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Checklist for moving to Australia

We have created this simple checklist to help you understand the steps involved with a move to Australia, highlighting the crucial things to look out for during your planning and preparations.

Written on 3 April 2022

A vast number of expats consider Australia as one of their top choices for relocation. With the all-year-round postcard weather, the welcoming culture and the beautiful, spacious housing, this choice of destination is a no-brainer.

But the lure of this tempting relocation spot is not met without its complexities. At the amount of people attempting the Australian immigration process either giving up or failing completely standing at a whopping 70%, it is key to remember that this type of undertaking is not for the faint-hearted.

To help you understand the necessary steps that are involved with a move to Australia, we have created a checklist to ensure that nothing important gets missed, as well as crucial things to look out for during your planning and preparations.

Obtaining your Visa

Despite the somewhat scary percentage listed above and the fact that Australia is typically known for being notoriously difficult to emigrate to, it remains a country with one of the highest immigrant populations. However, none have done so without the necessary visa.

It is important to consider that a completed Visa application as early as possible (well ahead of when you plan to travel) can allow you the time to resolve any issues that may arise with your application, preventing any stall in your moving timeline.

There are multiple visas available for those looking to emigrate to Australia. Ultimately, the type of visa you need will depend on a variety of factors such as your country of origin, age, and occupation.

For a relocation, although a permanent residence will always be the goal, it is usually one of the hardest visa statuses to achieve.

Some of the most common visa categories include the following:

  • Australian Skilled Visa
  • Australian Partner Visa
  • Australian Business Visa
  • Australian Family and Spouse Visa
  • Australian Investor Visa
  • Australian Student Visa
  • Australian Employer-Sponsored Visa
  • Australian Working Holiday Visa

A Skilled Visa will usually be the chosen route for skilled migrants looking to make a permanent move to Australia. These Visa’s work on a points-based system and are impacted by a variety of factors.

Examples of these factors can be things like; where you intend to move to within Australia, what type of job is being applied, as well as your own personal circumstances and skills as an individual.

Australian border documentation

Although there is a list of ‘exceptions’ which can be classed as other acceptable travel documents at the Australian border, all passengers that are not Australian or New Zealand citizens will typically need to present the following documents to the officers in immigration clearance at the border:

  • A valid passport (or as mentioned above, other acceptable travel document)
  • A valid visa or authority clearance to enter Australia (this includes electronic visas)
  • A completed and signed Incoming Passenger card (including health and character declaration)

An Incoming Passenger card (IPC) holds a series of questions which passengers must complete to be able to enter Australia and is for the following purposes:

  • Provides a declaration that the non-Australian citizen passenger meets the necessary health and character requirements
  • Acts as an application form for a Special Category Visa
  • Acts as a visa application form for Norfolk Island Permanent Residents

Arriving without any of the three listed documents or levels of clearance increases your risk of being refused entry. Entry could also be delayed further until the Australian authorities can officially confirm your identity, so having these organised and secured well in advance is crucial.

Money management

How well you organise the management of your finances after your move can massively determine how smooth your overall moving process will go. The first essential step is getting set up with the necessary Australian accounts to suit your needs.

Bank accounts including savings accounts, specific transaction accounts and term deposit accounts should be organised before your scheduled arrival and can even be handled online.

Once your Australian accounts are set up, be sure to obtain its Bank Code Number/SWIFT code.

This will then allow you to transfer your funds from your current bank accounts into your new Australian accounts using an International Money Transfer (also known as an IMT).

Applying for an Australian credit card should also be considered in advance, to ensure you hold the necessary documentation to obtain one before you leave.

On the subject of banks, it is vital that you also advise your current bank of your move as soon as possible. Failure to do so could result in your bank automatically flagging your accounts for fraudulent activity, or worse, blocking them completely (even before you move if you begin making Australian purchases in preparation).

If you use your mobile phone for online banking and fail to link it to your new international number while roaming, this could also lock you out of your funds, so always make sure to complete this step before you travel.

Planning your tax affairs

Obtaining the necessary tax documents you will need for Australia as soon as possible is certainly advised, to ensure you have what you need when required to pay tax in Australia for the financial year. An Australian tax expert will be able to find out exactly what your tax liabilities will be in Australia, as well as if these documents will be required from you.

You should also advise your current tax office of your move to ensure you pay any outstanding tax for the financial year before you leave.

Overview checklist of things to do in advance for your move to Australia

Below is a further list of things to consider before your move, in order to avoid accidental oversight of something important within the process.

  • Check your passport is valid and that the expiry date is suitable for your visa restrictions
  • Open an Australian bank account for fast, easy access to your funds upon arrival
  • Ensure any valuables that you plan to be shipped for your move
  • Organise full health and travel insurance cover
  • Research what specific things can be imported, as well as duties that may need to be paid on them
  • If applicable, apply for an international driving permit
  • Plan and note all utility and miscellaneous companies that send you postal correspondence, in order to forward your mail efficiently to your new Australian address
  • Make copies of all your most important documentation
  • Check any prescription medication you currently take can be brought into Australia (and organise doctor notes where necessary)
  • Monitor the exchange rates to get the best possible rate for your Australian funds
  • If applicable, arrange for storage of shipped belongings if there is a possibility they arrive before yourself
  • Organise both your current and new accommodation (I.e., give notice to landlords, list home for sale, contact an agent to oversee the renting out of your home, pay off final rent and utilities, share new address with family and friends etc)
  • Do your research on Australian culture and social habits/etiquette to help you settle in faster once you arrive
  • Obtain references for work purposes (focus on email addresses due to time zone differences)
  • If applicable, provide ample notice of your resignation with your employer