Immigration to Australia: 5 Smart Finance Tips to Be Prepared

Immigration to Australia entails much more than completing the necessary administrative tasks before relocating, such as applying for a visa. There are other things to do once you’re there. You’ll need to organise your work or studies and find the most cost-effective means of sending money to loved ones back home.

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Now is the perfect time to establish the foundation for a prosperous financial future. Read on. We’ve put together some advice on handling your money in Australia, from setting up a local bank account to understanding the tax system, and more.

Open a Local Bank Account

Opening a local bank account is one way to make sure your new life in Australia is off to a good start. Whether you’re thinking about migrating bank accounts or creating a new one, you can usually do this online, but you’ll need to prove your identity. Although the documents you need may change, the following types of identification are frequently required:

  • Passport with your Australian visa

  • Student ID

  • Foreign driver’s license

  • Tenancy agreement

  • Utility invoices not older than three months

You have several options to choose a bank in Australia. CommBank, ING, and Westpac are among the most well-known, and you can rely on straightforward service that includes a bank account with a debit card. Even so, checking the fine print is an excellent idea before opening an account with any bank.

That way, you’ll know what fees to expect for things like using ATMs abroad or unintentionally overdrawing your checking account or current account.

Understand the Tax System

Taxes and the taxman may not make you jump for joy. Still, if you move to Australia, staying on top of everything finance is critical. Here are a few things to consider:

Know Your Obligations and Tax Residency

Every jurisdiction has different requirements in terms of tax residency. Standard factors in many countries are:

  • Permanent home: the tax department may use your job, your kids’ home, active bank accounts, or utility bills to determine where you live

  • Nomadic lifestyle and country of residence: Not being a tax resident of any country sounds enticing at first look. But it may result in you being subject to worldwide income tax assessment, plus a tax resident of your home country

  • Being physically present for a number of days, e.g., 90 or 180 days per year


The reference number the Australian authorities use to identify you in their tax system is the tax file number (TFN). Whether you change your name or return to your hometown, it’ll be yours forever. While a TFN isn’t mandatory, not having one has significant disadvantages – e.g., a higher tax rate or being unable to get an Australian Business Number.

Paying Taxes

While the payable income tax is based on your income, a specified amount is tax-free. Australia will tax anything over that on the basis of the income bracket you fall into. It’s crucial to double-check the current thresholds so you’re aware of how much tax you’ll pay on your earnings.

The thresholds for each bracket are subject to change each year. Remember that most Australians must file tax returns by the 31st of October each year. This is true even if your company automatically deducts taxes from your paycheck.

Budget Your Money

Immigration to Australia has its surprises. The cost of living down under can be totally different from what you’re used to. The last thing you want is to be caught off guard and end up in debt at the end of the month.

Therefore, sit down and create a budget for the upcoming weeks and months. Keep your family and your goals in mind as you consider your spending. The expenses to include in your budget should be:

  • Your weekly grocery budget

  • Your mortgage or rent

  • Your home electricity costs

  • The cost of your home internet and mobile phone invoices

  • What you expect to pay for transportation

  • How much you want to spend on entertainment, nights on the town, etc.

Crucial is to continuously track your income and expenditures to ensure you’re not living beyond your means.

Know the Exchange Rate

Sending regular payments to dependents back home may be one of your top priorities. To stay on top of exchange rates, observe the developments regularly. The payable amount in your native currency with AUD1,000 can vary based on the day or even the moment you complete the transaction.

Exchange rates can and will fluctuate. But the internet makes it incredibly simple to maintain track of the currency pair vital to you, so you can decide when to send.

Find a Cheap Way to Wire Money Home from Australia

Whether you’re sending gifts or supporting a loved one, you’ll want to make sure you pick a reliable and affordable money transfer provider. While Paypal is well-known, its reputation among those who wish to receive money isn’t the best, as a BBC one Watchdog Daily article shows. And according to Peter Sandeen, a marketing coach, Paypal is stealing money from its customers with hidden fees.

You’re probably better off using, Skrill, Payoneer, or Google Pay. It pays to compare the providers.

People keen to move to Australia frequently envision a better career and wealth. If you plan ahead, create a budget, and know the tax system, you lay a foundation to help you prosper. If loved ones in your home country receive payments, keeping track of exchange rates and choosing an inexpensive payment provider can save you money.

Do you need questions answered or help with your immigration to Australia? Book a free consultation today. Other visas, like family visas, business visas, tourist visas, or student visas, to name a few, are also available through UIS Australia. Finally, we can also assist with job searching.


Ron Ford

Ron Ford immigrated with his family to Australia in 2005 to work as a social worker. Following their difficult immigration process, he slowly turned to blogging and creating content about immigration: "…As a family of 5, we struggled to make ends meet. I was working around the clock and Clarissa was working in housekeeping any time she could spare. The move to Australia completely changed our lives, but it cost us a lot of money, time, and tears. Ever since I've wanted to help others on their journeys the way I wished someone had helped us".

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