Essential Guide to Moving to Australia: Setting up your bank account


Setting up your bank account is one of the first things you should do when you first arrive in Australia. This is a relatively straightforward process that can be easily completed with the appropriate documentation.

As part of Liveable’s Essential Guide to Moving to Australia, we’ve saved you the headache of compiling all the information, and condensed the necessities all in one place.

100 Point Check

When it comes to the documents needed to set up a bank account in Australia, a points system is used. This consists of a list of documentation, with a set number of points assigned to each document. Applicants would need to present enough documents that adds up to a total of 100 points in order to set up their bank account.

The list is as follows:

  • 70 Points: Birth certificate, Passport or Citizenship Certificate
  • 40 Points: Australian Drivers’ licence, Student ID card issued by a tertiary education institution, Pension Concession card or a Healthcare card
  • 35 Points: Land Rates (This applies only to homeowners)
  • 25 Points: A card with your name on it (eg. Credit Card or an Overseas Driving License) or a document with your name and address on it (eg. Utility bill)

Alternatively, if you choose to set up your bank account within the first 6 weeks of your arrival in Australia, you would be able to easily open a bank account with just your Passport.

Which bank best suits my needs?

Whether you’re a student or a working professional, choosing which bank is best suited for your needs is largely a personal preference. Features to consider include the competitive interest rate of each bank, their bonus rate conditions and whether their online banking is available 24/7. It would also be worth considering which banks have  ATMs and branches most accessible to you; as in Australia, banks will charge for ATM withdrawals if done from a different bank.

With that said, most banks tend to be similar in the sense that their accounts are equally as straightforward to open, and many are not competitive in terms of their savings accounts.

The Big Four Banks

The Big Four Banks hold a large majority of the loans in Australia and are the most popular options that many choose to save with. As aforementioned, these banks are not particularly competitive with each other. However, they each have certain characteristics that may make them more attractive to your individual preference.


ANZ’s Everyday Visa Debit Account costs $5/ month, and with ATMs all over the country, you will have no problem withdrawing cash on a whim. It also has the highest maximum variable rate for savings compared to the other Big Four banks.

Further, ANZ allows for individuals to set up their bank account a year prior to their move to Australia. This account would be free for the first 12 months, subsequently costing $5/ month. This fee, however, will be negated if you are a full-time student, under 25 or deposit at least $2000/ month into the account.

Although you will still have to physically verify your account with the 100 Point Test upon your arrival in Australia, this will allow you to plan ahead of your move here.


Commonwealth has the largest marketshare out of The Big Four. Hence, it is not surprising that they also have the largest ATM network here, making it extremely convenient to withdraw cash on the go. It has been awarded to have the best online banking system, and their phone service hotline is also available 24/7.

Additionally, Commonwealth’s Smart Access Account is made specifically for people migrating to Australia, and can be set up 3 months prior to your move. Again, you would need to verify your account with the 100 Point Test upon your arrival. Commonwealth also has a Student Smart Access Account available for students, where monthly fees and minimum monthly deposit requirements are waived.

National Australia Bank (NAB)

NAB is the only bank out of The Big Four that does not charge monthly and overdrawn fees. With NAB, there is also no minimum deposit. Further, you will be granted a NAB Visa Debit card with PayWave at no extra cost.

If you are keen on setting up a business bank account, NAB has three varieties to choose from; with the Business Everyday Account being completely free. This account can be integrated into major accounting platforms such as Xero and Reckon.


Westpac would be the ideal bank for individuals traveling between Australia and New Zealand, as it is a prominent bank in both countries. Their Everyday Bank Account is free for students, and free for the first year for everyone else. You may also apply for one 12 months before arriving in Australia.

At Westpac, you also have option of signing up for a Choice Account, which will allow you unlimited transactions at any ATMs within their global network. However, if your monthly deposits are more than $2000, this service will cost you $5/month.

Essential Guide to Moving to Australia: Setting up your bank account

Essential Guide to Moving to Australia: Applying for your Visa

Applying for an Australian Visa

Applying for an Australian visa can be minefield to navigate, and with Australian cities regularly holding places in the top 10 most liveable cities in the world, its no surprise that there has been a surge in the number of expats looking to call Australia home.

Before looking forward to endless summer days and countless brunches down under, its important to firstly get your affairs in order. Albeit not being the most exciting aspect when you think of starting your new life overseas, applying for your Australian visa is an incredibly fundamental necessity, essential for your move.

Types of Australian Visas & How to Apply

Skilled Visa

Your first step would be to check that your profession falls within Australia’s skilled occupations list. If your occupation happens to be listed, you may submit an expression of interest to the Australian government. This would give you the right to reside in Australia indefinitely.

Temporary Skilled Visa

Alternatively, if your job is not listed in the aforementioned list, do not be disheartened. You may still apply for a temporary skilled visa. Although this requires a company to sponsor you, and is only valid up to four years, it includes a much wider range of 457 different skill sets that are in demand. To find out if you are eligible, have a scan through the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List.

Working Holiday Visa

A working holiday visa would be helpful for those not eligible for the previous two types of visas, or for those looking to stay in Australia short-term. With a working holiday visa, there are certain restrictions that need to be followed. Firstly, you have to ensure that you are under 31 years of age to apply. Next, you would only be allowed to stay in Australia for a year; working for an employer for a maximum of 6 months only. This hence, may affect career progression.

Student Visa

To apply for a student visa, you will first need to apply for your preferred course and institution. Upon receiving your offer letter as well as your Confirmation of Enrolment, you would then be able to apply for your student visa.

Students who apply may also need to provide a range of documents to support their visa application, including their academic transcript, evidence of funds to support their studies, overseas student health cover, and proof of their english proficiency.

Temporary Graduate Visa

If you have spent at least two years in an Australian university, you are eligible for a temporary graduate visa, which would allow you to live and work in Australia for 18 months following your graduation.

Partner Visa

If your partner is Australian or a permanent resident, and you have been in a relationship for a year, you would be eligible for the Defacto Partner Visa. Aside from the basic requirements needed for general visas, a partner visa would require more supplementary documents.

For those planning to go down this route, ensure that you give yourself ample time to get your relationship certified, as it can take up to 4 weeks to attain the certificate. Family and friends would also be required to fill out the 888 forms to validate your relationship.

Supporting Documents

With all aforementioned visas, an Immi account would need to be made prior to applying for an Australian visa. This would allow you to apply for a visa, as well as access your Health Declaration services. You would also be able to check the progress of an application and update your details online.

Documentation of your health examinations and a police check would also be required.

Essential Guide to Moving to Australia: Applying for your Visa

Best London Neighbourhoods for Families with Young Children

jelleke-vanooteghem-336956.jpgWhen you’re about to raise a family, the priorities of what you’re searching for in a neighbourhood changes drastically. Instead of looking for areas with the best pubs, you’re now looking for areas with the best parks. Safety suddenly becomes your number one concern; and you’re taking into consideration whether or not an area is close to supermarkets and convenience stores.

Here at Liveable, we’ve saved you the trouble of having to search up the best neighbourhoods that fit the aforementioned criteria. Taking into consideration the necessities, we’ve put together a list of neighbourhoods that you can consider starting a family at with a peace of mind.


Barnsbury’s steep price comes with good reason. This fashionable neighbourhood is home to the best selections of restaurants and independent shops. Despite not having many parks in the area, the neighbourhood makes the most of its public squares, and areas like the Islington Green serve as a popular gathering spot for families to take a breezy stroll on the weekends.

As every parent to a newborn child knows, these little ones are particularly susceptible to waking up in the middle of the night to even the quietest of sounds. Hence, it’ll come to much relief of parents to know that Bransbury has earned the title of being the capital’s most tranquil road.

2 Bedroom: £873/ week
3 bedroom: £950/ week
Rental Availability: Low

Clapham Common

Clapham Commons is a peaceful location amidst the hustle and bustle of London’s South West. With two playgrounds and a skatepark in the vicinity, there will be plenty of recreational facilities for your youngins to stretch their legs.

Further, Clapham Common is located near the very trendy Brixton, so you won’t be short of places to go for those special nights out, while the kids sit at home with the babysitter.

2 Bedroom: £510/ week
3 bedroom: £560/ week
Rental Availability: Medium

South Camberwell

If you’d like your children to grow up surrounded by arts and culture, then look no further. This charming neighbourhood has a thriving arts and music scene, with lots of galleries and live music spots scattered around the area. It also has lots of quality shops for you to browse at your leisure.

The award-winning Ruskin Park is also a short walk from Denmark Hill station. The best part about this particular park is that it sits on a hill, meaning that you can enjoy a gorgeous view of the city’s skyline while your kids swing on the monkey bars.

2 Bedroom: £369/ week
3 bedroom: £469/ week
Rental Availability: Medium


If you’ve ever met someone who lives in Brockley, you’ll know. This neighbourhood is famous for being championed by its residents who won’t stop singing praises about the area; and with a good mix of attractive cafes, an exciting arts scene, all tied together by a quirky laid back vibe, its easy to see why.

The award-winning Brockley Markets are also held here every Saturday from 10am-2pm, and features lots of artisan and small producers. As such, prepare to have your grub made fresh from locally-sourced produce.

2 Bedroom: £346/ week
3 bedroom: £449/ week
Rental Availability: High

Stroud Green

Stroud Green is a relatively hidden gem that possesses a real neighbourhood feel. Lined with gorgeous Victorian houses and a sprawling lush park, its the ideal location for children to grow up in. Further, this area takes pride in being incredibly diverse, with a mixture of people from all walks of life gathered here.

More importantly, there are many outstanding local primary schools in this area that regularly score well in the Ofsted reports. Hence, living here will give you the opportunity of getting your children a good education within walking distance of your home.

2 Bedroom: £404/ week
3 bedroom: £540/ week
Rental Availability: Medium

Best London Neighbourhoods for Families with Young Children

Alexandria Suburb Profile

Alexandria— truly a breath of fresh air in the mundane hum of Sydney’s inner city.

Previously, this suburb was the largest industrial area in Australia. However, Alexandria is quickly shedding its old skin and becoming one of the most vibrant and popular suburbs to live in.

With its flourishing creative scene, this dynamic little neighbourhood offers its residents a good range of activities to do. From checking out its converted art precincts to browsing one of the many artisan stores, Alexandria will continue to intrigue.

Due to its convenient location and close proximity to both the University of Sydney and University of New South Wales, housing in Alexandria is highly sought after. So if you’re thinking of renting in this area, don’t sleep on it. Keep your eyes peeled for housing that becomes available in this amazing suburb. Trust us, it’ll get snapped up in no time.

Alexandria Suburb Profile


Alexandria Suburb Profile

Brunswick Suburb Profile

Ideal for those who enjoy the eclectic and love nothing more than discovering the quirky and cool, this suburb’s personality packs a punch.

Its well-known and loved for its bohemian culture and thriving arts and live music scene. Hence, it comes to no surprise that its been named the “Top Suburb for Songwriters to Reside” for two years running.

Brunswick’s unique flavour is reflected in its diverse architecture— which ranges from Edwardian brick houses to modern townhouses, and its lack of uniformity may be jarring for those used to the conformity of Melbourne’s inner Eastern suburbs.

But love it or hate it, Brunswick is a suburb that will be sure to keep you on your toes.


Brunswick Suburb Profile

How to: Downsizing Your Home

Downsizing Your Home

Is it time to consider downsizing your home? Retirement is just around the corner, your children have fledged the nest and your house is now starting to feel a little bit too big for just yourself. Although it can be a daunting process, with the right planning, it can be an exhilarating and liberating experience.

Because it may be difficult to know where to start, we’ve put together some useful tips to walk you through the whole journey:

1. Determine your lifestyle needs

Now that you don’t have to worry about whether you’re within walking distance to prestigious schools or the safety of your neighbourhood, its time to think about what you want. Consider what kind of lifestyle you would like to live moving forward— would you enjoy having the ocean at your doorstep; or would you prefer living in an apartment close to city amenities such as museums and lots of restaurants?

During this decision process, sites like Liveable are extremely useful to help prioritise your needs, as well s to offer suggestions about what suburbs may best suit your ideal lifestyle.

2. Assess your new home

Once you’ve decided on your new home, scrutinise the blueprints and find out exactly how big each room is. This is a vital step to decide which large pieces of furniture to bring with you.

If you simply can’t visualise how big a certain area is, a handy tip would be to compare the size of your new rooms with rooms of similar dimensions in your current house. For example, your living room-to-be may be approximately the same size as your current bedroom. By comparing the two, it may give you a clearer idea about exactly what furniture can fit where.

3. Be practical when decluttering

When looking at what to bring with you, be practical. For example, if you’re moving to an apartment, you won’t need appliances like your lawn mower or ladder anymore. In the same vein, if you’ve been hoarding clothes that no longer fit or don’t wear anymore, consider giving them away to charity instead of letting it clutter up your new home.

Of course, things get a little less clear cut when it comes to sentimental items. Although it may be difficult to throw out the badminton trophy your son won in the fourth grade, it is important to take a step back and think: will I really miss this item? Perhaps keep a couple of sentimental items that you hold close to your heart, and take a snapshot of the remaining memorabilia that do not make the cut.

4. Ensure furniture serves a multi-purpose function

Living in a smaller area means that you will no longer have the luxury of having very many pieces of furniture in your house. However, having less possessions does not mean that you will have to compromise on comfort.

When shopping for new furniture or when choosing what pieces to bring over to your new home, try to pick out multi-functional pieces. For example, opt for a dining table that you’d be comfortable to also use as a study desk. Sofas that can be converted into sleeper beds will also come in handy, especially if your new place does not have a spare guest room.

5. Colour code your boxes

Packing your life away into a couple of boxes can get messy. To help with the process, it will be useful to implement a colour-coded system to organise your belongings. Mark the boxes with kitchen appliances with a red marker, boxes with your bedroom belongings with a blue marker, and so on so forth. Although this takes a little extra effort during the packing phase, it will make unpacking in your new home much more efficient and fuss-free.

How to: Downsizing Your Home

Best Suburbs to Raise a Family in Sydney

Best Suburbs to Raise a Family

Feeling frazzled looking for the perfect suburb to put down your roots and raise a family in? Don’t worry— you’re not alone. After all, everyone wants the best things in life for their children; and deciding exactly what that is can be a difficult task.

Common criteria that parents often look for in a neighbourhood is safety, and close proximity to shops and schools. Ideally, it should also have parks or beaches nearby for children to be able to spend their free time in.

With these considerations in mind, we’ve curated a list of our top 5 suburbs to raise a family in Sydney.


If you’re looking for a suburb with a homely feel and great community spirit, then look no further. What sets Waverley apart from the other Eastern Suburbs is the warm neighbourly feel that it possesses. Sitting pretty between Bronte Beach and Queens Park, this suburb is also completely surrounded by nature.

Aside from the many beaches and parks in the area, families are particularly drawn to Waverley because of its local schools— with St Charles’ School and St Catherine’s School both holding a state overall score of 98.

2 Bedroom: $680/ week
3 Bedroom: $975/ week
Rental Availability: Medium


A quick 7-minute commute from the city, Pyrmont provides families with an endless variety of shopping and cuisines to explore. Regular art and food events are also held here, so your children will be sure to grow up in a suburb bustling with culture.

Additionally, there are lots of family-friendly parks in the area for your little ones to run about and stretch their legs in.

2 Bedroom: $760/ week
3 Bedroom: $1000/ week
Rental Availability: High


Whilst Coogee’s breathtaking views and stunning beaches need no introduction, it may come to a surprise to some that this isn’t the main reason that families have shown an increasing interest in Coogee. Instead, they are flocking to this suburb because of the high rankings that the schools in the area have achieved; with St. Brigid’s Catholic Primary School holding a state overall score of 97, and Coogee Public School scoring 96.

2 Bedroom: $650/ week
3 Bedroom: $908/ week
Rental Availability: High


The heftier price tag that comes with living in the heart of the city has clearly not deterred families from choosing to call Sydney’s city home. And why would it? Living here will leave you absolutely spoilt for choice. Not only will you have the luxury of having a handful of parks to spend quality family time in, but St Mary’s Cathedral College, which holds a state overall score of 98, is also within walking distance.

2 Bedroom: $900/ week
3 Bedroom: $1400/ week
Rental Availability: High

Located in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, this picturesque little suburb is the perfect neighbourhood for families who want their youngins to grow up with the sea at their doorstep. While Manly Beach is only a few minutes down the road, Fairlight’s beach takes the cake if you prefer a more secluded and private area.

However, it is worth noting that Fairlight does not have any schools in the area. Hence, children who stay here would need to travel to surrounded suburbs for school.

2 Bedroom: $698/ week
3 Bedroom: $1075/ week
Rental Availability: Medium

Best Suburbs to Raise a Family in Sydney

Suburb Profile: Prahran

Enjoy living right smack in the heart of all that Melbourne has to offer? Well, then Prahran may be just the suburb from you.

This inner-city suburb is a stone’s throw from both the city and St. Kilda beach; and with influences from both, Prahran has certainly developed its own unique flavour. Some may call it the perfect middle ground of spunky and chic, while others may describe it as South Yarra’s charming younger sibling; but one things for sure— this easy-going suburb is filled with a multitude of independent shops and cozy little cafes.

If you’re searching for a suburb that perfectly encapsulates what it means to be living in the most liveable city in the world, look no further. Prahran will be sure to leave you head over heels in love with it.

Suburb Profile: Prahran

*Additional information was based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics

Suburb Profile: Prahran

Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance

For many, the concept of having a healthy work-life balance is just an elusive myth.

Results from a survey conducted by the Harvard Business School showed that more than 50% of the people interviewed indicated that they work more than 65 hours a week. This worryingly high number is not unexpected— with technology making employees contactable round the clock, and an ongoing pressure to climb that corporate ladder, many young professionals are choosing to forgo their personal life in lieu of their work commitments.

With only 24 hours in a day, having a successful career without compromising your personal life may seem like an impossible feat. However, here are some tips to maintain a healthy work-life balance without burning out:

Work smarter, not harder

Although this mantra may seem frustratingly ambiguous, it will start to make a lot more sense when actually put into practice. For example, you can start by jotting down a feasible to-do list at the start of each day, with the most important tasks taking priority. By breaking down your agenda for the day into bite-sized tasks, they will seem less overwhelming and you can revel in the small sense of satisfaction you get as you manage to cross these tasks off throughout the day.

Set your boundaries and Unplug

You can’t expect to be the best version of yourself if you don’t give yourself any time to recharge after a long day of work.

With technology so easily accessible, it may be tempting to stay connected 24/7. However, it is vital to set boundaries on your work communications. By making it a habit to disconnect after certain hours, not only you be able to to wind down and recharge, but giving yourself a break may also help you to refocus and look at certain problems from a new perspective.

Learn to say “No”

If you’re a people-pleaser, this may be especially difficult for you to do. However, getting comfortable with saying “no” will stop you from spreading yourself too thin.

If you already have a jam-packed schedule, adding extra tasks to your plate will not only increase your stress levels, but it will also mean that you wouldn’t be able to put your 100% into each piece of work.

Make Social Arrangements (And stick to them)

We all know the saying: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. While the idea of mingling in a crowded bar after a long day at work may seem like the furthest thing from enticing, its important to always make time for the important people in your life.

These plans don’t always have to be grand— simple meet-ups to grab a coffee at your favourite cafe just round the corner can be just as fulfilling as splurging on an 8 course dinner. Ultimately, its about spending quality time with people whom you truly care about.

Health is Wealth

When the going gets tough, exercise is often the first thing to get culled from our busy schedule. This of course, shouldn’t be the case. After all, exercise helps to improve both your physical and mental health.

Getting sweaty and hitting the gym helps to pump feel-good endorphins through your body; and with a healthy body and a fresher mind, you will be able to smash through tasks more efficiently.

Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Suburb Profile: Marrickville

A melting pot of cultures, Marrickville is an incredibly diverse suburb located in Sydney’s Inner West. With more than 40% of the suburb’s residents born overseas, its no surprise that the suburb celebrates its diversity throughout its community. This ranges from the abundance of restaurants that serve up cuisines from across the globe, to the regular events held at the Addison Road Community Centre, a hub that promotes culture, diversity and sustainability.

Aside from its focus on multiculturalism, Marrickville also has a thriving independent art scene, with multiple galleries, studios and theatres in the vicinity. It is also common for various artist-run initiatives to take place in this lively suburb. Furthermore, festivals such as Sydney’s Fringe Festival and Art Month Sydney often hold exhibits and walking tours here.

With such a large array of attractions, Marrickville has quickly become a popular hotspot for buying and renting property.

In order to help you decide if this suburb is your cup of tea, we’ve broken down the ins and outs of Marrickville into a neat little infographic:

Suburb Profile: Marrickville

*Additional information was based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics

Suburb Profile: Marrickville