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Getting a UK visa for those people looking to emigrate to the UK is no easy task especially when you consider the implications. Nevertheless, when you understand the system it’s not prohibitively complex.

First you need to work out what kind of visa you need. Anyone moving to the UK for longer than six months needs a visa, even if you’re coming from Commonwealth countries like Australia or New Zealand. Americans need a visa too. If you’re coming from the European Economic Area, you don’t need a visa.

In the last six years visa types have been overhauled and there is now a points system for UK visas.

The Points System:

In each tier an applicant has to score a sufficient number of points to gain entry clearance, or to extend their leave to remain in the UK.

The tiers are graded differently: Tiers 1 and 2 are graded on a points system for their ability, age and experience, and there’s the opportunity to gain points by being able to work in a category where workers are in short supply.

Tier 4 is graded on three areas: having a valid confirmation of acceptance for studies at a UK university or college, possessing an acceptable level of English ability and having enough money to cover both fees and living expenses.

Tier 5 is subdivided into six categories: creative and sporting, charity worker, religious workers, government authorized exchange, international agreement, and youth mobility scheme. If you’re applying under the first 5 categories, you’re awarded points for having a sponsor and a valid certificate of sponsorship. A certificate of sponsorship is a unique number proving that an authorised body has agreed to sponsor you, not a physical ‘certificate.’ Sportspeople also have to have a certificate from their sport’s governing body which certifies that they are internationally established at a high level. For those applying under the youth mobility scheme, points are awarded if you come from certain specified countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand (this is how many young New Zealanders get their ‘OE,’ or overseas experience), Republic of Korea, and Taiwan; they also need to be between 18 and 30 years old and have at least £1, 800 available to them in cleared cash funds.

For a guide to the points system in more detail and to figure out how many points you will receive, go here.

Tier 1 Visas

Tier 1 mostly deals with people who are regarded as having exceptional talent or who are coming to the UK as entrepreneurs or major investors.

Tier 1 visas include:
Entrepreneur visa. This is available if you want to set up or run a business and you have more than £50, 000 to invest. If you get this visa type you can switch it to another type once you’re in the country, and you can bring your family with you.

Exceptional talent. This visa type is for people who are endorsed as experts by a designated competent body as a leader in arts or sciences, or as someone who has the potential to become one. You can bring your family with this type of visa.

General visas in tier 1 were for people who were on the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, which has been phased out and replaced by a points system. These are no longer in use.

Graduate Entrepreneur visas are for people who have been endorsed as having a workable business idea – eligibility requirements apply, you’ll need certain documents, and the visa can be extended or switched once you’re in the country. You can bring your family.

Investor visas are for people who have £1 million or more to invest in the UK – eligibility requirements and fees apply, and the visa can be extended or switched. You can bring your family on this visa type.

Tier 2 Visas

Tier 2 deals with skilled workers who have a job offer in the UK, as well as various other categories like airport-based ground staff, nurses, student union sabbatical staff, seafarers and named researchers and the foreign correspondents of overseas news organisations.

Tier 2 visas include:
General visas, which are for people who have been offered a skilled job in the UK. Eligibility requirements and fees apply, and there are required documents. General tier 2 visas are subject to an annual cap of 21, 700, though this number doesn’t include people who are switching to this visa from another visa type from inside the UK.

This visa type can be extended or switched, and you can bring your family on this visa type. You need a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor, and other conditions related to your sponsor apply too. For instance, you’ll need to have an appropriate salary offered to you on your arrival – £20, 500 or more, with certain exceptions like being a member of a religious order or ground crew for an airline. You’ll need to have £945 in savings – which the UK government says is enough to support yourself while you’re making the transition. You have to have had this money in your bank account for 90 days before you apply, so you can’t just use your last pay cheque – and you will be asked for proof. The only exemption to the savings requirement is if your sponsor is ‘A’-rated, ‘ and they have stated on your behalf that you won’t claim benefits while you’re in the UK: in other words, they take responsibility for you!

Just like many sponsored work visa schemes, the UK’s sponsored work visa is restrictive. You can work in a second job – but only in the same sector as the job you’re sponsored for and not for more than 20 hours a week. You can’t own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares unless you make over £153, 500 a year. And you can’t get public funds or start working before you get the visa. You can bring your family members with you – on certain conditions, if they’re dependants, apply for their own visas and each family member has £600 available to them in savings under the same terms as the savings rules outlined above. On the other hand, with this visa you can leave and return to the UK, study as much as you like so long as it doesn’t interfere with your job, and there’s an option to extend the visa or to switch to a different visa while you’re in the UK.

The rest of the tier 2 visas are for sports and creative workers and for a variety of options meant for large companies to move staff between one branch and another in different countries, like the Intra Company Transfer (ICT) and established staff visas. There’s also a graduate trainee visa and a skills transfer visa for those travelling to the UK to either teach or train in work-applicable skills.

Tier 2 points are awarded for qualifications, future expected earnings, the type of sponsorship you have and on your English language skills and the money you have available for maintenance.

Tier 3 Visas

Tier 3 was designed to be used for low-skilled foreign workers to fill specific UK labour shortages but it has never bee used and is currently suspended by the government.

Tier 4 Visas

Tier 4 visas are variable-duration student visas: to qualify you need to have already been offered a place with a UK university or college, meaning that most tier 4 applicants will be guided through the process by their educational institution.

Tier 5 Visas

Tier 5 applicants are limited to 12 months, except for youth mobility and international agreement schemes applicants who get 24 months. You need at least 30 points to qualify: again, see the points system calculator to find out more.

Getting a UK visa can be the first step to building your life in Britain, but it isn’t the last: many visas are time limited and have to be renewed or extended periodically, and after between 6 and 15 years you might find that your visa can’t be extended further. If you want to put down roots in the British Isles, applying for citizenship would be the final legal hurdle to building a permanent life in the UK.

Auckland Hospital

Healthcare facilities in New Zealand for those looking to emigrate to the country can be another thing to worry about, after visas, work, finding a place to live and getting the kids into school. But getting a clear idea of what to expect as early as possible will help put your mind at rest and should help you avoid any unexpected pitfalls – though there aren’t too many of those in this case.

New Zealand operates a two-tier healthcare system much like the UK: there’s state provision and the quality and availability are very good, but there can be queues. Waits for surgeries can be longer than a year in some cases, though these are typically non-urgent or elective surgeries. On the other hand the hospital network is large and functions quite well, and access to medical care is free to anyone legally in New Zealand, whether you’re a tourist, a resident or a citizen.

There’s also private healthcare, represented countrywide by companies like the not-for-profit Southern Cross Health Insurance, tellingly New Zealand’s largest private healthcare insurer, covering about a quarter of the population.

Dentists and GP’s in New Zealand

Children can get free dental care until they’re 18, but otherwise dental care isn’t part of the public healthcare system. Dental fees range from NZ85.00 for a check-up through about NZ$150.00 for a simple filling to NZ1200.00 or more for complex procedures like ceramic crowns.

You’ll also find that you have to pay to see a GP, and pay again for medications. These payments are subsidised if you carry a community healthcare card, or you’re a high user. If you’re under 18 or over 45, GP visits are subsidized. Everyone else pays, from NZ$20.00 to NZ$65.00 per visit. Fees for dispensing chemists are quite low, though, typically about NZ$5.00.Typically you should expect to see a doctor within one to two days of contacting a surgery, but in large cities it can take a little longer.

In theory, you can choose your own GP and change at any time without giving a reason: you might want a woman or man doctor, or one from the same ethnic or cultural background as you, for instance. In small towns, though, this might not be possible.

One quirk of the New Zealand health system is that any injury or ailment deemed to be the result of an accident is not centrally financed, being instead paid for by a local taxation system. Treatment for any healthcare condition in New Zealand is heavily subsidized for residents; treatment for accidental injury is free, even if you’re the one who caused the accident. One result of this is that claims for compensation for accidents are very rare in New Zealand, since there’s little profit in them. Another is that New Zealanders have caught on and will present with ‘accidental’ ailments whatever the real cause!

New Zealand has one of the most efficient healthcare services in the world, spending about 8.9% of its GDP on healthcare – about US$2, 510.00 per person yearly (NZ$2, 980.00, or £1, 547), as compared with a highly inefficient service like the US where healthcare costs about US$7, 290.00 (NZ$8, 656.00, or £4,350.00) – about two and a half times as much. Before any conclusions are drawn about methods of administering healthcare, though, part of the reason New Zealand’s healthcare is so cheap is because New Zealanders take less medications than almost anyone else in the developed world.

Healthcare and Visas

What access you’ll have to New Zealand healthcare is strongly dependent on your visa. The New Zealand government website says that the Kiwi health system is ‘built on Kiwi’s inbuilt need to see that everyone gets ‘a fair go’ in life’ – but in practice that means everyone with a visa. If you’re in New Zealand on a work permit for less than two years and don’t have permanent residency, the government advises you to get private health insurance. You’ll be able to access all the facilities everyone else does, but you’ll have to pay for them.

While some of your healthcare costs will be borne by the government under the reciprocal agreement with the UK whereby New Zealanders can use UK hospitals and vice versa, this agreement only covers care that’s ‘immediate and necessary.’ That might not cover chronic or pre-existing conditions, complex or long term treatments like physio, or long-term access to a doctor. If you show up at a hospital, they’ll treat you for free but otherwise you need health insurance.

New Zealand is anxious to keep the costs of its healthcare system down. That’s one reason they’ll want you to undergo a medical examination as part of the visa process. The aim of this is to make sure that you’re unlikely to cost the system more than NZ$25, 000.00 over four years (about £3, 000.00 a year). When you’re assessed, they’re looking for costly chronic conditions like hepatitis, HIV or cancer, osteoarthritis, major transplants, serious autoimmune problems, COPD and genetic disorders or abnormalities. The logic behind this may seem cold, but it is at least simple: no-one can stop you using New Zealand’s subsidized healthcare system once you’re there, which is why you can’t simply cover the cost of your treatment yourself by agreeing to buy health insurance.

Once you’re in New Zealand, abortion is legal and widely available, but it’s only accessible if the life of either the mother or the foetus is in danger, and two physicians have to agree, so access is restricted compared to some countries, including the UK.

Another consideration is your weight. New Zealand is one of the developed world’s most overweight nations, and immigration controls are strict on obese migrants; the New Zealand government’s guide for physicians examining new migrants suggests that the cut-off point be a BMI of 35, and in 2013 a South African chef who had lived in New Zealand for six years was in danger of being deported in case his obesity laid too great a strain on the Kiwi health service!

Like many things, your healthcare facilities in New Zealand experience will depend on your visa situation, so it’s wise to get on top of that as soon as possible. If you’re going on a visa that doesn’t guarantee residency rights, it’s a good idea to arrange medical coverage and set some money aside for dental care or sudden medical problems. Otherwise, you can expect the famous New Zealand ‘fair go’!

New Zealand University

Finding the right school or educational facility in New Zealand for your children during your emigration process can be a worrying addition to the list of things you have to organize.

The education system in New Zealand is a three-tier model consisting of primary school, high school and university or other tertiary education. Typically the New Zealand academic year runs from January until mid-December for primary and secondary schools, and from late February until mid-October for universities.

The school provision in New Zealand is regarded as being of good quality – in the OECD Program for International Assessment (Pisa), New Zealand came 7th best in the world in reading and science, and 13th in maths. Those figures don’t tell the whole story, though, because they don’t place education against the background of the rest of Kiwi life. Do that, like London-based think tank The Legatum did, and New Zealand comes in at number 1 worldwide for education.

Educational Qualifications

New Zealand school leavers take NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement) qualifications, which have three levels. These more or less correspond to British GCSEs (NCEA level 1), AS levels (level 2) and full A levels (level 3, usually taken at the end of year 13, at the age of 18 or 19). NCEAs are recognised all over the world by employers and universities; they may not be as portable as the International Baccalaureate within Europe but they’re internationally useful. The EU recognises NCEAs, Britain accepts NCEA level 3 as being broadly equivalent to GCE A levels for university admissions purposes so students who want to go to University in Britain will be able to return on the basis of their Kiwi education if they want, and Thailand, India and Germany recognise NCEAs too. In 2012, 85% of New Zealand school leavers had at least NCEA level 1.

Getting your children into New Zealand schools is relatively easy: if you have residence, you’re in. If you’re in New Zealand on a temporary work visa, your kids will need a student visa to attend Kiwi schools.

Formal Education

In New Zealand, formal education begins at five or six years old, and continues until students are at least 16, though many stay on until they’re 18 or 19. There’s a compulsory national curriculum for years one to 10, ages six to 16. New Zealand’s schools are divided into state, state integrated schools and private schools.

New Zealand High School

By far the majority of New Zealand schoolchildren, 85%, attend state schools. State integrated schools, which operate as state schools but on the particular religious or learning philosophy principles of their owners, like academies in the UK, account for about 11% of New Zealand students, and the remaining 4% attend the country’s boarding and private schools.

It’s possible to homeschool your children in New Zealand, though you still have to adhere to the National Curriculum, and ask permission from the Ministry of Education. There’s also a Maori school system in New Zealand, though this won’t be relevant to many immigrants.

New Zealand school students start out in primary school from years 1 to 6. Typically, they’ll then be in a designated intermediate school from year 7 to year 8 before going on to secondary school for year 9 and up, though some primary or secondary schools integrate an intermediate school.

Pre-School Arrangements

If your children are of preschool age, New Zealand offers a wide range of provision, including kindergartens, play centres and private early childhood centres. There are 291 preschool centres in Christchurch alone, for a city with 20, 000 children under 5 – one for every 68 kids.

There’s 20 hours of free preschool education a week available to 3 and 4 year olds and this provision is regardless of your visa status or how long you’ve been in New Zealand. It’s part of the emphasis on early childhood education (ECE) in New Zealand.

Finding The Right School

When you know where in New Zealand you’re going to move to, you can go to the New Zealand government’s school search web tool and find the nearest schools based on where you are and your child’s age. There are reviews of individual schools here. Nominally, you’ll have a choice of schools, but in state schools you’ll have the same catchment area situation you have in the UK. That means that, just like the UK, houses in the catchment areas of good schools are more expensive; you’re paying the premium for access to the education.

New Zealand’s state school sector is nominally free, but many schools ask for a voluntary donation from parents to help with upkeep, and this can be as high as NZ$1, 500 annually. Additional school costs including field trips, sporting equipment, uniform and stationery can reach NZ$5,00 though this is rare. Private pre-school provision is typically priced around NZ$500 a week, and private schools in New Zealand charge NZ$10, 000 to NZ$25, 000 a year. Unusually New Zealand’s state schools are among the country’s most popular and well-thought-of institutions and they’re the first choice even for Kiwis who can afford private education.

Starting School

When your children get into a school, they’ll find Kiwi schools usually start around 9AM and finish 3 to 3:30PM. On the whole, New Zealand schools are relaxed places where behaviour and discipline are good. Compared to the UK, students report that there’s less pressure, and more emphasis on self-development. There’s also a greater emphasis on outdoor sports, partly a result of New Zealand’s readily available wide open spaces.

There’s also more attention from teachers in Kiwi schools. On average, primary classes are between 23-29 pupils per teacher, and usually there’s one teacher to every 17-23 students at secondary schools on average.

Further Education and University

If your children want to remain in New Zealand for university or further education that’s a realistic option: there are eight universities in New Zealand, spread across the country’s two urban centres of Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Chistchurch and Dunedin. They’re reinforced by 18 institutes of technology and polytechnics based around the major towns.

If you’re a permanent resident, your university fees are subsidised by the state. If you’ve been a resident for two years or more, student loans are available for tuition fees, course expenses and some course related living costs.

New Zealand’s education system is well set up to serve students of any age, and it’s a major selling point for a country that prides itself on being family-friendly and great for kids.

New Zealand 2

Applying for a visa to emigrate to New Zealand can be fairly straight forward when you consider using the country’s relatively streamlined visa system, especially in comparison to nearby Australia’s labyrinthine complexity.

Essentially entry to New Zealand is based on assessing your benefit to Kiwi society by your skills, character, health and education, on your family connections to new Zealand or on other factors like Samoan heritage.

New Zealand visas are available under the following categories:

Skilled Migrant category (SMC). To qualify, you’ll need to be 55 or under, speak English, be healthy and be of good character. These applications are assessed on a points system.

Investor and Investor Plus categories. For an Investor’s visa, you’ll need to be 65 or younger, with a minimum of three years’ business experience and NZ$1.5m invested in New Zealand over four years. You’ll also need a settlement fund of NZ$1m, and an English-speaking background or an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test report with an overall band score of three or more, or be a competent user of English. If you’re applying for this visa you’ll also need any family members to either have adequate English or to prepurchase ESOL tuition. There are residency requirements too.

For an Investor Plus, you’ll need to invest NZ$10m over three years and the only other condition is a residency requirement, though both categories must meet health and character assessment criteria.

There’s an Entrepreneur Work Visa category too. These are aimed at experienced business people who want to be self-employed in New Zealand. You can build up to a residency application by way of the Entrepreneur Residency Category pathway. It’s a three-year work visa in two stages, the start-up stage and the balance stage. The start-up stage is a 12-month work visa and the balance stage is granted once you have shown the Business Migration Branch that you have taken steps to establish your business. You’ll be assessed on a points system that grades the likelihood that your business will be a success in New Zealand, and you’ll need to bring a minimal capital investment of NZ$100, 000 excluding working capital.

Other Types of Visas

Another option is to get a visa as an employee of a relocating business, and you can move with your partner and any dependent children under this visa.

Finally there are visa provisions for reuniting families, for refugees, and categories based on background such as the Samoan Quota and the Pacific Access Category, extended to residents of Pacific islands.

If you’re going for a Skilled Migrant visa, you’ll face a points test of the kind that’s becoming increasingly prevalent in determining your immigration status worldwide. The points system awards points for having skills in a designated Future Growth Area or where there is an absolute skills shortage, as well as for qualifications and New Zealand based work experience. There’s a points guide here, and while its results aren’t binding they should give you a reasonable idea of how successful any application will be.

If you think you have the necessary points, your next step is to make a formal Expression of Interest to the New Zealand government. They will reply inviting you to apply for a visa if they think you’re a suitable candidate. You lodge your Expression of Interest with the New Zealand immigration services either online or on paper – both forms are available here – and there is a fee of between NZ$510 and NZ$650 for submitting an EOI.

Once you’ve submitted your EOI, if you have 100 points or more it goes into the pool of EOIs and every two weeks, EOIs with a points score of 140 or over are selected automatically. Next, EOIs scoring between 100 and 139 which include points for a skilled job or a job offer are selected. Only after this, if there are still spaces available, are EOIs with under 100 points selected.

If your EOI is accepted, it doesn’t mean you’re automatically in: you still need to apply. After checking your EOI the Kiwi government will send you an Invitation to Apply for residence and a form that requires you to evidence the claims you made in your EOI. Then you send all your forms and documentation back, together with a fee: this is your actual application.

Now one of three things will happen: you’ll be accepted, rejected or offered a Skilled Migrant category job search visa that lets you go to New Zealand and look for work for nine months.

After you’re approved, there’s one more fee to pay – the Migrant Levy, NZ$310 for people over five years old and NZ$155 for children under five.

Temporary Work Visa

You can also get a temporary work visa, which gives you the right to study for certain qualifications and the right to renew your work visa indefinitely. You’ll need to continue to fulfil your visa requirements, though, and some of these will be outside your control: if native New Zealander becomes available to do the skilled occupation on which your work visa is based, for instance, it may be withdrawn. Work experience in New Zealand counts towards the points for a Skilled Migrant visa, and a temporary work visa can be a way to get some. You can also apply for a visa to join family and work temporarily in New Zealand.

There’s a residency scheme in New Zealand called Work to Residence. If you have exceptional talent in sports or the arts, are qualified in occupations that are in demand in New Zealand – or have a job offer from a New Zealand employer, you can apply for this program. The employer has to be on the list of accredited employers, and the Work to Residence visa leads to the Residence From Work pathway which requires you to have spent at least two years working in new Zealand on the Work to Residence visa.

If you’re thinking that it would be a good idea to go to New Zealand, look for a job and apply for permanent residence on the basis of that job, the New Zealand government is way ahead of you. The Silver Fern Visas, Silver Fern Job Search and Silver Fern Practical Experience, are designed for this – but they’re restricted to people between 20 and 35 and there are only 300 available per year.

The New Zealand visa application system is far more straightforward than some, but it still relies on a mixture of luck and having the right skills. A solid job offer fro an accredited firm helps, and so does New Zealand work experience and education. If you’re planning a move to Kiwi you’ll need to factor in the additional costs of visa application and be aware that you can be rejected at several stages of the visa process.


Setting up a business in Canada can be a great way to settle into your new move to Canada and help you to navigate the visa process. Typically people will move to Canada on one of the major skilled worker visa types – they’ll either get a valid job offer from a Canadian employer or go on a points-assessed independent skilled worker program which doesn’t require a job offer to go through immigration.

There is a third option, however. You can move to Canada under a start-up visa.

The Canadian Start Up Visa

Canada is very proud of its start-up visa, the first of its kind in the world and designed to increase Canadian participation in the rapidly growing tech economy. It does this by linking immigrant entrepreneurs who have business ideas with private sector organizations that have experience of working with start-ups.

Much like the employer-sponsored skilled worker visa requires the backing of a Canadian employer, the start-up visa requires you to show that you have the backing of Canadian finance. Your application for one of these visas will be assessed on the basis of four criteria:

- Do you have a Letter of Support from financial backers – they must be a designated organization such as an angel investor group, a venture capital fund or a business incubator?
– Can you communicate in either English or French to the required standard?
– Have you completed at least one year of study at a post-secondary institution – higher education or further education?
– Do you have enough money to settle and support yourself while you build your business? In the early days, many businesses don’t earn an income, or what they do earn must be put directly back into the business. If you’re an individual, you’ll need a ‘cushion’ of about CAN$6,000, which goes up on a sliding scale to about CAN$29,000 for a family of seven or more.

The first criterion is satisfied by reaching an agreement with an organization that agrees to fund your business while you get it up and running.

If you get your financial support from a Canadian venture capital fund, you need to get a minimum of CAN$200, 000 investment. If your support comes from an angel investor group the sum is much lower, at CAN$75,000. If you find a place with a Canadian business incubator you don’t need a specific amount of financial backing.

You need to send a copy of the Letter of Support to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) when you make your visa application, and they will send a Commitment Certificate directly to CIC too. Both will be used to assess your visa application.

One reason why the levels of financial support from the Canadian private sector are relatively high is that, if your business fails, you won’t lose your permanent resident status. Obviously that might make the scheme open to abuse if the financial commitment involved were low. You will have to pay fees for the visa, including processing fees and a Right of Permanent Residence fee.

Setting Up Your Own Business

Another option is to move to Canada and then set up your own business, becoming self-employed rather than looking for a job.

This is actually quite restrictive in visa terms – there is a self-employed persons visa but eligibility is restricted. To qualify, you have to meet one of the following criteria:

- Have been engaged in cultural or sporting activities at a world class level
– Have been self-employed in cultural or sporting activities
– Have experience in managing a farm

The visa is only open to people who have relevant athletic or cultural experience, or who plan to move to Canada to buy and manage a farm.

Some people might consider moving to Canada on a points-based skilled worker visa and then setting up a business in their field. Others might be already-established business people who want to open a branch in Canada, or want to set up a business in Canada from outside the country. Both are possible.

If you don’t have residency, you’ll be treated as a foreign investor, meaning you can’t start a business on your own, only with a Canadian partner. You can’t use your own business to apply for permanent residency under the provincial nominee rules and you can’t use any work experience you gain toward your residency points either.

Business Types

If you want to start a small business in Canada, you’ll face many of the same strictures and requirements as you would anywhere else. You’ll need a business plan, financial backing, a business name and address, and so on. You’ll need to select a form of business ownership, or company structure: in Canada these are sole proprietorship, partnership, corporations and co-operatives. Sole proprietors are individuals operating as themselves. There’s no complex company structure and very little governance or other paperwork, but there’s no legal protection either and your personal assets are liable in the event the business fails or falls into debt. Partnership is sole proprietorship with more than one proprietor – the same risks and advantages, shared between more then one person.

By contrast the corporation offers legal protection but requires considerable financial outlay to set up and there’s a lot of paperwork involved, though it is often easier to raise capital for a corporation. A cooperative is owned and controlled by its members and offers them limited liability.

If you’re an already-established business person who wants to open a branch in Canada you can open one by registering as an extraprovincial corporation; Ontario’s EPC rules are pretty standard but every province has its own.

If you want to set up a company from outside Canada you can, but you’ll need someone inside Canada who’s over 18, a resident or citizen and lives in the same place you’re registering the business to as a partner. At least 25% of partners in a corporation must be residents; that obviously leaves the way open to have a company controlled by its remaining 75% board members who aren’t Canadians.

Setting up a business in Canada incurs some fees and there will be some hoops to jump through, whichever route you choose to go down. Canada’s BizPal site helps to guide you to the relevant legislation. If you’re a resident in Toronto and you want to set up as an electrical contractor, hire some people and install some equipment, you’ll need to get Canadian licensing for your work, register your business, get a permit to hire people, and apply for an electrical installation permit – you’ll find yourself filling in at least 5 sets of forms!

Despite the difficulties that can stand between you and business ownership in Canada, it’s a very business-friendly culture that sees its future in small businesses and tech.

Working in Canada

Looking for work in Canada prior to your emigration application can make a big difference to your visa application. If you have a written offer from a Canadian employer for a full-time permanent position, you can qualify for the Arranged Employment or for one of the province-level Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP). Both these options will allow you to be fast-tracked for permanent residency, so time spent looking for Canadian employment before you begin planning any other part of your move is time well spent.

It’s a good idea to arrange work before you arrive in Canada because the Canadian jobs market can be a challenge for immigrants, even if you arrive equipped with the right visa and the right language and work skills. It can also mean you arrive in Canada with a life waiting for you instead of looking for work when you arrive.

Employment in Canada

The Canadian employment situation is extremely favourable by the standards most of us are used to. In the USA, unemployment runs at about 7.3%, in the UK about 7.2% (Source: CIA World Factbook); Canada’s, at 7.1%, may not look so different, but there’s more to the story. The Canadian economy is growing fast and the country’s unemployment rate is falling fast. In some provinces, such as Alberta, the unemployment rate is down to 4.5% or lower and some industries are actively seeking staff. They’re happy to recruit overseas if you have the right skills: Canada has taken about 10, 000 to 11, 000 British workers a year since 2008, and between 2, 000 and 6, 000 from the Republic of Ireland.

Across Canada, there’s a demand for skilled workers in general and in the energy, construction, manufacturing and leisure industries in particular. In rural areas, skilled tradespeople, particularly welders and electricians, are in short supply.

The rules on who can work in Canada and which types of jobs make you a desirable immigrant have changed recently and are soon going to change again. On May 1 2014, a new set of Eligible Occupations came into effect, superseding the old rules. You need to have at least one year of paid full-time work in one of these occupations, or an equivalent amount of part-time work, to qualify for a visa if you don’t have a written valid offer of work from a Canadian employer; one more reason to find a job in Canada before you leave!

If you have a job offer, you’ll face a three to four month visa process. It used to be much shorter, but after a legal challenge from trades unions in Canada over overseas hiring last year, the situation has changed and vetting procedures to protect Canadian jobs have become much more exacting. There’s been political uproar in Canada over the country’s temporary foreign worker program and over the expedited visa programs approved for some Canadian employers, adding to the murk of an already cloudy situation. If you can get a valid job offer or you fit the eligible occupations list, you should be able to avoid most of this though. Miss both categories and you’ll have an uphill struggle!

Finding a Job

If you’re hunting for jobs from outside Canada, you’ll find yourself well catered to. You can search for Canadian jobs at recruitment sites like FindaJobCanada.com, the authentically bilingual Workopolis, and many other online jobs banks and recruitment sites, some of which double as migration vehicles that claim to help you with the visa process. Often they’re charging for things you can get for free – this isn’t a well-regulated area, so think twice before you hand over any money or agree to anything, especially if it looks too good to be true. There’s a list of specific Canadian employers that employ foreign workers here, but some of these employers made the list on the basis of a single hire and the list is specific to Alberta province.

Working in Canada

The most fruitful strategy is probably to view your Canadian work as an extension of your existing career. If you’re an industrial electrician, for instance, Canada wants you. You simply have to find a list of companies in Canada that could use you, figure out which ones are hiring and approach them as you would a domestic employer. They’ll face a premium of $275 (£160) to process your application and apply to the Canadian government from their end, but if you have the skills and enthusiasm to offset this relatively minor additional expense you might well be worth it to them.

Another option is recruitment fairs. These typically take place in large convention centres near airports, for obvious reasons, and are a great place to scope out the Canadian jobs market and talk to some Canadians, getting a feel for the people in that sector, even if you don’t find a job or employer that’s right for you. There are upcoming events in Manchester, Dublin, and London, for example.

Finally, it’s a good idea to haunt both expatriate online communities and Canadian employment and career-oriented ones, developing a feel for the way your sector operates in Canada and looking at the specifics of what you’ll be dealing with in specific cities or provinces.

Work Once You’re in Canada

If you want to find work once you’re in Canada, the eligible occupations list is your friend; find yourself on it, apply for the skilled worker visa without a job offer and start jobseeking from within Canada. If you don’t have strong, marketable skills, this is much harder; strong Canadian provincial loyalties, unexpected cultural differences and a ‘Canadians-first’ employment market can all stack up against the unwary.

A final option might be to go to Canada without a visa. If you’re a UK citizen, you don’t need a visa for the first six months you’re there. You can go, look at routes into work like volunteer work, establish contacts with potential employers or network to improve your marketability, and either stay and build on that if you get a job offer or come home and work towards getting a Canadian job from your home country. Applications online or at job fairs from someone who has some experience of Canada will stand a better chance of success.

Getting a job in Canada can be difficult sometimes and the visa process can be a hindrance. However, there are jobs in Canada for both French speakers and English speakers, and as the Canadian economy grows, jobs of all sorts, from human resources managers to welders, will become more available.

University of South Australia

Access to quality education facilities is a main consideration for people looking at emigrating to Australia. If you’re taking your kids out of their school to move, you need to know their education and their future is safe in your new country.

The good news first: Australia’s education system consistently scores among the top 10 worldwide in the OECD’s Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) rankings, and comes first for egalitarianism: background counts for less in Australian schools.

Three Types of Schools

Australia has three types of schools: Government, Catholic and Independent. In Australia, school can start when a child turns five years old on a certain date – the date varies depending on the state or territory you live in. All across the country, though, children have to be in school by the age of six. When a child’s birthday falls midyear, the typical choice is to hold that child back a year rather than pushing them forward a year, but it is sometimes possible to get a child put forward a year based on academic achievement: this is at the headteacher’s discretion, but it’s worth talking about if it’s what you want.

Primary schoolin Australia

The school system consists of Primary School and High School. Students attend primary school from five or six until 11, and then attend high school until Year 12 (18 years old). In many states, students can leave high school in Year 10 with a Junior High School certificate – not a full High School graduation certificate. They can then decide to stay on for a full High School certificate, attend vocational training, sign on as apprentices or look for jobs.

Australia is working on implementing a National Curriculum, but the education system is currently administered at the state or territorial level. Depending on state or territory, a full high school certificate is called a High School Certificate/HSC (New South Wales), a Victorian Certificate of Education/VCE (Victoria), a High School Certificate/HSC (Australian Capital Territory), a Northern Territory Certificate of Education (Northern Territory), a Queensland Certificate of Education/QCE (Queensland), a South Australian Certificate of Education (South Australia), a Tasmanian Certificate of Education/TCE (Tasmania), or a Western Australian Certificate of Education/WACE (Western Australia). These are all broadly equivalent and all function as gateway qualifications to Australian universities. The Australian qualifications framework is explained in detail here.

In Australia the school year starts in January and ends in December, and there are four terms with breaks of two to three weeks, and a longer summer break of six to eight weeks over December (remember, the ‘winter months’ are in Australia’s summer because it’s in the southern hemisphere).

Uniforms, Lunches and Fees

The majority of Australian schools require a uniform and don’t provide lunches. It’s typical to take a lunch to school with you as well as a snack for morning recess, though schools increasingly have canteen facilities staffed by parents on a voluntary basis.

It’s important to consider costs. While government schools are technically free, many will solicit a donation from parents which is technically voluntary and is usually about $70-300 a year for primary school and $250 – $800 for high school.

Additionally, overseas students are often required to pay a premium for their education in Australia, and this applies even to public, non-fee-paying schools. Fees and exemptions vary from state to state, and they are quite significant: in New South Wales, fees are $4, 500 a year until the last years of school, when they rise to $5, 500; some holders of 457 visas are exempt. In ACT the fees are $9, 320 a year for primary school and more for secondary school, and Northern Territory schools are nearly as expensive at $8, 000 a year, though here, holders of several kinds of skilled migrant visas are exempt. In Tasmania, the premiums are about $5, 000 a year, with exemptions for holders of 457 and 574 visas. However, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia don’t charge additional fees for overseas students.

Private school fees are also considerable, with private nurseries typically beginning at $2, 000, and some independent private schools charging up to $35, 000 a year. There’s also the probability that students who aren’t residents may face additional fees here too.

When you’re shopping for a uniform, you can expect to find that private schools have very precise and often expensive uniforms, so that a full set can cost $800 or more. Most secondary schools have second-hand departments where you can buy items of uniforms much cheaper: far from having a stigma attached to it, this is the norm and is considered to be an act of support for the school by parents.

Sport in Schools

Australian schools are typically very sport-positive. In most private schools sport is compulsory for boys and strongly encouraged for girls, and government schools usually emphasize competitive sport too. The school age social scene is often very sport-centred, with many children finding an ‘in’ to their new community by way of organized sporting teams; unsurprisingly in a country that sometimes seems to live on the beach, swimming is also emphasised and many parents enrol their children in swimming classes; sometimes these are provided by the school.

Australian school sport

Educational provision for blind or deaf students is usually via specialist schools, though there is support in mainstream education, depending on circumstances. For students with mental or physical special needs there are specialist schools available, and support is also available in mainstream education, which falls under the control of the principal of that school. Like regular schooling, special provision or specialist schools are provided by states or territories, and you should look up the state or territory that you’re moving to for more details.

About 15% of Australian pupils attend independent schools, and these sometimes have boarding facilities. They span a broad range, sometimes having links with churches and others being founded on alternative educational philosophies such as those of Rudolph Steiner. There are national schools, like the French and German Schools in Sydney, popular with expatriates, and some independent schools offer the International Baccalaureate, which is considered desirable because of its portability and international currency, especially in Europe where it is increasingly the norm.

Australia’s third category of schools, Catholic schools, often have a good scholastic reputation and aren’t exclusive – you don’t have to be Catholic to attend them – but they usually express a strong religious ethos. They’re often popular with expatriates because they charge lower fees than even government schools to overseas students. They will take Catholic students as a priority, treat parish zones as catchment areas and often will require a baptism certificate, so consider these factors when you’re making your choice.

University education in Australia is administered at the state level and typically universities are located in major cities. For example, the University of Adelaide shares South Australia with Flinders University, Carnegie Mellon University, University College London, and the University of South Australia. A full directory of Australian universities can be found here.

New York

The points system adopted by many of the other larger emigration destinations is  still awaiting implementation in the USA. The whole immigration system in America is in flux, in fact, as the House debates the Senate’s proposed reforms to the current immigration law.

Currently, there are several basic ways to come by a green card – America’s permanent residency program. Briefly, you’ll either want to be unusually talented in your area of expertise, related to an American citizen, be a skilled worker or a professional, have a lot of money to invest in the US economy or be fleeing persecution. The process is covered in more detail in our ‘Green Card – Yes Please’article, but to the outsider can seem both complex and arbitrary.

Many more people want green cards than there are green cards available, since the total number is currently capped at 140, 000 for employment based green cards. Consequently, one way to get a green card is through the annual green card lottery, which comes with its own set of eligibility rules. The US government’s own guides to its visa processes can be found here.

There’s another stumbling block too. The family visa system is as seriously snarled up as the employment based visa system. In part that’s caused by a 7% cap on the number of family visas that can be issued to people from any one country. As might be expected, very big countries like India and China send many more immigrants than very small ones, but the 7% cap still applies – so Indians and Chinese face a bottleneck, as do immigrants from non-US American countries and countries with historical ties to the US like the Philippines (the third most spoken language in California after English and Spanish is Tagalog, a Philippino language).

The new round of reforms is aimed at unblocking the resultant jam. The Senate bill hopes to create a merit-based system, working on a points system like that used in the UK and recently introduced elsewhere. The initial aim is to allow workers in the US on temporary visas to transition to permanent residence and then to citizenship. Points will be awarded on the basis of work history, education, family ties and English-language ability, reducing the number of separate streams of intake and assessing all immigrants on a more level playing field. The percentage caps on family visas will go and so will the absolute cap on work-based visa numbers.

The first five years of the new program will be oriented toward clearing the enormous immigration backlog, in the process dealing with the large number of illegal and grey-area immigrants already in the USA. After this, the next step will be to implement the points system by way of 120, 000 visas annually issued according to a structured measurement of merit.

The most comprehensive immigration reform in a generation passed the Senate and is still being kicked around the House of Representatives, with President Obama trying to push it through before the midterms. When it, or something like it, comes into force, what will it look like?

The New System – Probably!

Currently the bill makes provision for ten criteria and a possible 100 points overall. A university degree will be worth 5 points, a Master’s 10 and a doctorate level degree will be worth 15 points.

In the work experience section, each year of work experience will provide an applicant with from zero to three points, depending on the employment level, for a maximum of 20 points.

There are also points available for certain sector-specific skills. If you’re a programmer, computer scientist or software engineer or developer, that’s another 10 points. And it might seem unfair, but if your job is in an occupation related to your degree, you could score another 8-10 points there.

Another area you’ll have a chance to make up points on is the English language proficiency test. Score 80 or more, and you get another 10 points. If you’re a contractor who employs at least two people, that’s another 10.

So far, it looks like the new system is geared towards skills – much like the Australian points system for their work-based visas.

However, the new system will integrate family links too. You’ll get 10 points for being the sibling of a US citizen, or for being the married child, aged 31 or older, of a US citizen. And you’ll get points for being young too: if you’re under 25 you’ll gain 8 points, 25-32 year olds can expect six points and if you’re between 33 and 37, you’ll get four points. If you’re over 37, though, you’re out of luck: no age-related points for you. There is a chance to claw a few back in the form of community service, though: if you can prove your civic involvement, you can get a 5-point bonus.

A final clause offers an extra five points for coming from a country with low immigration to the US.

If the law passes this year – an outcome that still seems uncertain at the time of writing – it will be in force by October 2017, and over the years the number of green cards available could rise to 250, 000 from an initial base of what’s expected to be about 120, 000.

Currently, many people who wish to immigrate to the US will face the problem that they need their employer to sponsor their visa application: ‘for many at a bachelor level,’ immigration attorney Gregory Siskind told AFP, ‘you’re in a bind. So the points system will give you an alternative to relying on your employer to get a green card. For a lot of people, that’s going to mean freedom.’

Currently, US immigration is plagued by long waits, though the financial costs of US visa applications are lower than those of other English-speaking destinations like Canada and Australia. Those waits are expected to be solved when the new rules come into effect, and many people will find they have a much better chance of getting a green card under the new rules than the old ones.

New York

Trying to get a ‘Green Card’ for many people is like trying to win the lottery…

The ‘green card,’ officially known as the ‘United States Lawful Permanent Residency,’ is a key step on the way to becoming a United States citizen or living and working in the USA permanently. As such, it’s one of the most sought-after pieces of paper on the planet.

Green cards aren’t actually green – there’s a faint green tinge on the back, that’s all – and despite their official name they don’t confer a permanent right to remain in the USA. They last ten years, and they’re a privilege, not a right: they can be withdrawn if you commit a serious crime, if the authorities discover that your application was fraudulent or concealed important information, or if you were outside the USA for over 180 days in any 12 month period. These restrictions obviously matter a lot to some business people – if you want to spread your life across two countries, for instance, the green card restrictions will affect your plans; if you want to base your American business on your green card you’ll need to actually be there more often than not.

Getting a Green Card

So how do you get a green card?

Green cards are allocated on the basis of a sliding scale of preferences. These are:

  • First Preference: Individuals with special abilities, distinguished academics, professors, and researchers, and international executives
  • Second Preference: Professionals with an advanced degree or workers with exceptional talent
  • Third Preference: Skilled workers and professionals
  • Fourth Preference: Individuals under special circumstances, and certain religious workers
  • Fifth Preference: Immigrant investors, who must invest between $500,000-$1,000,000 in a venture that creates at least ten new jobs for U.S. citizens or other lawful permanent residents and immigrants.

So, be a priest, a nun, a millionaire, or a doctor. You can also demonstrate unusual ability in science, arts, business or academia and be classified as an ‘Alien of Extraordinary Abilty’ – surely worth it for the title alone. But what if you don’t fall into these categories?

In most cases, people who actually get a green card fall into two camps: they’re either sponsored by a relative who already lives in the USA, or they’re sponsored by an employer. In some cases, of course, people get green cards because of refugee or asylum status.

If you apply for a green card from outside the USA, you need to apply by the consular process which will allow you to arrive at the US border and be admitted as a permanent resident. If you’re already inside the USA, you’ll be adjusting your status – altering the basis on which you’re permitted to remain in the country.

If you’re related to a US citizen by birth or marriage – if you’re their spouse or child – getting a green card is much, much easier, though it’s still not a foregone conclusion.  These are also allocated on a sliding scale of preferences, with first preference going to:

  • Parents of a U.S. citizen
  • Spouses of a U.S. citizen
  • Unmarried children under the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen

If this is you, you don’t have to wait for a visa to become available, and you don’t have to deal with restrictions on the number of visas you can use.

You will face visa restrictions if you belong to the remaining categories of family members, though. These are allocated:

  • First Preference: Unmarried, adult (21 years of age or older) sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
  • Second Preference A: Spouses of permanent residents and the unmarried children (under the age of 21)) of permanent residents
  • Second Preference B: Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years or age or older) of permanent residents
  • Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, their spouses and their minor children
  • Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens, their spouses and their minor children

There are special categories of families, including being born to a foreign diplomat in the US, being a widow or widower, and stepchildren and stepparents can also qualify. Gay and lesbian couples are still working their way through the courts on this one: if this is you, there’s a struggle ahead to have your family relationships recognized.

Work Visa

If you’re hoping for your employer to sponsor you, there are pitfalls; you’ll need to be working at management level or equivalent, or hold a degree, or do work for which no American citizen with suitable qualifications is available. Your employer will have some hoops to jump through too: they’ll need to obtain labour certification and file a Form I-140, ‘Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.’ All of this means that just having a job offer from a US company isn’t enough, though it’s necessary.

It’s possible to enter the USA on a work visa and afterwards apply for a green card, but this is a restrictive process: you have to stick to the job and other details of your visa application, or your visa becomes invalid.

Investor Visa

Being an investor is initially an attractive route; you don’t have to have a million dollars if you’re planning to invest in a designated area, you can put up half that amount – a much more attainable, though still high, $500, 000 (£320, 000). There’s a 10, 000-visa cap on the number of visas that can be issued each year, but since Brits qualify for visa waiver this shouldn’t affect people form the UK. If you live outside the US, you need to go through the consular route; if you’re inside the US you’ll be adjusting your status.

Property is a popular investment, but there are many people operating scams in this area and the US government keeps a very close watch on passive businesses like property, partly because of their popularity for moneylaundering purposes. You’ll be particularly scrutinized if you’re of retirement age.

Finally, after joking about getting a green card being a lottery, it’s time to fess up – there is an annual green card lottery. People from Ireland and Northern Ireland qualify, but mainland British people don’t, and for some reason neither do Poles, though the rest of Europe does. The rationale behind this is that plenty of Brits get green cards by other means.

There is another option. You could go to the USA and start there on the ground. You’ll have 90 days as a visitor to look for a job, investigate your options and test the waters in all sorts of other ways, including culturally. Once you find an American job you can apply for an employment visa which will let you remain longer, and begin green card application later off the back of your employment- – amongst other things this could let a tentative job offer become firm and permanent, or a job at sub-management level lead to promotion that would then qualify you for an employment-based green card. For some people it might also make sense to find an American job that qualifies you for an employment visa and use that to stay in the country while you work on setting up your business.

Applying for every stage of the green card process can be expensive, with form processing fees varying from $85 to $1, 000, so it’s important to plan your way through the process in advance.


After you’ve had a green card five years, or three years if you’re married to a citizen, you can apply for citizenship: paradoxically, citizenship is comparatively easy compared to getting a green card! Without citizenship you don’t qualify for welfare and can’t vote – so factor health insurance into your plans when you get ready to make the move.

A final word of warning: the American government frowns on lawbreaking. If you get any kind of brush with the law, even so much as a parking ticket, you could find it prejudices your chances; it will find its way onto the Department of Homeland Security’s computer database!

Harbour Bridge Australia

Setting up home in Australia once you are ready to emigrate can be an exciting time for all the family. You’re moving to a country that has a semi-legendary hold on children’s imaginations, even if they aren’t actually going to see many kangaroos, but you’re choosing what many people feel is a better quality of life in one of the most vibrant cultures on earth too. It’s an adventure for everyone; as such, though it can be worrying or downright scary as well as exciting.

After you get your visa and employment situation sorted out, the next step on many people’s lists is to find somewhere to live, though depending on how you’ve managed your move, you might be looking for a house first and a job afterwards.

The Honeymoon Period

From personal experience, many expatriates warn of a ‘honeymoon period’ when you first arrive – the balmy weather, combined with not having got to grips with the real costs of living and the worth of the Aussie dollar, can give an inflated sense of wealth that leaves you getting bushwhacked with bills down the line, especially if you’ve sold property to move and are coming in with a lump sum. It’s a good idea to set a list of ‘priority purchases’ and work to a budget: even if it has to be constantly re-evaluated, it still gives you some financial control.

Buying Property in Australia

Australian land and property prices are currently rising , showing about 10% annual growth, well ahead of Australia’s economic growth. The typical price for a single-family home varies across Australia – in Melbourne, it’s AUS$652,500 for a house and about $500,000 for an apartment, £362,560 and £278,000 respectively. Homes in metropolitan areas are typically more expensive while those in rural locations are often much cheaper, but to take advantage of those reduced prices you’ll need to have a taste for isolation and a means of making a living that doesn’t rely on having a city nearby.

Australian house

If you have your residency sorted out, you shouldn’t face any restrictions on buying property. If you’re not a permanent resident, you will probably face some restrictions – the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) will guide you thorugh the process.

Assuming your residency is settled, you’ll be looking at a typical mortgage of about 80% of the purchase price. Some lenders will allow a lower deposit, depending on your circumstances, but 20% is standard. Stamp Duty will add to the cost of buying a home too: you should look into stamp duty at the Office of State Revenue of the state or territory you’re moving to:

New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia or Tasmania

This commercial calculator will give you a general idea, but you should check with the official site to make sure.

It’s also a good idea to have a lawyer, and you can use this site to search for one.

When you’re looking for a potential home to buy, sites like www.realestate.com.au or www.domain.com.au can help to point you in the right direction, and sites like www.myrp.com.au offer the chance to compare prices in more specific areas. You should definitely check prices so you know the going rate.

Once you’ve settled on a property you’ll need to apply for finance. This will involve providing ID, evidence of income and assets and proof of your financial situation.

Buying at Auction

Compared with the UK, it’s much more common for Australian properties to be sold by auction. There’s often a fairly short turnaround from first inspection to sale – this is frequently between 3 and 6 weeks. For people used to the seemingly endless process of buying and selling property in the UK, this can seem very fast, but in some cases it has its advantages, especially if you’ve made your decision and know which property you want. You should have finance approved prior to bidding at auction, and it’s usually a good idea to have the property inspected and checked for pests. You should also have a copy of the contract of sale checked over by a lawyer on your behalf.

If you’re the winning bidder at a house auction, you’ll usually be expected to put 10% of the purchase price up immediately, and the standard period for settling the full amount is 42 days. In some cases, properties are sold prior to the auction – if they don’t perform well at auction, the most interested parties will come together afterwards to negotiate on price.

There is assistance available for house purchase in Australia – there are territorial and national homebuyer’s grants and relocation grants available, like the regional relocation grant, or the housing construction grant, and as a permanent resident you might be eligible, so it’s a good idea to check. The schemes are usually administered at the territorial level, so you should look on the government website of the territory you’re moving to.

Where you can get finance will also depend on your immigration status. Some mortgage companies are willing to help overseas buyers on temporary visas, while many aren’t, so if you’re buying a house to move to later, shop around.

Renting Property

There’s also the option of renting. Again, specifics vary from territory to territory, but the majority of Australian homes are rented unfurnished, so you’ll need to find furniture if you’re not taking it with you. Smaller units are usually let on a half-yearly basis, while larger ones typically are let for a year at a time, and the usual deposit is a month’s rent. Before you can move in, you’ll usually need to pay two to four weeks’ rent upfront too.

Buying or renting property in Australia isn’t that far different from in the UK – the basic legal structures involved are fairly similar and the majority of sales are by auction or private sale. Australians are neighbourly – British people often remark that Australians are very social and love a chat, a barbecue or an evening at the local, which is thought to be one reason why Australian TV is so dire! Supermarkets are usually lacklustre compared with the UK, but as a result independent suppliers of fish and meat, vegetables and beverages, continue to thrive and in many cases you’ll find yourself eating food that’s been produced by people you know. All of that means that after you’ve settled into your new home, the real adventure – settling into and enjoying Australian culture – is still waiting for you.