Preparing your move to Australia: some expats tips

Contributed by Crown Relocations, 12 October, 2017

Are you thinking about relocating to Australia? Have you done a little bit of research but you are still unsure if you should move "down under"?  During the last weeks, we have asked our expats in Australia the most important aspects to take into account when you are planning a move there. And these are the top three results:

Visas and permits

Obtaining the right visa is one of the most important tasks to be done before traveling to Australia. There are strict criteria for migrating to Australia and the documentation required will vary considerably depending on the category of visa that you are applying for. 

Australia has a large number of visas specifically for migrants, business people and tourists. The visas are listed, along with information on who may apply for them at the website for Department of Immigration & Border Protection (DIBP). As this diversity of visa options can be a little bit confusing, it may be useful to engage a Registered Migration Agent to assist you with the visa process. Your local Crown representative will be able to refer you to a Registered Migration Agent in Australia.


Hardly ever, expats take into account that the style of housing in Australia might be different to what they are used to. Despite finding modern blocks of apartments in the city centers, most of the accommodation options will be in houses with a wide range of architectural styles: gabled cottages, ranch styles, Pavilion styles, Queenslander styles… The best type of house will depend on your preferences as well as in the particular region that you are relocating. For instance, Queenslander houses have an underfloor area which refreshes the house and it is convenient during the warmest months of the year and for mild climate regions of the country.

In addition to the housing style, it is important to remember that rents (most expatriates choose to rent to the restrictions on purchasing applied to non-permanent residents in the country) are normally stated by weeks, that house are mostly rented unfurnished and that the electrical current is of 230/250 volts, which means that you will require an adapter for your German devices.

Public transport

In the major cities, having an own private vehicle is not necessary, as the public transport system is good and reliable. Buses and trains are widely available and in Sydney and Perth, ferries are also part of the public transport system.

Having said this, most of the families prefer to have their own vehicle for convenience, especially with young children. Driving regulations vary from state to state but as a general rule, if you are a holder of an international driving licence, you will be able to drive for a limited period of time. After this period or if you become a permanent resident you must obtain a local permit. Don't forget that in Australia, people drive on the left side of the road!

Your school options in Australia

Moving to another country is a big change, not only for you, but also for your children. One way to smoothen this process is by choosing the right school for your child's needs. However, the Australian school system differs widely from those in most European countries. To help you make this importance decision, we would like to give you an overview of the schooling options in Australia.

The school system

Compulsory education starts at six years old, however, the children normally attend a foundation year, normally called Preparatory year, when they are five. Students stay in the primary school until Year 6 and then they move to secondary school (Years 7-12).

In addition to this, there are non-compulsory options for children aged younger than five. These include pre-school, long day care centers, occasional care or family day care. Pre-schools follow a planned educational program (including language, literacy and numeracy skills development), while long day centers accept younger children (from some months after birth until five years old) and they offer extended opening hours compared with the pre-schools (while pre-schools are normally opened between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM, long day care centers opened can be opened between 7:30 AM and 6:00 PM).

School options

In Australia, there are 3 main education providers:

National guidelines are followed not only by state schools, but also by most of the catholic and independent schools providers. Most of the schools are co-educational and the independent schools are mainly found in the most populated areas.

Independent schools include a great diverse group of schools which can have religious or non-religious affiliations and which also include international schools following the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. However, notice the opportunities to attend IB schools are restricted by their limited numbers.

School life

Holidays: Differently to the northern hemisphere, in Australia, the school year runs from end January until mid-December. There are two weeks of holidays during April (Easter, autumn in Australia), June/July (winter) and September/October (spring) and the main holidays take place in December/January lasting between six to eight weeks.

Sports: There is great emphasis placed on sport in Australia and most students participate in sport at school at least one day each week. In primary school, this is generally organised within school hours but in high school and particularly at private school, sport is often compulsory with competitions held on Saturday.

Uniforms: Most schools also expect students to wear a uniform, including state schools. The uniforms are unique for each school and have an additional cost. In the primary schools, the uniforms include a hat, due to the high skin cancer risk in the country.

You can find more information about education in Australia and the school enrolment in our Australia Education Guide or you can contact one of our relocation consultants

Shipping your car to Australia: customs update

There is always a lot to consider with any relocation. Including whether it is to your benefit to relocate with your current vehicle instead of buying something new when you arrive. Shipping a vehicle isn't as complicated or expensive as you might think; although there are many factors to consider. If you are planning on shipping your car when you relocate to Australia be aware that changes have been made by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on how this should be done.

The border control changes

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection have recently announced changes on how vehicles should be imported into Australia. It is now required that anyone wishing to import a motor vehicle should complete a declaration that states the vehicles does not contain asbestos.

Manufactured since 1999?

If your vehicle has been serviced only ever through an authorised dealer and was manufactured since 1999 it should comply with the new regulations. If you are unsure whether your vehicle has been serviced under these guidelines or of the history for any vehicle parts, you may wish to not ship. An incorrect declaration could result in substantial fines.

If unsure get your vehicle checked

If you would like to be certain that your vehicle will pass inspection and comply with the new regulations you can arrange for your vehicle to be tested through an ILAC asbestos testing facility.

Tags: business | Education | Immigration | Students | Europe | Education | Immigration | Sports | expatriates | Australia | regulation | education |



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