Thinking of moving to Australia? It’s easy to see why this fantastic country is a popular choice for Irish expats.
Australia offers stunning natural beauty, adventure and a taste of the wild, along with many well-paid jobs, a strong economy and a high standard of living. In its thriving major cities, you’ll also find the culture, entertainment and laid-back Aussie lifestyle you’re looking for.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about moving to Australia from Ireland. This includes visa requirements, finding a place to live, employment, healthcare and much more.
We’ll also look at how you can save on fees when you move your money between Australia and Ireland, and how you can manage Euro and Australian dollar with the Wise Account.
With Wise, you'll always get the mid-market exchange rate - the one that banks use to trade between themselves, and you'll only be charged a small, transparent fee.
- Population: 25,687,041¹
- Largest cities (in order): Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide²
- Most common languages spoken: English, Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese³
- Currency: Australian Dollars (AUD).
The first thing to do ahead of your move to Australia is to get your visa sorted. There are many different routes into the country from Ireland, and the Australian Department of Home Affairs website is a great place to get information on all of them.
But here are just a few of the most popular options for Irish citizens looking to move Down Under:
This is a good option if you’re aged between 18 and 30 and it’s your first time in Australia, as you can stay for a year for an extended working holiday and use employment to fund your trip. If you like, you can extend your stay by applying for a Second or Third Working Holiday Visa, each with a validity of 12 months.
With this work visa, you can stay in Australia for up to 4 years if sponsored by an Australian employer. You must be working in a suitably skilled position that the employer is unable to fill with a local worker.
If you’re a skilled worker looking to move to Australia with your family, this visa lets you stay for up to 4 years. You’ll need to meet the eligibility criteria and be nominated by a state or territory government, and move to a regional or low population area.
You can apply to be a permanent resident of Australia with this visa, through the family, work or business/investment stream. There’s also a retirement visa pathway for people looking to spend their post-work years in Australia.
These permanent visas can be difficult to obtain, and you may not be eligible unless you have relatives who are Australian citizens or have an Australian employer sponsoring you to work for them. Irish citizens who have skills the Australian government values, or who invest in businesses in Australia, may also be able to apply for a permanent residence visa.
If you’d love to study in Australia, you can apply for a Student Visa. This gives you permission to stay for the duration of your course, up to 5 years. You must be enrolled on a full-time course at a recognised education institution.
The cost of living in Australia can be a little different than in Ireland, although of course it depends where you live and what you choose to spend your money on.
It’s important to make sure that you can afford everyday expenses once you arrive, or you could face financial difficulties a few months in.
To help you plan your finances, let’s compare a few everyday costs between the two countries:⁴
|Cost in Australia||Cost in Ireland|
|Meal at an inexpensive restaurant||25 AUD (15 EUR)||16 EUR|
|Pint of domestic beer||10 AUD (6.13 EUR)||5.50 EUR|
|Loaf of bread||3.32 AUD (2.04 EUR)||1.72 EUR|
|Monthly transportation pass||165 AUD (101 EUR)||110 EUR|
|Rent one bedroom apartment in city centre||2,297 AUD (1,408EUR)||1,440 EUR|
|Broadband package||85 AUD (52 EUR)||50 EUR|
Prices on the table are related to average costs, meaning they can differ depending of place and some circumstances
Your first few weeks in Australia will be much easier if you already have an Australian bank account. You could find it almost impossible to rent a property without one.
One of the ways to open a bank account in Australia is through one of the central banks: NAB, ANZ, Westpac, or Commonwealth. You’ll need all your visa details, proof of identity, and proof of address in Australia.
But you can also have AUD local account details in Ireland. If you open a Wise Account, you can get this for 9 currencies and receive money like a local.
And if your problem is covering relocation costs while you’re still in Ireland, Wise can help you too. Sending money overseas to Australia using your Irish bank account can be expensive, as banks often charge high international transfer fees and add a markup to the exchange rate.
A far cheaper solution is to use an international money transfer service such as Wise. With Wise, you can send money to +70 countries, including Australia, for low fees and using the mid-market exchange rate.
If you’re thinking of moving to Australia, it’s a very sensible move to have a job lined up in advance. This is particularly useful if you’re considering applying for a work-related visa, where you’ll need an Australian company to sponsor you.
The best places to look for jobs are websites such as:
You could also use an international recruitment agency like Hays, Adecco, Manpower, Australia Wide Personnel or Robert Half, all of which have offices in Australia.
If you’re a skilled worker, you’ll have a better chance of being accepted for an Australian work visa. This should also mean it’s easier to find a job, although competition for the highest-paying role can be fierce.
Here are just a few of the most in-demand jobs in Australia at the moment, all of which feature on the government’s skilled occupation list for visa applications. We’ve also included the average pay for each.
|Secondary school teacher||76,700 AUD⁸|
|Construction manager||155,000 AUD⁸|
The next step when preparing for your big move is finding somewhere to live. When you’re still in Ireland, finding an apartment half-way across the world can be tricky.
As the rules around buying property in Australia as a foreigner or temporary resident can be quite restrictive, renting an apartment or house could be the best choice.
The best places to start on your search for a suitable rental property are sites such as:
You can also find short-term, furnished lets on sites like Stayz.com.au or Airbnb. These could be a good option for your first few weeks or months, while you find somewhere more permanent to live. Bear in mind that Australian landlords are not allowed to let properties to tenants they haven’t seen in person, so having a temporary place to live while you go on viewings could be essential.
Now, which city should you choose? Knowing the average rental costs in each of Australia’s most popular cities among Irish expats could help you make a decision.
Let’s take a look:
|City||Monthly rent for 1-bedroom city centre apartment⁹|
Moving to any new country is always going to present a logistical challenge. You need to find the best and most cost-effective way to get all of your belongings to Australia from Ireland.
You’ll need to be careful what you take, as international removals costs could be as high as €4,000¹⁰ for a family of four. It could be worth down-sizing and decluttering before your move, or making plans to buy what you need once you’re out there.
Make sure to get lots of different quotes to find the cheapest price for your move. A good place to start is Movehub.com or Getamover.co.uk , where you can get shipping quotes from Ireland to Australia from numerous different moving companies.
Australia’s universal public health insurance scheme is called Medicare. If you’re in Australia on a temporary work or study visa, you unfortunately won’t be covered by the scheme. However, Irish citizens are still eligible to receive emergency treatment for urgent health issues.
This means that you’ll need to purchase overseas visitor healthcare cover, which starts at around 80 AUD to 115 AUD per month¹⁰. This covers things like doctors and dentist appointments, hospital admission and other routine medical treatments.
If in the future you are approved for a permanent residency visa, you should then be able to access the Medicare system just like any other Australian citizen.
There are lots of occasions when you’ll need to send money to and from Australia, starting with before your move. You’ll have moving companies to pay, upfront rental costs for your new Australian apartment and perhaps even recruitment agency fees.
With Wise, you can cover all these expenses, typically paying less fees than you would with your bank. Sending and receiving money internationally is easy, secure, and comes with only small costs. Plus, you’re guaranteed the mid-market exchange rate with no expensive markup applied.
- Abs.gov.au- population of Australia
- Abs.gov.au - capital cities in Australia
- Australian translation services - languages spoken in Australia
- Cost of living in Australia
- Top 10 occupations in demand for skilled workers
- Salary explorer- electrical and electronics trades
- Salary explorer- construction, building, installation
- Salary explorer - average salary in Australia
- Cost of living in Australia by cities
- Health insurance Australia
All sources last checked on 26 June 2023
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