I've always dreamed of making it down to Australia to work, intentionally for the long term but would probably go for 1 year as a "trial" (or at least force myself to go that long)

What would the costs for this be? Has anyone done it?

Obviously would need to finance a flat, car, and living expenses, but what else is involved (red tape etc)

Are visa fees/solicitors expensive?

Do you need to have substantial savings before considering this?


If you think there is no complication in your application and you can easily satisfy all criteria you can do the process yourself without using any agent and save few thousand dollars. I have done myself. Another cost Chris forgot to mention is the medical examination cost which is mandatory. If your certificates and docs are non-English translation fees are quite high as well. The immigration process is very bureaucratic and requires lot of supporting documents.
As for living in Australia, Rent, Car and living expenses are high compared to US. But in Sydney and Melbourne you can rent near public transport, which isn't too bad (well not like Europe ). So having a car is not essential. Rent for a decent flat in these cities will be $300 - $350 p/w and you may have to pay 4-6 weeks as advance. You can get a lot of information from the dept. of immingration website.


We don't seem to have (m)any expats or Australians on the site yet, but I'll share what I have learned. I'm taking advantage of your profile information listing you as a software developer.

A friend of mine is currently doing a study of national IT professional societies for his MBA project. One of his goals is to understand which funding models are effective in the absence of mandatory licensing. (Consider: Most developers don't need to be a member of an organization in order to practice.)

Such organizations you or others may be familiar with are the British Computer Society (BCS), the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS), or in the U.S. the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and IEEE Computer Society (IEEE-CS).

To the point: My friend told me recently that the Australian Computer Society (ACS) makes money by assisting the Australian government in determining immigration eligibility. So I went to the ACS site and started digging:

"The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is the designated professional assessing authority for persons seeking to apply for Skilled Migration as IT (Computing) Professionals [...]"

See ACS's Pre-application Skills Assessment (PASA) page. That page also links out to the Australian Government's Department of Immigration and Citizenship, in particular to a document titled General Skilled Migration (PDF). Here are some interesting points I discovered, relating just to fees:

  • The government recommends if you do want professional help to use a registered migration agent. There will be fees for such an agent. See MARA - What does it cost to use an Agent? Currently: AUD1500 - AUD4000, or ~ £850 - ~ £2270.

  • There will be a fee for the immigration application process itself. See Professionals and other Skilled Migrants visa charges - outside Australia. Currently: total of AUD 6035, or ~ £3420.

  • Also:

    "You also need to have your skills assessed by the relevant assessing authority as suitable for working in your nominated occupation." (page 7)

    ... and you need to do that before you even apply. The ACS Costs and Charges page shows a cost of AUD 400, or ~ £225, for the PASA (General) application.

So, I think the answer is yes, you'd certainly want to have ample savings to cover the red tape stuff; perhaps ~ £6000 judging from the above alone. Add your travel, moving, and living expenses, etc.

Best of luck! Australia sounds exciting. (Have you considered Canada? ;-)

  • 1
    I was wondering if there is an age limit when you want to immigrate to Australia? And yes, how about Canada?
    – gyurisc
    Mar 25 '10 at 6:08
  • I believe the Australian skilled worker program is for people less than 45 years old. For Canada there's no strict limit; it's based on a point system for various factors, age being one of them. See cic.gc.ca/EnGLish/immigrate/skilled/assess/index.asp Mar 25 '10 at 11:56

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