For many, moving away from the UK and over to Australia to live for good is a dream. The idea of beautiful weather, the laid back atmosphere, the friendly people, the general way of life and stunning scenery and beaches and history and… The list goes on. And for some, that dream becomes a reality. In 2015 43,000 Brits emigrated Down Under. But it’s not as easy as jumping on a plane and getting off at the other end. There are a lot of hurdles that have to be jumped before the Australian authorities will consider your application.
Take a look here to download the forms to get you started.
Moving to Australia requires one very important document: the visa. There are many different types of visas available, including the General Skilled Migration programme, which is for those between the ages of 18 and 50 who have a particular profession– that the Australian Government are particularly in need of. This is the most frequently used visa for Brits moving to Australia, as it is the one that is most often accepted, plus taking a skill to another country is an excellent way of starting a new life. Some professions have their own visa (nurses, for example), so it’s best to check before completing the wrong form and having to start all over again.
Other visas include the family visa, working holiday visas, and sponsorship visas (this means that there is an Australian employer willing to sponsor you to come to Australia to work for them – this is perhaps the quickest way to secure your application).
Details that are required on your visa application include showing evidence that you have enough money to start your new life in Australia, evidence of your skills and qualifications, evidence of your health insurance, police checks, and an English language test.
It’s certainly not free to go to Australia. And it’s not just the plane ticket that costs money. Other costs include paying for a shipping container to take your furniture, clothing, and possessions to Australia, the potential cost of also sending your pets, flight tickets (one way!), MARA migration agent fees, Australian government fees, costs for medical evidence, skills assessment fee, certificates, admin fee, and criminal records fee. The total can be upwards of £12,000.
And what about your house in the UK? Will you be selling it? There are costs involved there too. Thinking of renting it out? Make sure it’s all on your visa application. Then there’s your home in Australia. If you’re buying you will need to stump up the deposit and taxes at least before you can even start the process, and if you’re renting you will be asked for a deposit and one or more month’s rent in advance.
What with all the potential confusion over which visa to apply for, one thing that can often be forgotten is your passport. There are some specific rules that the Australian authorities have when it comes to British passports and if yours doesn’t comply then, even if you do have a valid visa, you could still be refused entry. Your passport must be valid for your entire stay which, if you are planning to be there for many years, can be confusing. If in doubt, apply for an extension or a new passport, urgent passport appointments are available if you need them in a hurry. And bear in mind that if you are just passing through Australia on your way to another country, you do need to check the entry requirements for your final destination; your passport must have at least six months remaining on it for some places.
It is also a good idea to check that you (and your entire family, as even babies must now have a passport) actually have a passport before you travel – that is, that you haven’t lost it, that it isn’t damaged, and that it is useable. Otherwise you could delay your entire move, which can be costly.
When You Get There
Now although the language we speak may be the same, and we have the same queen, there are many more differences between the Australians and the Brits than you might have thought. It will take some time to get used to the changes you’ll see around you every day.
The weather, for example. It can get extremely hot in Australia, hotter, probably, than you are used to. For Australians wearing sunscreen is a fact of life, they’ve grown up understanding the need and use it without thinking, but for those from the UK, the message is less clear. Don’t forget to invest in sunscreen and use it every time you step outdoors.
The Australian people are known for being a particularly friendly lot, unlike their more reserved cousins from the UK. It may take you by surprise at first, but it’s likely you’ll find yourself chatting to complete strangers in pubs, restaurants, theatres, on the beach, even just going to the shops.
If you enjoy sport you’re moving to the right place; from cricket to soccer to basketball and pretty much everything in between, you’ll probably find a local youth group and adult side in your area. Watch out for football though: the term ‘footy’ will probably not be referring to the game we’re used to, but is more likely to mean Australian Rules football, which is something completely different.