Comprehensive guide for expats moving to Australia in 2023

Expat life
07 Jun 2023
16 mins read
Written by Team Instarem

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? The thought of exploring a new culture and discovering what Australia has to offer makes you all giddy, no?

Hold that thought though, because before you can make Australia your new home, you will need to know the steps involved — from A to Z. Do not worry though, we have taken the liberty to list down and explain the necessary steps in this quick read. So why not stay a spell and find out how to move to Australia as an expat.

Visa and work permit

Australia visa

About Visa

Moving to Australia as an expat can be an exciting opportunity, but it’s important to understand the visa and work permit requirements before making the move. The type of visa you need will depend on the purpose and duration of your stay in Australia.

Skilled Independent Visa

Skilled Independent Visa, is a permanent residency visa for skilled workers.

Temporary Skill Shortage Visa

A visa that allows a skilled worker to stay in Australia for up to 4 years, if they are sponsored by an Australian employer. Your skill must be relevant to the job you are applying for.

Employer-Sponsored Visa

Australian employers sponsor foreign workers to work in Australia temporarily or permanently.

Working Holiday Visa

Allows young adults (aged 18-30) from eligible countries to holiday and work in Australia for up to 12 months.

Work and Holiday Visa

Similar to the Working Holiday visa, this visa allows young adults to enjoy an extended holiday and the ability to earn funds for their travel for up to 3 years.

Employer Nomination Visa Scheme

For Australian employers looking to sponsor skilled workers to live and work fully in Australia. The applicants’ skills, experience and qualifications must be relevant to the job they are nominated for — according to the combined list of eligible skilled occupations outlined.

Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa

This provisional allows its holder to stay in Australia for up to 5 years from the date the visa is approved and granted. You can only be employed to work in a nominated occupation and in a position within a sponsoring business, or associated business entity — which must be located in a designated area of Australia.

Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA)

Under this visa, employers may hire skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers for positions they are unable to fill with local workers. This visa was designed to address the growing labour shortage in Australia.

Training Visa

This visa is designed for professional individuals that come to Australia on a temporary basis for job training or career development.

Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa

This visa allows its holder a short stay of up to 3 months and some limited or special circumstances up to 6 months. The duration will be determined by the assessing officers.

About requirements and criteria for visa

To be eligible for a visa in Australia, you must meet certain criteria. For example, for the Skilled Independent Visa, you must have a certain level of English proficiency, a relevant occupation, and meet the points threshold for skilled migration. The Employer Sponsored Visa requires you to have an offer of employment from an approved sponsor in Australia. The Working Holiday Visa requires you to be aged 18-30 and have no dependents, among other requirements.

For further official information and detail on visa requirements and the application process, you may visit Australia’s official government website.

Work Permit

In addition to a visa, expats will also need a work permit to work in Australia legally. The work permit is usually included in the visa, but it’s important to check the specific requirements for your visa type. Some visas may require you to find a job before applying, while others may allow you to enter Australia first and then search for work. Expats may also need to provide evidence of their qualifications, work experience, and English proficiency to obtain a work permit.

You might be interested in: Work visa Australia: 6 highest in-demand jobs

Relocating to Australia

Relocating to Australia can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be a complex and challenging process. The first step in relocating to Australia as an expat is to carefully consider your reasons for making the move, as well as your personal and professional goals. Once you have a clear understanding of your motivations and objectives, you can begin to research the practical aspects of relocating, such as housing, employment, and healthcare.

To find housing down under

One of the most important considerations when relocating to Australia is finding suitable housing. Australia offers a wide range of accommodation options, from apartments and townhouses to detached houses and rural properties. It is important to research the different neighbourhoods and suburbs in your chosen city or region to find an area that meets your needs and preferences. You should also consider the cost of living and the availability of public transportation, schools, and other amenities when choosing a location.

Job hunting in Australia

Another important aspect of relocating to Australia is securing employment. While there are many job opportunities available in Australia, it can be competitive to secure a position as an expat. It is important to research the job market in your field, as well as any visa and work permit requirements that may apply. It can be helpful to work with a recruitment agency or employment service to connect with potential employers and navigate the job search process.

Networking makes it easier

Networking is also an important aspect of job hunting in Australia, and there are many networking events and online platforms available for expats to connect with professionals in their field. Attending job fairs and industry events can also be a great way to meet potential employers and learn about job opportunities.

Target the right job market

Another important factor to consider is the Australian job market and the industries that are in demand. Some of the key industries in Australia include healthcare, technology, finance, and mining. Expats with skills and experience in these industries may have an easier time finding employment in Australia.

Match your resume with the Australian job market

It’s also important to have a well-crafted resume and cover letter that highlights your skills and experience and aligns with Australian standards. Working with a career coach or resume writer who is familiar with the Australian job market can be a helpful way to ensure that your application stands out to potential employers. With persistence and preparation, expats can successfully navigate the job market in Australia and find fulfilling employment opportunities.

Job portals in the down under

Besides dusting off and updating your resume, you can utilise Australian job portals to further help you look for a job. There are several reliable job portals that you can use:


When you are about to settle in Australia, it is only natural that you have a lot of things to juggle — from legal documents to groceries and personal/family needs. So you will be on the move, leaving you with little time to hunt for a job on the Internet. So why not bring along the job hunt with you?

Adzuna is a job portal that features a smart matches function — it will try to match and zero in on potential jobs for you, according to your account preferences and details. Not only that, but Adzuna also has an application that you can download onto your phone. This way you can go on a job hunt while going about your business.

Adzuna is also known as an Australian global employment platform, allowing you to expand your radar beyond Down Under. In other words, Adzuna is a great place for you to start looking for jobs if you are a digital nomad because Adzuna offers plenty of remote job opportunities.


Seek is the go-to job portal for both job seekers and employers in Australia. On Seek, there is a feature called Company Review Board, where you can read testimonials from the companies you are interested in. Employers can take advantage of Seek’s large database to find the right talent for their company.

Another perk for employers using Seek is that they can integrate their Seek account with Workable to jumpstart their hiring process.


CareerOne is a job portal in partnership with Monster in Australia. This job portal is popular among job seekers in Australia because they can not only find jobs but also receive career advice and resume evaluations.


If you are looking for jobs that can offer flexibility and work-life balance, then FlexCareers is the job portal for you. On the FlexCareers marketplace, you will find companies that truly believe and invest in promoting work-life balance for their employees.

Through FlexCareers you can connect with Australia and New Zealand’s most progressive employers.


If you fancy yourself as someone artsy and want to start your art with the rest of Australia, you can head to the ArtsHub job portal to get connected with people and jobs in the art industry in Australia.

Healthcare and Insurance

Australia has a universal healthcare system called Medicare, which covers most basic medical services for Australian citizens and permanent residents. However, as an expat, it is important to understand the healthcare system and your options for private health insurance.

Medicare for Expats

Expats moving to Australia can also access Medicare by enrolling in the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA), which is an agreement between Australia and certain countries that allows citizens to access medical care while living or travelling in either country. The RHCA covers essential medical treatment but does not cover everything, such as dental care, ambulance services, and medical evacuation.

In addition, many expats choose to take out private health insurance to complement Medicare or as a standalone option. Private health insurance can provide additional benefits such as dental, optical, and physiotherapy services. It can also provide faster access to specialist services and elective surgery. It is important to shop around for the best private health insurance policy for your needs and budget.

Insurance your adventure in down under

Besides healthcare, expats should also consider other types of insurance, such as home and contents insurance, car insurance, and travel insurance. It is important to understand the different types of insurance available in Australia and ensure that you have adequate coverage to protect yourself and your belongings.

Taking care of your finance and account

As an expat moving to Australia, it’s essential to understand the financial system and how to manage your money effectively. Here are some tips to help you take care of your finances and banking after relocating to Australia.

Open a local bank account

Firstly, open a bank account for your salary as soon as possible. There are various options available, including big banks such as Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ, and NAB, as well as smaller banks and credit unions. Look for a bank that offers low fees and high-interest rates, and consider whether you want to open a savings account or a transaction account. You’ll need to provide proof of identity, such as a passport or driver’s licence, and proof of address, such as a rental agreement or utility bill.

Familiarise yourself with Australian tax system

Secondly, get familiar with the Australian tax system. Australia has a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) system, which means that taxes are deducted from your salary before you receive it. You’ll need to obtain a Tax File Number (TFN) from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as soon as possible. Your TFN is a unique identifier that allows you to pay taxes, access government services, and open a bank account.

Balancing the book

Living in Australia can be expensive, particularly in cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. Make sure you have a good understanding of the cost of living, including rent, food, transport, and entertainment. Set up a budget and stick to it, and consider setting up a savings account to help you reach your financial goals. By taking these steps, you can ensure a smooth transition to managing your finances and banking in Australia as an expat.

Transportation and driving in Australia

Australia roadtrip

Transportation and driving in Australia are important aspects to consider for expats who plan on living in the country. The country has a well-developed transport infrastructure, which includes public transport, taxis, ride-sharing services, and driving. The most common mode of transport in Australia is driving, and expats need to understand the driving regulations and requirements before getting behind the wheel.

Hit the road legally

Expats can use their overseas driving licence for up to three months after arriving in Australia. After that, they must obtain an Australian driver’s licence. The process of obtaining an Australian licence can vary depending on which state or territory you are living in. Expats may need to take a driving test, provide proof of identity, and pass an eye test to obtain their licence.

The cost of a vehicle

Expats should also consider the cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle in Australia. This includes registration fees, insurance, and petrol costs, which can be relatively high compared to other countries. However, owning a car can be a necessity in certain areas of the country, especially in rural or suburban areas where public transport may not be as readily available.

Public transport is your best friend

If you are not planning to own and drive a car in Australia, then public transport is your best friend. Public transport in Australia is extensive and reliable. Major cities have a variety of options including buses, trains, trams, and ferries. The cost of public transport varies depending on the city, but discounts are often available for students and seniors. Additionally, ride-sharing services such as Uber are widely available in most cities.

Experience the down under vibrant culture & lifestyle

Australia is a vibrant country with a unique culture that has been influenced by its history, geography, and diverse population. As an expat, it is important to understand and embrace the Australian way of life. Australians are generally friendly, laid-back, and have a good sense of humour. The country is known for its outdoor lifestyle, with many opportunities for hiking, surfing, and other outdoor activities. The food scene is diverse, with influences from all over the world, and the coffee culture is strong.

Australia is a multicultural society, and as an expat, you will have the opportunity to experience a diverse range of cultures and traditions. It is important to respect and appreciate this diversity and to be open-minded and willing to learn about different cultures. Australians are generally very accepting of people from different backgrounds, and there are many community groups and cultural events that you can get involved in to learn more about the country’s rich cultural heritage.

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Education in Australia

Australia is home to some of the best educational institutions in the world, making it an attractive destination for expats with families. The country has a well-developed education system that offers a range of options for students of all ages, from preschool to university. Public schools in Australia are free and open to all students, including expat children, while private schools offer additional opportunities for students to receive a high-quality education.

Expats with children will find that Australia’s education system is both diverse and flexible. Australian schools offer a range of curricula, including the Australian Curriculum, International Baccalaureate, and Cambridge International, among others. The country’s universities also offer a wide range of programs for undergraduate and graduate students, making it an excellent destination for expats seeking to further their education.

One of the benefits of the Australian education system is that it places a strong emphasis on innovation, creativity, and critical thinking. The country’s universities and schools are well-known for their research and development in areas such as science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM). This focus on innovation and critical thinking prepares students for the challenges of the future and provides them with the skills they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world.

Expats who are considering moving to Australia with their children should be aware that the cost of education can be quite high, particularly for private schools and universities. However, there are many scholarships and financial assistance programs available to help offset these costs.

Additionally, the quality of education in Australia is generally high, making it a worthwhile investment for expat families looking to provide their children with a solid educational foundation. 

Other important things to consider before moving to Australia

Aside from the key factors such as visa, work, healthcare, finance, transportation, and education, there are several other things that expats should consider when relocating to Australia. One important aspect is finding a place to live. The cost of living in Australia can be high, particularly in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne. It’s important to research different neighbourhoods and consider factors such as commute time, access to public transportation, and proximity to amenities like schools, grocery stores, and healthcare facilities.

Blend in the community

Australia has a strong sense of community, and expats can benefit from meeting new people and making friends. There are many ways to get involved, from joining local clubs and sports teams to attending community events and volunteering. Expats can also consider taking language classes or cultural courses to help them better understand Australian culture and improve their communication skills.

Learn about the laws and regulations in Australia

It’s also important for expats to familiarise themselves with the laws and regulations in Australia. This includes understanding the country’s legal system, knowing their rights and responsibilities as tenants or property owners, and learning about local customs and traditions. Additionally, expats should research the tax system in Australia and familiarise themselves with the requirements for filing taxes.

In conclusion, moving to Australia as an expat requires careful planning and consideration of several factors such as visas, work permits, housing, healthcare, education, and finances. It is important to work with a trusted partner to ensure a smooth and hassle-free relocation process.

Before you go…

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Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with products or vendors mentioned. Rates displayed are for illustration purposes.

About Instarem

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