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Moving to Australia from the UK – Everything You Need to Know

May 26, 2024June 13th, 2024No Comments

Considering a move to Australia from the UK? You’re not alone. Australia has consistently been a favored destination for British expatriates, thanks to its high standard of living, abundant career opportunities, and lively communities. While the logistics of moving may seem overwhelming, meticulous planning can transform this thrilling new chapter into a seamless transition. This detailed guide will walk you through everything you need to know, from obtaining a visa to understanding the cost of living, ensuring your move to Australia goes as smoothly as possible. But before we delve into the specifics, let’s go over some essential information to set the stage.

Australia Overview:
  • Geography and States: Australia is the world’s sixth-largest country, comprising six states and two territories: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), and the Northern Territory. Each state and territory has its own unique attractions and lifestyle.
  • Currency: The currency used in Australia is the Australian Dollar (AUD).
  • Population: Australia has a population of around 26 million people, with a significant portion being foreign expatriates from the UK, China, India, New Zealand, and various European countries. This multicultural blend contributes to Australia’s vibrant and cosmopolitan atmosphere.
  • Climate: Australia’s climate varies significantly across its vast landscape. The northern part experiences tropical weather, while the southern regions have a temperate climate. Major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane each have their own distinct weather patterns, from hot summers to mild winters.

Do I Need a Visa?

Moving to Australia from the UK involves securing the appropriate visa, a crucial step to ensure your relocation is legal and seamless. Here’s a detailed guide on the types of visas available, the application process, costs, timelines, and renewal procedures.

Skilled Migration Visas
  • Subclass 189 (Skilled Independent Visa): For skilled workers not sponsored by an employer or family member.
  • Subclass 190 (Skilled Nominated Visa): For skilled workers nominated by a state or territory government.
  • Subclass 491 (Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa): For skilled workers willing to live and work in regional Australia.
Employer-Sponsored Visas
  • Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage Visa): Allows employers to address labor shortages by bringing in skilled workers.
  • Subclass 186 (Employer Nomination Scheme Visa): For skilled workers nominated by their employer for permanent residency.
Family and Partner Visas
  • Subclass 309/100 (Partner Visa): For spouses or de facto partners of Australian citizens, permanent residents, or eligible New Zealand citizens.
  • Subclass 143 (Contributory Parent Visa): For parents of Australian citizens, permanent residents, or eligible New Zealand citizens.
Student Visas
  • Subclass 500 (Student Visa): For international students wishing to study full-time at an accredited educational institution.

Application Process

To move to Australia from the UK, start by using the Australian Department of Home Affairs’ visa finder tool to determine your eligibility based on your circumstances and qualifications. For skilled migration visas, you will need a positive skills assessment from a relevant assessing authority. Next, submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through the SkillSelect system for certain skilled visas; you may then be invited to apply.Gather necessary documents such as passports, proof of skills, qualifications, employment history, and health and character certificates.


Submit your visa application online via the Department of Home Affairs website, ensuring all documents are certified and translated if necessary. Finally, pay the applicable visa fees at the time of application submission.


  • Skilled Migration Visas: Processing times vary, generally from 8 to 12 months.
  • Employer-Sponsored Visas: Typically processed within 5 to 9 months.
  • Family and Partner Visas: Processing can take between 18 to 24 months.
  • Student Visas: Usually processed within 1 to 3 months.

Renewal and Extensions

  • Skilled and Employer-Sponsored Visas: Permanent visas do not require renewal. For temporary visas like the Subclass 482, you must apply for a new visa before the current one expires.
  • Family and Partner Visas: Permanent visas do not require renewal. Temporary partner visas (Subclass 309) can be extended while waiting for permanent residency (Subclass 100).
  • Student Visas: If your course extends beyond your visa’s expiry date, you must apply for a new student visa.

Additional Considerations

  • Health and Character Requirements: All applicants must meet health and character requirements. This may involve medical examinations and police checks.
  • English Proficiency: Certain visas require proof of English proficiency through tests like IELTS or TOEFL.
  • Bridging Visas: If your visa application is being processed, you may be granted a Bridging Visa to stay in Australia legally during this period.

Securing a visa to move to Australia is a detailed process that requires careful preparation and adherence to the guidelines provided by the Department of Home Affairs. By following these steps and ensuring all documentation is accurate and complete, you can make your transition to life in Australia as smooth as possible.


Setting Up a Bank Account and Transferring Money to Australia

One of the first things you’ll need to do when moving to Australia from the UK is to set up a bank account. Australia boasts a robust banking system with several major banks widely used by both locals and expatriates. The main banks in Australia include Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac, and NAB, all of which offer a range of services tailored to meet the needs of newcomers. Understanding how to open an account and transfer your money efficiently will help you settle into your new life smoothly.

Once you have selected which bank you want to go with perhaps you chosem ore than one to open the account you will usually need

  • A valid passport
  • Your visa
  • Proof of address (e.g., a utility bill or rental agreement)
  • Tax File Number (TFN) – not mandatory but recommended to avoid higher tax rates on interest earned

Many Australian banks allow you to open an account online up to a year before you arrive. This allows you to transfer funds and access your money as soon as you arrive. You will need to visit a branch to verify your identity and activate the account once you’re in Australia.

Transferring Money to Australia

Although you can transfer money from the UK to Australia using your current UK bank, this method can be cumbersome and expensive. It’s advisable to consider using an international payments specialist to handle your cross-border transfers. These specialists typically offer better exchange rates and help you avoid the hefty fees charged by banks. Additionally, international payment specialists can often move your funds faster, ensuring that your money reaches its destination promptly. They can also assist in hedging currency risk, providing strategies to protect against unfavorable exchange rate fluctuations, which is particularly beneficial if you need to make regular transfers or large transactions.


Healthcare System in Australia

When moving to Australia from the UK, it’s essential to understand how the Australian healthcare system differs from the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Both countries offer high-quality healthcare, but there are differences in structure, funding, and services. Australia’s healthcare system is a mix of public and private services. The public system, known as Medicare, provides access to a wide range of healthcare services for Australian citizens, permanent residents, and certain visa holders. Medicare is funded through the Medicare levy, which is a tax on income.

Key Features of Medicare
  • Public Hospital Care: Medicare covers the cost of treatment in public hospitals. Patients generally do not have to pay for accommodation, surgery, or nursing care.
  • General Practitioners (GPs): Visits to GPs are subsidized by Medicare, with some bulk-billing practices offering services at no cost to the patient.
  • Specialists: Specialist consultations are partially covered by Medicare. Patients often pay a gap fee, the difference between the Medicare rebate and the actual fee charged.
  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS): This program subsidizes the cost of many prescription medications, making them more affordable.
Private Healthcare

In addition to Medicare, many Australians choose to take out private health insurance. Private health insurance offers several advantages, including:

  • Access to Private Hospitals: Insurance covers treatment in private hospitals, which can mean shorter waiting times for elective surgeries.
  • Choice of Doctor: Patients can choose their preferred doctor or specialist.
  • Additional Services: Coverage for services not fully covered by Medicare, such as dental care, optical services, and physiotherapy.

Differences from the UK NHS

Australia’s healthcare system is funded by a combination of government taxes and private health insurance, with patients sometimes paying out-of-pocket expenses for certain services. In contrast, the UK’s NHS is funded primarily through general taxation, providing most services free at the point of use.

Access to Services

In Australia, both public and private sectors play significant roles in healthcare, with patients often facing out-of-pocket costs for GP visits, specialist consultations, and medications, though many services are subsidized. In contrast, the UK’s NHS provides most services free at the point of use, with only limited charges for prescriptions, dental services, and optical care.


In Australia, private health insurance is encouraged through government incentives, such as the Medicare levy surcharge and rebates on premiums, leading many people to use a combination of Medicare and private insurance. In contrast, in the UK, private health insurance is available but less commonly used, as the NHS covers most healthcare needs.

Waiting Times

In Australia, public hospital waiting times can be long for elective surgeries, prompting many to opt for private health insurance to access quicker treatment. Similarly, the UK’s NHS faces challenges with waiting times, especially for non-urgent treatments, although emergency care is generally prompt.

When you move to Australia, it’s important to enroll in Medicare as soon as possible. Here’s how:

  • Apply for Medicare: Visit a Medicare service center with your passport, visa, and proof of residency in Australia. Complete the enrollment form to receive your Medicare card.
  • Consider Private Health Insurance: Evaluate the benefits of private health insurance and decide if it suits your needs. Compare policies to find one that covers services important to you.
  • Register with a GP: Find a local GP practice and register as a patient. Having a regular GP is crucial for ongoing health management and referrals to specialists.

Cost of Living Comparisons Between the UK and Australia

When considering a move from the UK to Australia, understanding the cost of living differences is crucial. Both countries offer high standards of living, but various factors such as housing, groceries, transportation, and healthcare can vary significantly. Here’s a comprehensive comparison to help you plan your finances.


Renting in major Australian cities like Sydney and Melbourne can be expensive, with a one-bedroom apartment in the city center costing around AUD 2,200 per month, and about AUD 1,500 outside the city center. Buying property is also high-priced, with the median house price in Sydney around AUD 1.2 million. Similarly, renting in London is costly, with a one-bedroom apartment in the city center costing about GBP 1,700 per month, and around GBP 1,200 outside the city center. Property prices in London vary widely, but the average house price is particularly high, around GBP 500,000.


Groceries in Australia tend to be more expensive compared to the UK. For instance, a liter of milk costs about AUD 1.50, a loaf of bread around AUD 2.50, and a dozen eggs approximately AUD 4.00. In contrast, grocery prices in the UK are generally lower, with a liter of milk costing about GBP 0.90, a loaf of bread around GBP 1.00, and a dozen eggs approximately GBP 2.20.


In Australia, public transport costs vary depending on the city. For example, in Sydney, a monthly public transport pass costs about AUD 160, with fuel prices averaging around AUD 1.60 per liter. Due to the vast distances and less extensive public transport networks outside major cities, many Australians rely on cars for transportation.

In the UK, public transport is generally more affordable and extensive. In London, for instance, a monthly public transport pass costs about GBP 150, while fuel prices are higher at around GBP 1.30 per liter. The UK boasts a comprehensive public transport system, particularly in and around major cities, providing convenient travel options for residents and commuters alike.


In Australia, utilities can be slightly more expensive, with monthly bills for an 85m² apartment averaging around AUD 200, covering electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage. Additionally, internet costs about AUD 70 per month.

Comparatively, in the UK, utilities are somewhat cheaper, with monthly bills for a similar-sized apartment averaging around GBP 150. Internet costs about GBP 40 per month.

Dining Out and Entertainment

In Australia, dining out can be pricey, with an inexpensive restaurant meal costing about AUD 20, and a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant averaging around AUD 90. Additionally, cinema tickets typically cost about AUD 20 each.

Conversely, in the UK, dining out is relatively more affordable, with an inexpensive restaurant meal averaging about GBP 15, and a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costing around GBP 60. Cinema tickets are also cheaper, typically priced at about GBP 10 each.

While both Australia and the UK offer high standards of living, the cost of living in Australia can be higher in certain areas such as housing, groceries, and utilities. However, Australia’s robust economy, outdoor lifestyle, and higher average salaries can offset these costs. On the other hand, the UK’s comprehensive public transport system and the NHS provide significant savings in transportation and healthcare. Understanding these differences will help you make informed decisions about your move and manage your finances effectively in your new home.


Populous Cities In Australia

Australia’s most populous cities, Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, stand as vibrant reflections of the nation’s rich history, diverse culture, and modern dynamism. From the iconic harbor of Sydney to Melbourne’s cultural tapestry and Brisbane’s relaxed riverside ambiance, each city offers a unique blend of heritage, innovation, and natural beauty. Let’s embark on a journey to discover the allure and character of these captivating urban centers, delving into their histories, iconic landmarks, and the essence of what makes them beloved destinations in the Land Down Under.

Sydney: Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, is Australia’s largest and most iconic city. Founded in 1788 by Captain Arthur Phillip, Sydney has a rich history dating back to its origins as a British penal colony. Today, it is known for its stunning harbor, which is home to the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, both iconic landmarks recognized worldwide. Sydney is a vibrant multicultural metropolis, celebrated for its cosmopolitan lifestyle, beautiful beaches such as Bondi and Manly, and thriving arts and cultural scene. It serves as a major economic hub, with key industries including finance, tourism, and information technology. Sydney’s diverse population contributes to its dynamic atmosphere, making it one of the most sought-after destinations in Australia for residents and visitors alike.

Melbourne: Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, is renowned for its distinctive blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication. Founded in 1835, Melbourne grew rapidly during the Victorian gold rush in the 1850s, becoming one of the wealthiest cities in the world at the time. Today, it is known for its elegant Victorian-era architecture, lush parks and gardens, and thriving arts and culinary scene. Melbourne is often hailed as Australia’s cultural capital, hosting major events such as the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Australian Open tennis tournament. The city boasts a diverse population, with residents from over 200 countries, contributing to its vibrant multicultural atmosphere. Melbourne’s strong economy is driven by industries such as finance, manufacturing, and education, making it a desirable destination for both residents and businesses.

Brisbane: Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, is a dynamic city known for its warm climate, outdoor lifestyle, and relaxed ambiance. Founded in 1824 as a penal colony, Brisbane has evolved into a modern metropolis with a rich cultural heritage. Situated along the winding Brisbane River, the city offers a mix of historic buildings, lush parklands, and contemporary architecture. Brisbane is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with nearby attractions such as the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast offering pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and world-class surfing. The city’s economy is driven by industries such as tourism, construction, and technology, with a focus on innovation and sustainability. Brisbane’s friendly locals, known as “Brisbanites,” contribute to its welcoming atmosphere, making it a popular choice for residents seeking a laid-back lifestyle with access to urban amenities.




Australia is home to a diverse and dynamic education system, offering a range of schooling options to meet the needs of students and families. From public and private schools to international and specialized institutions, there are various choices available for students at every level of education.

Public Schools: Public schools in Australia are government-funded and open to all students, regardless of their background or academic ability. These schools follow the Australian curriculum and offer a broad range of subjects and extracurricular activities. Public schools play a crucial role in providing accessible and high-quality education to communities across the country.

Private Schools: Private schools, also known as independent or non-government schools, operate independently of the government and charge tuition fees. These schools may offer alternative curricula, religious education, or specialized programs tailored to specific interests or learning needs. Private schools are known for their academic excellence, state-of-the-art facilities, and strong emphasis on extracurricular activities.

International Schools: International schools cater to expatriate families and students from diverse cultural backgrounds. These schools offer internationally recognized curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). International schools provide a multicultural learning environment, fostering global perspectives and cross-cultural understanding among students.


Recreation in Australia

Australia, known for its breathtaking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and laid-back lifestyle, offers a plethora of recreational activities that capture the essence of the Australian spirit. From the iconic surf breaks of its pristine coastline to the bustling urban hubs pulsating with nightlife, Australia beckons adventurers, thrill-seekers, and culture enthusiasts alike to immerse themselves in its diverse and vibrant recreation scene.

Surfing Culture: At the heart of Australia’s recreational ethos lies its deep-rooted surfing culture. With over 30,000 kilometers of coastline blessed with consistent swells and pristine beaches, Australia has earned its reputation as a surfer’s paradise. The history of surfing in Australia traces back to the early 20th century when legendary watermen like Duke Kahanamoku introduced the sport to Australian shores, igniting a passion that continues to thrive today. From world-renowned breaks like Bells Beach in Victoria to the legendary point breaks of Margaret River in Western Australia, Australia’s surf culture is synonymous with adventure, camaraderie, and a deep connection to the ocean. Night surfing, a thrilling experience where surfers ride the waves under the moonlit sky, has emerged as a popular pursuit, offering a magical way to experience the ocean after dark.


Outdoor Adventures: Beyond the surf, Australia’s vast and diverse landscape beckons outdoor enthusiasts to embark on a myriad of adventures. Explore the rugged beauty of the Australian Outback, where vast desert plains and ancient rock formations tell stories of ancient civilizations and pioneering spirit. Hike through lush rainforests in Queensland’s Daintree National Park, home to an incredible array of flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth. Dive into the depths of the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site teeming with vibrant coral reefs and exotic marine life. For adrenaline junkies, skydiving over breathtaking coastal vistas, bungee jumping from towering cliffs, or tackling challenging mountain bike trails offer exhilarating experiences amidst nature’s playground.

Vibrant Nightlife: As the sun sets, Australia’s cities come alive with a vibrant nightlife that rivals the best in the world. From the cosmopolitan streets of Sydney and Melbourne to the laid-back vibes of Brisbane and Perth, Australia’s urban hubs offer an eclectic mix of entertainment options to suit every taste and mood. Sip cocktails at chic rooftop bars overlooking iconic landmarks, dance the night away at underground clubs pulsating with energy, or indulge in late-night eats at bustling night markets and food trucks lining the streets. With live music venues, comedy clubs, and cultural festivals adding to the mix, Australia’s nightlife promises endless possibilities for memorable evenings filled with laughter, music, and adventure.

Cultural Attractions: Delve into Australia’s rich cultural tapestry by exploring its museums, galleries, and historic sites that celebrate its diverse heritage. Discover the ancient stories and traditions of Australia’s Indigenous peoples at museums like the Australian Museum in Sydney or the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. Uncover the convict past of colonial Australia at historic sites such as Port Arthur in Tasmania or Fremantle Prison in Western Australia. From ancient Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley to contemporary art installations in Adelaide, Australia’s cultural attractions offer a fascinating journey through time and space, inviting visitors to connect with the country’s past, present, and future.

With its boundless natural beauty, vibrant urban culture, and rich history, Australia offers a playground of endless possibilities for recreation and exploration. Whether you’re catching waves along the coast, dancing under the stars in the city, or immersing yourself in the country’s cultural heritage, Australia invites you to embrace the spirit of adventure and create memories that will last a lifetime.



Wildlife in Australia

Australia is renowned for its unique and diverse wildlife, with many species found nowhere else on Earth. From iconic marsupials to fascinating reptiles and colorful birds, Australia’s natural habitats support an incredible array of fauna.

One of the most iconic symbols of Australian wildlife is the kangaroo, along with its smaller relatives, the wallabies. These marsupials can be spotted in various habitats across the country, including open grasslands and national parks. Visitors to Australia often enjoy observing these creatures in their natural environment, with popular spots including the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park in South Australia, known for its free-roaming kangaroos and wallabies.

Koalas are another beloved species native to Australia, primarily found in eucalypt forests along the eastern and southern coasts. Wildlife enthusiasts can encounter these iconic marsupials at wildlife sanctuaries and conservation parks such as the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Queensland, where visitors can observe koalas up close and learn about conservation efforts.

For birdwatchers, Australia offers a wealth of avian diversity, including the iconic kookaburra with its distinctive laugh. These large kingfishers can be spotted in various habitats across the country, from urban parks to remote wilderness areas. The Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, home to an incredible variety of bird species, is a popular destination for birdwatching enthusiasts.

Marine enthusiasts flock to the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site teeming with a diverse array of marine life, including colorful fish, coral species, sharks, turtles, and rays. Snorkeling and diving tours offer visitors the opportunity to explore this underwater wonderland and encounter its inhabitants up close.

In addition to these iconic species, Australia is home to a range of unique wildlife, including emus, crocodiles, Tasmanian devils, and wombats. Wildlife enthusiasts can explore national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and conservation areas across the country to observe these fascinating creatures in their natural habitats.

Australia’s wildlife is a source of fascination and admiration for both locals and visitors alike, showcasing the country’s rich biodiversity and unique natural heritage. Whether exploring the vast expanses of the outback, the lush rainforests of Queensland, or the pristine coastal waters of the Great Barrier Reef, encountering Australia’s wildlife is an unforgettable experience.


Sending Money to Australia?

If you’re planning a move or already in the process, you might need to transfer funds from the UK to Australia. We offer assistance at a lower cost compared to banks. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 0203 026 0112 or request a callback below to discuss your requirements.