Migrating to Australia
This page has information for:
- people from any country who are planning to migrate, emigrate or immigrate to Australia
- people who have just arrived in Australia
- people who are moving within Australia
1. Essential Strategies
Regardless of where you have come from or how long you plan to stay, we always recommend that you apply our Six Best Settlement Strategies to your new life. You may also like to connect with other people from your own country of origin.
Our most important tip is to encourage you to have a personal email account that you can use in any country (like a Yahoo!, Gmail or Hotmail account) so that the people you leave behind can always leave a message and so that the people you are about to meet can contact you (until you get a phone, a new address etc). It is also a good idea to have a personal email address for correspondence rather than a work email address.
2. Migration and Citizenship Rules
If you are migrating to Australia, you will need to be in contact with theDepartment of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) either directly or through a migration agent or lawyer. DIAC enriches ‘Australia through the well managed entry and settlement of people’ and their current plan mentions that they ‘manage the lawful and orderly entry and stay of people in Australia, including through effective border security and promote a society which values Australian citizenship, appreciates cultural diversity and enables migrants to participate equitably.’
If you would like individual advice about migrating to Australia based on your personal circumstances, we would encourage you to seek professional, qualified assistance. Australia has a regulatory scheme requiring persons who give immigration assistance to be registered as a Migration Agent or Lawyer. Migration Agents operating in Australia are required by law to be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority and must abide by the Migration Agents’ Code of Conduct. There is also a useful Consumer’s Information section on this website.
Migrants who are permanent residents of Australia can consider becoming anAustralian Citizen and in most cases, this does not mean losing the passport or citizenship of your home country.
3. Government websites
Government websites in Australia have good quality information and are very useful for migrants. Some also have translations available in other languages.
Each State Government has their own website and a Migration website and some also have services to help you get your overseas qualifications assessed to an Australian equivalent.
Australian Capital Territory
Migrant Guide to Australian Law Available in several languages and is a good introduction to law and police in Australia
Australian Education International National Office of Overseas Skills
Recognition (AEI-NOOSR) provides information and services to help people have their overseas qualifications recognised in Australia. Please remember that although you may obtain a particular visa to migrate to Australia, there is no guarantee that you will find work immediately. This website is essential viewing if you are a potential skilled migrant. Make sure you also find and visit the relevant professional associations representing your qualifications so that they can provide you with further information (and consider becoming a member to further develop your professional reputation in Australia).
Australian Skills Recognition Information (ASRI) This site will help you find out how to get an assessment of occupational qualifications, skills or experience that you have gained overseas. You can also find state-specific licensing and registration requirements to practice your occupation in Australia.
Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) 1220 is a publication produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and it is regularly used by migration agents to work out the appropriate classification for the type of work that you do. The ABS website has an enormous range of information available free of charge and for purchase.
Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) is a skills assessing authority, mainly used by people who would like to migrate that already have a trade qualification
Training.com.au is a portal to vocational education and training information, products and services in Australia developed in conjunction with state and territory training authorities and the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA).
4. Migration information websites
Many migration lawyers, agents, removal companies and tourism websites also list a great deal of information about Australia. Websites listed in this section have been chosen because they contain a wide range of information not because we endorse any particular service.
The Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) (lists all Migration Agents registered in Australia) and also produces a PDF booklet online called ‘Information on the Regulation of the Migration Advice Profession.’ This is a document with information about the migration advice profession, the functions of the Authority, the legislation regulating the profession, what a client can reasonably expect from a migration agent, and complaint procedures.
Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) – the largest peak representative body for the migration advice industry that represents registered migration agents.
Immigration Advice and Rights Centre (IARC) Sydney, Australia – provides free, independent, high quality immigration advice and assistance and education in order to improve access to justice under Australia’s immigration system and advocates for a just and equitable immigration system.
AustImmigration a private migration service run by George Lombard who is very well known in a variety of online forums.
Toxic Custard this is a humorous website with various light hearted reviews….do not take it too seriously!
Convict Creations this has a wide range of history, culture, sport and animal information about Australia…allow plenty of time when you click on this link!
Understanding Australia offers international students, visitors and backpackers information about the continent and its people. It is a joint project of theAustralian Broadcasting Corporation and Monash University. It is produced byRadio Australia with the assistance of Monash University’s National Centre for Australian Studies, ABC Asia Pacific and ABC New Media. It is also available in Hindi and Chinese languages.
SBS Radio World View an English-language national news and current affairs program. World View was launched in 1995 in response to public requests for a “bridge” or “meeting place” for cultures and communities sharing the national language – English. It was also seen as a resource which children of migrants could use to better understand the multicultural society in which they live. You can listen to current and past programs online.
5. Selecting a Migration Agent
If you decide to use a migration agent based in either your home country or in Australia, please make sure that they are registered to provide migration advice and that they have expertise in cases similar to yours. To find out how long they have been registered, the first two numbers of their registration code are the year in which they obtained their first registration although they may have been working in the industry before they were registered.
You may also like to ask them questions about their expertise in cases similar to yours, how long they have been in the industry and if they can give you referrals to satisfied clients. Google them and ask people about them – and see if they have posted information in online forums/blogs or written articles in reputable publications.
The migration fee may be many thousands of dollars and there are additional application fees that you must pay to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). Some agents have business models which involve assistance but not full representation, for a lower fee. This suits some people who can do some of the work themselves but you really do need to have a clear understanding of what services you are getting for the fee you are paying (preferably in writing).
Finally you need to use your own personal judgement when selecting an agent as you are likely to be dealing with that person quite closely for a year or more so you need to feel comfortable working with them.
6. Email Online Groups and Forums
You can visit Yahoo Groups and MSN Groups to find specific groups related to your interest (for instance Americans Down Under). Search and see what you can find – look for groups with a reasonable number of members and regular posts (not just spam). These groups provide you with a free forum to post questions and receive answers from others (but once you have joined, search and read previous posts first before asking your questions).
AustraliaNZMigrate – this is one of our favourites….most helpful and supportive, especially to intending migrants of Australia and New Zealand.
Spousesview – mostly for expatriate spouses living in locations around the world on an assignment basis.
These type of email online groups were more popular in the early 2000’s.
Now, more people go to dedicated forum websites like:
British Expats forum related to a home country
Poms In Oz forum related to a home country but in Australia
Australia Forum forum related to migrating to Australia
Once again, do some searching or look in our section on Newcomer Networks
7. Publications and resources to manage your own migration
BCL Australian City Life Sites gives links to a lot of other geographically based information
Understanding Australia: a guide for international students written by Sally White, ISBN 0521541999, 112 pages paperback published by Cambridge University Press, November 2003. This should be essential reading on your plane trip to Australia. It has only one chapter specifically for international students but the rest of the content is fantastic reading for new migrants (good simple English too). (once off cost, well worth purchasing even though it was published in 2003)
Australian Immigration Book has been known for many years as the ‘Green Book.’ (once off cost)
Australian Immigration Guide written by a South African, basic free information
Emigrate Australia is specifically for people from the United Kingdom, you can subscribe to a monthly newspaper. (monthly fee)
Relocations-made-easy Virtual Relocator Resource tool (need to purchase an access key for a period of time)
Tribus Lingua publish job and work books suitable for migrants to Australia (fee per item)
8. Relocation Advice
You can find a variety of support services for the relocation process by looking in the Yellow Pages directory in the category of ‘Relocation Consultants &/or Services’ or ‘Furniture Removals & Storage’ or ‘Migration Consultants & Services’ or the True Local directory.
Alternatively, you may like to select one of the services listed on the Relocation Network Directory (also a paid listing). Once you have found somewhere to live, also consider having assistance from a Careers Counsellor listed on the Career Development Association of Australia website to ensure that you move into the right career in your new location. Look at ourLocations section to find more localised information..
As indicated previously, sometimes it is worth paying for some assistance (if you were feeling sick, you would pay to visit a doctor, why not when you move, pay for some relocation help?) as you may be able to save yourself time and inconvenience. Their previous experience and knowledge may help you find information not listed on the internet (or anywhere else!).
9. Relocation Guides, Resources and Checklists
The next section provides you with some links to some great information, resources and checklists for movers.
Planning your move this includes checklists, guides and useful information for all movers.
International movers to Australia
ASA Consultants Pty Ltd (provide a range of information including a good moving checklist, a way to work out what to pack and what to leave and a description as to whether or not your gadgets will work in Australia) .
Toll Transitions Welcome to Your City Guides are for capital cities of Australia and some other locations.
Smartraveller Backpacking overseas has advice for the independent traveller but this has some good information in it suitable for movers.
Australian Furniture Removers Association Inc (AFRA) have produced a Moving Guide Kit with lots of useful information
Its Your Life Retirement Village has a great Moving Home Checklist, suitable for all ages, with excellent Australian links)
Links on this Migrating to Australia page
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
Australian Capital Territory Government
Australian Education International National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (AEI-NOOSR)
Australian Immigration Book
Australian Immigration Guide
BCL Australian City Life
Career Development Association of Australia
Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC)
Gadgets will work in Australia
Immigration Advice and Rights Centre (IARC)
Law Council of Australia International Law Section Immigration Lawyers’ Association of Australasia (ILAA) Focus Group
Migrant Guide to Australian Law
Office of the Migration Agents’ Registration Authority (MARA)
Migration Institute of Australia (MIA)
Migrating to Australia: A Handbook for Skilled Professionals
Moving Guide Kit
Moving Home Checklist, suitable for all ages
Moving Services hints and tips for moving
Other people from your own country of origin
Plan your move
Planning your move
Poms In Oz
SBS Radio World View
Six Best Settlement Strategies
Smartraveller Backpacking overseas
Toll Transitions Welcome to Your City Guides
Trades Recognition Australia (TRA)
Understanding Australia: a guide for international students
What to pack and what to leave