Australia has long been one of the most popular destinations for British expats, due to the great climate, relaxed lifestyle, better quality of life, and higher salaries many Britons hope to find there. According to a recent survey, Australia is now definitely the number one expat destination for Britons, followed by the USA, Canada and Spain. While the optimistic expectations about the expat life in Australia are not ungrounded, you should certainly find out as much about the country, living conditions, and professional opportunities as you can. Here is Britannia’s list of the most important things you should look into before moving down under.
With the predominance of the English language, democratic government, and Christianity, Australia is essentially a Western culture, with heavy Anglo-Celtic influences. Until the arrival of the Europeans in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and their influence can be seen in inventions such as the boomerang, the didgeridoo, and indigenous Australian music.
TV, media and sports play an important role in Australian culture, with cricket and rugby being among the most popular sports. Australia’s climate, long sandy beaches and vast natural areas also contribute to a strong outdoors culture. Swimming, surfing and fishing are all popular pastimes.
Australia’s Geography & Climate
Australia is an island continent surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. Australia’s cities are concentrated around the coastline areas, with 90% of the population living there, while the largest portion of its land, the central outback is only sparsely populated due to the high temperatures experienced in the region. The southwest corner of the country, including the larger cities like Perth, Bunbury and Albany has a Mediterranean climate. If you move to the southeast to Canberra, Sydney or Tasmania for example, you’ll find a more temperate climate. The summer lasts from December to February, and is the best time for making the most of the beaches and various outdoor opportunities.
Economy & Employment in Australia
Australia is a market economy, with low rates of poverty, and is the world’s thirteenth largest economy. Many of the country’s cities also tend to rank very well in comparative liveability surveys, with Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide ranked as some of the most liveable cities in the world. While the recent economic crisis has affected prices and the cost of living, Australia has a relatively low unemployment rate of 5.1% as of July 2011, and there are a number of professional opportunities in the services, financial and IT sectors.
Visas & Migration
All non-Australian citizens except for New Zealanders need to obtain a visa to enter the country and stay there permanently. There are a number of different visa types on offer. Employment visas are usually granted to highly skilled workers, and student visas are available to overseas students who have secured a place at a university or another educational establishment. If you have family ties to Australia you can apply for a family visa which is granted to families with links to Oz. You can also obtain Australian citizenship, but only after having lived in Australia for at least four years.
Property in Australia
Before moving to Australia, you should research the area you are moving to, and the local property market, as there are significant differences between the outback and large cities for example. Many expats invest in buying a property when they first arrive in Australia but there are plenty of rental options available as well.
If you need some further information about moving to Australia and living in the country in general, check out some of these websites.
Australia Immigration – This website offers detailed information on visas and immigration to Australia.
Jobs in Australia – Australia’s largest free online jobs board
Property in Australia – Search for properties in Australia on rightmove.co.uk
Australia Information – Overview of many topics related to Australia, including information on Australian culture and lifestyle, national symbols, education, health care, and economy.