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Moving to Australia from the UK: what you need to know

Moving to Australia is definitely an exciting project, but not one that can happen overnight. The entire process has its challenges which can put a strain on processing times, so planning is paramount.

Last year, we helped more than 400 families move Down Under, so based our experience, we have compiled the following checklist which focuses on the top priorities you need to tackle when relocating to Australia.

Get in touch to discuss your move to Australia

If you want to discuss your move to Australia with an expert and get a realistic idea of the costs involved for your personal circumstances call us free on 0800 521541.

Shipping Transit Duration

The time it will take to ship your belongings to Australia differs.
For a Full Container Load, you can expect a door-to-door transit time of 6 to 8 weeks. A Shared Container Shipment, also known as Groupage, will be cheaper but will take longer, 10 to 12 weeks door-to-door.


Before packing your personal belongings to emigrate to Australia, we recommend you consult the latest summary of Australian Customs regulations as some of your personal items might not be allowed.

If you can’t find a home for the items that you can’t take with you to Australia, Robinsons offers first-class, secure storage facilities.

To clear your Unaccompanied Personal Effects (UPEs), which include the household and personal items you are importing into Australia, you must complete and lodge an UPE Statement (B534 Form).

Please note that all household goods are subject to a physical examination Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS), and shipments can be held for up to 14 working days, which can further delay your move.

If possible, we recommend that you have your goods cleared by Customs before you arrive in the country, as it will prevent wasting time.

For more information on customs and clearance, visit the Australian Border Force website.

Immigration Visa

Unless you already have Australian citizenship, it is important you secure the right visa before entering Australia. To get some guidance and help about the various types of visa available including their eligibility criteria, visit the Australian Department of Immigration website.

There is no set processing time to get a permanent residence visa to immigrate to Australia and obviously each application is dealt with individually. It really depends on the kind of visa you are applying for but as a general rule of thumb, it takes most applicants 9-18 months to receive a decision, including the time required to prepare the application before lodgement.

Temporary work and spousal cases are quicker and take around 3-6 months whilst applicants requiring professional registration can take an additional 6-12 months to process.

Finding a home

Whether you are planning on renting or buying, you can start having a look at the property market right now by visiting dedicated websites such as, and

Choosing a school for your children

Choosing the right school for your children might be a minefield, so head to My School, a website designed to help parents and guardians find out relevant and up to date information about Australian schools.


Medicare, Australia’s public healthcare system, covers free or subsidised treatments provided by registered healthcare professionals. To find out more about Medicare and complete your registration to the scheme, visit their website.

Private healthcare is also widely available, and depending on your visa, private health insurance might be a compulsory requirement.

Moving pets to Australia

The United Kingdom belongs to the Group 3 countries which are described as “approved countries and territories in which rabies is absent or well-controlled”. As such, animals coming from the UK require an import permit to be eligible for import to Australia.

Upon arrival in Australia, dogs and cats must spend a minimum of 10 day at the Mickleham post-entry quarantine facility in Melbourne, Victoria. The costs linked to the stay in the quarantine facility are divided into two invoices. The first invoice includes the standard veterinary inspection of your animal and health certification, the document assessment, the airline document charge and the daily rate for quarantine accommodation. The second invoice covers the parasite treatment (if required), any additional days of quarantine and any other party expenses incurred during the quarantine period. Both invoices must be paid in full prior to release of your animal/s from the quarantine facility. For more information about the process to move your favourite pet to Australia, visit the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website and their useful FAQs section.

Driving in Australia

Laws and driving regulations differ from state to state. Some Australian states require you to carry an International Licence with your current foreign licence. Other states request you carry your current foreign driver’s licence together with a formal translation of your licence into English.

For more detailed information about the laws and regulations in place in the territory you are planning on moving to, please visit the Australian Government website.

Cost of living

Over recent years, Australia has consolidated its reputation as a destination with a high cost of living. Although most expats will argue that the higher quality of life makes up for it, it is crucial you investigate what your daily expenses are likely to be and put together a realistic financial plan.

As an indication, the 2018 Mercer Cost of Living Survey listed Sydney as the 29th most expensive city out of 209 cities surveyed worldwide. Melbourne ranked 58th, Perth 61st, Canberra 77th and Brisbane 84th. In comparison, London ranked 19th and Birmingham 128th.

And before you book your one-way ticket, don’t forget to visit the website which provides up to date advice for British nationals living in Australia.


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