Once you’ve decided to move to Australia, the next thing to do (after getting your visa applications in order, that is) is to work out a budget. Oz is certainly the land of boundless opportunity, but getting there won’t come for free.
A good way to do so accurately is to anticipate and list down the initial expenses involved, such as:
1. Visa fees.
A skilled worker visa typically costs around AUD1,035 or PHP36,458. One year working holiday visas, on the other hand, would set you back by around AUD420 or PHP14,795. In addition to that, you also need to present proof of funds and the minimum amount required depends on the kind of visa you are applying for.
If you are going to Australia to study, you need to prove that you can afford the tuition fees or present proof of a scholarship grant, financial records that show you have at least AUD18,610 or PHP655,532 a year to live on (if you are bringing dependents with you), as well as return airfare.
And speaking of airfare….
2. Airplane tickets.
Unless your employer or your fiancée is shouldering your airfare, you need to purchase your own tickets. Fortunately, you can use websites like Skyscanner to check for good rates. If you book your flight about two months in advance, you may get an even better deal.
As of this writing, the cheapest one-way ticket to Sydney I can find is priced at AUD267 or PHP9,323, but that’s for an AirAsia flight. It would be more advisable to go with an airline that can give you a more generous baggage allowance so that you don’t have to keep traveling back and forth to transport your things.
A Philippine Airlines flight with a Qantas Airline connection, for instance, costs around AUD652 or PHP22,975.
3. Shipping charges for personal belongings.
If you’re moving your entire family to Australia, you’ll probably need to ship a few boxes of their stuff in advance. Because of the weight and the destination of your shipment, the charges would be quite substantial, so tell your spouse and children to pack only the essentials. Additional appliances or furnishings can be purchased once you’re settled anyhow.
Shipping costs from Manila to Australia via LBC start at PHP2,700 for 3kg boxes, but you can also try canvassing for prices at DHL or FedEx to get the most bang for your buck.
4. House/apartment rental.
When drawing up your budget for moving, factor in how much you’ll need to pay for rent during the first two months or so. As with anything to do with real estate, your AU address will determine how much staying in a one-bedroom apartment or a three-bedroom house will cost you. Melbourne apartments are quoted on average of AUD250 or PHP8,806 weekly, Perth lodgings of similar specs are around AUD400 or PHP14,090 per week, while Sydney rates the highest at AUD500 or PHP17,612 a week.
Renting a three-bedroom house for a family of four to five, on the other hand, would cost you at least AUD600 or PHP21,135 weekly if you’re situated in any of the major cities.
However, the proper way to compute rent isn’t by multiplying the weekly rate by four, but by multiplying it by 52 (the number of weeks in a year) and then dividing that number by 12 (the number of months in a year). So, an apartment costing AUD500 a week doesn’t cost AUD2,000 a month to rent; it actually costs AUD2,167 [(AUD500 x 52)/ 12].
Don’t forget to factor in the bond you have to pay upon signing the lease too. This is a deposit that normally equates to a month’s rent, but if you’re renting out a furnished apartment, the bond required can be as high as three months’ worth of rent. Read the lease contract thoroughly and clarify things with your landlord or landlady.
Most living spaces for lease in Australia are unfurnished, so you’ll have to buy your own refrigerator, washing machine, dryer, and other furnishings like beds, dining room sets, and chairs. There are two Ikea stores in Sydney, but you can also purchase appliances online and have them delivered right to your doorstep (ah, the beauty of living in a first-world country!).
Appliances Online AU has a nice and affordable selection of appliances. They even offer free shipping. Check them out here.
6. Monthly consumables.
Groceries, water, electricity, and phone/Internet bills are the most variable aspects of your equation since they would not only depend on your location, but also on how much you and/or your family would consume per month.
To get estimates on how much utility bills cost in your area, you can input your location on numbeo. The average costs for heating, water, and light are at AUD178 (PHP6,270) a month while staples like milk, water, eggs, bread, apples, bananas, potatoes, chicken breasts, and beef round add up to about AUD47.06 or PHP1,658 monthly per person.
All 457 visa holders are required to avail of private medical insurance. It’s also more practical for you to arrange for some coverage since getting treated without any insurance will cost you greatly in Australia. This is especially crucial if you aren’t eligible for Medicare coverage yet.
Public transportation is excellent in Sydney, so you won’t really need to buy a car (plus parking spaces are hard to come by anyway). A monthly pass for the bus and trains are around AUD130 or PHP4,579.
If you really must get a car, a Toyota Corolla or a similar sedan is roughly priced at AUD23,212 or PHP817,637. A liter of gasoline or petrol averages out at AUD1.27 or PHP45. Do note that you might need to rent a parking space if your apartment or house isn’t provided with one.
In sum (pardon the pun), moving to Australia is not something you undertake lightly. You may be dreaming of working abroad to help your family make ends meet here, but judging from the estimated figures listed here, you’ll need to start grinding and saving up a substantial amount of money before you even start applying for that visa.