Moving to Australia

Moving to Australia

Work cultures are different in each country, and Australia will inevitably be different from your own country and where you have worked most recently. Australians work hard but due to the great climate, you may find there is a healthier balance between work and lifestyle.

Sydney receives over 10 million international and domestic visitors each year for its beaches and attractions. Given its favourable weather, rich history, vibrant economy and diverse lifestyle options, it is not surprising that Australia's largest city is such a popular destination for tourists and migrants.

With a population of 4.5 million, Sydney is also ranked as the second best city to live in

Working week and public holidays

Australia’s working week is five days and generally Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5:30pm with a one hour lunch break.  

Details of public holidays in New South Wales can be found here.

Money matters

The official currency in Australia is the Australian Dollar (AU$).

You’ll want to be able to access some money in your first few days in Australia so bring some currency with you (rather than travellers cheques).

You can open a bank account before you land in Australia.

Research the cost of living in Australia so you know how much money you’ll need to live on until that first all-important pay packet.

Choosing the right foreign exchange and international payments provider can help you save money when you transfer funds to Australia. The major banks are:

Finding a place to live and schools

To rent a house, apartment or room you will either need to go through a real estate agent who acts on behalf of landlords or you can rent directly from a private individual. The internet is the best resource for rental properties:

If you are looking for a flat mate try these links:


If you have school age children, under the 457 business visa they are required to attend school while in Australia. The costs vary between schools but it is important to consider that 457 visa holders are required to pay an annual public school fee for every child in school – whether it is private or public:

Garvan offers the assistance of relocation agents and these details will be provided on request.

Telephones (mobile and land lines)

Mobile and land line services are available and there are a number of phone company providers to choose from: Telstra and Optus are the primary providers of land lines but also offer mobile services. 

There are a many choices in regards to mobile phone providers. It is important to research the coverage, rates of international and local calls and whether pre-paid or a plan is best for you.

Tax and Tax File Number (TFN)

Australian workers pay tax to the government on their income.  To receive an income in Australia, you need a tax file number (TFN).

If you are migrating to Australia or have a temporary resident visa that allows you to work or undertake training in Australia, you must apply for a tax file number.  You can apply for a TFN only after you have arrived in Australia.  Applications can be made online through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website

You will be required to pay tax on your earned income and to submit a Tax Return at the end of each financial year (July 1 – June 30).


Superannuation is a long-term investment for your retirement.  Superannuation is known as ‘retirement savings’ or ‘pension income’ around the world.  In Australia, superannuation is commonly known as ‘super’.

Investing in superannuation while you are working helps you to save money for your retirement.  Nearly every employed person in Australia is a member of a superannuation fund.

Employers are required by law to pay a minimum 9.25% of your annual earnings into a superannuation fund of your choice.  You can also contribute extra money into your fund if you wish. 

On leaving Australia, these funds can be transferred to your overseas pension fund or paid out

Health and wellbeing

The Australian Government provides help with health and medical services such as free public hospital cover and subsidised medicines. The health scheme is called Medicare and is available to all eligible Australian residents. To find out more about Medicare, your eligibility or to apply visit

Medicare does not provide for all health services and you may want to consider private health insurance options which cover health services such as dental, optical and ambulance. If you are applying for a Visa Subclass 457 you are required to have a minimum level of health insurance and to maintain it for the duration of your stay in Australia. For more information on private health visit

Immigration and visas

Garvan will help you with your immigration needs and visa solutions. The services provide you with access to expert immigration advice and assistance.