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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.

Checklist before you leave

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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Emigrating to Australia

There are several ways to emigrate 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 is the Working Holiday Visa, which allows them to work and travel in Australia for one to two years. 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.

Further information: Visa TSS – New sponsorship visa in Australia

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.

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 60 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.

Further information : Partner Visa Australia – Procedure and Conditions

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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.

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 December 2018, the unemployment rate was 5% compared to 7.9% in the Eurozone. Note, however, that there are differences between regions, some of which are far more affected by unemployment than others.
Persons wishing to emigrate 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. Keep in mind that in general, Australian companies are more likely to choose a local candidate (citizen or permanent resident) over a foreigner.

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.

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 (AUD 622.10 per gross week). You will be entitled to maternity leave after about one year of permanent employment.
  • Sick leave: 10 paid days per year.


Salaries in Australia are overall higher than in many other countries, but the cost of living is also higher. Average annual salary: 82,000 AUD / year (just over 50,000 EUR).

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

Business SectorAverage Annual Wage
Accommodation, Cafes and Restaurants$59,415
Retail Trade$60,892
Other Services$66,404
Administrative and Support Services$74,927
Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services$76,476
Wholesale Trade$81,406
Arts and Recreation Services$81,676
Transport, Postal, Warehousing$86,694
Health Care and Social Assistance$87,786
Public Administration and Safety$89,253
Education and Training$94,375
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services$97,240
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services$98,878
Financial and Insurance Services$100,365
Information Media and Telecommunications$102,278

(Source : https://www.livingin-australia.com/salaries-australia/)

Minimum wage in Australia: 18.93 AUD / hour (1 July 2018) – about 720 AUD / week – 3.230 AUD / month (about 2000 €)

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Apartment prices are quite high in Australia, especially in big cities like Sydney and Melbourne.

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. In Sydney, for example, house prices are higher than elsewhere in Australia. Many people buy real estate in areas located 50 km or more away from the city to get better prices.

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 10% 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 AUD
– 12 eggs: 5 AUD
– 500 g of pasta – 1.50 AUD
– 150 g of glass of instant coffee – 9.5 AUD
– 400 g jar of Nutella – 5 AUD
– 500g grated cheese – 5 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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