Australian Expats in the UK: A Guide to Living and Working in the UK

The United Kingdom is a popular destination for Australian expats. There are many reasons why Australians choose to move to the UK, including the strong economy, the vibrant culture, and the proximity to Europe.

This guide will provide you with an introduction to living and working in the UK as an Australian expat. This will cover topics such as visas, finding a job, getting settled in, and making the most of your time in the UK.

Why the UK?

The UK is a popular destination for Australian expats due to its vibrant cultural scene, thriving job market, and excellent quality of life. With an array of opportunities in fields such as finance, tech, creative arts, and healthcare, the UK is an attractive proposition for career-oriented individuals. 

Additionally, the UK’s rich history, combined with its contemporary multicultural vibe, provides a rewarding living experience.

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Navigating the Immigration Process

Moving from Australia to the UK requires a proper understanding of the immigration process. You may need a visa depending on the nature of your visit – study, work, or family reunification.

If you plan to work in the UK, you’ll likely need a Skilled Worker Visa, requiring a job offer from a UK employer and a Certificate of Sponsorship. You can find more information about visas for Australian citizens on the UK government website.

Ensure you begin this process well in advance of your planned move date, as it can be time-consuming.

Understanding the Cost of Living

The cost of living in the UK is generally higher than in Australia, particularly in London and other major cities. However, salaries often reflect this difference. Rent, groceries, dining, and public transport can be more expensive, so plan your budget accordingly.

According to Numbeo, the cost of living in London is 14% higher than in Sydney, and the cost of living in Manchester is 10% higher than in Melbourne.

Here is a breakdown of the cost of living in the UK compared to Australia:

  • Housing: The cost of housing is significantly higher in the UK than in Australia. For example, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in London is £1,500 per month, while the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Sydney is AUD$1,200 per month.
  • Food: The cost of food is also higher in the UK than in Australia. For example, the average cost of a meal at a mid-range restaurant in London is £25, while the average cost of a meal at a mid-range restaurant in Sydney is AUD$20.
  • Transportation: The cost of transportation is also higher in the UK than in Australia. For example, the average cost of a monthly bus pass in London is £150, while the average cost of a monthly bus pass in Sydney is AUD$100.
  • Utilities: The cost of utilities is similar in the UK and Australia. For example, the average monthly cost of electricity, gas, and water for a one-bedroom apartment in London is £100, while the average monthly cost of electricity, gas, and water for a one-bedroom apartment in Sydney is AUD$100.
  • Other expenses: Other expenses, such as healthcare, entertainment, and personal care, are also generally higher in the UK than in Australia.

If you are planning to move to the UK from Australia, it is important to do your research and budget accordingly. You can use a cost of living calculator to estimate the cost of living in different cities in the UK. You can also research the cost of living online or in publications.

Finding the Right Job

A great starting point for your job search is online job boards like Indeed, LinkedIn, and Reed. Also, consider connecting with recruitment agencies that specialise in placing Australian expats. They can help match your skills and experience with suitable roles.

Here are some tips for Australian expats who are looking for jobs in the UK:

  • Highlight your Australian experience: Australian expats often have valuable skills and experience that are in demand in the UK. Make sure to highlight your Australian experience on your resume and in your cover letter.
  • Network with other Australian expats: There are a number of online and offline groups for Australian expats in the UK. Networking with other Australian expats can be a great way to find jobs and get advice.
  • Be prepared to adapt: The UK job market is different from the Australian job market. Be prepared to adapt to the different culture and way of doing things.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help: If you are struggling to find a job, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, or recruitment agencies.

Housing and Accommodation

There’s a variety of housing options in the UK, from city-centre apartments to suburban homes. Websites like Rightmove and Zoopla can help you find the perfect place, whether you want to rent or buy.

Here are some of the most common types of housing and accommodation in the UK:

  • Flats: Flats are apartments, which are the most common type of housing in the UK. They can be found in both city centres and suburban areas. Flats can be rented or bought, and they come in a variety of sizes and layouts.
  • Houses: Houses are the second most common type of housing in the UK. They are typically larger than flats and have more space. Houses can be found in both city centres and suburban areas. Houses can be rented or bought, and they come in a variety of styles.
  • Shared housing: Shared housing is a good option for budget-minded travellers or those who want to meet new people. Shared housing typically consists of a large house or apartment that is shared by several people. Each person has their own bedroom, and the common areas are shared.
  • Student accommodation: Student accommodation is specifically designed for students. It can be found in both university towns and cities. Student accommodation typically consists of flats or houses that are shared by several students.
  • Hostels: Hostels are a good option for budget-minded travellers. They typically offer dormitory-style accommodation with shared bathrooms. Hostels can be found in both city centres and suburban areas.

The cost of housing and accommodation in the UK varies depending on the type of accommodation, the location, and the size of the property. For example, the average rent for a one-bedroom flat in London is £1,500 per month, while the average rent for a one-bedroom flat in Manchester is £800 per month.

Adapting to the UK Culture

The UK culture may initially seem similar to Australia’s, but there are differences to appreciate. The British are known for their politeness, love of tea, and passion for football. Understanding these cultural nuances will help you fit in more comfortably.

Here are some tips on how to adapt to UK culture:

  • Be aware of the different cultural norms: The UK has a rich and diverse culture, so it is important to be aware of the different cultural norms. For example, in the UK, it is common to make eye contact when speaking to someone, and it is considered rude to interrupt someone who is speaking.
  • Learn about British history and customs: Having a basic understanding of British history and customs can help you understand the UK culture better. For example, the UK has a long history of monarchy, and the Queen is still the head of state.
  • Be respectful of British values: The UK is a multicultural society, and there is a strong emphasis on tolerance and respect for others. It is important to be respectful of British values, such as democracy, freedom of speech, and the rule of law.
  • Get involved in British culture: One of the best ways to adapt to UK culture is to get involved in British culture. This could involve attending cultural events, such as plays, concerts, or festivals. It could also involve participating in British sports, such as football (soccer), cricket, or rugby.
  • Be patient: Adapting to a new culture takes time. Don’t expect to become a fully-fledged Brit overnight. Just be patient and open-minded, and you will eventually feel at home in the UK.

Healthcare

The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK provides free healthcare at the point of use for all UK residents. However, you may be required to pay an immigration health surcharge as part of your visa application.

Staying Connected to Australia

Maintaining connections with home is crucial for many expats. Consider joining local Australian expat groups or participating in events related to Australia. This not only helps you maintain a connection with your home country but also provides an excellent opportunity to network and make new friends.

Becoming an Australian expat in the UK is an exciting adventure. It can offer a wealth of opportunities both professionally and personally. The key to a successful transition lies in careful planning and a willingness to adapt to new experiences.

Investing in Australian Property from the UK

Yes, it is possible to invest in Australian property from the UK. Investing in Australian property can be a good way to diversify your portfolio and generate income. 

Odin Mortgage is the leading mortgage brokerage that specialises in helping Aussie expats, and overseas investors buy property in Australia. We can help you with all aspects of the process, from finding a property to securing a mortgage.

Contact us today to learn more about finding the right home loans for your needs.

Get a free Australian mortgage assessment today.

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Frequently asked questions

Yes, you can live in the UK as an Australian citizen. You will need to apply for a visa, but there are a number of different types of visas available to Australian citizens. 

The most common type of visa for Australian citizens is the Tier 2 General visa. This visa allows you to live and work in the UK for up to five years. You will need to have a job offer from a UK employer in order to be eligible for this visa.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there were an estimated 87,362 Australian-born people living in the UK in 2021. This is a decrease from the 92,281 Australian-born people living in the UK in 2020.

The ONS also estimates that the number of Australian-born people living in the UK will continue to decline in the coming years. By 2025, the ONS estimates that there will be 79,160 Australian-born people living in the UK.

The reasons for the decline in the number of Australian-born people living in the UK are complex. However, some of the factors that may be contributing to the decline include the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, the rising cost of living in the UK, and the increasing popularity of other destinations for Australian expats, such as Canada and New Zealand.

The majority of Australian expats live in London. Other popular cities for Australian expats include Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Bristol, and Brighton.



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