Now I know I’m not the first person to write on this topic of moving to Australia, and I’m sure I won’t be the last, but seeing as I recently made the move down under, I thought I’d throw my two cents in and give you all a little information on the ins and outs of moving to Australia from my own perspective.
Your first step to moving to Australia is to get yourself a Working Holiday Visa. A Working Holiday Visa? What’s that, I hear you cry! Well, a WHV is a visa given out to people from various countries (you can see the eligibility requirements here: http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/417/eligibility-first.htm) who are between the ages of 18 and 30 and who want to spend up to 12 months living and working anywhere in Australia. It is one of the simplest visas that I have ever had the pleasure of obtaining, as all it requires you to do is fill in an application form online, pay the fee (at present it stands at AUD$420) and voila! You have a visa. Processing times can vary and they say it can take up to 28 days to be confirmed, but I got my confirmation email about 4 minutes after I hit that submit button.
So you’ve got your visa. What’s next? Flights are probably a good idea, and you may already have made that purchase, but if you haven’t then I would definitely recommend STA Travel for some pretty epic deals and budget options. And after flights I would suggest it’s a good idea to get your bank account and Tax File Number sorted for when you arrive in Australia (you need your TFN in order to work in Australia, just like a National Insurance Number in the UK and Social Security in the USA). Now, different people have different opinions on this matter – some say sort it before you go while others say it’s just as simple to get done after you arrive. Personally I went with the first option and paid STA to do it all for me, because I like to plan ahead, but now that I’m here I can see that it would have been pretty easy to sort out once in the country. It all really depends on how organised you like to be and whether or not you intend to be working straight away.
Next up, I’m assuming you’re going to want to find somewhere to live. This can seem like the scary part, but it’s not really that hard. If you’re travelling alone, hostels are a great place to meet people in similar situations as yourself and who knows, maybe you’ll meet people you want to live with more permanently in the future? Most hostels will have a weekly rate to keep your costs down and they will also often have job boards to help you find the perfect job once you’re ready to jump into the working world. Once you’re ready to stop living out of a bag though, Gumtree is a fantastic place to look for apartments to rent. There are flats to meet pretty much every need and every budget, and while it can be VERY frustrating at times, you just have to stick with it and eventually you’ll find the perfect place.
The final step in moving to Australia is to find a job. In case you haven’t heard, Australia is EXPENSIVE. And I’m saying that as someone who has lived in London my entire life. London doesn’t even come close to the expense of living in an Australian city. The upside to this high cost of living is that pretty much every job out here pays better than your average wage back at home. For bar work or waitressing (you’ll need to complete an RSA course in order to serve alcohol anywhere in Australia) you can expect to be paid around $20 per hour, more on the weekends, and this is a pretty standard wage across a vast majority of jobs. Obviously this wage will vary depending on the job and your skills and experience, but expect to be paid more than you would for the same job in England.
The best way to go about finding these jobs is through pure perseverance. Write yourself an amazing CV and cover letter (change it according to what type of job you’re applying for) and go into every bar, restaurant and shop you can find to ask if they’re hiring. Be confident, give them a smile and say you’re available for interviews immediately.
Again, Gumtree is a great place to look for jobs, as it lists many temporary positions that are perfect for travellers such as yourselves. Seek is also a great job search site, especially if you’re looking for the sort of job that might one day get you sponsorship so you can stay in Australia past the expiration date on your WHV.
So there you have it. My tips for moving to Australia. I don’t claim to be an expert in any way, but I’m here, and I’m doing it and my advice to you is that if you’ve ever wanted to live in another country, then Australia is a pretty great place to start.