Living In Australia

Moving to Australia means running towards opportunities: Australia is a new country where the population, the economy, and the opportunities are growing quickly. Many say that Australia today is like the USA 50 years ago…just full of enthusiasm and opportunity. Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and other Australian cities have a European / North America way of life, offering every kind of service, work, and fun. The quality of life is even better thanks to a lower population density than most cities, low pollution levels and a modern and efficient infrastructure.

Australian society is very multicultural, young and open-minded. The average age is 37. It’s a place where people from all over the world come to share and contribute to a modern nation living experience: Australia may not have the history of some countries, but surely has a bright future ahead.

A Country Full of Opportunities!

Economy and Job Market

Australia’s economy has been the success story of the last few decades: it’s grown and grown. The majority of people could be described as middle class. Job opportunities are available to everyone; Australia is a more meritocratic country than just about anywhere else. Unemployment rates are very low, and in most cities, there is plenty of casual work available, especially for young Australians and international students. And with the highest minimum wages in the world, even those in casual jobs are paid much more than in Europe.

Multicultural society

Australia has an extremely multicultural population. Australia’s recent history is a history of mass immigration, from all parts of the world. Today 1 out of 4 Australians was born overseas and that ratio is increasing.

This means that in Australia you’ll never stand out as a foreigner. If you’re smart, positive, have a good English level and the right attitude, you’ll find a lot of work opportunities, probably more than in your own country. It’s no wonder Australia is often called “the lucky country”!

Australian English

The English spoken in Australia is different only in the accent and one or two expressions and words. After a few days, the Australian accent will sound familiar, and you’ll be ready to live in any English speaking country.



Finding Home in Australia

Finding a new place to live so far from home can be a challenge, especially for families who have to consider access to work, childcare, schools and public transport, while trying to work out affordability in a different currency. So what should you expect when searching for a home in Australia?

Renting a Home

Rental properties don’t come cheap in the main Australian cities. Capital city rental prices dropped 0.5 per cent in the year to September 2016, but are still very high following a property bubble. Renting a house in any of the main cities is likely to cost about A$480 (€335) a week, if not significantly more. The median cost of renting a house in Sydney is A$593 per week, but properties close to the city or in sought-after suburbs can cost twice that much. In Perth average rents are significantly lower at A$419 and in Melbourne a similar home was A$458.

Schools

When choosing a location, schools should be one of the primary considerations for families. If you want to send your child to a state or Catholic school, you will need to be living within the school’s catchment area. It is worth checking with the school how strictly these zones are imposed, but popular schools will enforce the rules more tightly if they are close to capacity. Parents planning to send their children to private schools will be less constrained, but check public transport routes if the school is not within walking distance of where you want to live.
Often one parent will travel out first, staying in temporary accommodation (often paid for as part of a relocation package if they are on a sponsored visa with a large company), with their spouse and children following a few weeks or months later when a more permanent home has been found for the family.

Temporary accommodation

Those who arrive independently can rent temporary furnished accommodation through websites such as Stayz.com.au they search for a more permanent home. Young, single travellers often opt to stay in a hostel at first, and hostel noticeboards can be a good place to find advertisements for rooms to rent in shared houses or apartments.
Competition is fierce for rental properties in the cities and suburbs of Perth, Sydney and Melbourne so, if you are going to view a property, be prepared to pay a deposit straight away and take all the necessary paperwork to the viewing.

Documentation

Landlords and agencies in Australia require more documentation from tenants, and some of the groundwork for this should be done before you leave for Australia. You will need photo identification, proof of current employment and salary, a letter to show you have an Australian bank account, two character references, and a letter from a previous landlord.
Tenants are usually required to pay a month’s rent in advance, plus a rental bond (deposit), which is usually equivalent to an additional month’s rent. Rental properties generally come unfurnished, without appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and fridges. This can add a considerable amount to your start-up costs, but secondhand furniture and machines are often advertised cheaply on websites such as Gumtree.com.au. It is also worth checking if there has been a recent pest inspection, as cockroaches, spiders, ants and pantry moths are common in Australia, and landlords are responsible for their extermination.

Buying a home

Although prices have stabilised somewhat following several years of rapid growth up to 2010, the property market in Australia is still overheated, with many commentators comparing the property bubble to Ireland’s before the crash.
Sydney’s median house price is A$1,021,968, according to statistics from June 2016, with the median cost in Perth at A$568,132, and A$740,995 in Melbourne. CoreLogic (formerly RP Data) provides comprehensive property information and analytics for Australia, with interactive tables showing price changes per region which are updated every month.

Taxation

Those who are renting out their property will have to declare rental income on their annual tax return in Australia. Expenses such as agency fees or maintenance and repair costs for the property can be claimed back from the Australian government and, in certain instances, you may also be entitled to a refund on interest paid on a mortgage.
See the Australian Taxation Office website for more information. A good accountant will be able to advise.

Health Insurance

Australian Government encourages all prospective visitors and residents, whether temporary or permanent, to have adequate health insurance cover to meet their particular health needs while staying in Australia. Your health insurer can be in your home country or Australia, but if you are a student visa holder you must obtain health insurance from an Australian health insurance provider. The government's Private Health website compares a range of insurance products so you can make an informed choice on which health cover works for you.

417 visa health insurance

Get health insurance for a working holiday in Australia

The 417 working holiday visa lets you travel and work in Australia for up to a year. Since most overseas visitors aren't covered fully under Australia’s public healthcare system (if at all), you should consider your health cover.

Health insurance is not a mandatory requirement for the visa itself, but you almost certainly want to make sure you have some kind of health cover. Without it, a single spider bite, car accident, slip and fall, accident while working or anything else might lead to thousands of dollars in medical expenses.

Australian health insurance companies offer “overseas visitor health cover” (OVHC). This is health insurance specifically designed for temporary residents, like people on working holidays, in Australia.

Contract Management for Australian Horticulture industry