEEK and AustralianJobSearch and see what they can offer. The internet is a great place to start looking, especially if you are still in the US. Start networking while your international movers handle your belongings.

Have you heard through the grapevine about an open position? Having connections online and in the community that you plan to call your home is an efficient step in landing a job offer.

Tweak your CV so it looks like an Australian one – employers will appreciate that. Did you know that the words resume and CV are used interchangeably here? Also, you will not need a head-shot, but make sure you write down all the essential information about yourself in your resume.

While you are in the research mode, you can dig out the names of the biggest companies. It will help you learn a little bit more about employment opportunities.

Research the Job Market When Moving to Australia

Did you know that 62% of expats rate their career prospects highly? If you want to relocate and stay here, you should do some digging and learn more about employment and business opportunities.

Data from the Bureau of Statistics shows that the national minimum wage is 18.93 AUD (12.82 USD) per hour. The average yearly salary is 91,552 AUD (61,997 USD).

What kind of employment are you looking for? Do you know what professions are in high demand? If you are looking for work in the IT sector, you are in luck. IT managers, system architects, and security architects are amongst the most sought-after positions. Data scientists and cloud engineers can also expect to find work really fast.

Did you know that 66% of expats in the Land Down Under stated that relocation has made them happier?

How to Find a Home in the Land Down Under?

Settling down would be hard without a place to settle in. That’s why you should find a house before you actually send your belongings on a trip across the world. Working out a plan can be the first step in that process.

Did you know that the housing market is rather competitive? Prepare a binder with the necessary documentation and you won’t risk losing a perfect house. Are you dreaming of becoming a homeowner? To do so, you should seek permission from the Foreign Review Board. On the other hand, if you want to rent a property, you’ll have to get familiar with the 100 point check system, an identification system often used by landlords.

Depending on where and how you want to live, housing can get pricey. That’s why it would be smart to set some money on the side. Put down on paper all of your expenses, set a budget limit, and then choose the right place to be your next home.

Finding the Perfect Place to Call Home

Did you know that 67% of all the population lives in Australia’s metropolitan areas? Do you want to relocate to one of those highly urbanized places? Picking the right one will depend on your lifestyle, desires, and budget. Each one has something that attracts people. Research and read, and you will find the location that speaks to you the most.

Moving to Melbourne, the capital and the most populous city of the state of Victoria, will bring you a lot of housing opportunities. Melbourne is composed of 31 municipalities. The exciting property market offers a variety of housing options that can suit everyone’s budget. From the old Victorian and Edwardian era houses to modern deluxe flats, here you will find exactly what you desire. According to the data provided by Numbeo, renting prices for a one-bedroom apartment are between $1500 and $2300, depending on the location.

Would you like to be a resident of the most populous city in Oz and the whole of Oceania? Relocating to Sydney will bring you just that. Did you know that almost 40% of its residents were born abroad? If you decide to relocate here, you will feel like you belong. A helpful tip would be to start saving up because housing prices can get a bit steep. Renting a one-bedroom condo here would cost between $1300 and $2200. Don’t worry, well-paid job opportunities more than make up for the money you will need for housing.

Did you know that the third most populous place is also one of the oldest in the country? Relocating to Brisbane means you will get to stay in a business hub that is home to major companies and international enterprises. Finding employment and climbing the career ladder should be easy in Brisbane. According to Numbeo, the cost of rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $1700 in the center. Great career options and low housing prices make Brisbane a popular place for young career chasers.

Australia is a huge place, meaning you can pick any place that you want and call it home. Just make sure that it has everything that you need to be happy.

Did you know that Sydney locals are called "Sydneysiders?"

You Can’t Live for Free in Australia – Paying Taxes is Mandatory

You have to pay taxes in the US, so it is only logical that you will do the same in Australia. Understanding the tax system is a step you cannot skip. Personal income taxes are the most significant, but the government introduces different tax laws that help workers.

If you live here for at least six consecutive months, you will be considered a tax resident. This means that all of your income will be subject to taxation, and that includes the money you earned overseas. Don’t worry, you won’t be subjected to double taxation. The country has income tax treaties to avoid this problem with more than a few other countries, including the US.

Living here isn't free - every resident has to pay taxes, even expats.

Learn How the Healthcare System Functions

It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health. Understanding the way the healthcare system and health insurance function is a necessary step to your relocation.

Did you know that the healthcare system is a hybrid of both public and private schemes? More than half of the Aussies purchase private insurance since the public one does not cover everything.

Also, did you know that there are more than 25,000 doctors in the country? And if you need a specialist, there are approximately 24,000 of them at your service.

Did you know that there are around 1300 hospitals in Oz?

Things You Should Know If You Are Pursuing Education

Are you relocating in pursuit of higher education? Maybe you want to enroll your kids in the best schools out there? Have no worries; living in Australia will give you plenty of learning opportunities. This is one of the best places to live abroad with family because there are more than a few international schools that follow the American curriculum.

Have you researched the education system in the Land Down Under? If you wish to excel academically, you should go to one of the top-rated universities, such as University of Sydney, UNSW, Monash University, and the University of Melbourne.

School here starts at 9:00 and ends at 15:30.

Get Ready for Sunny Weather

Don’t forget your sunblock! The climate may vary throughout the continent, but still, you will be able to tell that you are in a subtropical area. The northern parts have a more tropical climate, while the south-east and southwest have a temperate climate.

It’s not going to be sunny all the time, but when it is, it can get really hot. Summers can be relentless, with temperatures over 104F (40C). Keep a bottle of water by your side, and stay in the shade as much as you can.

Are you wondering what to pack when relocating abroad to a warm place? Just box up all of your summer clothes, and don’t forget sunglasses and hats.

Due to global warming, the temperature here is expected to reach 122 (50°C) by 2040.

Keep an Open Mind and Learn About the Aussie Culture

Have you been asking yourself how to live abroad? Now is the time to learn about the culture and what makes Aussies who they are. Let’s start by pointing out that people here are down to earth and they don’t act superior to others. This is the main reason why the country is described as a classless society.

Do you know which values are highly appreciated? Being genuine, real, and humble will get you a long way. This is not a place for arrogant and pretentious folks.

Also, if you want to fit in, you will have to learn to love Vegemite, the famous food spread, which is considered a vital part of life. Explore, read, and research everything you can about Oz, because even though they speak the same language as you do, Aussies are in many ways different than Americans.

Master the Local Slang

Yes, yes, Aussies speak English, but the way they talk will be different than what you’re used to. It is as easy to spot an expat in Australia as it is to spot a Newyorker in Texas.

Open a book or search for videos online and pick up on some slang. Also, when you get there and settle down, travel around local places and you will pick up even more unfamiliar words and expressions.

Did you know that Aussies use the word cactus to say that something is broken? Your bed sheets will now be called Manchester, and if you hear a “furphy,” don’t spread it around, because gossiping is not nice.

Also, when somebody tells you to throw “Kylie,” they don’t mean a person, it is a boomerang they want.

Sports Are a Favorite Pastime

Did you know that about 24% of Aussies over the age of 15 frequently participate in sports events? Locals here are crazy about their sports. The most popular ones being AFL, cricket, and rugby.

When a country is surrounded by water, it is only logical to have some outstanding results in water sports. Oz is a powerhouse when it comes to swimming and surfing.

If being in and around water is not your cup of tea, you can watch and participate in basketball matches, tennis games, horse races, or motor racing. Every sports lover will have a blast living in the Land Down Under.

Don’t Get Scared of Wildlife

We’ve all heard about spiders, huge snakes, and crocodiles. Well, you won’t have to worry about that so much – it is a stereotype about Oz that won’t ever go away. Yes, there are two deadly species of spiders, but there are antivenoms for both of them. And did you know that no Australian has died from a spider bite since 1979?

The same can be said for sea creatures. The number of fatal shark attacks is almost non-existent. There is a bigger chance that you get attacked by magpies than sharks. Scary, right? For six weeks every spring, these birds get super aggressive. Watch out when you are biking.

Vegemite is found in 90% of households in Oz.

Do You Want to Feel Like a Local?

Do you want to become a true Aussie? Leave your old habits in the US and pick up the lifestyle of locals. Start by learning some slang, meeting people, and making friends.

Ditch warm winter clothes, put on a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops, and head out to the beach. Maybe the stereotypes about deadly animals are not true, but all the things said about the beautiful beaches are. Travel around and see for yourself.

Explore and learn by walking around and checking out pubs, bars, and restaurants. Living in the Land Down Under means you won’t be leaving your home far behind, but making a new one.