a woman sitting on a bench looking at a skyline

Planning to study or work in Australia?

Download our free guide to studying or working in Australia

Your Short Guide to Moving to and Living in Australia  

If you’ve decided to move to Australia, this guide will provide useful information on what you can expect: from socialising, working, studying, and more.

You’ll also find essential tips and advice that will help you make the most of your Australian experience. 

Business and work culture in Australia 

Employment opportunities in Australia can provide international professionals with numerous job prospects. The country’s employment sectors include technology, healthcare, engineering, marketing, advertising, and finance. Major cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane are business hubs, offering job openings and chances to build professional networks.  

The work environment in Australia is vibrant and dynamic. The country's strong economy and commitment to work–life balance combines professionalism and laid-back charm. In terms of workplace attire, the country typically upholds a business-casual dress code, with a strong emphasis on personal grooming and hygiene. 

Speaking English will help you succeed professionally in Australia. That's why taking IELTS is beneficial, as it prepares you for using English proficiently in English-speaking environments. While you might not know all the idioms and slang, it will help you gain confidence to socialise and network until you’re confident expressing yourself.  

Studying in Australia  

International students studying in Australia are drawn to its top universities, including the University of Melbourne in Victoria, the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, and the University of Sydney in New South Wales.

These institutions offer a wide range of courses across various fields, each with its own level of quality and specialisation. The campuses are vibrant cultural melting pots, providing diverse perspectives and enriching learning experiences.

Proving English proficiency is a key requirement in the admissions process for international students, commonly achieved through tests like IELTS. This ensures students are well-prepared for the demands of university coursework, seminars, and student life in Australia.   

Cost of Living and Lifestyle in Australia 

Each major city in Australia provides distinct lifestyle experiences. Sydney stands out as a significant financial and economic centre, reflecting its status as one of the most populous cities in the country. Melbourne is recognised for its multicultural diversity, often referred to as Australia's culinary capital due to its wide range of international cuisines.  

The cost of living in Australia's cities differs notably. Factors like housing, transportation, and daily expenses play a crucial role in determining the overall financial requirements for both residents and those considering moving to these cities. These variations in living costs are important to consider when choosing a city to reside in or visit. 

In terms of lifestyle, Australia is also known for its outdoor activities, socialising, and enthusiasm for sports like cricket, rugby, and football. Entertainment choices include theatres, music festivals, and art exhibitions. With miles of coastline and beaches, Australians are also especially fond of water sports like surfing and scuba diving. 

Visa Process for Australia  

Here’s a breakdown of the Australian visa and immigration process.

Australian student visa

To study in Australia, you’ll need to apply for a subclass 500 visa. To meet the Australian visa process requirements, you need to be enrolled in a course in one of their universities and you need to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). OSHC is insurance that helps you cover the costs of medical treatments should you get sick or have an accident in Australia. Lastly, you need to show that you are financially able to cover tuition fees, living expenses, and travel costs.  

With this visa, you can study in Australia, travel in and out of the country, and work up to 48 hours per fortnight during your studies. 

To stay in Australia after graduation you’ll need a subclass 485 visa, which allows you to temporarily live, work, and study in Australia.  

Australian work visas

To work in Australia, you can apply for different visas that are catered for specific industries. The most common visas are short stay work visas, temporary work visas, permanent work visas, and sponsorships. 

To get a work visa, you need to prove you have a valid passport, have the skills or qualifications for the job you’re applying for, the job is listed on the skills occupations list, and you have passed the medical examination showing you meet their health requirements.

Australian work visas include:  

  • Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482) - Also called the TSS visa, this is for skilled workers sponsored by an Australian employer to fill specific roles. You can live in Australia for a short term (up to 2 years) or the medium term (up to 4 years). 
  • Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189) - This visa is permanent and doesn't require an employer or family member to sponsor you. Instead, it's based on a points system and needs you to meet occupation and other requirements. 
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186) - This is a permanent visa. It lets skilled workers come to Australia when an Australian employer employs them. 
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187) - This is another permanent visa for skilled workers, but it's for those employed by an employer in regional Australia. 
  • Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) - For young adults from certain countries, this visa lets you work short-term while exploring Australia. It's usually valid for one year. 
  • Distinguished Talent Visa (Subclass 124/858) - This is for people with extraordinary talent recognised globally in either a profession, sport, the arts, or academia and research. 
  • Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa (Subclass 400) - Allows you to work temporarily or take part in activities in Australia for up to three months. 

Australian visa requirements

To live in Australia, you need to meet certain requirements based on the visa you're applying for. These include showing you have enough money, passing health checks, and getting a police clearance certificate. If you're a skilled worker, you might also need to have your qualifications and work experience assessed. 

English proficiency is essential for most visas for studying or working in Australia. Australian immigration authorities recognise IELTS as proof of English language ability in visa applications. That’s why, for many people looking to move to Australia, IELTS is a crucial step in getting their visa. 

Healthcare in Australia  

The quality of healthcare in Australia is generally high, with a system that focuses on preventive care and early intervention. The public healthcare system, Medicare, offers citizens, permanent residents, and some foreign workers access to necessary medical services, hospital care, and prescription medicines at little or no cost. This system is partly funded by a levy on taxable income. 

However, Medicare does not usually cover international students and workers, so they need OSHC to cover doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription medicine, and emergency services. International students must have this insurance before arriving in Australia, often arranged through their educational institutions. Foreign workers can choose from various insurance providers for their healthcare needs. 

In case of illness or injury, students and workers can visit healthcare providers who accept OSHC, pay any required fees, and then submit claims for reimbursement. The OSHC policy ensures that medical expenses are manageable and that individuals receive quality care. 

Social Life and Networking in Australia  

Australians are known for being friendly, which can help newcomers form connections and adapt to the local culture. Locals also enjoy outdoor activities such as barbecues, picnics, surfing, and bushwalking, making the most of the natural landscapes. 

The country hosts a variety of events including festivals, concerts, and sporting occasions like the Melbourne Cup and the Australian Open, as well as music festivals such as Splendour in the Grass.  

From a networking perspective, there are many professional organisations, business groups, and social clubs to build professional relationships. Universities also play a key role in facilitating social and academic networking. 

The Role of IELTS for Life in Australia 

In Australia, a strong IELTS score is necessary to prove your English proficiency to visa authorities, educational institutions, and potential employers. It can also improve your confidence in daily communication.  

IELTS provides a holistic assessment of core English skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The speaking section takes place in-person at a testing centre, with an examiner.  

Here are a few more reasons IELTS is the right choice: 

  • IELTS is globally recognised - IELTS is recognised by over 12,000 organisations around the world, including Australia.  
  • IELTS is fair, accurate, and comprehensive - IELTS assesses four core English skills: speaking, writing, reading, and listening. 
  • IELTS is everywhere - IELTS has over 4,000 test locations in 140 countries across the globe. 

Take your IELTS test with the British Council 

We have 90 years of experience offering English education and assessment, making the British Council a safe choice for taking your IELTS test. We offer unmatched access to preparation resources, which include everything from detailed practice tests and personalised classes to instructional videos.

When you book your test with us, you get free access to IELTS Ready, our preparation platform tailored to help you succeed on your test. 

Find your nearest test centre and book a test to confirm a date and access IELTS Ready today.  

Learn more about studying or working in Australia 

When it comes to moving to Australia, we’ve only scratched the surface. To make your journey easier, we’ve created guides to help you prepare to study or work in Australia.  

Download our free guide to studying or working in Australia

External links