How to Emigrate to Australia

I have had a number of people email me in recent months asking about how to go about migrating to Australia so thought I would condense all the information into a blog post to save me from writing the same material time and time again.

This information is mainly aimed at those in the UK/Europe but most will be applicable to other nationalities as well.

My migration story started like all the best stories with a very bad woman and I have been living in Melbourne for just over two and a half years..

So why move at all?

Well Australia has a great life style that I personally prefer. There are a lot of job opportunities (check out, the pay rates are currently much higher than they are in Europe (particularly with current exchange rate). At the time of writing a Microsoft .net developer can expect to earn around $60,000-$120,000 depending on number of years of experience. Career One have a salary calculator that will give you a good idea of how much money you actually end up with after tax. Obviously pay rates are higher for those in leadership positions/banking etc.

Housing is generally cheaper and much larger here (check out, petrol is half the price and every day I think what a beautiful country this is when I see palm trees and parrots on my morning runs (the novelty of this hasn’t gone yet for me..).

Some things are also much more expensive e.g. cars (almost double particularly European brands!) and books (I buy from Amazon). Broadband infrastructure sucks & some services such as banking are very much backward compared to Europe. Services, new products (particularly online stuff) tends to be introduced here last. Additionally going out the main cities can feel like a step back in time (and not always in a good way).

Migration is not for everyone and if you are the sort of person that doesn’t like the following its probably not for you:

  • Change – yes Australians speak english but things are done differently, they speak differently, there are different products tv etc
  • Bluntness (Australians do send to tell it as it is and you will often hear suck it up, take a concrete pill or maybe that’s just me..)
  • Very close to their family (Australia is a looooong way from Europe and the time difference doesn’t help).

If all this still sounds good and you want to migrate then you have the following main options:

Working Holiday

I am not going to say too much about the working holiday visa apart from its quick & cheap to apply for but it is going to restrict the type of places that will employ you. My sister used this option and spent around 6 months working on a number of short term carer contracts. It is a great way to travel & explore Australia.

Skilled Migration Visa

The option I chose was the skilled migration visa. This is the least restrictive but also the most time consuming and expensive. To apply for this you need a skill that is in demand (check out In total I think this cost me around 2500 pounds sterling (about two and a half years ago) and took about 10 months to process.

You will go through an assessment process where a point’s score is calculated based on skill, years of experience, education and english fluency. You will then need criminal background and medical checks. I am a software developer so the Australian Computer Society assessed my CV, degree & a few Microsoft qualifications – this took around 6-8 weeks. It is best to find a doctor familiar with the migration requirements (try a travel clinic I found one near Heathrow).

There are a number of companies offering visa application services. You really don’t need to use any of these unless you have some special circumstances. The application process is fairly straight forward (hey I managed it) and just involves following instructions  -and filling in some 45 page forms..

The process is basically:

  • Fill in some lengthy forms
  • Get your skills assessed by relevant industry body
  • Police check
  • Medical Check (doctor exam, blood tests & chest x-ray)
  • Visa granted
  • Activate visa
  • Go to Oz 🙂

Once you have obtained the visa you then need to “activate” it by travelling to Australia before the initial entry date (I think this is 2 years from when the visa is granted). Once its activated you are free to use it for next 5 years but its apparently important to be in Australia at least 2 of these 5 years to stand a good chance of resident return stamp.

This visa entitles you to do pretty much everything an Aussie can do apart from an Australian passport and the right to vote (its mandatory here). You can stay indefinitely (although do need to obtain a resident return stamp if leave after 5 years). You cannot become a citizen until you have held this visa for at least 4 years (at one point this was 2 grrrr).

Your other main option is to get a company to sponsor you. This is probably pretty hard unless you have some specialist skills or are part of a global corp. If you are a Microsoft developer/consultant my employer Readify are always looking for people, provide 20 days paid personal development (I have been on Udi Dahan’s architecture course, Teched, Remix and a number of smaller workshops), have some great people to learn from and will sponsor visa’s so check us out at

Employer Sponsored

The main issue with Employer sponsored visas are that it restricts your options in that you are tied to an individual employer. However they are much cheaper (companies will generally cover the costs) and can be obtained in as little as a month depending on your circumstances. You also have the option to apply for permanent residency visa after this is obtained (not sure how long for this).

It’s worth noting that until I was in Australia I didn’t get a single reply to job applications and the minute I had an Australian mobile number I had heaps of calls. It took me two and a half weeks to find my first job so don’t be disheartened if you don’t get any replies until you are here. I would advise having enough money to cover 3 months without work. It took me about 2 and a half weeks to find a job.

When I first moved I stayed in a hotel for two nights then a short term rental for 6 weeks. This was much cheaper than hotel but not as cheap as renting. You are however going to find it hard to find a rental without a job and the rental market can be quite competitive in cities.

For IT workers you are probably really looking at going to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth. That’s not to say that other cities wont have jobs just there are more jobs in the larger cities and why make it hard when you have just moved here. Personally I prefer Melbourne to Sydney and probably partly because the city has a more European feel to it. Sydney probably does have better beaches nearby through 🙂 I have only really spent a short holiday in Brisbane so cant comment apart from it seemed a nice city with lots nearby (probably smaller than Melbourne or Sydney). In my brief time in Perth I considered it is probably a bit quiet for a younger crowd but is a beautiful city and would be perfect for a young family.

A great forum for general emigration queries is the Expats Forum and they have a very good emigration checklist you should read.

Hope this helps and good luck with the process if you decide its for you 🙂

16 thoughts on “How to Emigrate to Australia

  1. Thanks ……..Alex, I would love migrate 2 Australia for work . I have been working with some technoloies such as HTML,Javascript,Java SE,C,C#,WINDOW FORMS,ASP.NET,ADVANCE .NET,PHPPERL SCRIPT,XML,UMLE.TC. but i have real experience in the field. I planning to write certification Microsoft.NET framework,…………and become an IT manager/ software engineer or Application developer. I am your fan……

  2. my husbands only link left in his family all live in australia how can we emergrate so we can be with them as he misses them so much his got his step dad 3 sisters a brother and nieces and nephews

    1. Hi Carol,
      I am no migration expert but you should take a look at the Australian governments official site which will list the various migration options: I believe that having family members living in Australia can assist with visa approval. Its a lengthy process but not complex in most situations.

      Also take a look at as there are many people familiar with the visa process here.

      Good luck 🙂

  3. Alex

    Thank you very much for such complete and interesting information about migrating to Australia. My name is Andres Garcia I’m 26 years old, I live in Canada and I have a 2 year College diploma on Petroleum engineering technology. I have just over 2 years of experience and would love to migrate and work in Australia (Probably Perth) after completing my 2 year BAPT program (bachelor of applied petroleum engineering technology) commencing this september 2012. I would like to know what my chances are knowing that I’m not a petroleum engineer. i checked the SOL list but i don’t see petroleum technologist anywhere 😦

    thanks again for this very helpful information you have shared with us

    1. Hi Andres,
      Sorry for delay in replying. Its really not my industry so not sure I can be much help here. Australia has a big mining industry however which may relate to your qualifications? Maybe check something like to see if you can find some more info?

      Also check for other similar job titles as the title on the SOL list may not match the name exactly. I guess you could also check with some of the big mining firms.

  4. Hi Alex, not sure if you are still monitoring this or not, but I thought I would leave you a message anyway. I found your site a very interesting read and having looked into a move to Australia for some time, would be very interested in your feedback. I understand that you are not migration expert, but what are the regulations on gaining a visa without a degree?? My background is 9 years serving in the Royal Air Force instead of going to a university and I am wondering if this would help? I have family in Australia, but they are not close family, which is what is mentioned on the website.

    Look forward to hearing anything that you might have to assist!


  5. Hi came across your post this has some great info my family and I have just decided to in the next 5 years to emergrate to australia giving ourselves enough time to get sorted , can I ask is it easy to find work out there ?

    1. Hi Nikki,
      Depends on the industry you are in. For IT yes I found it fairly easy to get work. Check out to give you an idea of whats out there – dont be disheartened if you dont hear back from any applications until you are in the country.


  6. Hello alex , my business partner is living out there (Gold Coast ), he offered me to migrate to over there , of course by investment path . how do think about that ..on the other hand im living in middle east and im really dependent to the family prefer is to go somewhere like Spain or England , because are really close ..5 or 6 hours by plane …please guide me .

    1. Hi Ali,
      Its a tricky one to say! If you are very close to your family you may be better off with a closer option as Australia can feel very far away alternatively why not take a holiday and see how you go?


    1. Hi Jhon,
      It was over 5 years ago now so I am not sure what it contained. I think it just listed dates of employment, languages used and skills.


  7. Hey Alex! I’ve been in Sydney for 3 months a few years ago and i have to say that i love that place! I want to migrate permanent in New South Wales..I want to find a job. I have 9 years experience in accounting and secretarial.. I used to work in a Shipmanagement company. It’s easy to find something? I have many relatives who they live there for many many years…they are australian citiziens. can they help me to get there easier? Please if u can help me with your knowledges let me know…. Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Hi Christina,
      I am obviously not a migration agent so cant advise you on the best way to do this. You need to go to the Australian immigration site ( which will show you your options – which will probably be either via your accounting & secretarial skills of if you have some close family members this can help.


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