Moving to Australia

This page is for anyone thinking about moving to Australia, or for someone who just needs some additional information before relocating to the ‘land down under’.

Australia is one of the most popular expat destinations, and it’s not hard to see why. From the warm sunny beaches, to a diverse, easy going culture, there’s plenty of reasons why brits flock down there.


As a UK passport holder, relocating to Australia entails a few different hurdles. The first thing is the visa application. Anyone who wants to live in Australia are required to have a valid visa in order to enter the country. Aside from the short stay visas, the most popular work visas are the Temporary work (skilled) Visa (subclass 457) and the Skilled independent Visa (subclass 189). Visit our visas for Australia page to find more information about visas intended for a long-term residency in Australia.

How much does it cost to move to Australia?

Shipping costs to Australia varies quite a lot because of the difference in distance between the east and west coast. Below you can find the cost of shipping furniture from a 1, 3 and 5 bedroom home to Australia.

Household SizeShipping TimeCost
1 Bed Flat29-34 days£8,626 – £8,798
3 Bed House29-34 days£9,502 – £9,766
5 Bed House29-34 days£10,753 – £11,149

For more information about moving costs, have a look at our Container Shipping Costs page. You can find essential information about how to ship a container, what size you need and what factors influence the price.

Australia are known to have strict import rules. Before you consider bringing anything over with you, make sure you understand what items are banned, as well as the heavy taxes that may come with importing goods. Some examples of items that are banned include: flowers, furs of animals and teas. For more information, have a look at the Australian Government page on Imports and Exports.

Moving your pets to Australia

One of the main conditions to move a pet is that your pet must have a passport for household pets. It must comply with the following requirements:

  • It should contain information about vaccinations. If your pet needs to be vaccinated again, this must be done at least three weeks before entering Australia.
  • It should contain data about the health of the animal.
  • It should include information on legalization, so that the pet can be transported outside the EU.

For more information about transporting pets, have a look at these pages:

Transporting your car to Australia

Like with a lot of things, Australia applies strict requirements for the importation of a car. You can only move a car there when it is in your possession for at least a year. You also need an import permit. If transporting a car, we recommended it is done by a moving company. They have experience with this and know the requirements. If you do it yourself, and don’t meet all the requirements, it could result in you paying a large fine.

Moving to Australia

Living Costs

Compared to the UK and other popular expat destinations, the cost of living is actually not that high. Australia is currently 12th with the highest cost of living in the world, with the UK in 23rd place. However, the overall cost of living is actually cheaper than the UK with a 10% difference.

The day to day and luxury products like coffee are more expensive than in the UK, especially in tourist areas such as Sydney and Melbourne. However, if you plan to live in a rural area, then the price may be even more expensive. Due to the size of Australia, transport costs are much higher than in the UK, thus the price rises. For more information about the costs of living in Australia, have a look at Expatistan.

Where to live in Australia?

As Australia is the size of Europe, there is something for everyone. Whether you’re looking at the tropical north, the cooler south or anything in between, you need to be aware of the differences between each city.

Perth, Sydney and Melbourne are the most popular cities for expats from the UK as they are bustling and vibrant cities with a lot to do but manage to avoid the overly hot summers and a lot of the dangerous wildlife. They are all distinct cities from each other so the reasons for choosing them differ for everybody. Although these cities have the highest living costs in Australia they are seen as offering the most for expats.

Below you can find a comparison of the prices of the most popular cities in Australia:

CityCost /100
Gold Coast78

Housing in Australia

Even though Australia is amongst the least densely populated countries in the world, 85% of all Australians live within 50 km off the coast. This is therefore a huge factor when looking at prices of homes. The housing market in Australia has been continuously growing for a number of years, however every month certain cities may fluctuate so make sure you keep an eye out on how the market is doing.

When moving to a new country, it’s always best to consider what option is best; Rent or buy? Most expats prefer to rent when they first move to a country, as this allows them to get to know their environment before making the commitment of buying a property. After 6 months or so, and you feel comfortable living there, you can begin to look at buying a home.

Sydney and Melbourne are the most expensive cities to live in regarding houses. Like most places in Australia, the most expensive properties are located near inner-city water views while the cheapest are a long way inland.

Brisbane and Perth have been getting popular in recent years, which did result in the housing costs to increase. However, in recent months (April, May), prices have decreased. Apart from the centre of the city, both Brisbane and Perth stretch for miles. This is mainly due to aussies love for large, detached houses.

Queensland’s gold coast is cheaper than the other main cities. There are also a lot of high rises and townhouses

Mortgages are generally affordable; however, this is only due to the high wages that are on offer. For a single-income household, the main cities can be tough to afford. Hobart and Darwin are more affordable options; however Hobart’s house price has been continuously increasing for a number of months.

Moving to Australia


Healthcare in Australia is rated as one of the best in the world. Thanks to their government and private funding, they have access to a comprehensive range of services. If you have a student visa or are working there temporarily, you will not have access to their Medicare. You are therefore required to have private medical insurance with your visa.

If you are living in Australia permanently, you will have to enrol with Medicare. However, Medicare does not cover all areas; thus, it is recommended to have insurance for things like dental care.

You can find more information here:

Education in Australia

Unlike in the UK, the state’s control their own education system. School education lasts for 13 years. Children start school at the age of 5 or 6 in kindergarten or elementary, and it runs through to year 6 or 7. Secondary school covers up to year 10, while year 11 and 12 are known as senior secondary school (college).

There are a number of different schools that are on offer in Australia. Some include government, non-government and schools based on educational philosophies. However, if you are living in Australia on a temporary visa, be careful because some states may charge substantial fees for dependent children on temporary visas.

Australian Universities

The university system in Australia is considered to be one of the best in the world. Only America and the UK have more universities in the top 100 universities ranking. According to The Times Higher Education, the top 3 universities in Australia are:

  • University of Melbourne (#32)
  • Australian national university (#48)
  • University of Sydney (#61)

You can find more info about education in Australia here.

Job Market

Every country has a number of industries where job growth is generated. The top 5 are:

  • Healthcare and Social Assistance
  • Professional Services
  • Education
  • Construction

Due to the increase in demand, more British expats are considering a move to Australia. Employers are also now becoming comfortable with conducting Skype interviews which is a bonus for any expat that is looking for work.

Before you apply for jobs, a lot of employers want you to be fully eligible to live and work there so make sure you sort out your visa beforehand.

For more information about working in Australia, click here.