Moving to Australia? These Hidden Fees Can Be Heavy on Your Pocket

You’re excited. You’re ready to dive into your new life down under and will pack your bags soon.

You know what costs to expect. Flights, shipping, English tests, visas – you’ve budgeted or paid those expenses. But hand on heart, did you factor in first-home costs, property agent fees and health insurance? And what about school costs or car insurance?

moving to australia

All this can add up. To help you with the big move and budget accordingly, here are 7 hidden fees people tend to forget when moving to Australia.

First-Home Costs

Moving from temporary to permanent housing can come with charges you might not have thought of. You may need to employ a man with a van if you gather possessions after your arrival. Some utilities could add a connection fee to your initial statement, and Internet service providers like to lock you into a 12- to 24-month contract.

If you want pay-TV such as Foxtel, there may be set-up fees. So be sure to barter with the salespeople to get a reasonable price. And if you rent a home, you typically have to pay a deposit up-front, which covers two to four weeks’ worth of your rent at the very least.

As you can’t buy insurance for a house once it’s burnt down, it’s a good idea to get contents insurance and cover all your belongings. Shop for the correct coverage at a decent cost, and budget all those expenses.

Property Agent Fees

Got a house to sell? Don’t forget that your agent will charge a commission, and if you have a mortgage with early repayment penalties, it can cost you dearly.

Ensure you understand how much equity you have in your property and how much it will cost to sell it so that you can estimate your net profit.

School Costs

Do you have children of school age? Getting them into school won’t come cheap. You know, uniforms, office supplies. If you know what region you’ll live in, get in touch with that local school and ask about their fees. That way, you know what to expect and can include them in your budget.

Health Insurance

You have one year from the time you arrive in Australia to decide whether or not to get private health insurance. If you don’t sign up for it during the first year and later decide to buy private health insurance, you’ll be charged an additional price known as the Lifetime Health Cover surcharge. This will be applied to your annual premium, increasing the cost.

All Australians who don’t get private health insurance by July 1st after their 31st birthday are subject to the Lifetime Health Cover. Migrants older than 31 who fail to get private health insurance in the first 12 months after arriving in Australia are also affected.

In other words, you must pay for health insurance during the first 12 months of your arrival if the LHC loading doesn’t sound like a nice present. Families can expect to pay between $200 and $300 per month for basic coverage.

Driver’s Licence

You’ll almost certainly need to bid farewell to your existing driver’s licence and get an Australian one once you arrive in the Wide Brown Land. Each state’s transportation agency issues Australian driver’s licenses.

Western Australia gives you three months after arriving in the country to change your foreign licence to a local one. Depending on your age, you may simply do an eye test to get your Aussie driver’s licence. The concession fee for a new driver’s licence is around $90, but you’ll also have to pay an administration fee.

Car Insurance

Given Australia’s vast expanse, there’s a good chance you’ll be looking for a car. Even if you only travel to the city and live near a railway station, Perth isn’t the most accessible city to navigate public transportation.

Most people either set aside money for a car or hope to get a car loan quickly after settling down. Remember that having a car also comes with insurance coverage, and you’ll have to register your vehicle. These days, that’s exorbitantly pricey at around $800 a year – a significant sum that can blow your short-term budget, especially if you didn’t factor it in your moving expenses.

While it includes third-party insurance, it only covers the costs of the other party’s personal injury in the event of an accident or your own if no other driver is at fault. And vehicle damages are not covered.

That means you’ll have to get car insurance, too. Ensure you get a decent deal. Many providers are keen to overcharge you or invoice arbitrarily for the same level of protection.

Exchange Rates and Bank Transfer Fees

To get this right off the bat, we recommend Wise. Wise is an international payment gateway that’s up to 19 times cheaper than PayPal and banks. It’s also way faster, and exchange rates and bank transfer fees cost a lot less. Besides, Wise doesn’t come with hidden fees.

If you choose the regular bank, you will lose money due to the currency rate, and the bank will also charge you a fee for receiving money in your Australian bank account. This can range from $5 to $25, and sometimes even more. Some banks charge based on the amount received, while others impose a flat fee regardless of the amount received.

Check with your bank to find out what fees apply for receiving funds from abroad.

That’s probably been food for thought. If you have any visa-related questions or want expert advice on moving to Australia, you can contact UIS Australia here

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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