If you are considering making the move from the United Kingdom to Australia, this guide will tell you everything you need to know – from visa requirements to cost of living differences; healthcare top tips to rules about moving country with your pets – helping you to feel empowered when the time comes to make the big move.
Quick Australia Facts:
- Population: 25.69 million (2021 estimate)
- Official Language: English (de facto) spoken by the majority of the population
- GDP Per Capita: $60,443 USD (2021 estimate)
- Random Fact: Australia is famed for its creepy crawlies – there are around 1,500 different types of spiders roaming the country
- Currency: AUD Dollar (AUD $). As of late 2023, £1 = $1.91 AUD, €1 = $1.66 AUD, $1 CAD = $1.11 AUD, $1 = $1.52 AUD
1. Moving Costs to Australia From the UK
Below are some sample costs of a small move (1-2 bed flat) to Australia from the UK. However, for more accurate prices please use the quote form at the top of this page.
|From / To
2. How Long Does It Take To Move to Australia from the United Kingdom?
For a flight that quite literally goes across the globe, you can expect long travel times – upwards of 20 hours!
Let’s take a look at some of the common take-off and landing locations in the United Kingdom and Australia to give you an idea of the time you might spend in the air.
- London Heathrow to Sydney – 21 hours, 37 minutes – £860
- London Heathrow to Melbourne – 21 hours, 28 minutes – £930
- London Gatwick to Sydney – 21 hours, 37 minutes – £990
- London Gatwick to Melbourne – 21 hours, 28 minutes – £980
- Edinburgh to Sydney – 21 hours, 27 minutes – £1,160
- Edinburgh to Melbourne – 21 hours, 28 minutes – £1,180
This duration covers the flight time only, so additional time will need to be added to get you from the terminal to your final location.
3. Moving Restrictions to Australia from the UK
Moving from one country to take up residency in another will incur various restrictions – most notably, this comes in the form of visa requirements, which we will cover in the next section.
When moving to Australia, there are several entry requirements depending on the visa type you choose. Skilled Migration visas operate on a points basis which determines if you are granted access, while other visas such as family or partner have different guidelines – you can see these on the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs website.
There are currently no COVID-19 test restrictions, although the Australian government’s website will hold the most up-to-date information on this if this changes. This can include any quarantine periods if necessary at the time of travel.
There will be a quarantine of goods as Australia has strict rules to prevent the introduction of diseases or pests that could harm plant, animal or human health. To comply with this, you will need to fill in an Incoming Passenger Card and declare any ‘risk’ goods, and dispose of any deemed unsuitable before boarding your flight – full information on permitted goods can be found at the Department of Agriculture’s website.
4. Visa Requirements to Australia from the UK
Alongside a valid UK passport with at least 6 months left on the validity, you will in most cases need a visa to grant you entry into Australia. Gov.uk will carry the most up-to-date information for you to look at.
These visas can range from:
- eVisitor visa, allowing you to visit Australia as often as you want within a 12-month period, and stay up to 3 months per visit – no application charge
- Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), allowing you to visit Australia as often as you want within a 12-month period, and stay up to 3 months per visit – service charge applied
- Working holiday visa
The eVisitor visa allows you to visit friends and family, take part in a cruise or have a holiday, and undertake business visitor activities (this can include visiting conferences or attending interviews to scope out employment, but you cannot earn an income in Australia on this visa), and it can allow you to study or train for up to 3 months.
The ETA visa is similar, but no studying or training can take place during your stay. You must also apply from outside Australia to get this visa, have an eligible passport and use the Australian ETA app.
The working holiday visa is fairly self-explanatory – it allows you to work in Australia and can grant you residence for longer than a typical tourist visa while you earn money through short-term employment contracts.
There are several other visas available – especially for those joining family in Australia – which can be accessed on the Department of Home Affairs website. For all other visas, take a look at your visa options here.
In all cases, you need to speak to a visa specialist to advise you on your individual circumstances and always keep up to date with the latest changes in the rules.
5. Cost of Living Differences in Australia
While this article is covering Australia as a whole, house prices will obviously vary from area to area but the figures below will give you an indication of what’s available at what price.
As a general note, it is estimated that the cost of living in Australia is 16.8% higher than that of the United Kingdom, with rent being around 24% higher.
Monthly Rental Prices in Australia:
- 1 bedroom flat (apartment) in City Centre: A$2,300+
- 1 bedroom flat outside the City Centre: A$1,800+
- 3 bedroomed flat in City Centre: A$3,800+
- 3 bedroomed flat outside the City Centre: A$2,750+
Australia Home Purchase Prices:
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy in City Centre: A$12,000+
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy outside the City: A$9,220+
6. Tax Treaties in Australia
While not all countries have tax treaties, many countries do to avoid double taxation on income and to promote economic cooperation between locations. Australia has a tax treaty with the UK, meaning citizens will not be taxed twice on the same income in both countries.
The residency of the individual is the most important factor as it will determine which country has the ‘right’ to tax the income – it’s common to see the country of residence getting ‘first right’ to tax the income – so if you are a UK resident your UK income will be taxed within that country, and not by Australia, and vice versa.
As with something so nuanced, it’s important to seek individual advice from a tax professional to get the most up-to-date information to ensure you are not being taxed more – or less – than you should be.
Take a look at Gov.uk’s page on UK income if you live abroad, and the Australian Government’s Australian Taxation Office to find out what this means for any income earned while on Australian soil.
7. Working Rules in Australia
If you are going to be earning income in Australia, you will need a tax file number (TFN) to ensure you don’t end up paying more tax than necessary on your income. You can see how to apply for this number on the Australian Taxation Office’s website.
As with our previous section, it’s important to ensure you are clued up on your taxation requirements to make sure you pay what you owe to avoid any penalties. Paying taxes in Australia helps to fund healthcare, education, defence and disaster relief in the country.
You will also need permission to work in Australia if you are a foreign resident. You may also need an Australian business number (ABN), but only if you are running your own business, along with a few other requirements which can be found here.
You may already have an employment sponsor to help you gain your working visa, or you may be applying for this individually. Working visa options are outlined here with all their necessary guidelines and requirements.
Whatever your employment circumstances, it’s important to have your visa ironed out before entering the country to ensure a smooth transition. It’s also important to get up to speed with taxes and any beneficial programs, such as healthcare schemes so that you are completely clued up on your rights.
8. Healthcare in Australia
Gov.uk says that the UK and Australia have reciprocal healthcare agreements – this will cover the cost of ‘medically necessary’ care for citizens from certain countries when they visit Australia. This does not negate the need for proper travel and medical insurance which you should purchase before entering the country.
You can also enrol in Medicare when in Australia which will help to pay for some or all of the necessary healthcare costs. This won’t cover ambulance services, dental services, eye tests or cosmetic surgery.
You can of course have private health insurance which will have different restrictions – take a look at the Services Australia website for the most recent information.
If you must bring your own medication into Australia, you’ll need to check that it is legal in Australia before travelling, which you can do on the Gov.uk website.
9. Rules Around Moving With Pets in Australia
Moving house includes lots of boxes of belongings – but it can also include some particularly important furry friends, too! If you need to move to Australia with a pet in tow, here’s what you need to know.
While it is possible to bring your cat, dog and a few other pets from the UK into Australia, there are strict guidelines. As the UK is a rabies-free country, this will largely be allowed – but for those bringing pets from non-approved countries, this will likely be denied.
If you are bringing your pet in from an approved country, you will need a valid rabies certificate from within the last six months, and undergo a quarantine period in Sydney or Melbourne for at least 10 days upon arrival.
Your pets will need to be microchipped, and general eligibility will need to be granted. Take a look at Pets Abroad for full information.
10. Similar Cities
Looking at similar cities to Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, Toronto can be seen as a comparable location owing to its cultural diversity, quality of life and entertainment scenes.
Sydney, Melbourne and Toronto are all classed as major economic centres, full of plentiful job opportunities. Similarly, they all rank highly in terms of quality of life, with a good standard of healthcare, standard of living and general safety.
All cities have a rich social landscape, and have thriving arts and entertainment scenes, with plenty of cultural events throughout the year.
Local purchasing power is 0.1% lower in Toronto than it is in Sydney, with rent being 15.5% lower in Toronto. However, local restaurant prices are higher in Toronto when compared to Sydney, while yearly salaries have around A$500 difference.
11. Pros and Cons of Moving to Australia from the UK
Perhaps you’re moving for a new job opportunity, or just want to try out a completely different country and climate – whatever your reason for wanting to move from the UK to Australia, let’s take a look at some of the main pros and cons associated with moving.
|Advantages of Moving from the UK to Australia
|Disadvantages of Moving from the UK to Australia
|Climate and Lifestyle: Australia generally offers a warmer climate and a more outdoor-oriented lifestyle, which can be appealing for those seeking a change from the UK's cooler weather
|Distance from Family and Friends: Moving to Australia means being far away from family and friends in the UK
|Job Opportunities: Australia has a growing economy and offers opportunities in various industries
|Cost of Living: While it varies by region, certain areas in Australia, especially major cities, can have a high cost of living, including housing, transportation, and daily expenses
|Outdoor Activities and Nature: Australia is known for its stunning natural landscapes and outdoor activities, providing opportunities for hiking, water sports and exploring unique ecosystems
|Strict Quarantine Regulations: Australia has stringent quarantine regulations, which might affect bringing certain items or pets from the UK
|Quality of Life: Australia consistently ranks high in global quality of life indices, offering a good healthcare system, safety, and a generally laid-back lifestyle
|Initial Adjustment Period: Adapting to a new culture can be challenging, and some individuals may experience an initial adjustment period
Whatever you decide, it’s important that you understand the legal factors affecting your move – be sure to check Gov.uk for all the information you need.