We understand that moving overseas can be stressful and challenging. The information we have provided is there to assist you with the crucial aspects of moving and working in Australia such as information about visas, climate, cost of living, transport and taxes.
Regardless of whether you are moving to Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sydney, Perth or Melbourne, we can help you.
However you have come to the decision to move to Australia, be prepared for the period of adjustment that is bound to take place.
It isn't just your job you have to consider once you have arrived in Australia – keeping your spouse and children happy and settled is of vital importance. Focus on your reasons for moving and do as much research as possible before you arrive. Be realistic and patient, and don’t lose the excitement that got you here!
It is very important that when you move to Australia you bring the following documents.
All of your documents should be originals, not copies. If they are not in English, bring a certified translation with you.
Your birth certificate
Your marriage certificate
Your academic qualifications (reports/university/trade papers)
References from previous employers
Your CV (Curriculum Vitae/ Resume) Credit references
An international driver’s licence or permit
Passport for travel
There are tasks to do before you leave your country to make sure your arrival in Australia is as smooth as possible.
Check that you complete all the financial, taxation and legal matters that affect you and your family. You may need to set up bank accounts that operate from both your old and new country.
Make all your travel plans; find out contact details for relatives, sponsors and friends in Australia; and inform them of your itinerary; leave your new contact details with friends and family before you leave.
If you plan to bring electrical items with you, check that they meet Australian standards. If you plan to bring personal and household goods with you, check that they meet customs laws in Australia. We do not allow most animal and plant material and the country you leave may stop the export of religious and cultural items. The country you leave may limit the cash you take out. You must also declare large sums of overseas currency at customs when you arrive.
Make it a fun adventure & don’t forget to talk
Australia experiences temperate weather for most of the year but the climate can vary due to the size of the continent. The northern states typically experience warm weather much of the time, with the southern states experiencing cooler winters. Australia is also one of the driest continents on earth with an average annual rainfall of less than 600 millimetres. Like all countries in the southern hemisphere, Australia's seasons are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring.
Weather in Sydney, New South Wales
New South Wales lies in the temperate zone. The Great Dividing Range, in the east of the state, has a large impact on the climate, creating four distinct zones: the coastal strip, the highlands, the Western Slopes and the flatter country to the west. Sydney’s climate is pleasantly temperate all year round with more than 340 sunny days a year. In summer (December to February), average maximum temperatures in Sydney are around 26°C. It can also be humid at this time with an average humidity of 65 per cent. Average maximum temperatures in the winter (June-August) are around 16°C. Sydney’s rainfall is highest between March and June.
Weather in Melbourne, Victoria
Victoria’s climate is marked by a range of different climate zones, from the hot, dry regions of the northwest to the alpine snowfields in the northeast. Average annual rainfall ranges from less than 250 millimetres in parts to in excess of 1800 millimetres over some of the mountainous regions. Melbourne has a reputation for its changeable weather, but as a general rule, the city enjoys a temperate climate with warm to hot summers; mild, balmy springs and autumns; and cool winters. Temperatures average 25°C in summer and 14°C in winter. Rainfall is highest from May to October.
Weather in Adelaide, South Australia
South Australia’s climate varies from hot and dry in the interior to milder, wetter climates in the south and on the south-east coast. Adelaide generally has mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. It is the driest of all the Australian capital cities. The average rainfall in January and February (summer) is around 20 millimetres, but months with no rain are common. June is the wettest month of the year, averaging around 80 millimetres. The average maximum temperature is 29°C in summer and 15–16°C in winter.
Weather in Perth, Western Australia
Western Australia has a number of climatic zones due to its enormous size. In the north-west, heavy rains mark the summer 'wet' season, although the interior is mostly dry with high summer temperatures; while the southwest has mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Perth’s rainfall is highest between May and September. February is usually the hottest month of the year, averaging temperatures of 31°C. A sea breeze called ‘The Fremantle Doctor’, blows from the south-west providing relief from the heat. Winters are relatively cool and wet with temperatures of around 18°C.
Weather in Brisbane, Queensland
Brisbane has a subtropical climate with warm or hot weather for most of the year. In summer (December – February), maximum temperatures average around 30°C. The city experiences most rainfall in summer which can sometimes take the form of thunderstorms with torrential rain. It can be very humid during this time.
Winter is generally dry, mild and pleasant. Most winter days are sunny with average temperatures of around 17°C. Average monthly rainfall over the year is around 96 millimetres.
Weather in Cairns, Queensland
Queensland’s climate is characterised by low rainfall and hot summers in the inland west, a monsoon season in the north, and warm temperate conditions along the coastal strip. The dry inland plains record the hottest temperatures during summer, when the annual median rainfall is below 200 millimetres. Cairns enjoys a tropical climate, with hot and humid summers and mild, dry winters. The average annual rainfall is 1992 millimetres, mostly falling between January and March. Typical daytime temperatures in Cairns are 23-31°C in mid-summer and 18°C in mid-winter. Tropical cyclones sometimes occur from November through May in coastal regions.
Weather in Hobart, Tasmania
Since Tasmania is an island with no place more than 115 kilometres from the sea, its climate is classified as mild temperate maritime. Summers are mild and rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the year, although the winter months are the wettest. Because of its latitude, the seasons are much more evident in Tasmania than the rest of Australia. Hobart has four distinct seasons. The warmest months, January and February, are also the driest with average temperatures of around 21°C. While exposed to the southerly winds from the Antarctic, Hobart is protected by Mt Wellington from the worst weather.
Weather in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Canberra has a mostly dry, continental climate with warm to hot summers and cool winters. The average annual rainfall is 629 millimetres which is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest month is October and the driest is June. During winter, snow falls in the nearby Australian Alps. January is the hottest month with average maximum temperatures of 28°C. The coldest month is July with average daily temperatures of 11°C which can drop below zero at night. Canberra has around nine hours a day of sunshine in summer, dropping to around five hours in winter.
Weather in Alice Springs, Northern Territory
The Northern Territory's climate is distinctly different from that of southern Australia, and varies greatly between the northern part, known as the 'Top End' and the southern extremities. There are two distinct seasons: the 'wet' (October to April) and the 'dry' (May to September). Alice Springs’ climate is one of extremes with hot summers and cold winters when night time temperatures can fall below zero. Rainfall varies dramatically from year to year, but the annual average is around 286 millimetres. Daytime summer temperatures are generally in the high 30s, with dry, cool nights. Spring can bring thunderstorms, hail and dust storms.
Weather in Broome, Western Australia
Broome has a tropical climate with hot and humid summers and warm winters and two distinct seasons: ‘wet’ (December to March) and ‘dry’ (the rest of the year). From October to April temperatures reach around 33°C. Winters (June-August) are mild, with average July temperatures around 27°C during the day. Overnight temperatures rarely fall below 5°C or much higher in the summer. The average annual rainfall is 532 millimetres but sometimes no rain falls for months on end. January to March is the wettest time of year. Tropical cyclones can occur from November to April, most commonly in January and February.
Weather in Darwin, Northern Territory
Darwin in the Top End of the Northern Territory has two distinct seasons, the 'wet' and the 'dry'. The wet season runs from November until April, and is characterised by high humidity, monsoonal rains and storms. Temperatures typically range from a minimum of 25°C to a maximum of 33°C. The 'dry’ season, from May until October, is characterised by warm, dry sunny days and cool nights. Temperatures typically range from 21°C to 32°C, and humidity levels are much lower. Here you will find information on temperature, rainfall and seasonal activities to help you plan your holiday in Darwin.
Weather in the Gold Coast, Queensland
Queensland’s Gold Coast has a comfortable sub-tropical climate ideal for outdoor enjoyment all-year round. The Gold Coast averages 245 days of fine and sunny weather each year and has an average rainfall of about 1400mm annually, the majority of which falls in the summer period (December – February). Daytime temperatures on the coast are generally in the mid 20°C range. The Hinterland is slightly cooler with maximum winter temperatures around 16°C. In winter, clear skies and dry air mean cool nights. Here you will find some information on temperature, rainfall and seasonal activities to help you plan your Gold Coast holiday.
With its great weather, cosmopolitan cities, diverse natural landscapes and relaxed lifestyle, it’s no wonder that Australia remains a top pick for immigrants.
But how expensive is it? Australia currently has the 12th highest cost of living in the world, with the USA and UK well behind at 21 and 23rd place respectively. The overall cost of living in Australia is 9% higher than the USA, but 10% cheaper than London.
While life in Australia comes with a price tag, Mercer’s most recent Cost of Living Survey shows that Australian cities have dropped in the rankings, which is good news for companies relocating employees to the Asia Pacific area. Australia’s most expensive city, Sydney sits at 42 on the Cost of living index.
With expatriate hubs like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo all sitting in the top ten, Australia is more appealing than ever.
Cost of Living in Australia chart
Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Sydney in April 2017.
One-bedroom apartment in city centre
One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre
Three-bedroom apartment in city centre
Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre
Milk (1 litre)
Loaf of white bread
Chicken breasts (1kg)
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)
Big Mac Meal
Bottle of local beer
Three-course meal for two at mid-range restaurant
Mobile to mobile call rate (per minute)
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)
Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)
Taxi rate (per kilometre)
Bus/train in the city centre
Petrol/gasoline (per litre)
If you are a permanent-resident visa holder with a current driver's licence, you are generally allowed to drive for your first three months in Australia. After that, you will need to contact the appropriate authority in the state or territory where you choose to live to find out how to arrange an Australian driver's licence.
Australia has a public transport system which includes buses, trains, trams, light rail, and monorail. Refer to the links below for information on the public transport available in each state and territory.
The education system in Australia is open to all people. It offers an opportunity for all age groups and levels of ability.
This table shows the facilities available by age range and whether it is compulsory:
Secondary school/High school
Compulsory until Year 10 (age 15 or 16)
Tertiary education (TAFE, university, community college)
For primary and secondary school, you can choose whether you would like your children to go to a government school (also known as public school) or a non-government school (also known as private school). You may consider the curriculum of schools in the area where you plan to live, your financial situation, or perhaps even your religious beliefs.
Government schools in Australia often provide lower cost education, where most individual schools encourage a voluntary contribution which they use to improve the school's resources and facilities.
The parents could also be responsible for providing their children with pencils, pens, textbooks and school uniforms (where appropriate).
Non-government schools charge fees between $6,000 and $20,000 per year, and they may have a religious affiliation or a particular educational philosophy.
For your child eligibility you should contact the school by telephone to find out which documents you will need to show to enrol your child. Usually, you will need to show your visa or entry to Australia documents, proof of your child's date of birth, and any papers including school reports relating to their previous education. Sometime, you may also need to show immunisation documents.
Australia's educational institutions are highly regarded in many global indicators. Your qualifications will be recognised and highly regarded everywhere you go.
Where to live
Finding a new home in a new country is an exciting part of the adventure. Arranging temporary accommodation in Australia before you arrive could allow you the time you need to find a home that is suitable for you.
Whether you are planning to rent or buy a home in Australia, deciding on a location is the first step. You might like to consider the following factors:
Do you need access to public transport?
Do you need to be in walking distance from shops?
Do you need to be close to a good school for your children?
How long will it take to get to work/school/university?
Do you know anyone that lives nearby?
Availability of jobs?
The rental market can be quite competitive in some areas, so it may be worth doing your research before you arrive. Some of the internet sites for rentals are:
Get to know the real estate agents in the area where you would like to buy. If you let them know what sort of property you are searching for, they may be able to show you homes before they are advertised to the general public. Some of the internet sites for buying a home include:
The Australian health system is widely regarded as being world-class, in terms of both its effectiveness and efficiency. We have a mixture of private and public health care providers.
All Australians have access to free or low-cost medical, optometric and hospital care through a government scheme called Medicare. Medicare provides access to:
Free treatment as a public patient in a public hospital.
Free or subsidised treatment by practitioners such as doctors including specialists, participating optometrists and dentists (specified services only).
Subsidised medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Australians are also able to choose private health cover. Depending on the type of cover, certain health services not part of by Medicare, are covered in whole or part by private health insurance providers.
Some of the types of health services that you could hold cover for include:
Costs of treatment as a private patient in private or public hospitals.
Ambulance transport in some states and territories.
Australian culture is founded on stories of battlers, bushrangers and brave soldiers. Of sporting heroes, working heroes and plucky migrants. It’s all about a fair go, the great outdoors and a healthy helping of irony. Today Australia also defines itself by its Aboriginal heritage, vibrant mix of cultures, innovative ideas and a thriving arts scene.
Colonial myths: battlers, bushrangers and brave soldiers
Australians believe in mateship and a ‘fair go’ and have a strong affection for the underdog or ‘battler’. These values stem from convicts and early colonialists who struggled against a harsh and unfamiliar land and often unjust authority. Australia’s most famous bushranger Ned Kelly protested against the poverty and injustice of a British class system shipped here along with the convicts. This flawed hero’s fight for 'justice and liberty' and 'innocent people' has been embraced as part of the national culture and inspired countless books and movies. On the goldfields of the mid-1850s, diggers were portrayed in stories and songs as romantic heroes, larrikins and villains who embraced democracy. DuringWorld War I, the courageous ANZAC soldiers who served in Gallipoli gave new meaning to the term ‘tough Aussie’.
Australian English: speaking ‘Strine’
Australians have a unique colloquial language, coined ‘strine’ by linguist Alastair Morrison (imagine saying Australian with your teeth gritted to keep out the flies) in 1966. This combines many long lost cockney and Irish sayings of the early convicts with words from Aboriginal languages. Australians often abbreviate words and then add an ‘o’ or ‘ie’ on the end as in ‘bring your cossie to the barbie this arvo’. They also like reverse nicknames, calling people with red hair ‘bluey’, saying ‘snowy’ to someone with dark hair, and tagging ‘lofty’ to someone who is small in stature. Australians tend to flatten our vowels and end sentences with a slightly upward inflection.
Sporting heroes: the glory of green and gold
It's no secret that Australians are sports mad. With more than 120 national and thousands of local, regional and state sporting organisations, it's estimated that six-and-a-half million people in Australia are registered sport participants. The number one watched sport in Australia is Australian Rules Football (AFL) with its high kicks and balletic leaps, while the brute force and tackling tactics of National Rugby League (NRL) reign supreme in New South Wales and Queensland. Australia’s national Rugby Union team, the Wallabies play on the international circuit and in the Bledisloe Cup, part of a Tri Nations tournament with South Africa. Australia is a nation of swimmers and Olympic medals attest to our performance in the pool. The list of sports goes on, and if in doubt about the rules just ask a passionate punter.
An outdoor lifestyle: beach and barbeques
With more than 80 per cent of Australians living within 50 kilometres of the coast, the beach has become an integral part of their famous laid-back lifestyle. From Saturday morning surf-club training for young ‘nippers’ to a game of beach cricket after a barbeque, Australians love life on our sandy shores. Australians go to the beach to enjoy the sun and surf or to sail, parasail, fish, snorkel, scuba dive and beach comb. Australia’s most famous beaches - Bondi and Manly in Sydney, St Kilda in Melbourne, Surfers Paradise on the Queensland Gold Coast, Cottesloe in Perth and Glenelg in Adelaide – attract locals as well as international tourists.
Multiculturalism: diverse food, festivals and faith
Since 1945 more than six million people from across the world have come to Australia to live. Today, more than 20 per cent of Australians are foreign born and more than 40 per cent are of mixed cultural origin. In their homes they speak 226 languages - after English, the most popular are Italian, Greek, Cantonese and Arabic. Australia’s rich cultural diversity is reflected in their food, which embraces most of the world’s cuisines and artfully fuses quite a few of them. You’ll find European flavours, the tantalising spices of Asia, Africa and the Middle East and bush tucker from their backyard on offer everywhere from street stalls to five star restaurants. As a nation, Australia embrace a rainbow of religious belief and you’ll find Catholic and Anglican churches, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist temples, mosques and synagogues lining their streets.
Aboriginal culture: a rich and timeless tradition
The Dreamtime is the sacred ‘time before time’ of the world’s creation. According to Aboriginal belief, totemic spirit ancestors emerged from the earth and descended from the sky to awaken a dark and silent world. They created the sun, moon and stars, forged mountains, rivers, trees and waterholes and changed into human and animal forms. Spirit ancestors connect this ancient past with the present and future through every aspect of Aboriginal culture. Rock art, craft and bark painting reveal Dreamtime stories, mark territory and record history, while songs tell of Dreamtime journeys, verbally mapping water sources and other essential landmarks.
Culture cravings: theatre, film, books and visual art
From theatre to literature, Australians have a quiet love affair with the arts. They flock to the movies and their attendance at galleries and performing arts is almost double that for all football codes. Australians cities play host to a huge array of cutting-edge cultural festivals, and offer music, theatre and dance performances and art exhibitions every day of the week. See traditional Aboriginal dance performance by the Bangarra Dance Theatre, throw yourself into the WOMADelaide international music festival in Adelaide and soak up theatre, ballet, opera and painting in Brisbane’s huge cultural centre on South Bank. In smaller towns you can catch performances by local musicians and see hand-made art and craft.
How much will I be paid?
Pay rates will be dependent on age, skills, experience and qualifications. There are initial starting rates which will range from the examples listed below. This will mean that once skills are proven on the job, employers will reassess wages from there if applicable. As the current situation is very fluid and pay rates can change week by week, we are unable to provide exact rates as each employer offers different packages.
General Salary Information
Mining, Resources & Energy
$100k - $135k
Consulting and Strategy
$95k - $121k
$92k - $119k
$91k - $117k
Information & Communication Technology
$86k - $110k
$74k - $100k
Healthcare & Medical
$76k - $95k
Government & Defence
$76k - $93k
Marketing & Communications
$75k - $94k
Human Resources & Recruitment
$74k - $94k
Banking & Financial Services
$74k - $94k
$71k - $91k
$71k - $91k
Science & Technology
$72k - $89k
Insurance & Superannuation
$70k - $89k
Advertising, Arts & Media
$66k - $82k
Farming, Animals & Conservation
$65k - $82k
Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics
$65k - $81k
Design & Architecture
$62k - $80k
Education & Training
$63k - $79k
Real Estate & Property
$59k - $76k
Community Services & Development
$58k - $71k
Trades & Services
$54k - $68k
Sport & Recreation
$54k - $67k
Retail & Consumer Products
$51k - $64k
Hospitality & Tourism
$50k - $61k
Call Centre & Customer Service
$48k - $60k
Administration & Office Support
$46k - $57k
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is the Australian Government's main revenue collection agency. The ATO manages and shapes the revenue systems that sustain social and economic policy, and fund services for Australians. Their main role is to administer legislation for taxes, superannuation and excise (but not customs duty) and they also address broader issues such as aggressive tax planning, persistent tax debtors, globalisation and the cash economy.
In Australia, tax is paid out of money you earn from a job, business or investment. The Australian Taxation Office collects taxes from individuals and businesses to pay for important community services like hospitals, schools, roads and railways.
Understanding Tax - Starting Out
If you are working, your employer automatically takes tax out of your salary or wages. At the end of each financial year, you lodge a tax return with the Tax Office which shows how much you earned and how much tax was taken from your pay. You may be able to reduce the amount of tax by claiming some deductions and tax offsets.
Before you start work, or soon after, you may need to get a tax file number (TFN). The main tax you'll pay is income tax, which is charged on income you receive, such as salary and wages, investment income and business income. At the end of the income year (30 June), most people need to lodge an annual tax return.
A tax file number is an important part of the Australian tax system. Only one TFN is issued to you during your lifetime, even if you change things such as your name or residency.
How income tax works
The main tax you'll pay is income tax, which is charged on income you receive, such as salary and wages, investment income and business income.
Usually you pay income tax during the year as you earn the income. It's called 'pay as you go' (PAYG).
If you're an employee, your payer (your employer) works out how much income tax to take out of your wages and sends it to ATO. This is called PAYG withholding.
If you earn income from which tax hasn't been withheld - for example, if you're paid as a contractor or you receive rent or interest income - ATO may ask you to make payments during the year direct to them. These payments are called PAYG instalments.
The amount of income tax you pay is linked to how much you earn and whether you're an Australian resident. The more you earn, the higher your rate of tax.
How much income tax you pay
The amount of income tax and the tax rate you pay depends on how much you earn. The more you earn, the higher your rate of tax.
If you're an Australian resident, the first $18,200 you earn is tax-free. This is called the tax-free threshold. If you are a foreign resident, you pay tax from the first dollar of taxable income.
Unless you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, you will need a visa to enter Australia. New Zealand passport holders can apply for a visa upon arrival in the country. All other passport holders must apply for a visa before leaving home. You can apply for a range of visas, including tourist visas and working holiday visas, at your nearest Australian Consulate. You can also apply for certain types of visas online.
There are important things you should know before applying for, or being granted, an Australian visa. These include applying for the right type of visa, application requirements, your obligations while in Australia and the importance of complying with visa conditions.
A tourist visa is for people visiting Australia for a holiday, sightseeing, social or recreational reasons, to visit relatives, friends or for other short-term non-work purposes. There are a number of tourist visas available for people wishing to visit Australia as a tourist. Visit the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship website for eligibility requirements.
ETA (Visitor) (Subclass 976)
An electronically stored authority for short-term visits to Australia of up to three months. Available to passport holders from a number of countries and regions, who live outside Australia.
eVisitors (Subclass 651)
An electronically stored authority for visits to Australia for tourism or business purposes for up to three months. Available to passport holders from the European Union and a number of other European countries, who live outside Australia.
Tourist visa (Subclass 676)
A temporary visa allowing a stay in Australia of up to three or six or 12 months. Applicants can apply from both outside and in Australia. Some tourists are eligible to lodge an online application for an e676 Tourist visa.
Sponsored Family Visitor visa (Subclass 679)
For people seeking to visit family in Australia for a stay period of up to 12 months. Formal sponsorship by an Australian citizen or permanent resident is required.
Non-Australian citizens from certain countries are eligible to transit through Australia without a visa. If you do not qualify for transit without a visa, you will need to apply for a Transit visa.
Working Holiday visa
The Working Holiday and Work and Holiday programs encourage cultural exchange and closer ties between arrangement countries by allowing young people to have an extended holiday supplemented by short-term employment. There are two types of Working Holiday visas:
Working Holiday visa (Subclass 417)
For people from Belgium, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and United Kingdom.
Work and Holiday visa (Subclass 462)
For applicants from Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey and the USA.
The Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship has produced a number of fact sheets. These provide more information on temporary residence options in Australia, including the Working Holiday and Work and Holiday programs, and information on working in Australia.
There are special visas for students wishing to study in Australia and for parents, relatives or guardians of a student who is studying in Australia.
There are eight sub-classes of student visas depending on your passport country and course of study. Check with the Australian Government Department on how to apply for the correct visa to meet your individual circumstances.
Sponsored Training visas are also offered for people who want to come to Australia through a professional development program or to undertake workplace based training.
Electronic Travel Authority
The Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) allows people to visit Australia for short term tourism or business purposes of up to three months. An ETA is available to passport holders from more than 30 countries, regions and locations. Check the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship website for eligibility requirements.
The eVisitor allows visitors to travel to Australia for short term business or tourism purposes for up to three months. eVisitor applications are free and are available to passport holders from the European Union and a number of other European countries. Check the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship website for eligibility requirements.
Extending your stay in Australia
If you are already in Australia and hold a valid ETA (Visitor) (subclass 976), an eVisitor (subclass 651), e676 Tourist visa, or a paper-lodged tourist visa (subclass 676) granted for a stay of three months or less you can extend your stay in Australia to a maximum of six months. Check the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship website for details.