Relocating Down Under? Our guide for UK citizens

Relocating to a new country can be an exciting opportunity. It creates the possibility to experience a new culture, meet new people and expand your horizons. Nonetheless, the planning stages before making the move is essential to ensure the move is executed well. This is especially true when it’s to a country which is across the world.

In this guide we will be providing an overview of what you need to consider prior to your move to either Australia or New Zealand, from the administrative bits to the best places to live.

Australia-Kangaroo;

Relocating to Australia

 What visa do you need for a permanent move?

According to Movehub, Australia is the top country which Brits decide to relocate to. Prior to relocating, knowing the steps to get a permanent visa is essential. There are various types of Australian visa types which are suitable for most individual cases. Nonetheless, getting a visa for Australia isn’t easy or quick, and there’s likely to be a lot of paperwork involved.

Type of permanent residency visas

There are several permanent visas that can be used to relocate to Australia. ​​People can become permanent residents of Australia in different ways. Three common ways of becoming a permanent resident are through gaining:

Family-stream permanent visa: This visa is for applicants with partners, children or dependent relatives of Australian citizens or permanent residents.

Work-stream permanent visa: The work-stream visa enables Australian employers to sponsor an individual to work in Australia. It could also be possible to get this visa if you have a particular set of skills valued by Australia

Business or investor-stream permanent visa: These visa types are for entrepreneurs wanting to start new businesses or invest in Australia, and sponsorship by a government agency is usually needed in order to apply.

Point system

Australia has in place a point system for permanent residency. Some Australian visas require a points test to ensure the skilled migrants entering the country will make an impactful contribution to the nation’s economy.

The points test looks at factors such as the applicant’s age, work experience, English language knowledge and, should they have one, their partner’s credentials. To pass the Australian immigration points test, you must score 65 or more. Different sections of the test contribute more to the overall score.

Property market and cost of life in Australia

 Finding a home in Australia

The type of house you decide to purchase will be based on various factors. These include location, financial budget and whether you will be moving in as a single person, couple or family. It’s a great idea to visit Australia on a viewing trip before you make the big move. This will enable you to see properties whilst in Australia and be able to examine your options in greater detail.

Before even going to Australia, a good place to start would be real estate websites listing different properties for sale. You could filter your search by the property type such as apartment or villa, number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Additionally you could also look at searching for price, and features like swimming pool, air conditioning, parking or a balcony.

Property prices will vary depending on where you’re located within the country. Brisbane and Sydney have seen the highest market growth rates with housing prices increasing annually by 27.8% and 26.7% respectively in December 2021. Additionally, smaller cities such as Adelaide have also seen growth, spurred by record-low interest rates and government stimulus. As a result, choosing a location which is cost-effective but also provides good work-life balance is becoming more important in Australia.

Cost of living in Australia

Living in Australia comes with a high quality of life, fantastic weather and a range of activities that will keep you busy year-round. The price for restaurants, entertainment options and food will be dependent on where you live within Australia. For example, living in Sydney and Melbourne comes at a higher financial expense compared to living in Adelaide.

The biggest expense would be property rent or mortgage payments which would need to be covered. Nonetheless, living in Sydney or Melbourne there is a greater chance of receiving a higher wage from employees, helping to cover costs.

Visiting Australia before the big move

If you’re planning on moving to Australia for a temporary period prior to moving there permanently or simply on a viewing trip there are a few options you can consider. Below we’ve listed temporary visa options for UK citizens travelling to Australia.

Working holiday visa

Working Holiday visas are popular among 18 to 30 year olds who want to visit Australia for up to 1 year. It can be renewed once or twice, under conditions which include taking up employment within rural industries, such as farming, fruit picking and construction work. When applying for your Working Holiday Visa, you’ll also have to pay AUD $510 for it to be processed.

To be eligible for a Working Holiday visa, you must be able to prove that you have sufficient financial resources to pay for your stay and return trip. Despite the possibility of working in Australia for up to six months with the same employer and thereby generating income, a minimum of AUD 5000 must be available to be able to complete the trip.

Temporary Visitor Visa

An Australian visitor visa is for up to 6 months at a time. If you decide to choose this visa, it’s prohibited to work during this time period, as this visa is strictly for tourism purposes. The 6 months visa will be valid for 12 months from the issue date.

 5 great places to live in Australia

According to Movehub, Australia is the most popular destination for UK expats. This is not by coincidence as Australia provides a greater standard of living for residents than most countries. With living in Australia you can expect great weather, higher quality food and a better work-life balance.

Below we feature 5 great places to live in Australia and discuss what makes them a great destination to relocate.

1. Sydney – Best for job opportunities

The cost of living in Sydney is high and is within the top 20 most expensive cities to live in the world. This makes living in Sydney financially comparable to other major cities such as London and Vienna. Accommodation, entertainment, transport and eating out at restaurants are a lot more expensive compared to other cities within Australia. Nonetheless, there are greater job opportunities and expat salaries which can allow new skilled workers to enjoy a relatively comfortable standard of living.

Sydney is known as a financial hub and economic power, which definitely has an influence on the city’s popularity and interest from expats from the UK and other countries. There is ample opportunity to get into well established industries such as finance, insurance and healthcare. Accommodation wise, expats have a variety of options to choose from, including high rise apartments near the city centre, or family homes located within the suburbs.

 2. Melbourne – Best for culture

Melbourne is the sports, arts and cultural capital of Australia. What’s more, as a cutting-edge tech and transport hub within Australia. Additionally, it offers easy access for trains and trams to and from the city for the majority of residents.

Melbourne is widely regarded as Australia’s cultural capital. It has many historic organisations, which includes the Australian Ballet, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, as well as several highly regarded theatres and the hub of the Australian film industry. For a city with diversity, culture and history there aren’t many other cities which can compete with Melbourne.

 3. Perth – Best for families

Perth is Australia’s fourth largest and fastest growing economy. The expat community in Perth is diverse, with residents from Britain, South Africa, New Zealand, China, and India amongst others. For expat families and children, Perth offers very good schooling options, including free, private, independent and also international schools.

Perth has very nice weather and a mediterranean climate almost all year round. As a result, planning to move to Perth will mean warmer winters compared to the UK whilst also having seasides nearby for the spring and summer months.

 4. Adelaide – Best for wine lovers

Located on Australia’s south coast, the city of Adelaide is a great destination to move to. The surrounding landscapes consist of pristine beaches, national parks and vineyards producing some of Australia’s best wine.

The cost of living is also low compared to bigger cities within Australia. While the average weekly income for a family in Adelaide is slightly less than the national average, the cost of living is the lowest in the country. Property rental prices in Adelaide are almost 40% lower than those in Sydney and costs related to transportation, utilities and internet are also much less.

 5. Brisbane – Best for rural escapes

Brisbane is Australia’s third largest city and there are plenty of reasons it is appealing as an expat destination. For a start, it’s much more affordable than Sydney or Melbourne in terms of housing, and there are many good job prospects in South-East Queensland. As with many other cities, the closer to the city you get the more desirable and more pricey property becomes, although there are exceptions as some family-friendly suburbs in outer areas are more sought-after than others.

Brisbane is also very close to the Gold Coast which features dining, shopping, beaches and more. This is a great attraction which is roughly 1-2 hours away by car and train.

Moving pets to Australia

When travelling to Australia, you will need to closely follow vaccine and blood test regulations to ensure your pet meets the requirements to obtain an import permit. All pets will need a microchip, rabies vaccine, titer test and internal and external parasite treatment. Dogs, however, will also need additional vaccines and blood tests.

It might not be possible to bring pets other than cats and dogs into Australia unless travelling from New Zealand. Australia has strict policies when it comes to importing other species in order to protect the current animal population and environment. It is best to check the BICON (Biosecurity Import Conditions) System to see if your pet is permitted for import into Australia.

Random facts about Australia

1. The Capital of Australia is Canberra: Although cities like Sydney and Melbourne may be better known, the capital of Australia is Canberra. The biggest city in Australia is Brisbane.

2.Kangaroos only exist in Australia: Australia is the only place in the world where Kangaroos exist in the wild. There are over 50 million kangaroos in Australia with the number growing every year.

3. Australia has over 60 separate wine regions: The majority of the wine regions are in New South Wales and Victoria. Going on a road trip between Sydney and Melbourne could be a good way to visit a few of them.

4. 90% of Australians live on the coast: The large deserts of central Australia means that a huge amount of the population lives on the shores of the country.

5. Christmas is summer time in Australia: Christmas in Australia comes at the beginning of summer. The summer holidays start from mid-December to early February.

New Zealand-min;

Relocating to New Zealand

What visa do you need for a permanent move?

There is also the possibility of gaining a permanent visa when moving to New Zealand. Below are some options available to UK citizens looking to move permanently.

Skilled migrant visa

This visa is available for those aged under 55 It lets you live, work and study in New Zealand permanently, and allows your partner and dependent children (aged 24 and under) to do the same. It’s a points based visa, assessing your skills, qualifications, work experience and whether you have a job offer.

Residence from work visa

If you’re under 55, this visa allows you to live and work in New Zealand for 30 months. To meet the eligibility requirements you’ll need to have a long-term job offer on the skills shortage list. After working for 2 years it’s possible to apply for permanent residency from a work visa.

Entrepreneur Resident Visa

This grants permanent residence to individuals who are already in New Zealand on an Entrepreneur visa and who have been self-employed for at least 6 months. Applicants applying after less than two years of self-employment must have invested at least NZ $500,000 and created 3 new jobs.

Finding a home in New Zealand

Jumping into a new housing market can be challenging and it’s even harder to start searching whilst abroad.  House prices within New Zealand have fallen for the first time in 11 years recently due to policy tightening.

The average price of houses is roughly 810,000 NZD (£427,349). It could also be worth comparing the cost of living within NZ compared to the UK, which can be browsed easily on sites such as Numbeo.

If it’s your first time in New Zealand, a tip is to take a holiday over there first. As a UK resident, you have visa-free entry for 6 months, which can be useful to visit and explore housing. Otherwise, renting temporary accommodation is a good place to start. Similar to most countries, the most populated city Auckland is expensive relative to other smaller cities within New Zealand. You can find further information regarding housing on this New Zealand government page about housing.

Visiting New Zealand before the big move

All visa categories including tourist, visitor and student visa have been open for applications from international travellers. Below we will look at the options for temporary visas and Immigration to New Zealand.

Working holiday visa

Working holiday visas are available to young people, usually aged 18 to 30. This visa lets you travel and work in New Zealand for up to 12 months, or 23 months if you are from the UK or Canada. If you apply for a 23-month visa, you must provide a General Medical Certificate.

With your working holiday visa you can study one or more courses for up to 6 months in New Zealand. For example, you could study English for up to 6 months, do a Study Abroad programme for up to 6 months, or a short training course in New Zealand. For a profession, the working holiday visa provides the opportunity to work for up to 12 months within any sector.

Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)

If you apply online with iVisa, you will be granted access for up to 2 years from the entry visa being issued. The expiration date is mentioned on the Electronic Travel Authority once issued.   Here is what you need to provide:

  • Passport – if you decide to apply online you will need to have a valid passport. However, you need to make sure that the document is valid for at least another 3 months from your date of departure from New Zealand.
  • Digital photo – the photo needs to be as recent as possible and meet all the other guidelines for a passport photo.
  • Means of payment – iVisa asks you that you make the payment during the application process. You can do that using a credit or a debit card, but you can also pay using PayPal.
  • E-mail address – iVisa will send you the visa via e-mail in PDF format. It’s best to print a few copies so that you have a few extra copies.
  • Proof of financial means – once you arrive in New Zealand, you need to prove that you can support yourself during your trip. A bank account statement should be more than enough.
  • Return flight ticket – when you arrive at the airport, you may be asked to show a return flight ticket to your country of origin (or another destination if you are in transit). If you do not have one, you need to prove that you have the financial means to purchase one.

 5 great places to live in New Zealand

New Zealand has a lot of beautiful scenery and greenery within the country. This is a country which has garnered a lot of interest from international expats for good reason.

The way of life in New Zealand is extremely laid back with a strong emphasis on a good work/life balance. With the good weather, excellent leisure facilities, and the fantastic outdoor lifestyle, it is the quality of life that attracts most British expats to live here.

During this section we will be comparing and contrasting major cities within New Zealand.

1. Auckland – Best for arts and culture

Auckland is the capital of New Zealand and is the most popular expat destination within the country. Auckland is a culturally diverse city with a mix of expats, locals and polynesian islanders. Although accommodation in Auckland is the most expensive in New Zealand, there are a variety of living options available to expats. Expats will find that houses situated from the shore are generally cheaper than those in beach areas.

This cosmopolitan city has a population of roughly 1.7 million. It offers expats a vibrant atmosphere and plenty of things to do. All of these factors make Auckland an excellent place for expats looking to further their careers or seek new opportunities.

2. Wellington – Best for shores and adventure

Wellington is a city with a great buzz and expat community. There are a lot of outdoor attractions to take in and explore. These include attractions such as Botanic Gardens, Mount Victoria and Wellington Central Park. Wellington is very artsy and is also home to many filmmakers including Jane Champion. Wellington also has over 100 parks and playgrounds which makes it family friendly. Additionally, there is a relatively low cost of living in Wellington compared to Auckland.

Wellington’s population is roughly 419,000 people, making it a small city relative to cities within the UK. For retirees looking for a slower pace of life, whilst still being a part of a growing economy Wellington is a good option.

3. Christchurch – Best for retired expats

Set in an area of frequent seismic activity, known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, Christchurch was rocked by a powerful earthquake in February 2011, destroying much of the central urban area. Christchurch is rebuilding the city but it’s still in progress. While this has had a devastating impact on the city, Christchurch has set about rebuilding and enhancing its inner city.

New shops, businesses and leisure initiatives are springing up all the time and a coordinated plan for the reconstruction of buildings and infrastructure is ensuring that the city emerges a stronger, greener, happier environment than ever before. Visitors and new arrivals receive the warmest of New Zealand welcomes and with the vast majority of its inhabitants describing themselves as being of European origin, British expats in particular are quick to find themselves very much at home.

4. Queenstown – Best for tourist activities

Queenstown is a popular tourist destination due to the mountains, many tourist activities and beautiful scenery. It’s a popular destination for travellers looking to complete a ski season at one of the many local ski peaks. In addition, if you’re looking for adrenaline seeking activities, bungee jumping and steep cable cars are also available to try.

Queenstown is an expensive city, and it is in the top 5% of the most expensive cities in the world. It is not the most expensive city in New Zealand, but it’s the 3rd, after Auckland and Wellington. Despite being a small town, Queenstown has many different events and festivals in the summer.

Queenstown is also home to some of New Zealand’s most notable heritage walks, which wind their way through the unforgettable natural scenery. This area also has a rich Māori heritage. Today, you can take in one of the many tours around these areas, and learn about it from locals.

5. Rotorua – Best for work-life balance

Rotorua has a lot of scenery and natural greenery. This includes forests, lakes and geothermal resources. Rotorua has a vibrant community with an excellent work-life balance and a high standard of living. More people are looking to the regions for affordable housing and a better lifestyle, and Rotorua is well placed to capitalise on that.

Central Rotorua can become crowded, but there are multiple attractions to get away from busy parts of the city. For example, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland features neon-bright sulphuric lakes, mud pools and fumaroles. Alternatively, Whakarewarewa and Te Puia are amongst the most popular Maori villages showcasing more mud pools, geysers and silica terraces.

 Moving pets to New Zealand

If you’re moving to New Zealand with a dog or a cat, you can either; have the pet on the same journey as you or find an airline that specialises in moving pets. However, your pet needs to meet certain requirements. The most common way to transport your pet is via air transport. Therefore, be sure to consider the following list of costs and requirements before your pet boards the plane:

  • Ensure that all of your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. This includes a rabies vaccination 6 – 12 months before moving. This is likely to cost around £400.
  • An import permit costs around £125.
  • All pets imported from the UK must be quarantined for a minimum of 10 days. This is likely to cost between NZ$1,400 and NZ$2,000 (£800 – £1,200) including transportation and government inspection fees.

Unfortunately, apart from cats and dogs, it is forbidden to import a pet to New Zealand. Therefore, if you have an exotic pet or even a hamster or rabbit you might have to rehome your pets with a new loving family.

Random facts about New Zealand

We’ve put together a list of random facts for New Zealand which show the uniqueness of the country.

1.30% of the country is a national reserve: New Zealand has an array of hills and forests throughout the country. This essentially means that the population safeguard and protect its natural reserves.

2.It has the town with the longest name in the world: Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu. A bit of a tongue twister!

3.New Zealand is home to a lot of sheep: It’s a general consensus that there are 9 sheep to 1 person living in New Zealand. That puts the total number at around 40 million sheep. Additionally, humans are only 5% of the population with the rest being animals, making it the highest animal to humans ratio in the world.

4.The New Zealand All Blacks are the most successful team in sports history: Since 1903, the All Blacks have had a 77 percent winning record in test match rugby. Famous around the world, the haka has become an iconic ceremonial and recognised dance which is performed before a match.

5.The Blue Lake in New Zealand is the Clearest Water In The World. New Zealand has a lot of beautiful lakes within the country and blue wonders.

AUD-NZD;

CurrencyTransfer can help with your international money transfers

If you’re moving Down Under from the UK on a permanent basis, you’ll most likely need to transfer money between your international and UK bank accounts. Whether making property payments overseas or transferring your savings over to yourself, sending money from the UK to either Australia or New Zealand is an essential part of emigrating.

UK high-street banks will usually charge a transaction fee for each online transfer made. As a result, it can be an expensive way to send money overseas. At CurrencyTransfer we are a team of FX specialists who are dedicated to saving you time and money on your overseas payments. Our service provides a transparent and cost effective way to send money and exchange payments from GBP to AUD or GBP to NZD.

Sign up today and if you have any additional questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Omari Coates

Copywriter