How to move overseas to live and work in Australia
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As many of my readers know, after getting laid off from my job 3 years ago I decided to pick up my life and move to Australia for personal and professional reasons. This little bit of geoabitrage to get back to work and experience a new way of life turned out to be one of the best decisions, personally and financially, that I’ve ever made.
Now a few of my readers have asked for more information on how exactly did I go about leaving Chicago for sunny Sydney, Australia. Well, now here is a blog post that will outline exactly how I did it. From jobs, visas, packing, setting up a new life and much more. The all-you-need-to-know guide for moving down under to enjoy the Aussie lifestyle.
Bondi Beach in Sydney
Many of you might be thinking, “What’s so great about Australia that would ever make you move all the way across the world?”. And I get it. Many people don’t know too much about Australia except it’s the home of kangaroos and the famous Sydney Opera House, so you probably can’t imagine picking up your entire life and moving down under. However, there are many reasons that make Australia an incredible place to live.
Back when I was 21, I spent 5 months living in Brisbane, Australia as part of an exchange program with my university. And it was after those 5 months that I knew that I wanted to go back. Here are the top reasons why Australia is a great place to live:
- Weather – Known for hot summers and mild winters, Australia has great weather. Depending on where you live, you can be in a tropical, temperate or desert climate, but one thing you won’t find are harsh winters. Also, all major Australia cities are on the coast so you’re never far from the beach 😉
- People – Australians are friendly and hospitable, and almost all that I’ve met have made me feel welcome in their country.
- Economy – Australia is a quickly growing country with abundant natural resources, so there is actually too much work and not enough skilled workers to fill the jobs in construction, finance, technology and other fields. Pay tends to be fairly high as well, giving you the opportunity to save more money if you live below your means.
- Job perks – The government is very friendly towards workers so by your employer you are given 20 days annual leave, countless public holidays, mandated retirement fund and also good health insurance is affordable
- Lifestyle – The Aussie lifestyle is one where people are laid back and most people don’t take themselves too seriously. People enjoy their free time to hang out at the beach, play sports or have a beer with their mates at the local pub.
This list only skims the surface of all the reasons why Australia is such as great place. Honestly, you have to spend some time here to truly understand what makes it such a special place to live and work. So now you’re thinking “I get it. Australia is awesome, but even if I did want to move there, where do I start?”
How Do I Go About Moving Overseas?
First thing you should do is figure out if moving overseas is right for you. Picking up your life and moving to the other side of the world where you are likely a minimum 15-hour (but more like 20-hour) plane ride back home is a pretty big deal. If you don’t have much experience living independently then this will be a VERY big change. As great of a place to live as Australia is, you will still likely be moving there without knowing anyone and need to set up a life for yourself and make new friends. This can be pretty overwhelming, however, it is completely worth it in my opinion. You will learn so much about yourself and grow as a person that it will be one of the greatest experiences of your life.
That being said, if you are still answering “Hell yeah!” to the question of “Do you want to move overseas?” then continue on reading!
If you are looking to work in Australia, there are two things you need to do: get a visa and get a job. Unfortunately, not just anyone can hop on a plane to Australia, show up and apply for a job. You need to apply for and receive a visa before you can start working.
Luckily, if you are between the ages of 18-30, getting a visa is fairly easy. You can simply apply for a Work and Holiday 462 Visa, which allows you to live an work in Australia for 1 year. It usually only takes about 24-48 hours to be approved for this visa. Then after you move to Australia and start working, you can then apply for a longer-term visa with your employer called a Temporary Work 457 Visa, which allows you to stay for up to 4 years.
You can learn more about the Work and Holiday 462 and Temporary Work 457 visas here.
If you are over the age of 30, then your path to working in Australia is a bit more difficult. You will need to apply for a skilled work visa and find an employer to sponsor you before you can make your move. If you have the right skills, then typically you should be able to find a company to hire you or a recruiter can help place you in a position. You can check out sites such as seek.com.au for what jobs are available and if they will sponsor overseas workers.
One thing to ask yourself is what skills do you have, and what work do you want to do? Almost all skilled occupations are eligible for temporary work visas, but here are a few that I found are the most in demand:
- Technology (IT, software engineer, etc)
- Banking and Finance
- Cooking and Culinary Arts
So if you find that your desired occupation is needed and you are eligible for a visa, then you could apply for a visa and be ready to make the move in only a few days! (if you are under 31 years old)
If at this point you are still a “Hell yes!” to making a move, then all you have to do is buy a one-way plane ticket, and you could be on your way. Once you arrive in Australia, Sydney and Melbourne are both great cities to live in, and you could live in an AirBnB temporarily while you look for a place to live using Flatmatefinders, Realestate.com.au or Gumtree.
Then in terms of packing, less is more. I came to Australia with only a few bags of clothes and personal items. Australia is a modern country where buying things like furniture, kitchen gear and other homeware is pretty easy and cheap to come by. Don’t waste your time or energy bringing too much stuff.
Sydney Opera House
A Great Opportunity Awaits
Deciding to move to another country was one of the best decisions I made for myself professionally and personally. It got me out of my comfort zone and forced me to be more creative and build a better life for myself. I had to organize my finances, find a new job, make new friends, navigate a new city and culture. Taking advantage of Australia’s higher-paying jobs, generous government perks (retirement benefits and healthcare) and booming economy has allowed me to make big advances financially. At the same time, the laid back and friendly Australian culture has allowed me to enjoy living by the beach and becoming a healthier and stronger version of myself.
Geoabitrage is a term popularized by Tim Ferriss in the 4-Hour Workweek that describes how you can use location as an advantage to leverage and economic return. Basically in this case, you would move to another country in order to generate more income and/or cut expenses. I (accidentally) found out that there is absolutely a way to do this by moving to the land down under. So if you are looking to go all in and make a change, maybe Australia is right for you.
Life is about adventure, so go out there and do what scares you, what excites you. See the world, meet new people, explore a new career. Remember, you can always move back home, but you may never get another opportunity like this again.
Have you moved overseas and have any tips for people exploring this opportunity? Leave a comment or send me an email!