Migration Advice

This is where you will find essential information about planning and implementing your move to Australia. Remember, you will need a visa to come to Australia, and if you want information about that, please visit my page about Visas or, if you want professional help, check out my Visa Assessment Service.

Let’s start planning.

The where and the who:

Top of your list ‘to-do’ is to decide where you’re going to live, and that means Choosing a City first, and then deciding Which Suburb to live in. Of course, you can always live in a smaller city or town, you can find lists of those from each of my Australian States pages.

Here’s what you Must Read if you are Bringing Children with you, and of course if you are, you’ll need to choose Which School they will go to. Finally, if you want to bring your dog, cat or any other family pet, you can find out all you need to know from my page about Bringing Your Pet to Australia.

Jobs in Australia:

For many, coming to Australia depends on whether or not you are likely to get a job and for some getting a visa may depend on getting a sponsor job. My page about Jobs and Sponsorships will help with that. I also have additional pages that can help both Doctors and Nurses register to work in Australia.

Money, money, money:

Your biggest expense, of course, will be accommodation, and my page about The Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia will help you with that. For everything else, check out my page all about the Prices of Everything in Australia.

What will it cost you to live here though? How Much Money Will You Need will help answer that for you and my Currency Exchange page will help you get the best exchange rate. Which Bank will help you decide where to put it.

The critters:

Ah, yes, the critters. Australia is well known for its dangerous animals, so how will you survive? Well, it’s not so bad, as my page Australia’s Killer Creatures and Death will explain. And Living with Snakes in Australia will help you do just that.

The lifestyle:

Is it all worth it though? What’s it really like to live in Australia? For each of the first 10 years I lived in Australia I created a short five minute (or less) video of the highlights. See what our life in Australia is like for yourselves from my Yearly Videos page.

Finally, if English is not your first language, you might like to brush up on your speaking skills. This will help you integrate better into the Australian lifestyle, secure a job more easily and also help to make some Aussie friends. The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) delivers free English lessons to new migrants to Australia; check out my Study English page for more information.

Important: Please read before commenting…

And for those looking for professional assistance…

Visa Assessment Service
{ 1615 comments… add one }
  • yusuf July 17, 2023, 8:29 am |

    Hi there bob great info on the site thanks for supplying it to us. My family and i (wife and 2 kids) are considering moving to australia, i am a citizen of australia but we moved out quite along time ago so i have no idea what im up against… could you give me some tips please? im planning to come and check out what its like there but also in a situation that once i come there is no going back 😀 im currently working in the security industry at the american embassy in cyprus and was thinking to continue in the security sector there after i get the certificates and stuff (would you have any tips on those?). the thing thats really got me going is that ill be there with the family and i dunno if ill be earning enough nor my wife or kids know english so ill be the only one earning in the household… how much do you think we would need approximetly monthly or per fortnight? i will be living in melbourne thats for sure most preferably eastern suburbs because thats where we were before but depending on the job that could change… would finding a full time job be hard? Its a big step for me because ill be starting from zero with the family so i dont really have a chance to screw up… would the govenment be of any help in anyway? sorry for bombarding so many questions, Thanks in advance and have a good day

    • BobinOz July 24, 2023, 6:14 pm |

      These are some really difficult questions and they are certainly impossible for me to answer, I’d be guessing. All I can suggest is you check out the links to the government’s immigration website that you will find on this page, and that should help answer your questions about what you need to do to come back to Australia with your family. If in doubt though, seek the advice of a MARA registered migration agent.

      I have other pages on here about finding a job and how much you will need to earn that will all help you with your decisions, but they are big decisions that you need to make here, I hope it goes well for you.

  • clive Thomas January 12, 2023, 5:12 pm |

    Bob, Yours is a wonderful website but I wasn’t clear about the migration agent. I thought, it would appear wrongly, that on payment of A$100 I would get direct contact with the agent! Not with a set of forms!
    I already have a Contributory Parent application accepted but the wait period is now 74 months. The MARA agent who dealt with my application has not responded to my last enquiry and what I want to know now is how to obtain continuous “bridging” visas. I think that it’s a simple question with ,perhaps, not a very simple answer. I do want an answer, if at all possible. You may even know the answer yourself? Can I get a refund on my Paypal payment?

    • BobinOz January 12, 2023, 11:16 pm |

      Hi Clive and thank you for the kind words about my website.

      Of course you can have a refund, your situation does not require any kind of assessment, so you do not need this service. You should receive notification of the refund in a few minutes.

      I will also send an email to my migration agent and I’m sure he will be able to help you, but as you say, it may be a simple question, but the answer may be more complex. I will leave it to Simon and yourself to sort it out between you.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Danny September 9, 2022, 8:09 am |

    Hi Bob,

    First time I visited your site in 10+ years! Your site was a real inspiration first time we emigrated. We previously lived in Brisvegas and are going to live in the Glass House Mountains regions after securing a 186PR visa!

    This time we have kids to take with us and I was looking online for some ISOfix car seats for 4-8 years. The choice for 4-8 year old car seats with ISOfix looks really limited. Is this true or am I just looking in the wrong place?

    Appreciate if you have no advise on the subject as your kids will be all grown up now but thought it was worth a shot!


    • BobinOz September 12, 2022, 6:54 pm |

      Well, welcome back, it’s been a while. And it’s also been a very long time since I have needed to buy a child car seat, so I’m a bit out of touch. But I would have thought you could get them easily enough from Kmart or Target or one of the auto shops like Super Cheap Auto and Repco.

      Hope that helps and good luck.

      • Danny September 12, 2022, 9:13 pm |

        Thanks Bob it does. Flying this Friday. Can’t wait! Moving to the hinterland North of Brisbane.

        • BobinOz September 13, 2022, 5:07 pm |

          Exciting Danny, hope it all goes well.

  • Bobby August 31, 2022, 2:05 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    Im from sydney and I am looking to move to the sunshine coast.
    I am 35yrs old and single, soon to be 36.
    I am going to be starting my life from scratch, and was hoping to study horticulture and maybe landscaping.
    Can you let me know what locations are good and peaceful to live in, that are not rural, but close to shops, gyms, food outlets, bars, medical facilities? Somewhere where it is away from the bad suburbs, away from all of the loud cars.

    Is working in horticultre, landscaping and possibly mowing a good trade to be in, when in the sunshine coast?

    I also enjoy sports, walks, beach, and meeting new people.

    Thanks mate.



    • BobinOz September 6, 2022, 6:10 pm |

      Hi Bobby, I don’t know anything about horticulture so I can’t help you with that. As for Sunshine Coast, Mooloolaba would be my favourite destination, with second choice Maroochydore, pretty sure both would have everything you need. To find out more about the various places to live, you might want to check out my page about Sunshine Coast.

  • Jennifer November 17, 2021, 4:42 am |

    I am looking to relocate to be with my boyfriend who lives in Australia, we have been “together” for 2.5 years and want to get married. I am from the USA, he has been to me 2x and I went to Australia 1x and then Covid hit right before his next visit. Can I come there on a travel visa and get married and stay there? I don’t want to leave everything here and them be told I can’t stay. I do have an expired travel visa, I resubmitted for a new one but can’t do anything until the borders open.
    Please advise, any help will be appreciated.

    • BobinOz November 17, 2021, 7:47 pm |

      Hi Jennifer, no, you definitely cannot do that. You cannot arrive on a travel visa, get married and then expect to stay. It just doesn’t work like that. Unfortunately I can’t tell you what you do need to do, because I’m not a MARA registered migration agent. So that’s who you do need to speak to, a MARA registered migration agent.

      For more information see my page Choosing a MARA Registered Migration Agent.

  • frances warrington smith May 16, 2021, 11:15 pm |

    my husband and i are both 82 yrs old.we are coming to brisbane on an elderly parent visa which we have been told we qualify.is it true that if we buy a property we have a large lump sum to pay as we are classed as an invester.thank you frances and alan.

    • BobinOz May 18, 2021, 5:16 pm |

      I am sorry, but I do not know what the rules are when it comes to purchasing property on an elderly parent visa. What I do know though is that it is FIRB, which stands for Foreign Investment Review Board, who would know the answer. Google them, just type in FIRB, that will get you to them, and have a look around their website, you may find the answer to your question.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful, Bob

  • Tan May 7, 2021, 5:39 am |

    Hi! ?

    I have been thinking of moving to Australia (Queensland) from Europe for a while now and since reading about how to find the right VISA is such a headache, I figured I can ask you first.

    I own a business and currently have no employees. I create online courses, write ebooks and work with brands. I make around 240k a year on average.

    In the past, I read on various forums that to get the 188 VISA you do need to have a much larger business, but it is the only one that I could potentially get.

    I am not familiar with legal things as I have never moved to a foreign country before and as a European, I have only travelled within the EU.

    I really just want a heads up if I have ANY chance of getting this VISA or if my company is just too small. I really want to live in Australia but sadly my hopes are fading away as I just cannot seem to find a VISA that I would qualify for.

    I am grateful for any advice you can throw my way.

    Thank you in advance.

    • BobinOz May 10, 2021, 8:50 pm |

      You might want to Google information on “Business Innovation and Investment (BII) visa (sc188) option’, top of the search results should be the Australian government’s website and it will give you details of the kind of business visas that are currently available.

      On that main page you will find brief details about each of those visas and then if you click on the “Details” link for each of those visas you can find out more specific information about them including the eligibility criteria.

      I remember speaking to my MARA migration agent about these visas sometime last year and you are right, the bar is incredibly high. As lucrative as your one-man business is, I’m not sure it’s the kind of thing they’re looking for.

      The only way to truly find out if you have any chance of qualifying though is to speak to a MARA registered migration agent about your situation, and in your case, I’d probably be inclined to look for a company or agent who specifically specialises in business visas.

      Hope that helps and good luck, Bob

  • alistair Jones July 4, 2020, 11:43 pm |

    Bob hi,
    I recently got in touch with you about a particular topic ,your reply wasn’t what I was hoping to hear but anyway I understood what you came across with .Anyway my wife and I are slowly going through our stuff?,make of that what you will ,Jen came across a sort of list that was on the internet that sort of explains what we can bring with and what we can .One line said ,ceramic ware ,.What exactly does that mean ,?Ive looked up ceramic ware and it just comes across with pots,bowls ect .Surely this doesn’t mean our cups saucers plates ect ?Also I was horrified to find out that anything we buy new to bring with us we have to pay extra tax on each item.Im an avid diyer and have bought stuff in the past twelve to eighteen months and haven’t used yet will I have to pay tax again on these items ,baring in mind I’ve already payed vat here ?Can you recommend a site that explains all these thing in detail,we don’t want to make any mistakes. Hoping for a favourable reply ,Alistair .

    • BobinOz July 6, 2020, 6:41 pm |

      Hi Alistair,

      Well, I can assure you we brought with us all about cups and saucers and plates, no problem at all. I think maybe what you have seen referred to there as ceramics, may be talking about garden pots or ceramic ornaments from the garden.

      What customs definitely do not allow in are items that have come into contact with the soil from other countries, as that can be contaminated. I wrote a post about what things you can bring with you, you might like to give it a read…


      If you can find the receipts to any of those items that you have purchased more than 12 months ago but still look like new, then I believe they will accept that and won’t make you pay the tax. What they are trying to avoid is people bringing lots of new stuff over with them to save them from buying them here and paying Australian tax on them.

      If you want to find websites that are likely to know exact answers to these questions, I’d look at international moving websites, like maybe Britannia International Movers, and check out their pages that have information about what you can and cannot bring.

      Hope that helps, Bob

      • Alistair Jones August 5, 2020, 8:59 pm |

        Hi ,have found your website very informative, but would like your advice on an item I came across the other day about timber or anything wood for that matter .It is said that wood of any kind will not be aloud in if it hasn’t been treated.Can you explain to me what exactly treated means ,it must cover quite a broad spectrum? Thank you as ever Alistair

        • BobinOz August 6, 2020, 3:48 pm |

          Yes, I imagine there is quite a broad spectrum of treated wood, but I think I can help you understand what they are getting at.

          When we moved over here we brought absolutely everything with us from the UK, we filled a 40 foot container with all our stuff. There were only a couple of items that they didn’t allow in, they were a pair of trainers that had soil on the soles, and a deck chair that had been out in the garden.

          The wooden frame of the deckchair was untreated and had got a bit damp from where it had been sitting on the grass outside. All of our varnished indoor wooden furniture was allowed in without any problems.

          Contaminated soil is one of their major concerns at customs, so I would not bring any wooden item that has been stored outside, but I think you’ll be pretty good with any indoor furniture that’s made out of wood and has got a coat of paint, lacquer or varnish on it. Anything they don’t like, I believe they will just confiscate and dispose of, but usually only after asking you if you would like to pay for a deep cleaning and decontamination service that they can offer if you really want to keep the goods.

          Hope that helps, Bob

  • Alistair Jones May 14, 2020, 2:37 pm |

    Hi not sure if I’m doing this correctly but anyway, my wife and I hope to be in W.A within the next two years . We are both seventy one ,my wife in an Australian citizen English born .We married 2014 not long after my wife died.Anyway we have a place to stay ,almost rent free ,a cottage on a small forty odd acre farm in Chittering.Ninety nine percent of her family live in Australia so it is easy to think we will be in a better place as we get older .I have put in for residences and am waiting for a reply.My main worry is money ,because yo u have to pay for prescriptions ect and I don’t know what I will or will not qualify for?Can anyone point me in the right direction,I hate bringing it up with my wife as I feel as though I’m just being negative , but it’s important.Will be grateful for any advice thank you .

    • BobinOz May 15, 2020, 7:29 pm |

      Hi Alistair, I have replied to your personal message to me, so please check out your inbox for my answer. Good luck, Bob

      • alistair Jones May 16, 2020, 3:12 pm |

        Hi Bob,
        Thank you for your reply which I found in my email inbox .You said your reply ,look in my inbox,?Is that my iCloud email ,if so I can’t find anything to click onto.Wouldn’t surprise me I’m missing the obvious so please forgive me .Cant find anything in my iCloud email.Can you please expand what you mean.Thank you for your patience ,Alistair Jones

        • BobinOz May 18, 2020, 6:36 pm |

          Hi Alastair

          Well, assuming you received my email to you that went to your talktalk account, then you have my complete answer, because I simply copied the same thing to your iCloud account, but that didn’t successfully get through to you, I got an undeliverable notice back. That means there must have been something wrong with that email address, maybe a typo?

          Anyway, you do have my complete answer, there is no more I can expand on. For clarity, here is my complete answer again…

          Hi Alistair

          Thanks for your email, but I’m afraid I can’t help you with this at all, because when it comes this kind of advice, only MARA registered migration agents are legally allowed to assist.

          The rules are very complex on visas and what you get or don’t get with the different types available, including what you might qualify for with health services.

          That’s why I can’t help.

          All I can tell you is that if you don’t qualify for health services, then it can be quite expensive when you do need help and have to pay for it privately.

          If you have used the migration agent when you applied for residency, that would be the person to ask for information about this. Sorry I can’t help any more than this. I have written an article about the health service though, you can read it here…


          Good luck, Bob

  • Emer February 11, 2020, 6:08 pm |

    Hi Bob!

    I’ve just had a quick glance at your website and I feel its exactly what I needed!

    I’m a Primary School Teacher from Ireland and since December 2019, my Working Holiday Visa in Australia expired. (I didn’t do the 3 months farm work to obtain a second year as I ended up getting an International Teaching job in Vietnam!)

    To cut to the chase, my contract here will expire in June 2021 and I am already researching like mad on possible ways to get back into Australia and work there. My boyfriend is Australian and I have so many friends there that I know its where I want to head to next!

    Can you and Simon help me? I just feel overwhelmed when I see the listings of visas on the Australian Government website.

    Do I stand a chance in obtaining another visa?

    Looking forward to hearing back from you and willing to take any necessary steps!

    Many thanks,

    • BobinOz February 12, 2020, 5:01 pm |

      Hi Emer, yes, I spoke with Simon today about this, he thinks it’s definitely worth him looking at it. Hopefully he can help you, but he would need to know more before he could tell you what chance you stand in getting another visa.

      If you want to go ahead, please purchase the assessment from this page and complete the questionnaire in full. Simon would also like you to send him a copy of your latest CV along with this completed questionnaire, as well as giving him a bit of background on the relationship with your Australian boyfriend.

      Once he has all that, he can provide you with a full assessment report. Hope it works out and good luck, Bob

      • Emer February 12, 2020, 8:11 pm |

        Hi Bob,

        Thank you so much for your speedy response! I will follow your instructions and fingers-crossed, Simon will be able to help me.
        I am thrilled that I stumbled upon your website! It’s so useful!

        Will hopefully be able to respond positively next time on this message thread! 😀

        Appreciate the advice,

        • BobinOz February 17, 2020, 4:22 pm |

          My pleasure, and good luck, I do hope it all works out. Thanks, Bob

  • Raven Reddy February 7, 2020, 1:48 am |

    Thanks for all the advise wil be moving to Adelaide in few months . Have a PR visa

    • BobinOz February 7, 2020, 4:32 pm |

      My pleasure and congratulations 🙂

  • don arachchi December 24, 2019, 8:07 pm |

    HI Bob

    I have read through your website and appreciate your great work. we are planning to move to Brisbane from uk. my wife got a job in Mansfield area. we have to kids age 5 and 3. I am working in the field of IT and looking for jobs.

    we would like to find a good beach suburb with good schools and nurseries. same time not far away from CBD where you have easy access to the city. safety is the top priority.

    please can you help me with this.

    again many thanks and appreciate your help

    • BobinOz January 2, 2020, 3:38 pm |

      Hi Don

      Take a look at my main page about Brisbane, you will find a link in it towards the top pointing to an article I did about Brisbane’s beaches. That would be worth a read.

      Next, have a good skim through all the comments on that page as there are quite a few conversations about what the various suburbs are like to live in. If you’re still stuck, ask specific questions on that page about Brisbane as it is the best page on my website to find out this kind of information.

  • Rash August 29, 2019, 7:11 pm |

    Hi! Currently I am studying in Melbourne and I am studying Accounting. Is it better if I change my course to Adelaide and study there for get the PR easily. I am doing my masters’ right now.

    Thank you.

  • Jeff August 19, 2019, 10:27 am |

    hey bob any advice on moving to tittybong the location of it looks really appealing let alone the name. I am a german uni student and want to come to australia and live and work for a few years any tips.

    • BobinOz August 19, 2019, 7:04 pm |

      Well, according to Wikipedia, Tittybong has a population of, wait for it, 3. So if you are going to move there, it shouldn’t take you long to get to know everyone. Just hope they are nice people 🙂

      You may prefer to live in a larger town though, and if you still want one with a strange name, I can help you choose. Have a look at my page Australia’s Strange and Unusual Place Names and yes, Tittybong is mentioned.

  • Sud March 24, 2019, 6:47 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    I’ve been following your blog for the past year & honestly your blog had a big role in helping me to finally convince my wife & 2 kids to emigrate to Australia from UK!! Need better weather!! I’ve a few questions if you don’t mind?
    1. I’m a doctor and my wife is a secondary school teacher, both UK citizens with 16-17 yrs UK experience. What are our chances and how long does the visa process takes?
    2. I’ll be most likely applying under “skilled regional 489” as my wife’s brother lives in Oz. (80 points in this category). Would it be better to put my wife as the 1st applicant or myself- as not sure if will I also get 5 points-the guidance I’ve read mentions brother, but not brother-in-law??
    3. We can apply under skilled Nominated subclass 190 too. (75 points in this category). Not sure which visa (489 or 190) will be quicker?? Do the points make a difference to the visa processing time? Willing to land in Oz and find job there too..
    I’ll really appreciate your kind advise. I would like to spend X-Mas 2019 in Australia!!!
    happy to contact your agent if needed.


  • Stephen March 12, 2019, 9:33 pm |

    Hi Bob & others,

    Great website thanks and we have a few questions if you can help us please with our migration plans.

    My wife & I are British and both 48 later this year, we are able to buy our own house outright and a business. I am a Physiotherapist and Health Coach, and my wife is a Photographer, Massage Therapist and Professional Cat Groomer.

    Our questions are as follows:
    What is the age limit currently to gain a Permanenet Visa?
    Do we need a job offer to sponsor and complement our application along with scoring highly on the ILETS test.
    What are all the options for us to gain a PR?

    With many thanks for your help

    Stephen & Sara

    • BobinOz March 13, 2019, 5:32 pm |

      None of your questions are straight forward and they are all certainly questions I am not able to answer; please see the special notices at the foot of the above article.

      What I will tell you though, given your ages, is speak to a MARA agent as soon as possible, because if there are any options for you, time is against you.

      I don’t know whether you have options or not, that’s why you need to speak to a MARA migration agent.

  • Gaga February 22, 2019, 2:52 am |

    Hi Bob
    Moving to Mildura soon, any advice?

    • BobinOz February 25, 2019, 6:49 pm |

      No, sorry, can’t help with that. I’ve never been to Mildura, I had to google it to find out where it is. Might be worth asking your question on my page about Victoria, someone might see it and help you out.

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