Australia: Counting the costs

Cost of living in Australia: Will the move be worth your while financially?

Groceries tend to be more expensive in Australia than they are in Ireland and electricity costs can be high, especially if you live somewhere where you need  air conditioning  for much of the year.

Groceries tend to be more expensive in Australia than they are in Ireland and electricity costs can be high, especially if you live somewhere where you need air conditioning for much of the year.

 
Before you move to Australia, you will need to consider whether you can afford the cost of the move and the cost of life there. A little research here can go a long way to helping you decide if the move will be worth your while financially.
 
First things first: you will have to pay for your visa. A temporary skilled worker visa is at least A$1,060 (€740), while a one-year working holiday visa is A$440. You may also need proof of funds when entering the country, depending on your visa. Anyone going to study in Australia needs to show they have the return airfare, their course fees and, as of July 1st, 2016, at least A$19,830 a year to live on and more if they are taking dependants.
 
You will also have to pay your airfare, unless an employer is covering your travel costs. One-way flights cost from about €600 to Perth and about €670 to Sydney.
 
Shipping all the belongings of a household of four people could cost as much as €4,000, so decide carefully what you need to take with you. Many people move with only as much as they can carry and build from there.
 
Cost of living
The cost of living in Australia is generally somewhat higher than in Ireland, although it depends where you live and how you live. Groceries tend to be more expensive than at home and electricity costs can be high, especially if you live somewhere where you need the air conditioning on for much of the year. Sites such as workingabroad.net and numbeo.com give detailed cost-of-living tables.
 
Figure out how much you will need to cover your expenses for at least the first month or two. The biggest of those is likely to be rent, which is often quoted by the week. Expect to pay roughly A$418 a week for a decent one-bedroom apartment in central Melbourne, A$443 a week for the same in Perth and A$623 a week in Sydney.
 
Renting a three-bedroom house in any of the main cities is likely to cost at least A$800 a week, if not significantly more. Do like the Aussies and check realestate.com.au and domain.com.au for rental listings.
Assume you will have to pay a deposit (called a bond) of at least one month’s rent and remember that rental accommodation usually comes unfurnished. Gumtree is also popular for advertising shared accommodation.
 
Bank account
It’s smart to open a bank account before you get there. You can do this online through any of the main banks: ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac.  Comparison shop for savings accounts, credit cards, insurance and other financial products on infochoice.com.au.
 
Paying tax
If you are going to work in Australia, you will need a tax file number (TFN). Apply for one once you arrive through the Australian Taxation Office website, which also has detailed information on income tax rates and how to make returns.
 
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