Good news all around, as the Australian Prime Minister has announced that the Commonwealth may be opening its borders as early as November 2021. This means that the country will be welcoming tourists (as to those restrictions, you will have to check with your local authorities as and when the reopening happens), and you can once again start applying for work and residency permits. There are a few things to think about over and above these points, but it doesn’t hurt to revisit a few issues.
There is already a relatively large number of Brits living in Australia, hitting the 1.3 million mark. The country is still a favourite for British ex-pats, lured by a stunning climate, hospitable locals and a thriving economy; there are no two ways about it, we Brits love Australia, and if you’ve been thinking of making the trip down under, here are a few things to think about first.
BEFORE YOU PACK
Even though it’s been relatively easy for British passport holders to migrate to Australia in the past, changes in Australia’s immigration laws of late have made it a little trickier than usual to get residency there. Indeed, Australias’ immigration system is notoriously tricky to navigate, and they’ve done that on purpose. So before you start packing, the best bit of advice you can get is to get some expert advice first. There are dozens of excellent migration agencies throughout the United Kingdom, so there’s no need to try and figure this out on your own.
VISIT THE COUNTRY FIRST
It may seem like a no-brainer to you and me, but you have no idea how many families make a move to Australia before even having set foot there, and as a result, an alarming number are back before the first year has passed. Australia is gorgeous and offers a near unparalleled standard of living, especially to rain-weathered Brits, but it’s not for everyone. The heat in some places can be stifling, and if you’re not the type that likes to live with too many regulations that govern your daily life, Australia might not be for you. So get the family to Aussie for an extended holiday first. Rent an apartment or home, not a hotel and live like a local for a few weeks. It may seem like an added expense, but the alternative will cost you much, much more.
GET JOB SPONSORSHIP
Australia operates a system where highly skilled individuals can apply for a visa without having a job offer. If you fall into that category, you can enter Australia without having a job offer and then use your time there to get a job. This means that your permit isn’t tied to a particular employer giving your a little more freedom to change careers and move around. Still, unless you feature pretty high up on that skills shortage list, you could go through all of the hassles of getting the visa, moving your family to Australia and then not getting employed. It happens, and the resulting move back home after having relocated your family to another country for upwards of a few months can be financially ruinous.
LIVE, LIKE A LOCAL
Don’t make the mistake that so many Brits make when moving down under, that is to move into a “British suburb”, work for a British company and keep mostly British friends, if you’re going to do that – stay in Britain. Part of the reason you’re moving abroad is to experience a very different kind of life, so take the plunge and live it! Discover your new country, do it like an Australian with a forward fold camper, and hit the road.