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Moving to Australia From the UK

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Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

30th May 2023 (Last updated on 23rd Feb 2024) 11 minute read

Emigrating to Australia from the UK has always been popular, and in recent years, more people are choosing to make the move ‘down under’. With its gold coasts, warmer weather and diverse culture, Australia promises a higher overall quality of life.

With the current cost of living crisis in the UK, many people are looking for higher wages and a more positive outlook. As Australia has a large number of British expats living in the country and its primary language is English, it’s easier to adjust to Australian living.

Even so, when moving to the other side of the world, there’s a lot to consider, including removal costs and job prospects. This article discusses everything you need to know before booking your removals to Australia.

  1. Why Are People Moving From the UK to Australia?
  2. Types of Australian Visas
  3. How to Apply for an Australian Permanent Residency Visa
  4. Australian Citizenship
  5. Cost of Removals to Australia from the UK
  6. Property Prices
  7. Work and Salary
  8. Cost of Living
  9. Healthcare
  10. Education
  11. Importing a Vehicle
  12. Culture
  13. Is it Worth Moving to Australia from the UK
Here are some useful facts to know about Australia:
  • Average Shipping Costs from the UK - £5,258
  • Population - Over 26 million
  • Currency - Australian Dollar (AUD)
  • Main Language - English
  • Number of British Expats - 1.2 million people
  • Number of British Expats Compare My Move Have Helped to Relocate - Over 800 people
  • Most Popular Cities for Expats - Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney

Why Are People Moving From the UK to Australia?

Australia is an ever-popular location for British people looking to relocate. With a much warmer climate and a better quality of life, it’s clear why over 1.2 million Brits have chosen to make the move.

While Australia is 9,443 miles away from the UK, it has a more relaxed work/life balance, higher wages and good investment opportunities. As the primary language is English, adjusting to Australian living is far easier than moving to a non-English-speaking country.

In addition to this, healthcare and education are of a top standard, so those looking to move won’t have to compromise on this. There are plenty of job opportunities down under as there are skills shortages across the country, which is great for expats seeking a career or vocation.

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Types of Australian Visas

Obtaining a visa is essential when travelling and moving to Australia. There are several different options to choose from depending on the purpose of your move. The most popular visa types include:

  • Visit and tourism
  • Study
  • Work
  • Working Holiday
  • Temporary Skill shortage
  • Permanent Residency
  • Joining a partner or family
  • Long stays

To emigrate to the country permanently, you will need to apply for a permanent residency visa. The 4 visa options that allow you to become a permanent resident are:

Family-stream

For partners and dependent relatives to an existing Australian citizen, adoption purposes and carers.

Work-stream

Those that have a sponsoring employer in Australia and are moving to work, or those that have skills needed in the country.

Business or Investment-stream

People looking to invest in Australia through business or investment.

Retirement Visa Pathway

This is for retirees seeking permanent residency in Australia

The Australian Government, Department of Home Affairs explains each visa and its requirements in more detail.

In addition to a visa, you will also need to fill out an Incoming Passenger Card (IPC). The IPC is provided during your flight/ship to Australia and needs to be completed upon arrival.

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How to Apply for an Australian Permanent Residency Visa

To obtain a permanent residency visa you will need to apply via the Department of Home Affairs website. As the process times can take up to 9 months, it’s important to complete and send off the forms as early as possible.

Depending on the type of visa you’re applying for, the application costs will vary. The Home Affairs Visa pricing estimator can help you to determine how much your application will cost.

Some of the relevant documentation you will need includes but is not limited to:

  • Valid passport
  • Visa application form
  • Visa application fees
  • Identification photo
  • Health insurance
  • Employer permission letter (if applying for work purposes)

When it comes to the majority of visas such as skilled occupation visas, Australia works on a points system basis. You will need to score at least 65 points to be accepted. Some aspects that get taken into consideration include

  • Work experience
  • Qualifications
  • Age
  • Good English proficiency

The Education and Migration Services Australia website covers this in more detail.

Australian Citizenship

To be recognised as an Australian citizen, you need to have lived in Australia for at least 4 years before applying for Australian citizenship through the Department of Home Affairs website. You must have at least a year of permanent residency.

While some countries don’t allow this, in Australia you can have dual citizenship and still remain a UK citizen. You can apply for Australian citizenship through the government website when you meet the necessary criteria.

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Cost of Removals to Australia from the UK


Given that Australia is located across the globe from the United Kingdom, you can expect your international removal costs to be significantly higher than moving to other countries.

Our research shows that shipping to Australia will cost an average of £5,258. This is based on shipping a 40ft container. If you require the use of additional services, such as packing this will cost around £250.

The total cost of international removals will vary based on factors such as the type of shipping used, the weight and number of items and the distance travelled.

Here at Compare My Move, we can assist you with your move to Australia by placing you in contact with up to 6 of our trusted and verified international removal partners. We can help you to save up to 70% on your relocation costs.

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Property Prices

The average price per square meter for a property in an Australian city is $11,107.41 (£5891.87). In the UK, the price is around £8,275.97 per square meter. On average, properties outside of Australian city centres cost $8,283.10 (£4393.73) per square meter. In the UK, these properties cost £3,291.35 per square meter.

While property prices in Australia are cheaper it’s more expensive to rent down under compared to the UK. A 1-bedroom home in Australia costs $2,284.71 (£1207.67) and in the UK it costs £906.99. A 3-bedroom home will cost around $3,738.52 (£1976.13) in Australia and an average of £1,607.79 per month in the UK.

Some of the best areas to live in Australia include Brisbane, Canberra and Perth. Sydney and Melbourne are the most expensive areas to live in, whereas Adelaide, Cairns and Perth are more affordable.

*Data taken from Numbeo statistics

Work and Salary

The average wage in Australia is $90,800 (£47,998.70) according to Time Doctor. This wage is higher than the UK average of £34,963, providing a higher amount of disposable income.

Workplaces and jobs in Australia aren’t too dissimilar to the UK, and if you currently have a specific profession, you can likely continue in a similar role when moving.

According to Yahoo, some of the top occupations in Australia are in the following industries:

  • Retail
  • Healthcare
  • Teaching
  • Drivers
  • Accounting

In general, working in Australia is far better than in the UK. Salaries are higher, workplaces are more relaxed and there is a good amount of job availability. Due to a skills shortage as explained by Western Union, Australia is calling out for migrants to fill these roles. Skill shortages exist in professions such as:

  • Doctors
  • Childcare
  • Carers
  • Construction
  • Programming

As a result, British citizens moving to Australia will likely find employment quickly and easily, especially if they can fill these specific roles. In the UK, the most popular jobs according to the 2021 census, are:

  • Wholesale, retail and motor trade
  • Health and social work
  • Education
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing

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Cost of Living

Surprisingly, Australia's overall cost of living is 16% more expensive when compared to the UK. While some living expenses are cheaper such as utility bills, most things are more expensive.

It’s worthwhile to note that while the cost of living is higher in Australia, workers are paid significantly more when compared to UK salaries, which does help to offset the increased costs and balances out the overall living costs.

Here is a comparison of the living costs for both countries:

Cost of Living ExamplesAustraliaUnited Kingdom

Public Transport Pass (Monthly)

$163 (£86.24)

£74.70

Utility Bills (Monthly - One Person)

$169 (£89.41)

£116

Gym Membership (Monthly)

$74.50 (£39.41)

£32.10

Taxi (5 Miles)

$25.70 (£13.60)

£13.80

Inexpensive Restaurant Meal for 2 People

$98.40 (£52.06)

£50

1 Cinema Ticket

$21.60 (£11.43)

£9.80

Beer (0.5L)

$6.34 (£3.35)

£1.77

Chicken Breast (1kg)

$13.30 (£7.04)

£5.91

Cappuccino

$5.26 (£2.78)

£2.94

* Data taken from LivingCost.Org

Healthcare

Like the UK, Australia has a public health system that can be accessed. It’s called Medicare and it’s paid for through taxes. While the majority of services are fully covered by Medicare, in some instances, people are required to partially pay for costs such as GP visits.

In addition to Medicare, many people in Australia will choose to pay for private medical insurance too. The level of care and healthcare services is particularly high in Australia.

Education

The Australian education system is not too dissimilar to the UK’s. Children start school at 6 years old and compulsory education ends at 16. Pupils can then choose to continue their education between 16-18. In the UK children begin school at the age of 5 (4 in Northern Ireland.)

There are 3 stages of education: Primary (6-12), Secondary (12-16), and Senior Secondary (16-18). Some of the best schools in Australia include Baulkham Hills High School, Perth Modern School and Sydney Grammar School.

There are some great universities in Australia that are known for their high levels of teaching and research. However, compared to the UK, Australian universities are not seen as prestigious. This is due to them being newer than the likes of Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews, for example.

Australia has 43 universities, compared to over 160 in the UK. Some of the best universities include:

  • The University of Sydney
  • University of Melbourne
  • The University of Queensland
  • The Australian National University
  • University of Technology Sydney

On average, Study Adelaide states that university fees will cost between $15,000 - $33,000 (£7920 - £17,424) per year. The cost will vary depending on the course and the university. In the UK, the average university tuition fee is £9,250 a year.

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Importing a Vehicle

Importing a vehicle to Australia from the UK can be a lengthy process. First, you will need to check that your car is eligible to be driven in Australia. If it is, you will need to apply via ROVER, the Road Vehicle Regulator.

The application forms and application can be completed online, and then you can track the application process via the ROVER website. Once the car has been accepted you will need to organise shipment and declare the car import.

During this process, you will need to pay for the following:

  • Customs duty
  • Luxury car tax (if applicable)
  • Goods & Service tax

Once the car is shipped, it will need to meet the vehicle requirements of the country before it can be driven. This includes being placed on the Register of Approval Vehicles (RAV) and having compliance tests carried out.

When approved, the car must be registered in the state or territory you are moving to. You will then be provided with Australian license plates.

After moving, you are only permitted to drive using your UK driving license for 3 months. After this time, you will need to apply for an Australian driving license. Australians also drive on the left-hand side of the road, which makes driving slightly easier when moving from the UK.

Culture

The culture in Australia is diverse, interesting and varied. Small towns in rural areas of Australia are vastly different to the culture and atmosphere in the larger cities, which is worth keeping in mind.

As Australia is such a vast country, there is a big mix of different types of lifestyles. Living in the Outback is very different to living on the Golden Coast being surrounded by beaches. Australian culture has many different influences.

There is a high focus on diversity and equality, and Australia is known for being an open-minded and accepting country. There is more of an emphasis on work/life balance and a more relaxed and slower pace of life compared to the UK.

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Is it Worth Moving to Australia from the UK

It’s important to consider the positive and negative aspects of relocating to Australia before making your decision. Here are some aspects to consider:

Pros:

  • Good job prospects
  • English is the first language
  • Better weather
  • Job skill shortage can make finding a job easier if you’re qualified in this field
  • Wages are significantly higher
  • Great work/life balance
  • Good healthcare system

Cons:

  • Removals costs are high
  • Distance from the UK
  • Higher cost of living
  • Rental costs are higher
  • Higher taxes

Frequently Asked Questions

How much money do you need to move to Australia from the UK?

There is no set amount of money needed to move to Australia from the UK. However, you will need to ensure that you can keep up with the higher cost of living and that you can afford the rental and property prices.

What qualifications do you need to move to Australia from the UK?

There are no specific qualifications needed to move to Australia from the UK. However, as most Australian visas are accepted based on a points system, having qualifications and a job can help with your approval.

If you don’t have a job or qualifications, this doesn’t mean you won’t be accepted. Acceptance is based on individual applications and the type of visa you’re applying for.

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Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.

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