Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Country Profile: Australia

Country profiles are simply overviews of how to get into a country and some obstacles you'll face. They are not intended to be in-depth discussions of the country.

BBC, Wikipedia and CIA World Factbook articles on Australia.


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Languages

English¹.

Work permits

Australia wants you. In fact, they have a Visa Wizard to help you figure out the easiest way to get to Australia. For those reading this blog, you probably want to read their Skilled Occupation Lists (SOL) and see if you are on there. Unlike many other countries, Australia has a lot of labor shortages and these lists are extensive. They have accountants, surveyors, engineers, HR managers, general managers, acupuncturists and so on. They really, really want to import people.

If you don't think you're particularly skilled, they also offer work and holiday visas for those under 30.

Residency

If you wish to live there, they have an extensive section on their immigration Web site dedicated to living in Australia. There are many pathways to residency in Australia, but for many skilled workers, you can apply for permanent residency after only two years living there, with one year working.

Citizenship

Again, Australia wants you. If you are unsure of how to become a citizen, they have a handy Citizenship Wizard to help you figure that out. For workers, you generally need to have been a legal resident of Australia for at least four years, making it one of the shorter eligibility times I've seen for countries.

Retirement

As you may have guessed by now, Australia welcomes retirees also, but unlike workers, retirees tend not to contribute as much to the economy, so the barriers to entry are much higher.

You would generally apply for a investor retirement visa. You basically need to have a lot of money to invest in Australia ($750,000 AUD, or $500,000 AUD if in a low-growth area) and a $65,000 AUD annual income ($50,000 if in a low-growth area). This visa is good for four years and may be extended.

In other words, if you want to retire in Australia, move there to work first or have plenty of money in the bank. There are, however, numerous options if you have relatives already in Australia. Shelteroffshore.com offers a good summary of the options, but again, they boil down to "have an Australian relative or be rich".


1. Strine, a.k.a., strine.