Moving from the US to Australia – Everything You Need to Know
Every year, thousands of people from all around the world decide to take the leap and move to Australia. This is not a surprise since “The land down under” has plenty of things to offer to its new residents. Other than the fact that on average Australia has more than 230 sunny days per year, it has also one of the lowest air pollution levels in the whole wide world.
If you add to that the low crime rate, the lowest population density of any continent in the world, and the fact that it indeed is a multicultural society- you can see why it’s one of the best places to live in on Earth.
Australia is also a massive piece of land with more than three million square miles, so if you want to travel the country, you will need a lot of time to do so. The rich ecosystems make exploring this island a real adventure; from the sandy beaches and the tropical rainforests, to the golden deserts and even mountains with snow.
If you’re from the US and you’re considering moving to this alluring place, you should be prepared before packing your suitcase and hitting the jets.
Things to do before arriving
There are some steps that you need to do before you actually step a foot in Australia. Make sure you think through all of these points in order to avoid any problems once you arrive in your new home.
- Apply for a visa: before going to Australia, you have to have an approved visa. The type of visa that you have to apply for depends on many factors such as the country you’re originally from, whether you’re going there to study or to work, how long are you planning on staying, and more. If you need help with this, you should go to the website of the Australian Department of Immigration and get info.
- Count your savings: Australia is a place where the average salary is much higher than in the US, and the unemployment rate is around 5%. Although this is a great sign for the country and its strong economy, it can also mean you should expect to have much higher expenses. You should plan to have some capital before you go. Count on having at least AU$5,000 to live through a few months without work.
- Cut expenses in the US: it doesn’t matter how long you’re going to be living in Oz, you have to be smart and start cutting back on all the things that you can in your home. You won’t need the internet, home phone, Netflix accounts, and more- so you might as well close your accounts.
- Find accommodations and a job: if you can, you should have these two very essential things lined up before you enter Australia. Some websites where you can find accommodation are Flatmates and Gumtree. Since it’s a common practice in Australia to rent apartments without any furniture, make sure you ask about that before signing the contract. According to http://www.movingtoaustralia.com it helps to have a reference from a place that you rented before.
When it comes to job hunting, even though Australia has a low unemployment rate, it might be difficult to find a job right away as soon as you arrive. Try to do your research before going so that you have an idea where to start. Moreover, the opportunity to save cash while having a regular job is the best thing about working there. Try finding something to do at Gumtree, Seek, Careerone, or Taw.
Once you’re there
- Apply for a Tax File Number or TFN: this is similar to a social security number, and you need it if you want to work, file taxes, and more.
- Open a bank account: don’t keep a lot of cash in your pockets, instead open an Australian bank account which will make everything much easier.
- Get healthcare insurance: getting healthcare immediately could potentially save you money in the long run. There are different private healthcare packages according to your income.
- RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificate: if you want to work in hospitality and either serve or sell alcohol you will need to complete an RSA training regulated by state laws, and after finishing the course you will get your certificate.
- Buy a power adapter and a voltage converter: if you have chargers, hair straighteners or other appliances, be aware that in Australia the main voltage is 230V 50Hz.
- Stay left: do not forget to drive on the left-hand side of the road! Usually, you will be allowed to use your driving license during your stay in Australia, except if you’re applying for permanent residency status.
- Remember the tax return: you could get “extra” cash if you remember to do your tax return, and it’s fairly easy to do it too.
What you need to know
- The weather: The weather in Australia tends to be very hot. A common misconnection is that it’s always sunny and dry. Actually, the weather can be so turbulent that even Melbourne is known for having four seasons in one day.
- The sun is very strong: the temperatures are known to rise above 40 degrees Celsius, and the heat is expected to rise in the following years. Furthermore, the ozone layer above Australia is unusually thin which makes the dangerous UV radiation from the sun even worse in this part of the world. It’s critical to protect yourself by using lots of sunscreen, wearing protective shirts and hats, and avoiding the sun in the hottest periods of the day.
- Fires: Australia experiences up to 50,000 bushfires on average per year, mostly as a result of the dry vegetation, the strong winds and the hot weather. Make sure to listen to the fire warnings and to be very careful, especially in rural areas.
- Wildlife: Many think of Australia as the land where spiders and snakes attack you everywhere, kangaroos kick you, sharks bit you, and everything is out to get you. Although it can happen, the statistics say that there is no real danger. For example, there are only two deadly spiders for which there is an anti-venom, and nobody has died from a spider bite since 1979.
Hopefully these tips have you feeling a little bit relieved about making this major decision. Don’t be afraid to meet some Aussie people and to explore their rich culture. You’re good to go, mate!
Author Bio: Jessica is the head of content for https://www.hireamover.com.au – her father’s moving company. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling around the world to different surf spots and tasting the local cuisine.