International Relocation for Expats in Australia

Submitted: August 2013

When relocating to a different country you will find yourself with a seemingly endless to-do list: apply for a visa, obtain a working permit, search for jobs, find an apartment, ship belongings to your new home... This can be a wearisome process and you will have to be very organised if you are arranging everything yourself. Our Expat Briefing articles provide helpful guidelines in this respect. However, you may also consider consulting one of the specialised relocation companies to assist with your relocation process.

Relocation companies

Expats have increasingly started turning to relocation companies to assist with their relocation process. Most of these companies do not only ship belongings to worldwide destinations, but also assist with visa applications and apartment search, offer guidance on administrative procedures and advise on how to best settle into the new environment. A clear advantage of opting for a relocation company is that it will save you a great deal of administrative work and ensure that your relocation meets all rules and regulations in the destination country.

You can either look for a good relocation company in your home country or in the country of destination. Make sure to compare their services and prices in advance and check the reviews online. Examples of companies offering relocation to Australia include:   

Moving your belongings

If you are planning your relocation yourself, you should consider how to best send your items to Australia. Most airline companies will only allow one or two pieces of personal luggage when travelling into Australia. Sending items via post or express delivery services such as DHL or UPS is only recommendable for lesser quantities. For larger quantities it is best to choose one of the specialised shipment companies and opt for a good insurance. Most of the relocation companies mentioned above offer shipments. Alternatively, you can opt for a specialised shipment company, such as:

These companies also offer shipments of vehicles and pets.

Note that there are restrictions on the types of personal items you can take with you to Australia. Certain items might have to be declared to Customs in advance and might be subject to import tax and duties. However, in general most personal and household possessions that you owned and used for at least 12 months prior to departure to Australia will be exempt from import duties; exceptions being vehicles, machinery and fur clothing which are subject to special regulations. Upon entering Australia, you will also have to declare cash amounts of over AUD10,000 and might be asked to show any traveller’s cheques, postal orders or other financial instruments to Customs. Note that if you do not declare the respective items, you risk incurring significant fines or even criminal prosecution. For a comprehensive list of items subject to import restrictions see the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service articles on Arriving Travellers – and Migrant Concessions.

On how to relocate to Australia with your family and/or pets see: Relocation with Families and Pets for Expats in Australia.

Importing your vehicle

If you wish to take your car or motorcycle to Australia, you will have to go through a great deal of paperwork first. Most importantly, you will need to obtain a Vehicle Import Approval before shipping your car to Australia. Once your vehicle reaches Australia, you will probably have to pay Customs duties, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and possibly the Luxury Car Tax. Your vehicle will also have be thoroughly inspected to ensure that it meets Australian road safety standards. When your car or motorcycle has successfully passed this process, you will need to register it with the Road and Transport Authority of the state you are moving to. To read more about the specific requirements see the Website of the Department of Infrastructure and Transport on 8 Steps to Import a Vehicle.

For more information on driving in Australia see Driving and Public Transport for Expats.

Arriving in Australia

After successfully relocating to Australia, you will have to take care of several administrative matters, such as opening a bank account, registering with a doctor, applying for a tax number, etc. To find out more, have a look at other sections of our Expat Briefing Website and consult the Australian Government’s Website on Living in Australia.



Moving to Australia

If you are considering moving to Australia or are soon to depart, you can find helpful information and advice in the Expat Briefing dedicated Australian section including; details of immigration and visas, Australian forums, Australian event listings and service providers in Australia.


Living in Australia

From your safety to shoppingliving in Australia can yield great benefits as well as occasional drawbacks.  Find your feet and stay abreast of the latest developments affecting expats in Australia with relevant news and up-to-date information.


Working in Australia

Working in Australia can be rewarding as well as stressful, if you don't plan ahead and fulfill any legal requirements. Find out about visas and passports, owning and operating a company in Australia, and general Australian culture of the labour market.



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