The basics of moving from the US to Australia
In the light of recent socio-political events, many Americans have considered relocating and one of the most popular destinations is Australia. An English speaking country, with a thriving economy, with a warmer climate than nearby Canada, Australia also contains some of the most astounding traveling destinations, like The Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Jungle or the Great Ocean Road. There won’t be a major cultural shift if you move there, but there are other important things to take in consideration.
1. Paperwork and waiting time
If you are not a student and don’t have family in Australia, you have to apply for a working visa. The easiest way is to look for jobs in advance and obtain the support of a company that is in search of skilled employers.
If you want to move first and then get a job, you need to get a good score at the points test. Australia favors young professionals, so you will earn extra points for being under 40, owning professional qualifications and degrees, and even having a good financial situation. The Visa Finder is a useful tool, but keep in mind that a working visa can take months to be processed.
2. Citizenship Application
You can obtain citizenship in UK or US after 5 years of living there, but in Australia you can apply after only 4 years. You have to pass a language test no matter where you are from and also a test about Australian culture and law. However, as soon as you start working, your employer will have to contribute with 9% of your income to the retirement fund whether you are a citizen or not.
3. Health Insurance
With a temporary working visa you don’t benefit from public health care, so it’s wise to apply from the beginning to a singles health insurance. Though the Australian medical system is considered to be one of the best in the world, almost half of Australians own a private insurance because they afford premium care. The waiting time can even last for twelve months, so don’t postpone this step.
4. Choosing a Place and Renting
Four Australian cities are among the top ten most livable ones in the world, according to the Global Liveability Ranking 2015. However, you should check your employment opportunities first and choose accordingly.
While you are on a temporary working visa, buying property will be more pricey and legally difficult, but renting is not cheap either as there is a shortage of properties for the growing population. Nevertheless, the minimum wage per hour is $AU17.70 there, compared to $AU10.08 in US.
5. Adjusting to an upside-down schedule
September is in spring there and you are one day behind America, so you have to reset your birthday and national holiday calendar. Communicating with your American friends and family will be hard due to time zone differences and you will suffer from jet lag for a while. Also free and high-performance Wi-Fi connections are not as usual as they are in US, which might make difficult the permanent connectivity you are used to.
Australia has always been one of the most popular moving places for the Americans: “I found Australia was the only country that had more Americans than the US had Australians. For every other country in the world, the US has more of their people than they have Americans – Australia was the one exception. “, said American academic Lyman Stone to Fairfax Media. That means you will find a big American Community there, but also a lot of diversity that you’re probably used to.