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Moving to the UK from Australia (Everything you need to know)

It is not hard to see why you may be interested in moving to the United Kingdom. While a lot of people relocate to the UK in order to go to university, there are also a lot of people that relocate for career purposes or simply because they want to start a new chapter in their life. And where better than a country that is known for having some of the best restaurants, museums, shops, and sports teams in the world?

Needless to say, relocating to the United Kingdom can seem like a monumental task. From Visa requirements to housing and vehicle relocation, there is a lot that needs to be considered. However, if you are armed with the correct information and you have an experienced international removalist to help you navigate your move, you will find the whole process a lot more straightforward. Chess Moving can help you to move all of your belongings to the UK in the most efficient and affordable manner. But before you give us a call to discuss your requirements, read on to discover everything you need to know about moving to the UK from Australia.


Some quick facts about living in the UK 

– Population: 66,897,877 (as of May 5, 2019)

– Capital city: London (England), Cardiff (Wales), Edinburgh (Scotland), and Belfast (Northern Ireland) are the capitals within the United Kingdom

– Biggest cities: Bristol, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham, and London

– Average salary: £29,009. For those in part-time work, the average salary is £12,083. For those in full-time work, the average salary is £35,423.

– Official language: English

– Foreign-born population in the United Kingdom: 9.4 million

– The region with the biggest number of migrants: London


Moving to the UK


requirements for australians

When moving to the UK from Australia, you need to be in possession of a valid passport. You also need to acquire a Visa. The type of Visa you select will depend on your reason for moving to the UK and your intentions in terms of working or studying in the United Kingdom.

A skilled worker Visa is suitable for individuals that have been offered a skilled job in the United Kingdom, as well as those that have been offered employment as a coach or an elite athlete, a job in a religious community, or a role in your current business' branch in the UK.

A high-value worker Visa is for a leader in arts and sciences, a graduate entrepreneur, an entrepreneur, or an investor.

If you want to live and work in the United Kingdom for less than two years, you can apply for the youth mobility scheme Visa. Alternatively, if you only want to work in the United Kingdom for short periods of time, then the temporary worker Visa may be suitable.

You can also apply for an international agreement visa if you are going to be doing work that is covered by international law while you are in the United Kingdom, for example, you could be working as a private servant in a diplomatic household or for the foreign government.

If you are planning on studying in the United Kingdom, will need to apply for a study visa if your college course is longer than six months or longer than 11 months and is an English language course.

You can make an application for most Visas and pay for them online. If you have dependents who are going to be going to the United Kingdom with you, each person needs to make a separate application and payment. The earliest you can apply for a Visa is typically three months before your employment start date for work visas, three months before your course start date for study visas, and three months before your planned travel date for visit visas. Settlement applications need to be approved before you come to the United Kingdom and they can take up to 6 months.

The price of your Visa depends on the type of Visa that you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a Tier 1 Investor Visa, you will need to pay AU$3150. For a Tier 1 Entrepreneurial Visa, the cost is AU$1981. For a Tier 2 Graduate Trainee Visa, the application fee is AU$935. For Temporary Worker Visas for those in the religious field, the price is AU$474. If you are planning to start up a business in the United Kingdom, the cost of a Visa will cost AU$704. The best thing to do is to visit the UK Home Office website where there is a full list of Visa fees for individuals moving from Australia to the United Kingdom. You can take a short quiz and you will determine the type of Visa that you need and how much is going to cost.

When you make an application, you will be requested to make an appointment at a Visa application Centre so that you can supply your biometric details, i.e. a photograph and your fingerprints. You will need to supply documents that prove your eligibility at this appointment.

So, to give you a general overview, these are the steps that you need to follow to require a UK Visa:

– Check the UK government website to find out what Visa you need

– Make your application online 

– Pay the fee

– Pay the immigration health sub-charge (if applicable)

– Book an appointment for your biometric enrolment and attend

– If you are situated in Adelaide or Hobart, you will need to post your supporting documents and passport


Taking your pets from australia to the Uk

Your pet is a member of your family, so as you're planning for your relocation to the UK, you should be considering what steps you need to take to bring him or her along with you. In the UK, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is the agency that handles matters related to bringing animals into the country.

To ensure the safety of people and animals in the UK, DEFRA has established guidelines that must be met before a pet is brought from Australia to the UK. There are six basic steps that you'll need to take to bring your pet along when you move:

  1. Your pet must be outfitted with a microchip. This chip does not harm your pet and is used to help identify, track and locate them.
  2. Your pet must receive a rabies vaccine, even if they had one recently. All vaccines are slightly different. Some will require just one shot, while others involve a primary shot followed by boosters.
  3. After 30 days have passed from the last shot in the vaccination regimen, your pet must visit a veterinarian for a blood test to ensure that they're adequately protected against rabies.
  4. You must obtain an official third country veterinary certificate for your pet. Cats must also receive a statement that affirms that they were not in an area where the Hendra virus has been active in the last 60 days.
  5. One to five days before you depart, your dog must receive a tapeworm treatment. Cats and ferrets are not subject to this requirement.
  6. Your pet must travel with a pre-approved carrier, which follows established routes. Approved carriers can transport your pet via air or sea from Australia to the UK.

The good news is that you can take your pets to the United Kingdom without quarantine under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). At Chess Moving, we have helped many people to relocate their pets to the UK with them, so all you need to do is give us a call and we will help you to organise this so that you can have complete peace of mind that your pet is taken care of and everything moves smoothly.


Moving your car from australia to the Uk

When moving from Australia to the UK, special steps must be taken to import your vehicle and drive it on public roads around your new country of residence. The process is intended to ensure that all of the vehicles operated on UK streets and highways are safe for drivers, their passengers and other motorists. To introduce you to the process, here's an outline of the basic steps that you'll need to take.

  1. Obtain an Individual Vehicle Approval certificate from the manufacturer of your vehicle or from the importer of your vehicle. 
  2. Pay VAT or vehicle tax based upon the value of your car.
  3. Obtain motor insurance from an approved provider in the UK.
  4. Register your vehicle. You'll need to provide your Australian registration paperwork, so be sure that you keep it in an easily accessible place amongst your belongings when you pack. When you arrive in the UK, you will be unable to drive your vehicle on the road until you register it. However, laws do allow you to drive your car to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in your local area in order to register the car.
  5. Transfer your license. Under UK laws, you may drive with your Australian license for up to one year, but you may want to acquire your UK license when you visit the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency office to register your vehicle. You'll have up to five years to exchange your Australian driving license for a UK license without having to take any type of test or undergo a medical examination.

If you choose Chess Moving to help you with your move to the UK, we can assist with all of the above the make the process of moving your car as seamless as possible.


Moving personal belongings to the United Kingdom

Moving your personal belongings when moving to the UK from Australia can seem like a complicated and mammoth task if you attempt to arrange it by yourself. There are a number of different goods that you cannot bring into the country and they will be seized at Customs if you attempt to do so. This includes everything from rough diamonds to endangered plant species. You don't have to worry about breaking any customs regulations if you use an experienced international removalist like Chess Moving who can handle everything for you. Chess Moving are members of the Harmony Relocation Network.  Members of the network work hard to ensure that the standard of quality and local knowledge is consistent across your entire move, so that you can have peace of mind as you settle into your new international home. We give you a single point of contact to assist you throughout the move and help you overcome unique challenges throughout your move.


Insurance in the United Kingdom

It is important to know what forms of insurance cover are legally required in the United Kingdom. All vehicles that are used in public places or on the road must be insured. If a vehicle is not being used, then it needs to be declared ‘off the road.’

You will benefit from free healthcare under the National Health System (NHS) if you are a resident in the United Kingdom. However, a lot of people are choosing to take out further health insurance because of the restraints that are placed on the NHS at the moment. It is largely documented that there are long waiting times and that the NHS is understaffed. Therefore, a lot of people take out private health care insurance because of this. Also, while dental care is available under the NHS, you also need to pay for it, although this is a lot cheaper when compared to private dental prices.

If you are buying a property in the United Kingdom, you will be required to take out buildings insurance as part of your mortgage deal. Contents insurance is not required by law but it is recommended so that you are protected should anything unexpected happen. Another type of insurance policy that is common in the United Kingdom is life insurance, although this is not required by law.

If you are planning on purchasing the property and renting out in the United Kingdom, you will be breaking the law if you do not have buildings insurance in place.


Setting up a bank account

Opening a bank account in the United Kingdom without a local address can be difficult. This means that you may need to be resourceful. If you have a family member or friend that currently lives within the United Kingdom, use their address if possible, or you could use your future work address. In order to pay for anything in advance, you will need to open a UK bank account before you move to the country. Some of the larger banks in the United Kingdom include Barclays, NatWest, HSBC, and Lloyds Bank. It is typically free to open the vast majority of UK bank accounts. It could be a good idea to ask your existing bank if they have any reciprocal relationships with the banks in the United Kingdom, as this can make it a lot easier and quicker for you to transfer your funds and get an account set up. Your existing bank may also be able to provide you with a reference so that you can show the UK bank that you are applying to that you have been a solid citizen. In terms of day-to-day transactions, the UK is not too different from Australia. Typically, American Express, MasterCard, and Visa are widely accepted. Plus, you will never find an ATM too far away.


Living in the UK


Public holidays in the United Kingdom

– New Year's Day, first of January

– Good Friday

– Easter Monday

– May Day bank holiday, first Monday in May

– Spring Bank holiday, last Monday in May

– Christmas Day, 25th December

– Boxing Day, 26th of December


Childcare in the United Kingdom

If you are a parent, you will be pleased to know that childcare is easy to access in the United Kingdom and you have a number of different options at your disposal. Hiring a childminder is one option that you can choose. These are childcarers who are self-employed and look after children in their own home. A childminder must be registered with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate in Wales or Ofsted in the United Kingdom. 

You will need to put together a contract with your childminder, which involves negotiating pay and considering other terms and conditions like holiday payment and extra working hours. Prices will vary depending on the age of your child and the region you are located in. It is typically more expensive to hire a childminder for younger children because they need special care and attention.

Another option is to leave your child at a children centre. The working hours for the centres are typically between 8 AM and 6 PM all year round. You can choose to leave your child at one of the centres for a few hours a day or throughout the entire day, depending on your needs.

Part-time childcare is also offered at a lot of preschool facilities, i.e. out-of-school services, early education nursery classes, and playgroups. A day nursery is another childcare option, with work place, council, community, and private nurseries available for children between the age of zero and five years old. Of course, if you need something flexible, you can always count on a nanny.


Schooling in the United Kingdom

If you're planning a move to the UK and you have children, understanding the school system before you move and explaining it to your kids will help all of you feel more comfortable. To help you all prepare for your move, we have put together a brief summary of the UK school system.

Types of Schools

Roughly 90% of all children in the UK attend a state-funded school. These public institutions adhere to the National Curriculum, which emphasises maths, English and science.

The remaining 10% of kids in Britain study at independent schools, which are privately funded. These schools are not required to adhere to the National Curriculum. Around half of the independent schools in the UK have chosen to participate in an accreditation program that requires them to have a rigorous academic curriculum.


Children begin Year 1 at the age of four or five and remain in Primary School until roughly the age of 11 - or the completion of Year 6. Secondary School includes Years 7 to 11 and typically includes teens aged 12 to 16. Following Year 11, students can opt to receive work-based training or attend a Sixth Form College for Years 12 and 13.

School Terms

British school years typically begin in September and finish in the middle of July. The school year is divided into three terms with a weeklong half-term break and a 2-week holiday between them. The 6 to 8-week summer holiday occurs after the final or summer term of the academic year.


At the conclusion of Year 11, students take comprehensive examinations called GCSE Exams. Students are free to choose how many exams they take, what subject they are in and what level of difficulty the tests are given at; however, universities typically look for students who have taken at least five exams.

If you’d like to learn more about the schools in the UK, Chess Moving can help. We can provide you with information about various state-funded and independent schools throughout England and answer questions about the school system at large.


Finding a job in the United Kingdom

As mentioned, you will need to be approved for a relevant Visa before you move to the United Kingdom. Generally speaking, is not difficult to find a job in the United Kingdom. In some trades, there has been a major increase in foreign hiring because of the shortage of qualified employees.

The UK government provides a list on their website that details occupations that have a national shortage in the UK. If you are qualified in one of these areas, then it may be easier to get a job.

There are a number of different ways that you can go about looking for a job in the United Kingdom. A lot of people look online, as there are several job databases whereby you can match your skills with the different jobs that are available. You can upload your CV via the Internet and keep track of all of your applications. Another option is to sign up with a recruitment agency. You can use the Recruitment and Employment Confederation website to find a recruitment agency that is best suited to your skill set.



In the United Kingdom, they have their own currency despite the fact that they are currently part of the European Union (although, with Brexit, this will not be the case for much longer). The Brits trade in pounds and pence. Pound notes come in denominations of £50, £20, £10, and £5. The pence are 2 pounds, 1 pound, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, to be, and 1p. The only catch is the currency's value. US dollars and Aussie dollars are typically worth a fair bit less when compared with British pounds. Nevertheless, you will need to check up to date currency conversions to make sure. However, simply make sure that you do not make the error of assuming that a dollar and pound are of the same value because your life could get expensive very quickly if you do.


Cost of living

It is important to make sure you are aware of the cost of living in the United Kingdom. Of course, this does vary depending on where in the UK you move too. Living in London is going to be much more expensive than living in a small village in the north of England. To help you get a better understanding, here are some of the average costs:

  • Meal for 2 at a mid-range restaurant, three-courses, £45
  • Apartment, 1-bed, outside city-centre, £580.95 per month
  • Apartment, 1-bed, inside city-centre, £724.25 per month (more expensive in London!)
  • Basic utilities for a 85m2 apartment - £143 per month
  • Internet - £30 per month
  • 1-litre of milk, £0.90
  • Cigarettes, 20 pack, £10.00
  • Taxi - £3.00 starting tariff, £1.86 per KM
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW or an equivalent new car - £18,230

How does London compare with other cities? 

  • 12% more expensive than LA
  • 21% more expensive than Paris
  • 58% more expensive than Brussels
  • 66% more expensive than Madrid
  • 4% cheaper than New York

To give some perspective, though, this is how Manchester compares with these cities…

  • 28% cheaper than LA
  • 22% cheaper than Paris
  • The same as Brussels
  • 7% more expensive than Madrid
  • 38% cheaper than New York


Health insurance

The health insurance system in the United Kingdom is pretty similar to that of Medicare in Australia. The National Health Service is known as the NHS. You can receive free emergency treatment no matter your nationality at one of the NHS hospital’s accident and emergency departments.

Once you arrive in the United Kingdom, you need to make an application for a national insurance number in order to be entitled to NHS care. The process is straightforward, and you can head to the UK government website to fulfil your requirements.

A lot of people do not bother with health insurance because of the fact that there was a public healthcare system in place. However, it has been widely documented that the NHS is understaffed at the moment and so long waiting times have become the norm. Because of this, more and more people are taking out health insurance every year.



The NHS gives GPs and dentists the option to establish their own policies for treating non-UK citizens. Some GPs and dentists will accept any legal resident onto their NHS patient list, meaning that they can receive free care. Others place certain qualifications on prospective patients, and some will not accept any non-citizens as NHS patients.

If you need to undergo surgery, medical testing or be admitted to a hospital, you can receive free treatment, provided you are employed by a company based in the UK. You can also receive free treatment as a spouse or child of someone who moved to the UK for work. The hospital may require proof from your employer to verify that you are working there. If you are not employed, you are guaranteed free treatment if you have been in the UK for at least one year. The hospital can also choose to provide free care for other non-citizens who are legally residing in the UK at their discretion. 

If you walk into an Accident & Emergency Centre at a UK hospital or visit one of the country's walk-in treatment centres due to an accident or an actual medical emergency, your treatment will be free of charge. The hospital can, however, declare that your visit was not an emergency. For example, if you had a bad head cold and visited the A&E, your illness would typically not be considered a true medical emergency, meaning you may need to pay for the care received.



Luckily, the tax system in the United Kingdom is not too different to Australia either. The most common taxes are taxes on your purchases and your income. Sales tax, which is known as VAT, is automatically calculated and added to the costs of your goods. The current rate for this is 17.5%. Income tax is a flat tax that is taken out on your salary. You will also have to pay council tax in the United Kingdom if you are the owner of a property. If you rent a property, this may be included or it may not, so you will need to check. This is payable in monthly installments and the amount that you will pay does depend on the number of people living in your property and the value of your property. There are also separate taxes on capital gains, inheritance, and other similar taxes.


Where to live in the United Kingdom

London seems to be the obvious choice for anyone that is moving to the United Kingdom because it is the biggest city and, therefore, has the greatest job opportunities. There are 8.6 million residents in the Greater London area, which consists of the City of London, which is the financial district, as well as 32 boroughs. The 12 inner boroughs, which are situated around the city centre, include Westminster, Wandsworth, Tower Hamlets, South walk, Lewisham, Lambeth, Kensington and Chelsea, Islington, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hackney, Greenwich, and Camden. Needless to say, London is much more expensive than the rest of the UK. Therefore, if you are looking to live somewhere more affordable, you may want to consider cities up north, like Newcastle and Leeds.


Should you rent or buy a property in the United Kingdom?

One of the big decisions you need to make is whether to purchase a property or to rent one in the United Kingdom. A lot of people recommend renting first so that you can get a feel for the place that you are moving to and then buying a house once you are settled. If you decide to live in London, do not expect a massive home with a big backyard unless you have a monumental budget to spare. London is a densely populated city and, therefore, you are more likely to find yourself living in a small house or flat. If you are moving as a couple or on your own, you could end up in a studio apartment. A lot of professionals who move to the UK by themselves end up renting a room in a property and sharing the facilities. Websites like Gumtree are good if you’re interested in this. It is worth noting that if you do not have proof of income in the UK, you may find it more difficult to rent through a letting agency. It is typical for them to ask for you to pay six months upfront, rather than paying your rent per month. If you cannot afford this, you should look into the option of private rentals.


Connecting to utilities in the United Kingdom

With a huge assortment of utility companies to choose from, it can seem overwhelming when you need to connect your house to water, electricity, and gas in the United Kingdom. The process is pretty straightforward, though, and in most cases, you can do this online.

There is a good chance your property will already have water, electricity, and gas connected. This means that your only responsibility will be to transfer the services into your name and check the meter reading.

However, you are typically free to choose any utility provider that you would like for electricity and gas. Therefore, it is a good idea to use one of the comparison websites online to find out whether it will be cheaper for you to switch from your current gas or electricity company to another company.

The largest gas and electricity companies in the United Kingdom are SSE, Scottish Power, Npower, e.On, EDF energy, and British Gas. However, in recent years, independent, small electricity businesses seem to be attracting more customers in the United Kingdom, especially due to their renewable energy commitments.

It is important to point out that 3-point plugs, i.e. type G plugs, are used in the United Kingdom. If you are planning on taking you appliances over from Australia you will need to purchase some adapters. Travel adapters are readily available at most luggage stores or places like Office Works for around $5-10. Power cuts are rare but they can happen from time to time.

While you are free to choose any gas or electricity supplier that you wish, you will typically be restricted to the water company that operates in your region. However, public sector organisations, charities, and businesses may have the freedom to choose whichever water supplier they wish.


Setting up broadband Internet, a landline phone, and television in the United Kingdom

You have a huge selection of Internet providers, telephone suppliers, and television options when moving to the United Kingdom. This is a highly competitive sector. There are lots of great comparison websites that you can use to check the best phone and broadband deals in your area, including Money Supermarket, Go Compare, and Compare The Market.

You are going to be limited to the maximum broadband speed that exists in your local area due to infrastructure such as roadside cabinets and underground lines. Speed varies between providers, however, between 16 and 18 MB is common around the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, superfast broadband is available in bigger cities, at a rate of between 30 and 40 MB.

You will need to pay for a TV license if you watch television in the United Kingdom. This includes if you watch television via your laptop, games console, tablet, or computer. The television license will give you access to a couple of basic channels. If you are caught without television license, you will be fined, so is really not worth the risk. At present, you can expect to pay around £12 per month TV license.


Public transport in the United Kingdom

The public transportation system in the United Kingdom is highly effective, with many different options for you to choose from. A public bus service is in operation throughout the country.

There are 22 train companies operating throughout the United Kingdom, and there is an elaborate underground system in London. When buying a train ticket, you will typically have four different options to choose from, which are advanced, super off-peak, off-peak, and any time. You can make considerable savings if you travel outside of peak hours or book your ticket in advance. Make sure you buy your ticket before you get onto the train. You could be subject to penalty fine if you fail to do this.

You can hire a taxi immediately in the United Kingdom or you can get one by  pre-booking. Taxis are licensed in the United Kingdom and you will also find that Uber is available throughout most cities.


Moving to the UK: Start with Chess Moving

We hope that you have found this guide useful while seeking more information on moving to the United Kingdom. One thing is for certain; you will need an experienced removal company to help you navigate this so that everything goes as smoothly as possible. All you need to do is call Chess Moving and we can handle this for you. From your beloved pets to your cars and furniture, we can ensure that everything you need for your new life is set-up as efficiently and affordably as possible.



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