Living and Working in Australia
Australia has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Australia offers a superb climate, a unique and beautiful environment and a well developed, culturally rich and diverse society.
Australia’s mainland capital cities are regularly ranked among the most livable cities in the world.
The best option for when you arrive in Australia is to rent somewhere to live whilst you settle in to your new life and new role. If you then decide to stay in Australia, you can comfortably make a decision about buying a property.
In the meantime, when looking for somewhere to live, you will need to make sure you take in to account things such as:
- Distance from work and amenities
- Local transport
- Cost of transport
- Type of accommodation, and
- Whether the property is furnished or not.
Depending on your circumstances monthly rent can vary from $800 - $2,000 per month. Please note that there are benefits provided to those on a 457 Sponsorship Visa through the Living Away from Home Allowance tax benefit which will reduce rental costs significantly. Please see www.lafha.com.au.
You will be asked to put one month's rent down as a deposit in most cases, which will be returned once you leave depending on the condition of the property. In addition to your rent and deposit, you will also be responsible for paying utility bills such as gas and electricity.
The most common lease terms are six months, 12 months or 24 months, with the opportunity of a notice period (usually one rental month) written into the contract.
When you’ve arrived you will find the following newspapers have a property section in the Saturday edition and sometimes during the week also:
- Sydney Morning Herald - Sydney
- The Age - Melbourne
- The Canberra Times - Canberra
- The Courier Mail - Brisbane
- The West Australian - Perth
- The Adelaide Advertiser - Adelaide
If you would like further assistance in finding suitable accommodation in Australia, we recommend you contact individual real estate agents to discuss your needs and requirements.
Australia’s healthcare system is called Medicare.
The Commonwealth Government has signed reciprocal healthcare agreements with the United Kingdom. This reciprocal agreement ensures that working travellers are entitled to free emergency medical treatment through Medicare.
Ensure you apply for a Medicare card on arrival - for information on the Medicare scheme please visit www.hic.gov.au.
If you require dental work while residing in Australia you will be required to pay for the treatment personally.
Residents of the United Kingdom who visit Australia are entitled to:
- Free treatment at a public hospital in-patient or out-patient department.
- Medicare benefits for out of hospital medical treatment provided by doctors through private surgeries and Government Health Centres.
Getting a bank account
It is relatively easy to open a bank account in Australia once you have chosen a provider.
You will need to provide several forms of identification and proof of address such as your rental agreement or utility bills. Each individual bank will inform you of the requirements when applying for an account.
- Major retail banks in Australia include Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and ANZ.
- Some banks in Australia impose monthly banking charges and additional charges for withdrawals from ATMs outside of your chosen network therefore it is important that you research each bank to ensure there are no surprises and that it suits your needs.
- As in the UK, all banks have online banking and your salary is paid directly into your account usually on a fortnightly basis.
It is easy to get a pre-paid mobile phone in Australia however the handsets can be quite expensive. If you have a handset already it is often a good idea to get it unlocked and then purchase a pre-paid SIM when you arrive.
If after settling in, you want to get a mobile contract there are a variety of companies who will offer many different packages to suit your needs.
The main mobile phone providers in Australia are Telstra, Optus, 3 Mobile, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile.
Tax and Superannuation
In order to work in Australia you must apply for a Tax File Number (TFN). If you do not have a TFN you may be over taxed until you provide one.
The tax year in Australia runs from 1 July through to 30 June. Most individuals on a 457 Visa are eligible for a Living Away From Home Allowance Tax deduction. Please see www.lafha.com.au.
It is important to be aware that by law each individual in Australia must submit a Tax Return at the end of each tax year. It is common place for many people to use accountants to assist them through this process for a small fee.
Any tax paid is redeemable in your home country if you should decide to return.
Further details on the Australian tax system can be found at www.ato.gov.au.
Superannuation in Australia is compulsory and operates like a pension scheme. Nine per cent of your total salary package is paid into a superannuation fund by your employer. As with tax, your superannuation is redeemable in your home country should you decide to leave Australia.
It is important that you buy comprehensive travel insurance to cover all personal belongings and any possible medical needs before you embark on your journey to Australia.
This should cover you for several weeks until you have organised your Medicare cover and/or purchased private health cover.
Useful telephone numbers
Approximate Cost of Living
The general cost of living in Australia in comparison to UK and other Asia Pacific countries:
Australian dollar (AUD) $1 equals:
|British Pound (GBP)||£0.63|
|New Zealand dollar (NZD)||$1.31|
|Hong Kong dollar (HKD)||$7.90|
|Singapore dollar (SGD)||$1.30|
Costs vary depending on where you live in Australia so the information below is meant as a guideline only:
|Weekly rent||AUD $185 - $460|
|Weekly travel card||AUD $25 - $50|
|Pint of beer||AUD $5 - $6|
|Glass of wine||AUD $5 - $7|
|Cinema ticket||AUD $15 - $17|
|Food snack/sandwich||AUD $6 - $9|
Nightlife, Food and Drink
Australia is one of the most sociable and interesting countries in the world, with lots to see and do all year round.
To get a better idea of what is available in the cities where Kelly Australia has opportunities, visit the following websites:
Adelaide - www.southaustralia.com
Brisbane - www.ourbrisbane.com
Canberra - www.liveincanberra.com.au
Melbourne - www.visitmelbourne.com
Perth - www.westernaustralia.com
Sydney - www.sydneyaustralia.com