The ToDo ListEdit
Most things require X Points of ID. X being between 100 and 140 depending on what you planning to do. You should make sure that you have your UK Passport, UK Drivers License, UK or Australian Credit Card and some form of proof of Address like your signed Rental agreement. We also strongly recommend you get plenty of written references from friends (not family) and make sure they are willing to act as references by email/phone if required. We needed this for our long term rental and were lucky enough to have friends who are a Police Inspector and a Surgeon offer us references. The two best forms of ID you have get in Victoria are the Medicare Cards and the Victorian Drivers License. Apart from that our recommendations, in order, are as follows:
Before you leave the UKEdit
Stuff you should consider in the run up to the big move
Get a tax consultantEdit
If you are leaving a home in the UK (i.e. renting it out), have any funds or investments, run a business or just want to know the minefield of Australian Taxation, you really should speak to a registered Tax Consultant skilled in UK and Australian Tax Law. I can certainly recommend Alan Collett at GoMatilda He was not cheap, but his report was very helpful and opened our eyes to a number of issues we had no idea about. I think it saved us a lot more than the report cost us in the short term and will certainly save us money in the long term.
Tax on UK propertyEdit
One big thing to remember, once you are tax resident in Australia (i.e. from the day you land) you will be taxed in Australia on your worldwide assets. This may include your home in the UK if you ever sell it and when you sell it and your residential status in Australia.
So make sure you get a decent couple of written valuations from estate agents before you leave so that you can prove how much your property was worth when you left.
If your home was worth £300k when you left and £450k when you sell up you will be taxed big time on the £150k profit (capital gain). If you don't have a few property valuations the Australian Tax Office (ATO) will calculate the value of your property based on an average for your area which could be MUCH less than your property was really worth (local average was 40% less than our value!!) so you could end up getting taxed on a much larger "profit". There are some exceptions, exemptions and discounts, I think there is a 50% discount on the CGT if you have retained the property for more than a year after arriving in Aus, but again "consult a registered Tax consultant" to understand your own personal circumstance.
Basically the above means that you may be taxed on the growth of your asset within a set period, unless the asset value is transferred to Australia within the set period, of becomming tax resident in Australia. This may apply to Proprty assets, pension fund assets and other revenue earning assets i.e. ISA's.
Retaining a UK propertyEdit
Note that the laws relating to owning multiple homes and Capital Gains Tax (CGT) are a bit of a minefield. You should "consult a registered Tax Consultant" who fully understands the ins and outs of both UK and Australian Tax systems. However, I think the bullet points to be aware of are as follows: 1) Your home will be free from CGT in the UK providing you sell within the first 3 years and it remains your only residence. If you keep it for longer you may need to go back to the UK and live in it for 6 months to avoid CGT. 2) You may get into tax related issues in Australia if you retain the property in the UK for more than 1 year.
Renting out your UK propertyEdit
You will be taxed in UK on the "profit" you make on the UK rental (i.e. less management charges and running costs), however you will get a credit. To avoid having to be taxed at source in the UK as well by your Management Company looking after your property you should file an NRL1 (Non-Resident Landlord) form with Revenue and Customs. In our experience this is not actually completed by the Revenue until they receive a matching P85 after you have left (see below). You will still have to pay the tax of course, unless the UK Rental income, plus any other UK income, falls below your UK personal allowance.
If you decide to sell your houseEdit
There are many stories of people who sold their house before emigrating and had the same problem. Be careful if you tell the people who are buying your house that you are leaving shortly after. You might find that the purchaser waits until the last few days before saying they can't raise enough cash! You may actually find you are forced to sell at a much lower price just so you can leave. Needless to say, the money is there and this is a ploy to drive down the price. In one case the first thing that the purchaser did was build a large extension. Be warned: if you do link selling and emigrating, don't tell anyone.
Tax on moving your moneyEdit
Also, another tax pitfall is the ForEx Rule which you will get you taxed on the "profit" you make if you leave money in the UK after you land waiting for a good exchange rate! Makes a case for moving as much of your cash over as you can before you make your finalentry (i.e. the day you become an Australian Tax Resident). Again, "consult a registered Tax Consultant" who really knows their stuff.
PAYG mobile phoneEdit
I would arrange this while in the UK. Make sure you bring a couple of fullyunlocked Tri-Band Phones. Go to www.0044.co.uk and buy oneGoTalk SIM Card. Activate the card and you will get a mobile number you can hand out before you arrive. Worked well for us. Within a few days of getting here get hold of a couple of Telstra "Freedom" PAYG SIM cards which will allow free calls between the two of you for A$30 a month. It's just to start with but we found we called each other every 5 minutes to start and with these cards we used them like walkie-talkies.
Bank accounts and credit cardEdit
We set these up in the UK with the Commonwealth Bank, but there are other options. We arrived and on the morning of Day 2 we visited the bank and picked up our Debit Cards. Took another week to get our Credit Cards, but we found they are a must have here.
PO Box or other postal address for the first 4 monthsEdit
You will need a long-ish term postal address here to be able to setup your Bank Accounts, Medicare, Drivers License, etc. We were lucky and had friend who was willing to accept our post for us. You really need this before you leave so you can redirect your UK post to the Australian address. PO Boxes are available in most post offices but they are like gold dust. We originally called about 7 in the area we were moving too and if it wasn't for our friend we would have taken one out.
Setting up Virtual PO Box & Mail redirection in Australia
Travellers Contact Point offer an excellent service for a Virtual PO Box. All your mail will be sent to a single PO Box in Sydney which you give to your Bank, Royal Mail International Redirection, etc and you are then notified by email when new mail arrives. You can also get it forewarded to a new addresses in Australia as you move about.
UK TV licenseEdit
Call them 3 times and send two letters to explain to these morons that you have left or they will send threatening letters stating that your breaking the licensing law even though your not even resident in the country
Shipping your car from the UKEdit
Is it worth it ? No, probably not, unless you own a rare car or you really can't live without it. Yes, European cars are more expensive here and slightly more prestigious but frankly after all the taxes, hassle and costs associated with bringing your car over it could work out costing the same to sell your car in the UK and buy the same car in Australia. I just imported my low mileage Audi from the UK and it's been nothing but hassle from the moment it started. If you really want to know the process and endless costs involved then PM me, otherwise I am planning on writing a full end-to-end post on this topic for BritishExpats (and here) once it's finally registered with VicRoads this week.
Redirect your postEdit
Post office offer 1, 3 and 6 month redirection service for Business and Personal post. It's a pig to set up at the post office but works quite well. You can also change the address by phone at the end of each period.
Redirection by the Post Office to an overseas address is not an issue. In fact it may be best to redirect to a friend/Family member based in the UK for a month or so, until you set up a more permanant base in Australia when you can then re-direct for a longer period of time. Your Friend/Family member can then save mail for a week or so before bulk Mailing to what every address you may be at.
Once you arriveEdit
Things to do once you get here
Get a MelwayEdit
The ubiquitous Melway's road atlas is like a bible here in Melbourne, so much so that estate agents quote property locations using Melway's Page/Grid codes ! A must have if you want to find anything in Melbourne. Its only disadvantage is its size, being about the size of a phone directory. The UBD is cheaper and small enough for a car door pocket, but is nowhere near as clear or as comprehensive as the Melway.
International Telephone CardsEdit
I started off using Skype to make calls back to the UK, but frankly the quality was not great and it was quite inconvenient. I then looked into dedicated Skype phones for the home, but ones which don't require a PC connection are quite costly. Now we use these amazingly cheap calling cards. A$20 GoTalk calling card has lasted us for over 3 months and countless hours of call back home and we ===still=== have about $4 on it. You can get them from any AusPost Office. Excellent value and very easy to use from any land line.
Calling cards often have access numbers that are not published on the card when purchased. So from say, The Mornington Peninsular, The calling card has a Melbourne access number printed, this mat not be a local call ! so you may be charged anywhere between $2-$5 for the call to the access number depending on service provider and call length. In fact Mornington has an access point (Oz Call/GoTalk) which can be accessed for a flat 40-50c. This may actually be included Free depending on the call plans offered by Communications Service providers. So It's worth the call to find out if you have a nearer access point that can be classed as a "Local Call"
Localphone Ltd provides local access numbers in Australian cities like Sydney, with which you can call the UK for less than 2c (AUS) per minute on a pre-paid basis. If you upgrade your account to a VoIP account for free you will be assigned a unique UK landline number that you can forward to your phone in Australia, meaning your friends and relatives back in the UK can call you for the price of a local landline call.
Tax File Numbers(TFN)Edit
Simple to apply for on-line or at the ATO offices in the CBD. Just make sure you bring your ID.
Maybe worth noting, you can also apply for a TFN BEFORE you actually arrive in the country. You do need to hold a visa at the time.
It is essential to get this organized as soon as possible as without a Tax File number your bank may charge Tax on interest on your life savings at the maximum tax rate, and untill your TFN is notified to your now employer tax can be charged on your earnings at the same rate.
Pick a footy teamEdit
This is almost as important as a TFN and will provide you with a LOT of enjoyment. Think sporting carnival for all ages with plenty of on-pitch "Biffo" and edge of your seat action. I recommend St Kilda (although most wouldn't)
You need a car here, nothing massive to start with but you will almost certainly want to start looking at buying a car within the first month. More information can be found in the relevant section of the Transport page.
Long term rental propertyEdit
Spend the first weekend driving around your chosen area(s) of Melbourne, picking up details of the estate agents. Also try the on-line rental sites which collate all the listings in one place. We can recommend Bayside (Brighton, Hampton, Sandringham, Higgett, Black Rock) as a start, but there are many nice places. We had a top end of A$2,400 a month and found several great 3 bed, 2 car places near the beach, but you have to get in there quick. The rental market is 99% unfurnished. So expect to buy new furniture. If you're shipping furniture from the UK (which I wouldn't recommend) then be prepared to sit on the floor in your house for months while it sails over and sits for weeks awaiting Customs and AQIS clearances. Ours arrives today !! After spending ===16 weeks=== in transit.
Inland Revenue P85Edit
Take these with you for each adult, then complete and send them back to the UK within a couple of weeks of being here to ensure that Revenue and Customs are aware you have left the UK and now Tax Resident in Australia
You will need ID for this one, UK Passport which must have your Visa in it, UK Drivers License. Even though you will have reciprocal cover from the NHS in the UK you will need this if you visit a hospital.
You need to allow around 10 days, after entering the country, before applying for Medicare. This is to allow for your entry to get into the Australian Computer systems.
Victorian Drivers LicenseEdit
This is the best form of ID you can get in Victoria. A Victorian Driving License is one of the few documents that provide "Proof of Residence" and is also the most widely accepted photo ID, so it's worthwhile getting this sorted as soon as you are able; the problem is you really need a more permanent address and proof of residency (utility bills in your name at that address, etc). If you are here as a Permanent Resident you MUST apply for the Victorian Driver License within the first 3 MONTHS or you're breaking the law. Interstate movers also have 3 months to switch their driving licence to a Victorian one. Do not leave it till the last minute since it can take a couple of weeks to get an appointment with Vicroads to change licences.
If you are on any Temporary Residence visa then according to Vicroads you can continue to drive on your UK licence indefinitely provided it's in English, or you have an English translation or an International Driver's Permit. Contrary to popular belief they no longer punch a hole through or deface your UK license when you switch over, but you still can legally have only one licence. Resist any temptation you may have to show your old UK licence if you are pulled over. Most drivers from the UK (and some other countries) will meet the criteria that exempts them from retaking any tests other than a very brief eye test (this applies only to car/bike licences - lorry and PSV drivers will need to pass the local tests). Simply call VicRoads and make an appointment at a nearby VicRoads office, turn up with the required documents and they will create a Victorian Drivers License for you there and then.
For further information on the licence, eligibility, learning to drive and links to the relevant Vicroads web pages see the Victorian Drivers Licence section on the Transport page.
This depends on the area you move to, but sort them out ASAP. We were told that we should go private all the way, however our boys are in Primary school and we found the public Primary school in Hampton to be 5 times better than that in the UK, so that's A$20,000 a year saved !
Not all private schools charge, and average of $20,000 p/a, some church affiliated schools may charge a cheaper rate as they get a subsidy from the associated church. An example of this is Roman Catholic affiliated Schools.
A lot of stuff is done on-line here and to be frank we could not live without our Internet access (sounds stupid, but we found it real hard for the first week or so, just researching stuff, etc). Also very useful for finding UK phone numbers you can call from abroad when you need to contact any company in the UK that uses non-geographic rip-off numbers (0870, 0845, etc). Check out www.saynoto0870.com to get the real numbers. We brought a small laptop with us and I bought a Telstra NextG Wireless Broadband card (~£120) and a NextG Internet package (A$30-A$150) which gave us ~1Mbps pretty much where ever we are. It's expensive but flexible and reliable. Not a long-term replacement for a decent Internet connection though. We now have a 17Mbps 60GB Cable connection.
Buy a carEdit
The popular makes here are Toyota, Honda, Ford and Holden (Vauxhall), anything from Europe is more expensive. We bought a highly practical low mileage 2006 second hand Toyota Corolla Wagon for about £9,000 on-the-road. Insurance was about A$750 (£300) through RACV. If you have AA cover in the UK bring your cards out and you can move the remainder of the cover over to RACV for free. More information can be found in the relevant section of the Transport page.
Private health insuranceEdit
Unless you contract a long term costly medical condition not required straight away. We just spent a night in hospital with our son, complex costly surgery with the chief consultant plastic surgeon and top anesthetist and it was all free on Medicare. So take the time and shop around. The government has just released a website comparing all the plans and is worth spending some time checking out. However, before long you will want to get ambulance cover which is cheap and could save you a fortune on the insane ambulance charges here.
Australia operates a "life Time" health insurance policy. This mens that everybody over the age of 30 is expected to take out Private Health Insurance. This expectation comes with financial and Taxation implications. If a person over the age of 30 does not take out Health insurance then premiums will be loaded by 2% per year the person is over 30. I.e. if the cost of health insurance is $100 per month and the individual does not take out Insurance until the age of 40 then that same policy would cost $120 (10 x 2% = 20%). As a migrant you have upto 1 year to undertake a Health Insurance policy, if over the age of 30, to avoid the additional prenium loading. Under Current federal regulations this loading will only apply for 10 years, this policy may change in the future.
Taxation implications are in the form of and additional 1% medicare levy on income for an individual earning $50k or $100k as a couple if Health insurance is not taken out. So for a couple earning $100k that's an extra $1000 in tax to be paid at the end of the tax year. (please note earnings levels may change with successive ferderal budgets).
This list if not complete or intended to be complete, we accept no liability for the Footy team you pick or the information we have provided here. This is based on our experience only and now 10 weeks in we have managed to survive. That's the only evidence we can offer
Shipping your homeEdit
Suggest that you avoid dealing with a company Simpson based in Kent. My experience with them has been the classic nightmare.
Sourced comparision quotes on line for a ball park figure very early on in the process of the move to get an idea of the cost. Was contacted directly by Simpson's; discussed the move with them and decided that their price was reasonable. Put through to a girl who was to process the move and arranged Collection the goods for an extra £200+ had me label the goods- pointed out that they had marked up the labels incorrectly and then stated they were charging me £175 extra. that is on top of the double quoted price final figure. Beware if they tell you any city in Australia - the quote is the same for all - not so... I have discovered that it is extra no matter where. Especially after they have your goods and your deposit. What was to be a small few items move... first quoted at £600 odd turned out to be £1600 plus.:(
This is often linked to gaining additional Baggage allowance. You may be able to book a Migrant flight via International Organization For Migration which give specalist fares and allowances for migrants.
Other options include Singapore Airlines which allow double baggage allowance (40kg) when migrating on an un-valaidated permanent residence visa. This may be confirmed either at check-in or the better option would be via e-mail confirmation of additional allowance form Singapore Air in London (e-mail to be supplied) this may alleviate any confusion between check-in staff and the migrant on check-in.
Other alternatives include flying the U.S. route which as of late 2007 gives 2 x 26kg per passenger of check-in luggage. Air New Zealand are one option for flying via the US, and have daily flights from Heathrow to Melbourne International via a refueling stop in Los Angeles and a plane change in Auckland. Air New Zealand are also one of the airlines offering a "Premium Economy" class, which costs quite a bit more but is still much cheaper than Business Class and is much more comfortable on such a long journey than regular Economy Class. Be aware that this is a slightly longer route to Australia (approx 29 hours including stops) and your baggage may not be checked "all the way through" if flying direct due to U.S. security arrangements. Even though they will not leave the transit lounge passengers in transit via the US must go through the same security checks as those actually entering the US, which is a bit of a pain.
Singapore airlines seem to be a favorite with migrant families emigrating with children.
On par, with exception to the above, many carriers may offer a token additional 5k free of charge.
There are only [Quarrantine stations] in Australia these are located in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.
May 2007 - The waiting time for a place at Spotswood Quarantine Station is 5 months
- Six months before departure apply for an [Import Permit] from [], this must be obtained prior to reserving a space in the Quarantine Station [of three locations in Australia].
- Five months before departure book a place at the Quarantine Station (Spotswood in Melbourne). They will want to know your Import permit number, arrival date, flight number etc.
- Apply for Export Health Certificate from your local DEFRA Office 6 weeks before departure. This will be sent direct to your government approved vet.
- Within 4 days of travel the Export health certificate needs to be completed by an LVI (an approved vet along with the 618 NDC Form, which will arrive with Export Health Certificate. For transit via Singapore this is within 2 days of travel due to the flea and worm treatment requirement for [Singapore Permit] transit permit of Pets (which is usually arranged by the airline carrier).
- Written declaration from you regarding residency/age/sex/pregnancy as submitted to the vet for the completion of the Export Health Certificate and will accompany your cat when it is shipped.
- Vaccination Card showing vaccination certificates for feline enteritis, feline rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus showing vaccination at least 14 days before the flight and not more than 12 months beforehand.
- The official vet at Heathrow Cargo must see originals before they can sign the last part of the Health Certificate and seal the crate.
- The pet Crates should have water dishes attached which are accessible from the exterior and the mesh on the crates should not allow the animals paws to protrude.
- The crates are xrayed with the pet sealed inside prior to loading on aircraft.
- On arrival - timing is crucial for arrivals as the quarrantine stations have strict [of arrival] reception. You are not permited to see your pet on the day of arrival, although I found there are exceptions to this rule.
- AQIS Quarantine Station
- [Melbourne Victoria Australia]
- 43-47 Craig St, Spotswood, Victoria 3015
- P.O Box 300, Newport Victoria 3015
- Phone: +61 (0)3 9391 1627
- Fax: +61 (0)3 9391 0860
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Visiting Hours: Tues-Fri 11:00 -12:00 or 13:30-15:30
- [Quarrantine Fees]
- This works out at around $35 per day for each cat which is usually for 30 days when imported from the UK through a rabbies free country which is a [2 country] AQIS classification.
- On arrival the pet is checked into the quarrantine station; my three cats were stunned and traumatized having travelled in total of 28 hours in the carriers from UK home to Australia. Most probably because they last ate 32 hours prior to their arrival in Australia. They settled in very well after three days. Two of the three cats shared a pen; the one on his own adjusted much better to his surroundings than the two sharing. This was also the case with other cats at the quarrantine centre.
- There is a restriction of only two visits a week. I found this to be hard. It was important to see the cats on the same day of arrival; just to reassure the cats that they had not been completely abandoned.
- Is it worth sending your pets across to the otherside of the world ... if they are your pets and therefore part of your family... what would you think?
Some councils in Victoria require you to register your pets. Where registration is necessary there may also be restrictions on the numbers of cats or dogs you may have without applying for an additional permit. Other possible restrictions may include restricting your pet(s) to your property or keeping them inside at night. It is best to check with your council for the exact process. Some councils allow you to download a registration form and then register in person at the council office or via post. Your pets will be given a registration number and tag to wear.
See relevant section of the Electrical page.