Moving to the other side of the world can seem very daunting. Quitting your job and saying goodbye to friends and family for a year is hard enough, let alone all the admin that comes with it.
But, never fear!
We have been living in Australia for the past year and, to save you the hassle, we have constructed a step-by-step guide to moving to Australia on the Working Holiday Visa.
By following this simple how-to guide, your move will be as seamless as possible, allowing you more time for the fun bits (like looking at all the pretty pictures of Australian beaches on Instagram).
So, without further ado, here is our step-by-step guide: Moving to Australia for a Year.
Step One- Apply for the Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417)
If you are a British citizen aged 18-30 then you are eligible to apply for a Working Holiday Visa. When granted, this visa entitles you to a one year stay in Australia from the date you arrive. The Working Holiday Visa allows you to work in one place for up to 6 months, but you can have as many (or as few) jobs as you like.
The visa costs 220GBP and is generally issued within 72 hours, although I would highly recommend allowing the recommended 28 days for your application to be processed.
The visa stipulates that you have $2500AUD to your name when entering the country. Although having a juicy nest-egg would be a great start, if your bank balance isn’t that healthy then don’t fret. In my experience, it is very rare for anyone to check.
A word of warning: This year there has been a lot of talk about increasing the tax threshold for 417 visa holders. The current proposal, which is due to be actioned at the end of June 2016, would require Working Holiday visa holders to pay 30% tax on their first cent earned. This tax would also not be refundable, unlike the current situation where we can claim back all our tax at the end of the tax year. However, this proposal has been very controversial and nothing is set in stone yet so keep your eyes peeled for updates!
For more information on the visa, or to get applying then check out the government site here.
Step Two- Purchase Travel Insurance
This is a must for any trip overseas. The 417 visa entitles you to a years worth of Australian Medicare (the Oz equivalent to the NHS). Despite this, you will need travel insurance to cover your flights, valuables and any extra medical bills you might encounter during your year away.
Step Three- Put in a tax claim
If you have been working hard to save up for your trip then make sure you have claimed back all your hard-earned tax! If you are leaving the country you need to file a P85 form with HM Revenue and Customs. Make sure your paperwork is in order as I had to wait nearly a year to get my claim sorted!
Step Four- Choose a base
Now for the exciting bit! Where are you going to live in Australia? If you are planning to travel the country first then you have plenty of time to weigh up your options, but if you’re going to get stuck into work then this is where some research will really pay off.
Will you be working in the city or looking to dive into some farmwork? Do you want the laidback Aussie lifestyle or immerse yourself in its urban culture?
Jump on Google and Gumtree and have a look around. Enquire about work opportunities, get in contact with recruitment agencies and start having a nose around for flats or house-shares. Getting a head-start before you touch down can only be a good thing.
Step Five- Set up a bank account
When you know where you will be flying into, it’s time to set up a bank account. A few banks allow you to register with them online before your arrival and pick up a shiny new debit card as soon as you land. This will save unnecessary charges to your British card.
Choose a bank which is used nationwide, as your bank will charge you for withdrawing money from other bank’s ATMs. Personally, I use Commonwealth Bank and they have been great.
Find out more about Commonwealth here.
Step Six- Make the most of family/friends/friends-of-friends!
If you know anyone living in Australia then now is the time to drop them a message. You will be surprised how hospitable relative strangers and extended family will be when you’re on the other side of the world. Aunts you’ve never heard of, sibling’s friends and old work colleagues will jump at the chance to play tour guide, give you a place to crash or even give you the lowdown on local jobs.
Reach out to anyone and everyone you know Down Under and see where it takes you!
Step Seven- Book some accommodation
Make sure you have accommodation booked before you touch down. Whether it’s a hostel, Air BnB or a friend’s couch you will need a place to rest your head after the mammoth journey.
If you are arriving during the summer months (our winter) then make sure you have booked a couple of weeks before your arrival as dorm beds fill up fast!