Thinking about moving to Australia? Read our guide for expats to find out more and how Barclays can help.




As of December 2015, the population of Australia is 22.75 million.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Main languages

The main language of Australia is English.


Catholic and Anglican Christian

Time zone

Western Australia: GMT +8 (Western Standard)
Northern Territory and Southern Australia: GMT +9:30 (Central Standard)
Queensland and New South Wales: GMT +10 (Eastern Standard)

Popular employment sectors

Healthcare and social assistance is the largest industry in Australia by number of people (1.3 million or 11.4% of total employment). The next largest industry is retail trade (10.9%), followed by construction (9.1%) and manufacturing (8.6%).

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics


You need a visa to travel to Australia – and the criteria for moving to Australia are particularly strict. There are a number of working visa options available, including a Skilled Migration Visa (SMV), which is designed to address skills shortages, and Sponsored or Nominated Visa Options (NVO), whereby an employer will sponsor your application. Each Visa has a different application process, so it’s best to consult the government website.

Source: Australian Government, Department of Immigration and Border Protection

Political system

Democratic parliament.

Australia operates largely as a two-party system: The Australian Labour Party (social democratic) and Liberal Party of Australia (centre right). Voting is compulsory.

Source: Parliament of Australia


230v – three flat-pin plugs, with two pins in a ‘v’ formation.


The currency used in Australia is the Australian Dollar (AUS$)

International dialing code

The international dialing code for Australia is +61

Internet domain

The internet domain for Australia is .au

Social media

Facebook is the most popular social media network in Australia, with 14 million users. Instagram follows with 5 million. In Australia, LinkedIn is more popular than Twitter, with 3.7 and 2.8 million users respectively. WhatsApp is prevalent – 2,400,000 Australians are using it. For advice and reviews, TripAdvisor is most popular.

Source: Statistics compiled by


Australia is rolling out a national broadband network, to give all Australians access to very fast broadband by either a fixed line, wireless or, in some remote areas, nbn satellite. You can find out the quality and availability for any area here.

Source: myBroadband

Mobile network coverage

Mobile coverage is available across more than 99% of Australia. Four in five homes also have access to 3G, and 59% to 4G.The Australian Capital Territory has the highest proportion of 3G broadband coverage (95%), while Victoria (85%) and New South Wales (84%) both have higher coverage than the national average. Check a mobile provider’s coverage on their website before signing up.

Emergency numbers

The emergency number within Australia is 000


You should arrange comprehensive medical insurance before you travel to Australia as, if you are not covered under the reciprocal arrangements, costs for treatment can be high. Medicare covers most Australian residents and those moving to the country for healthcare, but it does not cover everything and the government encourages people (through tax rebates) to buy private health cover early and to stay covered.



If you are moving to Australia, you’ll find it’s a multi-cultural nation, with many cuisines on offer, such as Thai, Malaysian and Mediterranean, particularly in the big cities.

Source: Australian Government


Australians tend to dress casually, particularly in warm weather, unless the occasion is particularly formal. ‘Thongs’ (flip flops) are banned from some bars and clubs. In cities, business dress is conservative, although a suit or tie is not always required. If you’re moving to Australia, take a range of options.



Tipping culture has been influenced by the US and UK and it’s now common, but not compulsory, to leave 7-10% at restaurants. Round up cabs to the nearest $5 for good service.

Source: The Guardian

Education system

School is compulsory from 6 (expect for Tasmania, where it’s 5) to 16 years of age and follows a three-tier model. Public and private education is offered.

Source: Australian Government, Study in Australia

Cost of private education

From $3,000 p/a for private religious schools to up to $33,000 at the most prestigious schools.


Top universities

  1. University of Melbourne
  2. Australian National University
  3. University of Sydney
  4. University of Queensland
  5. Monash University


Cost of childcare

$70-$185 per day at a childcare centre, $45-$80 per day at pre-school.
$15-$25 per hour live in $15-$35 per hour live out (+agency fee)


Cost of a nanny

$15-$25 per hour live in $15-$35 per hour live out (+agency fee)

Family activities

A trip to the cinema for two adults and two children will cost around $45.
Plenty of popular family activities, such as the beach, are free.

Source: Screen Australia


Australians drive on the left. You can buy a car from a private seller online or from a dealership. You’ll need to register your car with state. Around 70% of cars are automatic. When moving to Australia, you may want to buy or sell a car. Each state has different regulations, but third-party insurance is compulsory.

Sources: Queensland Government, Expat Arrivals

Train ticket costs

Many Australian trains are sleepers, as journeys are long. They offer various levels of comfort. An adult ticket on the beautiful Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth costs from $939 to $4,199.

A single metro trip in cities such as Adelaide and Sydney cost $2 to $6 depending on the time and ticket type.


Cost of a taxi

Metered taxis are easy to flag down in big cities like Sydney. Here, fares are regulated and flagfall is $3.50. A $2.50 surcharge is from 10pm to 6am on a Friday and Saturday. The fare is then $2.14 per kilometre (plus 20% from 10pm to 6am.

Sources: Lonely Planet, NSW Taxi Council

Main airports

Home insurance

From around AU$80 per month

Source: Next step Australia: Cost of Living [PDF, 428KB]

Car insurance

Car insurance for an average size car is around AU$300 a year.

Source: Next step Australia: Cost of Living [PDF, 428KB]

Utility bills

Privately owned. Expect to pay $50-100 per month.
Non-compulsory but common medical insurance: around $220 for a family
Telephone and broadband: for an international package, around $90-$140
Mobile: $30 to $60

Source: Next step Australia: Cost of Living [PDF, 428KB]

National Insurance Contributions

When you live and work in the UK, you make National Insurance Contributions (NICS), which mean you’re entitled to claim a state pension at retirement and other benefits. If you are moving to a country such as Australia and stop paying UK NICS, the amount of state pension and other benefits you can claim when you return to the UK could be affected. However, you can make voluntary payments to top up you contributions. There are two types of contribution that you can make, either Class 2 or Class 3.

Source: GOV.UK

The information above has been collated from a range of reputable sources. Some of the lifestyle information may be anecdotal or the opinion of the source and is therefore a guide only. If living abroad and planning to return to the UK, you may want to continue making National Insurance payments in the UK to contribute to a state pension. Visit for more information.

What's next?

If you are thinking of moving to Australia then Barclays can offer you the following services: Banking, Savings, Foreign Exchange and our Relationship service.

If you would like to discuss these services further, please call us on +44 (0)1624 684316*

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