One country that we had to actually fight hard not to include in our top 5 happiest countries to live in abroad index was Australia.  You see, Australia is such an obvious choice and the point of the happiness article was about introducing our readers to new potential nations to consider for a move abroad…

That said, we can’t ignore the fact that Australia is one of the most popular choices with people from all over the world who are going abroad in search of a better life.  It is considered the new world of opportunity with its wonderful standard of living, it’s stunning climate, its incredible beaches, fun people and really excellent quality of life.

If you’ve plumped for Australia already – or you’re really keen to emigrate to live in Australia and are still in the preparation stages – please allow us to help and guide you.  This report is all about how to plan to live in Australia.  It details what you can expect from life Down Under, how you can make preparations ahead of your move; we also touch on visas to relocate, and what you can expect when you make the move and are finally living in Australia.

Why is Australia Such a Fantastic Place to Live Abroad? – An Introduction to the Aussie Way of Life

Australia is perhaps the best place on earth for us Britons to emigrate to!  It has all the things we’re seemingly seeking such as a great climate, an outdoors lifestyle, decent food, decent healthcare and education standards, jobs, opportunities, quality housing, a high standard of western-style living, it’s English speaking and totally accessible.  In other words, it’s not at all foreign in all the ways we want it to be familiar, yet all the things we want to lose from our old life are certainly lost when we move to Australia – like the winter, long commutes and drab urban landscapes!

In Australia there genuinely is more emphasis placed on enjoying an outdoor, active life.  There genuinely are more opportunities to get more out of life than simply sitting in front of the TV night after night.  The days are long, the nights are mild, people socialise outside together for longer throughout the year, and later into the evening.  Impromptu get togethers are the norm, therefore you don’t really risk being a stranger in a strange land for long.

The better weather makes getting up and going to work easier!  Lunchtimes and breaks can be spent outside soaking up the sunshine – great for the feel good factor.  At the weekend yes, you can go to the mall and shop – but unlike in the UK, that’s not your only choice!  You can swim, surf, hike or bike, you can enjoy your own pool or garden, get out and meet people at the events that go on all the time in Australian towns and cities.

Basically, there is more, much more that you can do and enjoy in Australia – which is why it is SUCH a popular choice with so many Britons who see it as their way out of the dull aspects of their life in UK and into a much higher standard of life.

How Can YOU Go and Live in Australia – Visas and Practical Emigration Information?

If you have close relatives already living in Australia who have emigrated then perhaps you can look into the practicalities of them sponsoring your move.  By close relatives I mean parents, children or perhaps siblings.  Alternatively, you can seek work in Australia and then apply retrospectively for an employment visa!  Better still is perhaps following the skilled migrant path, and applying on your own merits to be accepted as a resident in Australia.  Because the country is so popular it has to restrict the numbers of people it can accept every year – and whilst it does take in its fair share of refugees etc., it has to ensure the rest of those moving in will give to the country rather than drain it of resources.

The entire emigration process is explained in great depth on the website for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship – what’s more, you can contact Australia House in the UK, or your own nearest Australian embassy or consulate for more advice and help in arranging a visa to visit, live, work or retire to Australia.

Because the processing times for visas can sometimes take a number of years, you need to apply well in advance of when you want to relocate – which can be hard, because not many of us are used to planning our lives so far in advance.  The one good thing about perhaps having so long to prepare for the move however is that you really can get the planning done properly!  You’ll have months to decide where in this vast land you would like to live – and there’s nothing stopping you visiting Australia in the meantime and putting out the feelers about homes and jobs, friends, schools for the kids etc.

Planning Your Relocation Down Under

As stated, possibly the only good thing about having to wait for a visa to allow you to emigrate to Australia is that you can spend the time planning and preparing.  There are two sides to this – you need to tie up your old life and sort out your new life!

Tidying Up Your Old Life Before You Emigrate to Live in Australia

1) Sort out your home – will you sell it or rent it out.
2) Sort out your furniture and personal effects – what will you sell, give away, recycle or pack up and take with you.
3) Employment – can you be moved into a new job in Australia by your old company?  If so that could solve your visa and job worries in one go!  Alternatively, what about asking for unpaid leave or a sabbatical to make sure you actually like your new life before you quit your job.  If this is not possible, work out your notice period to try and tie in with your relocation date.
4) Get money matters in order – moving is costly because it means you have to get rid of one home and take on another – this involves fees and taxes at the very least.  You have to find a car and sell a car, move furniture, buy new, pay for utilities to be put in your name, pay for visas, buy new school uniforms perhaps.  The list of items on which your money will be quickly frittered away is ridiculously long – so save hard and have a cash back-up in case of emergency.
5) Speak to your children’s school about the move – make sure their learning is documented.
6) Get medical matters in hand – find out about your doctor transferring your medical history to Australia when the time is right.
7) Don’t cut ties with family and friends – or enemies either!  Imagine if you tell people what you really think of them, only to discover you don’t like Australia when you get there and you have to come back and face the people you dissed!  Nightmare scenario!!
8) Find out about shipping pets well in advance of a move in case they need to be brought up to date with rabies vaccinations and screening – this can take 6 months!

Sorting Out Your New Life Ahead of Your Move Down Under

1) When you know the visa has been granted you will need to go into overdrive to get everything done as it has a validity expiry date beyond which, you will have to reapply if you haven’t moved!  So, be ready to work hard.
2) Find a house to live in – you’re well advised to rent first because trying to buy a house on another continent is not just difficult, it is downright ridiculous when it’s to be your new family home for life!
3) Get a job – or put out feelers through agencies so you can hopefully hit the interview circuit when you arrive.
4) Get your children enrolled in schools provisionally – you’ll have to of course do a face-to-face when you arrive, but if the paperwork’s been done, there should be minimal delay and disruption for your child’s schooling.
5) Get your goods shipped because it’s a long way to Australia and you don’t want to be hanging around without a bed!
6) Make sure you have the tickets for your flights, your valid passports and copies of ALL your essential paperwork from driving licenses to marriage certificates with you when you fly just in case the originals get lost in transit.
7) Ship your pet and make sure there’s someone to receive it in Australia!
8) Get medical and travel insurance in place.
9) Say your fond farewells rather than any bitter goodbyes!

Welcome to Australia – What to Expect

The feelings you will encounter when you arrive in Australia as a resident will range from stunned shock to overwhelming excitement, from momentary panic and homesickness to a feeling of such euphoria as you realise what you have achieved, and all the opportunities in front of you.  It is actually one of the best feelings in the world when you have planned and prepared for a relocation and then you realise it and make it happen!

Enjoy the positive feelings and don’t worry about the negative ones – they are 100% to be expected, everyone goes through the thought process where you encounter a few tough days trying to adjust and you think ‘oh my God, what have I done’ – this is often made a million times worse when you have kids and they throw it all back in your face and accuse you of ruining their lives!

Take it all in your stride, look to the longer-term, remember why you made the move in the first place (a checklist attached to the fridge is a good idea sometimes), and have a treat on a bad day to remind yourself that actually no, your new life IS better!  You’ll be fine.

Then all of a sudden, 6 months have passed!  You’re an Australian – you have a job, a home, your kids have friends, you’ve made some good friends yourself, you’re happy.  You have a whole new range of hobbies, your accent has a strange twang and you’re happiest of all when you’re spending all your free time with your family and your friends outside in the glorious sunshine.

Okay, so getting to this point requires a huge transition as you enrol your kids in school, attend a million interviews, search long and hard for the right house, warily approach strangers in the hope they will be friends, and untangle the mess of red tape than any relocation inevitably leaves you tied up in.  But you get through it, and you get through it easily because it’s what you want – you’re not being dragged reluctantly through it all like you would be if you’d had to face such hurdles back in your old life.

The move can be well worth it – it is for thousands of migrants who make Australia their new home every single year!