HERE'S SOME THINGS YOU'LL NEED TO KNOW IF YOU'RE MIGRATING TO AUSTRALIA FOR THE FIRST TIME!
If you’re looking at migrating to Australia, we’ve written a list of things you should know before you make the big move.
LifestyleSo what’s Australian life really like? Australia’s made up of around 23 million citizens and about 6.5 million of those are people who’ve made the leap across the pond from another country to start a new life in the Trans Tasman. Australian citizens can end up living in lively city capitals, rural areas by the sea or very remote parts of the country worlds away from everything (and everyone!) else.
The heat means that there’s plenty of opportunity to spend a lot of your time outdoors enjoying the weather and there’s outdoor sports galore to keep you entertained like rugby, cricket, football, tennis, hockey, baseball and golf. When it comes to general quality of life, Australia ranks second in the world in the prestigious Human Development Index (HDI) with an average life expectancy of 82. In comparison, the UK resides at 14 in the most recent HDI and the US sits at number 8.
VisasAre you going to Australia to retire, work, or just to relocate and enjoy an indefinite holiday? There’s plenty of visas on offer for expats dreaming of smoky BBQ’s, white sand beaches and visits to Kangaroo Island and the Great Barrier Reef.
There are six main groupings: skilled visa, working holiday visa, travel visa, resident return visa, family visa and partner visa. The skilled independent visa is the most popular skilled migration option and allows people that work in a high-demand field to apply. To be eligible you need to be under 50 and have an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL).
Another popular visa choice is the Australian Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) which allows an Australian employer to nominate skilled workers living overseas to fill positions in the labour market. There’s also a state sponsored visa in the skilled category which you can be invited to apply for once you’ve registered your interest through SkillSelect.
If you’re looking at spending your retirement years soaking up the sun, you’ll need to research and apply for an investor retirement visa—designed for those over 55, who have no dependants, and meet certain income requirements.
All details for the Australian visa system can be found on the government website and you’ll be able to check your eligibility and the cost of applying – in comparison to other countries, the cost of Aussie visas are really quite reasonable!
Work2015 saw 300,000 jobs created in Australia with the most popular job titles being front end programmers, carpenters, forklift drivers, site managers and account managers. Meanwhile, some of the most advertised jobs Down Under include business analysts, project managers, recruitment consultants, business development managers, electricians and financial accountants. The Australian labour department has suggested that there’ll also be more jobs created in the healthcare, retail and education sectors in the near future.
In terms of payment – Australia’s mining, resources and energy sector will see you going home with the most money in your pocket at the end of the month – followed by engineering, consultancy, construction and I.T.
EducationIf you’re looking at moving little ones to Australia with you, or perhaps even considering launching into education yourself, you’ll be able to enjoy a world-renowned system of learning. There’s a heavy emphasis on both the variety of the education sector and the quality of the lessons. The school system generally runs from age five to 17 and there are public, private and faith based schools throughout the country to choose from.
Meanwhile, if you’re an adult wanting to benefit from the education system, there are some excellent universities you can apply to, such as the Australian National University (ANU) which was ranked 22nd best university of the world in 2016-2017, and the University of Melbourne which was voted 42nd.
Buying PropertyAre you looking at buying a sun soaked house on the coast? Or maybe a swanky apartment in a high-flying city block? Whatever your property needs, Australia has plenty of options for you to consider in your hunt to find your ideal home.
In the latter half of 2016 research and economic indicators have suggested the Australian property market is overvalued by quite a significant percentage, so if you’re looking at moving abroad in the near future it’s extremely important you’re getting the most for your money when you transfer currencies so you can afford the best house available.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has continuously warned about the potential overheating of the nation’s housing prices and have reduced interest rates twice during 2016 in an attempt to counteract the problem. House prices in both Sydney and Melbourne have been increasing the most so you’re likely to get less for your money in those areas. In fact, Sydney sits at number four on the UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index – house prices in Sydney managed an impressive 45% surge in the three years through to 2015.
New South Wales which encompasses Sydney has the highest property prices at an average of AU$880,000 in the second quarter of 2016. Overall, the mean property price in Australia rests at AU$623,000 for the same time period according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). If you’re not looking to break the bank, property in Tasmania might be a good choice with some of the cheapest prices in the country averaging at only AU$320,000. It’s also worth noting that anyone who isn’t a native Australian will need to approach the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) before being eligible for property purchasing.
When you’re looking at buying any house abroad, the current exchange rate will likely have a large impact on the type of property and sometimes location that you can afford. In 2016 the pound to Australian dollar (GBP/AUD) exchange rate was trending at AU$2.0500 in May and AU$1.5900 in October. That means if you exchanged £400,000 in May you’d have had AU$820,000 to play with and only AU$636,000 in October. The huge difference between the two exchange rates could mean you living the life you’ve dreamt of in Sydney, or having to choose a smaller home or even a cheaper region overall.
Buying a house can take some time to process, so it’s wise to talk to a currency provider like a broker to discuss options like forward costs to lock in exchange rates while you’re waiting for the purchase to be completed, rather than potentially losing thousands in a market shift. Take a look at our Money Transfers section below to read more about your currency options.
Money TransfersNo matter what country you’re moving to, you’re going to need to take your money with you. But what’s the best way to shift large lump sums overseas and how safe is it? Whether you need your pension payments transferred on a regular basis, want to buy your dream home in the sun or just want to take your life savings with you for living costs, you’ll have some involvement with the foreign exchange market.
You have several options when it comes to changing your pounds into Aussie dollars; you can use your bank, the post office, or a currency broker. The bank might seem like your easiest option because the likelihood is you’ll already have an established bank account. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that banks offer foreign exchange as an arm of their services, not as a specialty.
Banks can also impose heavy fees and charges which all add up - and after all, you want to get the most bang for your buck. Currency brokers on the other hand offer the most competitive exchange rates and a reputable broker won’t charge commission or tack on any extra fees. Additionally, brokers keep an eye on the market’s every movement as currency is their sole interest.
What does that mean for you when you’re looking at transferring your funds? You’ll be set up with a personal account manager who’ll be able to offer you specialist insight when it comes to trading. This kind of guidance is invaluable when you’re looking at a big currency trade as the forex market is one of the most volatile trading platforms in the world.
Many things can impact the market and alter your exchange rate; whether it be a political event, comments by a central banker, or a piece of economic data. If you’re not focusing on the markets all day, it can be really difficult to keep up with the shifts and you may not know when the most opportune times to trade are. Account managers at a reputable broker look at the weeks and months ahead to assess which economic data releases or events could cause significant market turbulence and they’ll be able to help you navigate the tricky prospect of trading.
Some banks keep their exchange rates static – the rate they set at the start of the day is available until the close of trading. However, the pound to Australian dollar (GBP/AUD) exchange rate can shift dramatically throughout a day, meaning the rate you may be offered in the morning by the bank, might not be as favourable as a currency broker’s in the afternoon after a major market shift. That’s why it’s always recommendable to speak to a specialist at a currency broker to make sure you’re getting the best deal. It’s sensible to use an e-money provider that’s FCA approved to make sure you’re transferring your funds in the safest way.
Visit www.fcexchange.com/downundercentre and enquire about transferring your money!
Or click here to open a Personal Account with FC Exchange
PensionsAre you imagining sunning yourself by the pool with a cold one, or enjoying outdoor adventures with some of Australia’s unique wildlife after hanging up your hat? Expats hoping to spend their later years enjoying an Aussie lifestyle need to assess their pension options to ensure they’re able to access their money easily and efficiently when starting a new life in Australia.
One way of making sure you receive your pension from the UK every month is to set up a regular overseas payment option with a currency broker. That means each month your money will travel safely to your account without you having to worry. By using a broker, you’ll be able to save on international bank transfers imposed by a lot of high street banks. These fees may not seem like much, but when you’re transferring your pension every month over a long time period, you’ll start to notice your funds being eaten away – and after all, the money you could save using a broker is extra cash to enjoy Down Under!