Transfer Money to Australia with OFX
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Thinking of heading Down Under? With beautiful beaches, sun all year long and stunning cities, it's no surprise so many Brits want to make Australia home. Migrating to Australia as a British national is pretty straightforward, with a number of visas for both skilled and unskilled workers due to our strong relationship. Learn how to make your move as seamless as possible with this handy guide.
While the list of available visas is quite extensive, here are the most popular ones for British citizens moving to Australia:
Once your visa has been approved, you can start looking into flights to Australia. There are daily routes from London to Sydney, which are serviced by some of the world’s largest airlines including; Etihad, Emirates, Qantas, Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, and China Southern. There are no direct flights to Australia from the UK as the flight time (e.g. from London to Sydney) is typically 23-24 hours.
Pro-tip: If you’re here on a working holiday or planning to go back, why not add some stopovers on your way back home and see a little more of the world?
Those looking to cash in on cheaper flights can take advantage of the off-peak season, which occurs from September to November and April to June. It’s also advised that if you’re planning to return to the UK, to book your return flight at the same time to save on costs as; a) return flights are usually cheaper than single flights and b) flights between the UK and Australia generally cost more when purchased from Australia.
Of course, if you do see a sale flight that’s too good to resist, you may want to jump on it while it’s available. (So long as you’ve received your visa, naturally.)
Before you hop on a plane, you will need to tie up some loose ends at home, including storage and shipping.
The UK is not short of storage units with Big Yellow and Safestore being two of the larger and more accessible storage facilities. Pack and shop around first to get an idea of what’s available and how much storage space you need.
Again, the UK has no shortage of shipping and freight companies to send larger items to your new home. 1st Contact, Anglo Pacific, PPS, and Seven Seas Worldwide are among your many choices. Most companies will provide you with packing material and flexible pick-up times. Quotes can be provided via their websites, but beware of hidden charges. When shipping to Australia, you might be subject to tax, customs, and quarantine examination fees that may be charged to you post-delivery.
Here’s a quick list of things you might need to do before you leave:
Setting up a bank account before arriving is easy and can be done through the bank’s online migration service. However, it’s quite possible that your bank in the UK either has a branch in Australia or has ties with an Australian bank. Your best bet is to ask them first, but here’s an overview of some UK banks that have relationships with Australian financial institutions that might be helpful.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 50+ currencies.
You can start transferring money into your account as soon as you want. To save money on exchange rates, it's worth comparing the best money transfer specialists instead of using your UK bank. If you're sending a large sum of money to Australia, you could save hundreds of dollars on poor exchange rates using a currency broker such as OFX.
During your working life in Australia you will be subject to income tax and be required to lodge a tax return with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) every year between June 30 and October 31. When/if you return back home to the UK, you may be able to lodge your Australian tax return early if you leave before the end of the tax year. Again, advise the ATO for details on how to complete this.
Now let’s not forget all the niggling tax requirements you might have to consider before leaving the UK. First, advise the HMRC of your move and check to see if you’re eligible to pay tax for that tax year. This can be easily done by using the HMRC’s Self Assessment service. Depending on your circumstance, you might also have to complete the following:
Other tax refunds: If you purchase items in Australia and return home with them, you may be eligible to claim a refund on the goods and services (GST) and wine equalisation tax (WET) through the tourist refund scheme. For more information regarding eligibility, contact the ATO.
Under Australian law, you cannot transfer your superannuation to your UK fund while you’re in Australia, however you can access your funds upon retirement or, if you’re on a temporary-resident visa, upon your final departure from the country (known as the Departing Australia Super Payment (DASP). The DASP can be applied for online through the ATO, but bear in mind that any withholding tax will be taken before your super is paid to you.
Those who are planning to immigrate to Australia permanently may wish to transfer their pension fund to an Australian fund. This is possible as long as certain requirements are met – including that the receiving fund is approved as a Qualifying Registered Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). At the time of writing, there were close to 1,500 qualifying schemes.
Note: if your nominated Australian pension fund doesn’t meet all requirements, your transfer will be viewed as an unauthorised payment and will be subject to a tax charge. Again, this is an option for those seeking permanent immigration into Australia as, when you transfer your pension, you’ll lose any right to a protected pension age, lose any fixed or enhanced protection you had prior to the transfer, and lose any right you had to a tax free lump sum of more than 25% of your pension pot which you had under the pension scheme before 6 April 2006.
For a list of qualifying recognised overseas pensions schemes and more information on how to process your transfer, visit the HMRC website.
A comforting thing to know is that Australians and Brits both drive on the same side of the road: the left. Something else that’s nice to know is that you can use your UK license to drive in Australia indefinitely so long as the license remains current and valid (not cancelled or suspended), and that you haven’t been disqualified from driving here or have had your driving privileges revoked.
If you are here on a permanent visa, you will have to convert to an Australian license after you’ve been in the country for three months. UK residents who hold a UK driver’s license are exempt from taking a knowledge or drive/ride test to obtain an Australian license. If your license expires while in Australia, you will also be eligible for an Australian license.
It’s highly recommended that you have health cover while in Australia. Something reassuring is that the UK and Australia hold a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement, which allows Brits to benefit from the national health care system, which is called Medicare.
By enrolling in Medicare, you will be able to obtain essential medical treatments for the length of your stay in Australia. These benefits include free treatment as a public in- or outpatient in a public hospital, reduced medicine under the Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme (PBS), and any Medicare benefits available for out-of-hospital treatments by a registered doctor.
Remember Medicare is the public healthcare system, and therefore will not provide as many benefits as private health care or travel health insurance. If you require the services of private health care but don’t have private health insurance, you will have to pay your doctor’s bill in full. That being said, you might be eligible to claim a partial refund of this through Medicare, which you’ll be advised of by reception at the doctor’s surgery.
Note: anyone who has applied for the Subclass Visa 410 (Retiree visa) after 1 December 1998 is not eligible for Medicare, regardless of this agreement.
Aside from the exchange programs, scholarships, and general international student pathways that are available through Australian universities, some British universities have more specific programs and relationships in place to cater to your studying abroad needs. For example, Loughborough University in Leicestershire has an international exchange agreement with Curtin University of Technology in Perth and the University of Technology in Sydney, while the University of Central Lancashire is partnered with the University of Western Sydney. By going through a university, you might find it easier to obtain a student visa and study abroad than by applying outright. Your school might also have scholarships and other subsidies available to make studying in Australia more affordable.
If you’re currently studying with an educational institution in the UK, you might like to look into their available exchange programs to see what’s available to you.
Currently repaying a student loan in the UK? You will still have to continue paying it back while working or studying in Australia so long as your annual salary exceeds the repayment threshold, which is currently £22,015 in the UK. Once this threshold is met, you are required to repay your loan and 9% of your earnings over this threshold.
Due to differences in the cost of living, as well as changing interest rates, the threshold and percentage you have to pay while you’re in Australia will vary. If you’re planning to be in Australia for over three months, you’ll have to fill out an Overseas Income Assessment Form to be charged an accurate repayment amount. Failure to inform the Student Loans Company (SLC) of your overseas income will result in a default repayment amount (calculated for your specific country of residence), which you will be liable to pay monthly.
Let’s face it: at some point during your stay in Australia you’re bound to feel homesick. So here are a few key things that can remind you of home while you’re on our sunny shores. (Clearly sunshine, that’s not one of them – hehe.)
|How you going? (Yeah, we probably don’t say g’day as much as we used to.)||You right?|
Oh, and just a tip. When you get on the escalators, the LEFT side is for standing and the RIGHT side is for overtaking/moving. Same goes with footpaths.
The industry I’m in is behind, also better pay, more sunshine, free water, super and better looking people.
Finances. It’s not cheap moving abroad. Also, tying up loose ends at home, renting my flat out, finding a job and finding somewhere to live before I moved.
So simple. Quick, easy and came through within two hours.
I set up a Westpac migrant account, had a 40-minute meeting in the London office and my card was ready to collect with my money in my account the day I arrived.
I used Airbnb as we didn't want to sign a lease and be unhappy with the area. It was hard finding somewhere that was a reasonable cost but an easy process.
I put a lot of thought into my plans and was really organised arranging everything.
I’ve settled really quickly, it feels normal already because I’ve got a routine.
Apply for your TFN (tax file number) before you get here if you're starting work. Stock up on free drugs from the NHS and be prepared for Aussies complaining that 16⁰C is cold.
No because I put a lot of thought into my plans and was really organised arranging everything.
It’s always good to keep the contact details of your embassy on hand in case anything goes wrong or you have queries.
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