Home Living in Australia

Living in Australia

Moving to Australia is a dream for many of us, but the way to get there can sometimes be long and challenging! Remember that you get a fantastic quality of life, which is worth every challenge. According to statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about 26.3% of permanent residents in Australia were born overseas, with a number of 1,087,749 people coming from the UK. In this article, we share useful information, which will come in handy if you want to settle in Australia.

How to migrate to Australia, visas options

There are several ways to migrate to Australia, but none of them are easy. Unless, perhaps, if you are sent over by a European company. Most expats go through different visas before getting their permanent residency. The most popular visa for people under the age of 31 (35 for some countries) is the Working Holiday Visa, which allows them to work and travel in Australia. After that, however, you will need to get a work permit to stay in Australia and eventually apply for permanent residency.

The main visas are:

Sponsored Visas

TSS (former Sponsorship 457)

With the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa, your employer gives you the opportunity to stay in Australia while you work for the company. It is a temporary visa for 2 or 4 years. You must have at least two years of work experience in the area you want to be sponsored in. The profession must also be listed in one of the two STSOL or MLTSSL. In addition, you must also prove a good level of English in a language test.

The recent pandemic has caused an important lack of labor force in the country. Australia has therefore created a new list of in-demand occupations in the country, the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL). This list identifies 44 occupations occupations which fill critical skills needs to support Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19. Employer sponsored nomination and visa applications with an occupation on the PMSOL will be given priority processing. All other skilled occupation lists will remain active, but the PMSOL occupations will take priority.

Employer Nomination Scheme (visa 186 and 187)

This visa is often used after the TSS visa. It is valid for 5 years and can be extended. If you have not worked in Australia yet, you have to be sponsored by a company, have your degree and certificates recognised and have at least 3 years of work experience in your profession.

Skilled Nominated Visa (Visa 190)

This visa complies with the 189 visa, except that you are sponsored by an Australian state or territory. This happens when there are not enough skilled workers in a particular sector. The occupations concerned are listed on the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL). To apply for this visa, you must have lived for at least 2 years in the state you want to be sponsored in. You must be under the age of 45 when invited by your sponsoring state/territory. You will have to obtain at least 65 points to obtain this visa.

Skilled Independent Visa (Visa 189)

This visa is an independent visa, meaning that neither a company nor an Australian state sponsors you. It is valid for 5 years and can be extended. Your profession must be listed in the MLTSSL (“Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List”), which lists all the professions that need labour in Australia. The approval of the visa 189 is based on a points test (you have to get at least 65 points). To apply, you must be under 45 years old.

Partner visa (Visa 820 or 309)

To apply for this visa, you must be married to or in a de facto relationship with either an Australian, an eligible New Zealand citizen, or a Permanent Resident. To be recognized as a de facto, the relationship must have begun at least one year before applying for the visa.

Working Holiday Visa (subclasses 417 & 462)

The Working Holiday Visa remains the main gateway for people under 35 (or 31 depending ont he countries). It allows to work and travel for 1 to 3 years in the country. But then you have to be able to obtain a work permit to stay and apply for permanent residency (then citizenship). It can nevertheless be a good option if your profession or profile does not fit into the lists provided by the Australian government for sponsors.

Student Visa (subclass 500)

The student visa is accessible to everyone (regardless of your age). It will allow you to work while studying in Australia. Note that the number of hours you can work is limited (40 hours per fortnight). Some courses (several years of university) may then offer you the possibility of obtaining a work visa allowing you to stay in the country. In any case, a student visa can greatly help you find a job in Australia. Your employer will know that you have a good level of English, that you can write well, etc.

Working in Australia

To work legally in Australia, you need a work permit. You can get it either if you are sponsored by a company or if you have a partner visa, permanent residency or a work and holiday visa. Students are also allowed to work while studying in Australia.

Job market

Australia is often portrayed as the Eldorado of work, but in reality it is not that easy to get a job. Nevertheless, the country’s unemployment rate is still relatively low. In March 2022, the unemployment rate was 3.9%. Note, however, that there are differences between regions, some of which are far more affected by unemployment than others.

Persons wishing to migrate to Australia should primarily cover labour shortages in certain sectors. Every year, the Australian immigration office publishes a list of the sectors in which labour is needed. Therefore, the first important thing to do is checking if your job is listed. Knowing what employment opportunities are available to you is important. Keep in mind that in general, Australian companies are more likely to choose a local candidate (citizen or permanent resident) over a foreigner. The covid pandemic has created a significant labor shortage in all sectors in the country. So it seems a bit easier/accessible to immigrate to Australia at present.

Recruiting Sectors

More or less all industries are hiring all year round, but it depends on the city and region of the country. In fact, it is more advantageous for administrative jobs to be in the capital Canberra. For the mining industry, Perth is the best place to be. In Sydney or Melbourne, the two largest cities in Australia, are based the major national and international companies. There are many jobs in finance, construction, hospitality, education or IT, legal industry.

With the pandemic and its labor shortages, Australia lacks chefs, accountants, medical personnel and many other professions all over the country.

Working conditions

Working in Australia is probably different compared to your home country. Depending on where you are from, the main difference might be that the business language in Australia is obviously English. Other differences:

  • Flexibility (employment, termination)
  • Social protection
  • Annual leave: 20 paid work days + 10 public holidays.
  • Relaxed but professional working atmosphere.
  • Relationship between hierarchy levels friendly and always respectful.
  • Maternity leave: up to 18 weeks minimum wage. You will be entitled to maternity leave after about one year of permanent employment.
  • Sick leave: 10 paid days per year.

Salaries

Salaries in Australia are overall higher than in many other countries, but the cost of living is also higher. Average annual salary: 68,000 AUD / year.

However, everything depends on the industry and the type of work. To give you an idea, here are the minimum wages by profession: 

ProfessionAnnual salary (in AUD)
School teacher73 000 – 115 000
Accountant 120 000 – 175 000
Registered Nurse62 000 – 87 000
Banking (personal banker)60 000 – 77 000
Marketing coordinator65 000 – 75 000
Graphic Designer70 000 – 125 000
Web designer80 000 – 140 000
Data scientist101 000 – 156 000
Business Analyst85 000 – 130 000
IT Project manager115 000 – 168 000
Architect junior (2-5 years exp)65 000 – 85 000
Construction project manager160 000 – 250 000
Construction (leading hand)100 000 – 120 000
Design Engineer77 000 – 110 000
Real Estate Agent55 000 – 115 000
Production Manager90 000 – 130 000

Source : Hays Salary Guide 2022/2023

Minimum wage in Australia: 21.38 AUD / hour (1 July 2022) – about 812.60 AUD / week.

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Housing

Apartment prices are quite high in Australia, especially in big cities like Sydney and Melbourne. With the pandemic and the development of remote work, rents have also increased significantly in some parts of the country. In particular on the Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Australians are struggling to find accommodation and some find themselves camping in caravan parks, due to a lack of available accommodation or too high rents.

Renting an apartment in Australia

Renting an apartment in Australia is easy. Here, you pay for rent weekly or fortnightly. In general, the conditions to rent an apartment are as follows:

  • Sufficient income (salary> rent)
  • Valid visa for the rental period
  • Lease for at least 6 months
  • Bond of 2 weeks rent + 2 weeks rent in advance

Beware, pets are not always allowed. Landlords can decide whether or not they accept pets. Inquire beforehand, if your little mate is welcome.

Buying a property in Australia

After the global economic crisis, the real estate market in Australia has exploded in recent years. The Covid pandemic has amplified this problem in some parts of the country. Indeed, prices today are increasingly disconnected from economic realities. In Sydney, for example, purchase prices are higher than anywhere else in Australia. Many Australians or expatriates choose to buy 50 km or more from the city to get better prices. Know however, that the experts predict a fairly substantial decline in real estate in the next two years.

If you want to invest in real estate as a foreigner in Australia, you have to meet certain conditions. First, you must obtain approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). This costs $ 5,000 if the value of the property is less than 1 million. Once you find a property and you have got the permit, it is best to hire a lawyer who takes care of the administrative procedures. Make sure you have the approval from your bank before submitting an offer to purchase. When signing the contract, you must pay a deposit of 10% of the purchase value.

Permanent Residents don’t need an approval from the FIRB to buy real estate.

To take out a mortgage, you need to go to a bank. They will confirm the maximum amount you can borrow. You must have a personal contribution (deposit) of at least 15% of the price of the property. You probably get the best prices through a broker. In general, you get part of the loan at a fixed rate (for a period of time) and the rest at a variable interest rate.

Please beware that there are other costs you have to expect besides the price of the property. These include legal fees, property transfer fees, stamp duties, compulsory home insurance, mortgage fees, etc.

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Cost of living & purchasing power

The cost of living in Australia is high. Sydney is the tenth most expensive city in the world. Since rents are particularly high in cities, people often share houses to cut costs. The public transport system is very good, which is also reflected in the price. Monthly tickets for buses and trains are, as in most other countries, cheaper than single tickets.
When buying food, some products are cheaper, while others are more expensive (cheese, alcohol, fruits and vegetables depending on the season) than in other countries.

Here are some examples:
– 1 liter of whole milk: 1.60 AUD
– 12 eggs: 5 AUD
– 500 g of pasta – 1.80 AUD
– 150 g of glass of instant coffee – 10 AUD
– 400 g jar of Nutella – 5 AUD
– 500g grated cheese – 8 AUD
– Cheese: about 8 AUD (175g)
– Bread: about 3 AUD (supermarket)
– Beer: about 20 AUD (six pack)
– Spirits: about 50 AUD (1L whiskey)

But be aware that wages are much higher compared to other countries, so you can live well, even if the cost of living is high.

Further information: Cost of living in Australia

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Relocating checklist – prepare your move

Before you leave home, you need to draw up a to-do list. Here are the most important things to consider before moving here:

  • Organise moving (container / sell your furniture etc.)
  • Book flight tickets
  • Deregister from administrative offices (civil service, health insurance, etc.).
  • Find accommodation in Australia
  • Health (take out suitable insurance, get a health check with your GP)
  • Cancel contracts (telephone, internet, electricity, etc.)
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