Tips On Moving To Australia

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From setting up a bank account to choosing a Super fund, there are a few crucial things you need to tackle as soon as you step onto Australian soil.

Find out what you need to do immediately after arriving in Australia, including:

  1.       setting up a Bank Account
  2.       applying for an Australian Tax File Number (TFN)
  3.       choosing a Super Fund
  4.       getting a Medicare card if you are eligible

Bank Accounts

If you’ll be in Australia for more than 6 months, it is worth opening a bank account either before you leave your country or immediately on arrival in Australia. It is however much easier to open it when you are in Australia. You will need the following documents to open an account:

  •         Passport
  •         Confirmation of arrival in Australia
  •         Valid visa
  •         Additional form of Identification

Should you not be able to open it on arrival try and do it before 6 weeks after your arrival. If you do it after 6 weeks, you will need extra identification which could include:

  •         Birth Certificate
  •         Drivers Licence
  •         Credit or Bank Card

The major banks in Australia are NAB, Suncorp, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and ANZ.

Taxes

The primary revenue collection agency of the Australian Government is known as the Australian Taxation Office, or ATO for short. If you are working or planning to work in Australia, obtaining a Tax File Number (TFN) is essential. This unique identifier is not only necessary for tax-related matters but also for various administrative purposes.

Applying for a TFN is a straightforward process, and you can do it through the ATO website. The only document you’ll need for this application is your passport. Typically, you’ll receive your TFN within 28 days after submitting your application.

It’s crucial to note that without a TFN, your income could be subject to a considerably higher tax rate, which currently stands at 47%. Moreover, you won’t be able to electronically file your annual tax return, obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN) if you plan to start a business, or apply for government benefits.In Australia, the financial year spans from the 1st of July to the 30th of June.

Superannuation

Superannuation, often referred to simply as “super,” is a system of compulsory retirement savings in Australia. It is designed to ensure that Australians have financial resources to support themselves in retirement. It generally begins when you start working.

Superannuation funds invest the contributions on behalf of their members. These investments can include a range of assets such as shares, property, fixed income, and cash. The goal is to grow the funds over time to provide income in retirement.

Superannuation offers tax benefits to encourage individuals to save for retirement. Contributions made by employers are generally taxed at a concessional rate, and investment earnings within the fund are taxed at a lower rate than personal income tax. Withdrawals made after retirement age (usually 60) are typically tax-free.

Your employer is obliged to pay a portion, which is currently 11.0%, of your salary or wages into a superfund of your choice. Should you not choose one, the contribution will then be paid into your employer nominated superfund. Super gets paid over and above your salary or wages.

In addition to compulsory employer contributions, individuals can make voluntary contributions to their superannuation. These contributions may be tax-deductible, depending on certain conditions.

It’s important to note that the rules and regulations related to superannuation change so encourage you to stay informed about the latest superannuation policies and seek advice from financial professionals to make the most of your retirement savings.

Healthcare

Medicare is Australia’s publicly funded universal healthcare system. It provides eligible Australian residents with access to a wide range of medical and hospital services at little to no cost, ensuring that healthcare is affordable and accessible for all citizens. Depending on your type of visa, you may be eligible to join Medicare.

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Funding for Medicare is derived from a Medicare Levy, which is a tax on the income of most Australian taxpayers. Some individuals may also be subject to the Medicare Levy Surcharge if they do not have private health insurance and earn above a certain income threshold.

It’s important to note that while Medicare covers a substantial portion of healthcare costs, there can be out-of-pocket expenses, known as “gap fees.” To help cover these gaps, some individuals choose to purchase private health insurance. Additionally, Medicare may not cover certain elective procedures or non-essential healthcare services, which may require individuals to pay for those services privately.

Medicare partially covers some allied health services, such as optometry, physiotherapy, and psychology, but it often requires patients to pay a gap fee. It does not generally cover routine dental services for adults, but it provides certain dental services for eligible children under the Child Dental Benefits Schedule.

After registration, you will be sent a Medicare Card which you should carry with you at all times. The Medicare card includes personal identification information for the cardholder. This typically includes the cardholder’s name, date of birth, and a unique Medicare number. The Medicare number is a crucial identifier that is used for processing healthcare claims and accessing medical services.

Cardholders can create a Medicare online account and link their Medicare card to access services such as viewing Medicare claims history, updating personal details, and ordering a replacement card.

If you would like better medical coverage, there are many different private health insurance providers such as Medibank or Bupa, as Medicare does not provide for all services (for example dental and optical).

To find more tips and advice on moving to Australia, make sure to visit our Guide to Australia page.

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