Seven common myths about moving to Australia that are simply not true
In June 2016, we packed our bags and moved to Australia. After exploring Western Aus for two months, we began working in Sydney, and saved $20,000 between us over six months.
We learnt a thing or two in the process, and hope to debunk some common myths surrounding moving, and living, in Australia below!
Nº 1 - I need to get sponsored to move to Australia
You do not need to be sponsored before moving to Australia. Many countries (including UK and USA) have an agreement with Australia whereby individuals between the ages of 18 and 31 can travel to Australia on a visa that allows them to stay for one year. Companies often offer sponsorship (usually for a fixed number of years) to expats, however this is not the only way to start working in Australia. Details of visas are available here.
Nº 2 - I have to complete 3 months of farm work
If you want to stay for just one year on a 462 or 417 visa, then you don't need to complete 3 months/90 days of 'specified work' in regional Australia. Your visa will expire and you will have to leave the country one year after entry.
If, however, you would like to extend your visa for one extra year (which can be used consecutively or at another point before you're 31), then undertaking this 'specified work' is necessary. Despite the large numbers of backpackers that do it, fruit-picking isn't the only thing you can do either. Please see the Australian government website for more information.
Nº 3 - It's difficult to get a professional job
If you have your head screwed on, there is no reason for you to struggle to find work in Australia. We both managed to secure suitable, well-paid roles quickly, because we had the drive to do so. Of course, prior experience and necessary skills play a part, but if you set your mind to finding a job within a short space of time, it is definitely doable - especially in a major city such as Sydney.
Nº 4 - I CAN WORK FOR HOWEVER LONG I WANT, FOR WHOEVER I WANT
Working holiday visas such as the 417 or 462 have a restriction - you can only work for the same employer for six months. This means that many companies will not employee visitors on this type of visa, and you may have to look for fixed-term contract roles or casual work. Don't despair, however, as we both managed to find fixed-term roles in reputable businesses within Business Development and Recruitment respectively, within five days of landing in Sydney.
Nº 5 - IT'S REALLY EXPENSIVE TO LIVE IN AUSTRALIA
This isn't necessarily false, but it also isn't a hard-and-fast truth, either. Of course, major cities (Sydney, Melbourne etc.) tend to have a higher cost of living than regional towns, but it doesn't mean that you will suddenly be spending over and above what you're used to.
We both lived in London prior to moving to Sydney, and we have noticed that rent prices are similar overall (although you can live in a far nicer place closer to your work for a similar price to being in a small flat in Zone 4), and whilst groceries can be slightly more expensive, there's the same opportunities to eat out cheaply as there is in England.
We have both found that we have far more disposable income given the generous pay packages of our employers, and this isn't uncommon. We are spending more money on having fun than we did in London, yet we are also saving a lot more, too.
Nº 6 - I'M GOING TO COME FACE-TO-FACE WITH DEADLY INSECTS AND REPTILES
We've been in Australia for eight months now, and have only seen one (not poisonous) snake and a number of house spiders. That's not to say that such deadly creatures are not lurking nearby, but don't expect to be spotting deadly spiders in the toilet bowl or snakes in the local park!
Nº 7 - THE WEATHER IS ALWAYS GLORIOUS
We did not expect to be freezing our pants off when we arrived in Australia. We thought that we'd be leaving British summer for a winter that boasts the same conditions. We were so very wrong - it's not always warm and sunny in Australia.
Rachel slept in two pairs of leggings and a hoody when we first arrived, due to the lack of insulation in many places that we stayed. It depends on where you're travelling to, but take note that in many places winter really does mean winter, and weather can be unpredictable even in summer (we're looking at you, Melbourne...)