Australia Relocation Checklist – practical tips and information on relocating to Australia

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We have created the Australia Relocation Checklist to help you make your move Down Under as smooth as possible.

The following checklist and tips are intended as an overall guide only and you will need to take into account your own personal circumstances.

Start with a visa!

Congratulations on securing your visa! You have successfully completed the most important part of the moving to Australia checklist! Don’t forget to print out proof of your visa and collate all your important visa and immigration documents.

Notify the following institutions and people about your move:

  • Your accountant or financial advisor
  • Your solicitor
  • Banks
  • Medical professionals (doctors, dentists, specialists)
  • Utility companies
  • Real estate agent, particularly if you are leasing your property or have leased a property
  • Insurance companies
  • Post Office
  • Local council
  • Car registration
  • Taxation Office
  • The Electoral Commission
  • Your children’s current school or childcare

Organize power of attorney

Australia is far away from most countries and flights are not only long but also expensive. We would advise you to grant power of attorney to someone you trust, such as a family member, friend or your solicitor, to act on your behalf when necessary.

Prepare copies of all important documents

Sometimes important documents can get lost during the relocation. We advise you to take photocopies of the following documents:

  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Insurance policies (accident, medical, contents, home and life)
  • Driver’s licence
  • Passport
  • Bank account details
  • Prescriptions
  • Wills
  • Visa

Arrange Shipping

If you are planning to ship a lot of items to Australia (for example furniture), you will need to organize a removalist service. A moving company will take full responsibility for transporting your belongings to your new home.

A reputable removalist will also keep an inventory of your goods to ensure everything arrives safely. You can book a complete unpacking service which means the removalists will

  • unload and unwrap each piece of furniture for you to inspect
  • organise the furniture inside your home under your direction
  • assemble conventional items such as beds
  • remove all excess packaging on departure

Important documentation (such as passports, visas, wills, and prescriptions), jewellery and any other precious items should be stored in your hand luggage.

  • Get at least three quotes from removalist companies
  • Confirm any packing and moving dates
  • Organize parking space for the removalist van
  • Remove all unwanted furniture and rubbish
  • Prepare an inventory of everything you own, noting any scratches or dents.
  • Talk to your movers when they arrive, especially if there are fragile items
  • Disassemble the big stuff
  • Empty the fridge

In general, you might find that shipping everything you owe to Australia might be cheaper in the long run than buying new furniture when you arrive. For example, the same IKEA table you purchased in the UK might cost double or even triple the amount in Australia.

Before you board the plane

  • Decide what you’re going to do with your current home: if you own it (are you going to sell, rent or lease)?
  • If you are renting a property, notify your landlord in writing
  • Cancel all utility services
  • Cancel all subscriptions, such as Foxtel or newspapers
  • Cancel all home deliveries
  • Make sure that all bills are paid
  • Ask Post to re-direct your mail for at least three months after your move
  • Find somewhere to store your belongings
  • Organize temporary accommodation
  • Book airline tickets
  • Check weight limits for checked-in and cabin baggage
  • Organize transport to and from the airport (bus, train, taxi)
  • Organize travel insurance
  • Check the compatibility (connections, voltage and amperage) of all electrical items you are bringing to Australia. We strongly recommend you purchase  at least two adaptors

Work out your budget

Australia is an expensive place to live. If you haven’t secured a job yet, we advise you to have savings for at least three months, especially if you are travelling with a family. Make sure you have enough cash for rental bond. Many real estate agencies require bond and a monthly payment in advance.

Research jobs before you move

While Australia is a great place to live and work, skilled migrants often struggle to get a job in their profession due to lack of local experience. We recommend contacting recruitment agencies to understand if your skills are in demand. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and your CV meets Australian CV guidelines.

How to write an Australian CV

How to overcome lack of local experience in Australia

Temporary accommodation

There are many websites that will help you secure temporary accommodation until you are ready to commit to a long-term rental contract.

Here are some options:

Quest Apartments

Booking.com

Airbnb

Flatmates

Finding long-term accommodation

After the initial short-term accommodation, you’ll need to find somewhere more permanent to settle in.

These days, most real estate to buy or rent can be found online. Sites such as RealEstate.com.auDomain, and Property.com.au are well-known sites in Australia. You will need to organize inspection dates. Many properties come unfurnished so if you are not shipping you furniture, you might need to get hold of some basic items. Gumtree and IKEA are a great place to start.

Many real-estate agencies require a proof of income and references.


Moving with Pets

If you are planning on relocating your four-legged friend, you will need to:

  • Complete all veterinary and quarantine requirements and paperwork
  • Arrange pet boarding during packing and pick up

You can find all information on bringing pets to Australia here

Register yourself with the Embassy or a Consulate

Registering with the embassy might allow you to access a number of services for expats such as:

  • assistance in the event of an emergency  such as natural disasters or accidents
  • travel alerts, warnings, voting deadlines
  • easier completion of various administrative formalities (passport issuance, registration of birth abroad, study grant requests, registration to vote abroad, completion of tax forms)

Banking

Keeping your finances safe, secure, and accessible is a vital aspect of an international relocation. Follow our guide below to help your banking changeover run as smoothly as possible:

  • If you require a continuation of your banking services at your new location ensure that all relevant parties have been notified of your change of address
  • Contact your bank to check if there are branches in your new location, and what services they provide
  • Ensure that your bank/credit cards are valid in your new location
  • Organise some local currency before you board the plane, just so you have some on arrival. Some banks even offer a service where you can set up a separate account that has some local currency in it
  • Write down the contents of any safe deposit boxes you have and consider leaving the key with a trusted friend, family member or associate
  • You may find that it is easier and more financially sensible to open up a bank account at a local bank in your new home
  • If you are going to apply for a credit card or a loan in your host location ensure you have supporting documentation of a good credit rating
  • Ensure you have paid any outstanding taxes and that all correspondence from the ATO has been responded to
  • Outstanding bills can affect your credit rating, so ensure that all outstanding bills have been paid and any disputes resolved.

Learn about the school system

Public Schools (State Schools)

The majority of children in Australia attend public schools also known as state schools. State schools are open and accessible to expats, but if you do not hold a PR (Permanent Resident) visa you will most likely need to pay a fee.

Children attend the public school that corresponds with their catchment zone. Where you live will most likely determine which school your child is going to attend. Expat parents should consider the choice of accommodation carefully as proof of residency is required (such as electricity bills).

Some public schools will consider out-of-catchment enrolments, but schools can only accept such students if

  1. there is sufficient spare capacity after reserving places for students who move into the catchment during the year
  2. after taking into account the school’s projected future enrolment growth.

Out-of-catchment students applying for enrolment at the school are placed on a waiting list, assessed in order of receipt.

Things to do

  • Research schools
  • Compare schools using My School
  • Organize copies of your children’s school reports
  • Have your children complete any assessments or aptitude tests if necessary
  • Meet with principals and tour new schools
  • Submit enrolment forms

Private and Independent Schools

Non-government (private) schools can be divided into two groups.

Religion-based schools are operated by the Anglican, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic denominations as well as a number of other church or parachurch organisations. By far the most numerous are Catholic schools.

The rest are known as independent schools, which are largely Protestant grammar schools.

Private school fees can vary from under $100 per month to $2000 and upwards depending on the student’s year level and the school’s size.

Non-government school uniforms tend to be more expensive than those for government schools, and more strictly enforced.

You can compare and find all necessary information about Australian schools at My School portal

Cars and Drivers’ Licence

If you’re going to sell your car, start advertising early and organize an alternative mode of transport. If you’re going to store it, arrange storage services.

In Australia, laws and driving regulations differ from state to state. Some states require you to carry an International Licence with your current foreign licence.

Other states request you carry your current foreign driver’s licence together with a formal translation of your licence into English.

In most Australian states and territories (the exception is the Northern Territory), you are able to drive on an overseas licence as long as it is current.

You can only drive vehicles which your overseas licence authorises you to drive and you must drive according to any conditions on your overseas licence.

Select the state or territory you will be driving in to find out what the laws are for driving with an overseas licence.

  • Request a letter from your car insurer that details your current level of insurance and no claim bonus.

Roadside Assistance

Telephone; 13 11 11, (24hrs Australia wide)

Emergency Assistance

000 is the number for emergency services in Australia.  They can connect you to Police, Ambulance or the Fire Brigade.  You should only contact 000 in an emergency.

Keep left

Australians drive on the left side.

Licence

It is compulsory to carry your licence when driving in Australia. If the licence is not written in English, an International Driving Permit (IDP) or an English translation must also be carried with your licence.

Seat Belts

Is compulsory for all vehicle occupants to wear seat belts (where fitted). Children under the age 7 must be in a child restraint appropriate for the child’s size and weight.

Familiarize yourself with Road Rules and Signs

You should familiarise yourself with the road signs in Australia and make sure you obey them.

Australian Road Signs

Driving under the influence of Alcohol and Drugs

It is an offence to drive or be in charge of a vehicle if you have a Blood Alcohol Concentration is 0.05% or more. If you hold a probationary or provisional driver’s licence, your blood alcohol level must be 0.00% at all times. Driving after taking drugs that affect your ability to drive is illegal and penalties are severe.

Using Mobile Phones while driving

It is an offence for drivers to use mobile phones while the vehicle is moving and will attract a fine and, in some States, demerit points.

Medical Requirements

  • Organise a check-up for you and your family with your local doctors and dentists. Request and bring copies of the results with you
  • Ensure that you and all family members have received all the necessary vaccinations
  • Ask your GP for additional prescription medications in case of any problems, such as delays, or an inability to have your prescription filled.
  • Ask your GP for a list of alternative medication that could be used if you are unable to purchase your usual prescription medication
  • Organize private health insurance (depending on your visa)

What is Medicare?

Medicare is Australia’s government-run healthcare system and gives you access to:

  • free or subsidised treatment by doctors, specialists, optometrists, dentists and some other health practitioners
  • free treatment and accommodation as a public (Medicare) patient in a public hospital
  • 75% of the Medicare Schedule fee for services and procedures if you are a private patient in a public or private hospital (not including hospital accommodation and items such as theatre fees and medicines).

Bulk Billing

Bulk billing is where a doctor (or a healthcare professional such as an optometrist) doesn’t charge the patient but bills Medicare directly.

If your doctor bulk bills, you don’t need to pay anything.  Not all health professional bulk bill or only bulk-bill certain patients, for example, pensioners or children under a specific age. Sometimes you need to pay a gap between what the Medicare will cover and what the Doctor charges. It’s always a good idea to check this before making an appointment.

Private Health Insurance

Many Australians choose to have private health insurance these days, especially those who are high-income to avoid paying an additional tax MLS.  The base income threshold (under which you are not liable to pay the MLS) is $90,000 for singles and $180,000 for families.

There are a number of private health insurance schemes in Australia offering different coverage options. BUPA and Medibank are the biggest providers of private health insurance.

Mobile Phones

While all major cities are covered by most networks, mobile coverage in some rural areas in Australia can have little or no coverage.

Mobile Network Providers in Australia
  • Telstra – Australia’s leading provider of mobile phones, mobile devices, home phones and broadband internet;
  • Optus
  • Vodafone
  • Virgin Mobile

Tax File Number (TFN)

As soon as you land, you should apply for a Tax File Number (TFN). Your tax file number is your personal reference number in the tax and super systems and is an important part of your tax and super records as well as your identity.

Your TFN is yours for life. You keep the same TFN even if you change your name, change jobs, move interstate or go overseas.

You don’t have to have a TFN, but without one, you pay more tax (around 47% tax rate). You also won’t be able to apply for government benefits, lodge your tax return electronically or get an Australian business number (ABN). You can apply for TFN online and should get this number within 28 days after application.

And finally, get ready to enjoy an amazing lifestyle in a beautiful country!


If you are a Civil Engineer, a Construction Professional or a Surveyor who would like to be part of the infrastructure boom in Australia or New Zealand, register your CV here or search our jobs.

ConsultANZ Recruitment  –  We consult our Clients on their hiring needs and our Candidates on their career prospects.

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