Australia is one of the best countries for a foreigner to live in, as it offers a high quality of life, a safe, multicultural environment and unparalleled natural beauty.
How is life in Australia for foreigners?
If you are interested in having a life in Australia, it is necessary that you know the experiences and opinions of other immigrants who have already made the whole process to get to know this country, so make up your mind today and come and get to know this wonderful place.
What is it like to live in Australia?
David Moran is a boy with Spanish-Venezuelan nationality who spent many years working and living in Australia since he had a student visa that allowed him to work. In the interview he told us all the details and tips that foreigners must follow to have a life in Australia, he was asked some questions that helped to clarify certain doubts, which will be very helpful for people who wish to emigrate to Australia.
Why did you choose Australia as your first destination and what were you doing there?
It all started in 2007 when I stayed in Australia for about three weeks, I only had certain references of that country and what influenced me the most in the decision to stay was the possibility of working and studying at the same time that allowed me to pay for my stay in that country. There it is relatively easy to get a job and the salaries are high enough to be able to live without depending on savings or family support.
The city where I arrived was Brisbane and I started with an English course and at the same time I got a job cleaning government offices and later I got another job as a kitchen assistant in a restaurant.
What requirements and procedures did you have to follow to study and work in Australia?
In Australia it is easy to study, in my case I was looking for an English school through the internet and I chose the one that seemed to me the most complete. There I was offered different courses and their respective prices. As soon as I selected the course and paid the registration fee, they gave me a registration voucher and there I proceeded to request an appointment at the Australian embassy in Madrid, where they told me that I had to undergo a series of medical tests.
I then took the voucher from the school along with the results of these tests and after a week they contacted me and indicated that my study visa had been approved.
This visa is the one that allows you to work up to 20 hours per week, the most recommended is to work in hospitality or cleaning where they offer a salary of 20 to 25 $AUD per hour, amount that will allow you to live decently during your stay in Australia.
What is life like in Australia and what stands out the most about the country?
In many ways life in Australia is different from Spain. First the business hours, where almost all establishments work without interruption at noon, resulting in that most of them close at six o’clock in the afternoon except for restaurants, supermarkets or pubs. At first I was a little shocked by these hours, due to my habits to other schedules, but I got used to them as time went by and I even think they are better for reconciling family life and work.
The second thing that caught my attention was the urbanism of Australia, where most people live in houses with gardens, except for a few buildings in the center of the cities; in Australia a lot of importance is given to green areas and there are many parks throughout these cities.
Among the many things I would highlight about this country are: its good salaries, its low unemployment rate, its beaches, its national parks and its excellent quality of life.
Is it easy to get a job in Australia?
For me in particular it was a bit difficult to get a job, but when you know how to get by in the Australian society environment, then it becomes easier to find a good job (that is why I always refer to cleaning or hospitality jobs and not to jobs related to my career, and for this reason I could not explain how difficult or easy it would be to find a job that requires high qualifications).
Why did you decide to live in Australia?
There are different reasons that lead you to live in Australia, its beautiful landscapes, people, culture and quality of life are the main ones. However, to foreigners it may seem difficult to live in Australia, but it is really a simple task. You only have to apply for the corresponding visa and start your new life in the country, this will give you the opportunity to get permanent residency later on.
Which place in Australia impressed you the most?
From the point of view related to nature, the Great Barrier Reef, located in the northern part of Australia, is the place that I liked the most, as for a particular city, Melbourne pleased me very much, which is shown as a mixture of American and European city and is very cosmopolitan as you meet people from all over the world and not to mention the fantastic beaches and parks of this stunning location.
What is life in Australia like for immigrants?
In any of the cities of Australia, life for immigrants will be full of security and comfort, aspects that will allow them to adapt to their new life in Australia. Also, the grouping of these people according to their country of origin does not allow them to fully integrate with the Australian society, generating in turn that Australia becomes a city full of different customs and languages.
The decision that always drives the immigrant to leave his country is always related to the hope of a better quality of life than the one in the country of origin, to have better job opportunities and the respect that the democratic society of that country offers to all its members, that is to say, the immigrant is looking for a new home.
For the immigrant, life in Australia is totally different from the one they have been developing in their country of origin. Australia is recognized as a country with technological development, with a high quality of life that is integrated into a multicultural society, natural attractions and beaches that also give a different perspective to those who come from less developed countries and attracts them greatly.
The immigrant must get used to a multiracial and tolerant society, where the Government usually encourages people to maintain their own cultural customs and at the same time to comply with the laws of Australia and respect the customs of that country. That is why the immigrant’s life may not be easy and he/she will have many difficulties if he/she does not have a good command of English, since it will be difficult to find a qualified and well paid job.
Most of these people, aware of their status as foreigners, are bound by their geographic area (Asian, Latino, etc.). This constitutes a certain limitation when establishing social relations with people who speak another language or are from another country, which means that they adapt but do not integrate.
Without a good command of the English language, some simple activities such as paying for services or going to the bank will be very complicated, because English will make it difficult for immigrants to communicate well with Australian society.
However, the reality of a life in Australia always forces to compare with the realities of other cities where chaos, pollution, disorder and insecurity reign. In Australia you can find security and order, you can walk the streets at any time, because its authorities are concerned about the welfare of its inhabitants.
Benefits that an immigrant obtains in the different cities of Australia
It is important to clarify that immigrants must build a solid pathway to obtain permanent residency. After obtaining residency you will be able to enjoy the benefits that any Australian citizen has, such as access to free education in at least the states of South Australia and Victoria.
Other cities in Australia offer the migrant great satisfaction in terms of amenities and services, but in the major cities there is a difference and that is the high cost of living. Among the five most livable Australian cities are Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, which offer excellent stability, education, health, good infrastructure, environment and culture.
Another very important factor for immigrants is public transport, such as buses, ferries and streetcars; in Australia this service is very affordable and allows them to travel to any point in the cities where they reside.
In order to qualify to live in Australia with permanent residence, migrants must enroll in Medicare, so that they can enjoy the benefit of public health care, in case of temporary residence they must enroll in a private insurance contracted by the migrant himself, who will have the opportunity to choose a care plan according to their health needs.
Upon entering Australia and before completing the first month in this country, it is advisable that the immigrant opens a bank account. The requirements for opening a bank account are: passport, valid visa to enter Australia, certified copy of birth certificate proving identity and personal references and references from other banks.
It is also necessary that the migrant has a previous knowledge before arriving to the country, about the living conditions of the resident population, this will allow him/her to face in a better way the procedure of incorporation to the Australian society. For this, it is necessary to resort to explanatory brochures, information on the web, opinions of friends or relatives who know the locality.
One of the characteristics of Australian society is its religious tolerance, which is why it is essential to maintain a respectful and tolerant attitude towards the beliefs of neighbors and people in the environment. Also, despite some isolated cases of discrimination that have occurred, the authorities have been very drastic in terms of compliance with anti-discrimination laws.
Likewise, it is likely that according to the Australian customs laws the emigrant can move to this country with his own furniture. In addition, during the first three months it is possible to use the international driver’s license, while the procedures for the Australian driver’s license are being carried out.
As for the rent of housing it is necessary to leave in guarantee a previously agreed amount and it is necessary to remember that the rent can be something expensive. Another aspect is when the immigrant has children, he/she has the obligation to enroll his/her children between the ages of 5 and 15 years old in the different schools in Australia.
In short, for many emigrants the meaning of a life in Australia is considered an excellent experience, even qualified as a better place than Canada and the United States, making these people adapt very well to the Australian lifestyle.
What does it take to live in Australia?
There is one way to legally have a life in Australia, and that is by obtaining a visa, either permanent or temporary. Below we will explain what each of these visas is about:
Temporary visa: this visa has an expiration date and on that date you must leave the country. With this visa, you are not entitled to free health care (in most cases), so it is necessary to have private insurance. There are different temporary visas, among which the following stand out:
- Student: grants the right to stay in Australia only for the duration of the course, it allows you to work a maximum of 20 hours per week, to cover the cost of studies and accommodation.
- Working Holiday: it has a duration of one year, with the possibility of adding a job, but with a maximum of six months in the same company. Young people between 18 and 30 years old are eligible for this visa.
- Internship visa: allows you to stay in Australia for the duration of the internship, and you can only work for the company where you are doing the internship.
It is essential that when opting for these visas, you do not stay in Australia even one day beyond the expiration date of the visa, because Australian immigration laws are very strict and if there is an expulsion for not abiding by the rules, you will not be able to set foot on Australian soil again.
Permanent visa: in case you want a long stay or to live a lifetime in Australia you will require a permanent visa, which is a bit difficult to obtain, but offers several benefits, such as: to live indefinitely in Australia, to have the right to work, education and health under the same conditions as any Australian citizen.
The Australian authorities have implemented a point system to be able to obtain this visa. You only need to have X amount of accumulated points to be eligible to stay and live in that country. The minimum points required to qualify for the residence visa are 60 and the key factors that are valued are:
- Your age
- The level of English you have.
- How in demand is your profession in Australia and its technical grade.
- Your educational background.
The score obtained according to the age, will be taken into consideration, according to the years that you have the day of application for the visa, that is the age that you will be fixed for the score, and is as follows:
- From 18 to 24 years old= 25 pts
- From 25 to 32 years old= 30 points
- From 33 to 39 years old= 25 pts
- From 40 to 44 years old= 15 points
- 45 years or more = 0 points
Language is another main requirement for a life in Australia, one way to assess the level of English is with listening, reading, writing and speaking tests. Depending on how you apply this test, it will assess your proficient or professional level, which are scored as follows:
- Proficient level= 20 pts
- Professional level= 10 points
It should be noted, however, that if at the time of the test they notice that you do not have any knowledge of English, they will not even let you apply for the visa.
Another aspect that also awards many points is the work experience, where only experience in specialized occupations and where you have worked 20 hours a week is counted, in addition to score, the employment history of the last ten years will be observed, as long as these rules are followed:
Work experience in Australia:
- Between 1 and 3 years= 5 pts
- Between 3 and 5 years= 10 pts
- Between 5 and 8 years= 15 pts
- Between 8 and 10 years = 20 points
Work experience abroad:
- Between 3 and 5 years= 5 pts
- Between 5 and 8 years= 10 pts
- Between 8 and 10 years= 15 pts
Living in Australia with children
Nowadays there are many people who want to travel to Australia with their family, either with their partner and children and not only to go on vacation; in this sense, they are people who want to work, study and have a life in Australia.
It is necessary to remember that people who do not have a residence permit, nor have this nationality, must have an Australian visa to enter the country or be included in the visa of a family member or another person.
The main requirement to include the children in a visa and to be able to travel to Australia, is to enroll them in a school in that country. The costs and enrollment processes of such schools will be different, since everything will depend on the city and the educational institution.
Foreigners cannot count on a public school, i.e. they must pay for their children to study in a private school. In most states, the compulsory age for schooling is from six years and six months, before which children may attend an optional nursery school.
Similarly, people studying for a doctorate or master’s degree in Australia can obtain discounts on benefits for their children at the schools.
The costs in schools for children range from 250 to 500 $AUD per week, which is equivalent to between 15,000 and 30,000 $AUD per year. If you need to enroll your children in a school in Australia, it is necessary that you get information according to the state where you will live and we advise you to do it through the official pages of education in Australia.
Is life in Australia expensive?
For example, for people with student visas, as soon as you state your approximate costs, you will only be able to work 40 hours per week while studying and only full time during your vacations, so you should keep in mind that the cost of living will be related to your average income.
It is necessary to do the accounts in relation to income and expenses in order to avoid calculating or making conversions to the currency of the country of origin; this is a common mistake that many people make and that is why they find it expensive to live in Australia. It is important to remember that migration includes, in addition to the increase in expenses, an increase in income obtained as labor remuneration.
Is it true that Australia needs professionals?
A recent listing of the PMSOL (Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List) program has made reference to 17 professional profiles that are linked to job fields that have to do with healthcare, construction, information technology, communications; among the positions listed are: construction project manager, executive director, physicians, mechanical engineers, psychiatrists, midwives, registered nurses, developer/programmer, software engineer, maintenance planner, etc.