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

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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

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

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

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

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

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.

Waverley

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

Pyrmont

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

Coogee

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

Sydney

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

Fairlight
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

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

Best Suburbs for Young Working Professionals in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane

Best Suburbs for Young Working Professionals

So you’ve finally scrimped and saved up enough to move out of that dingy share-house— congratulations! Now that the world is your oyster, its time to buckle down and start hunting for a location that ticks all the boxes your dream suburb; but with so many options, exactly which areas are young, working professionals flocking to?

Typically, its been shown that young professionals enjoy living in metropolitan areas— suburbs with a vibrant social scene, lots of culture, and of course, an easy commute to their work place. At Liveable, we’ve sussed out the rental hotspots that fit this criteria and are attracting a growing number of working professionals.

Sydney

Pyrmont

Famous for its impeccable views and its good range of recreational activities, its no wonder that independent youth take up the biggest percentage (35.5%) of people living in Pyrmont. This suburb is also home to an endless number of restaurants, ranging from cozy coffeeshops to higher end restaurants located at The Star.

With that said, Pyrmont is also Sydney’s most populated suburb, so prepare to hustle for seats at your favourite brunch spots on the weekends.

Commute to the CBD: 9 mins
Price for a 1 Bedroom: $583/ week
Rental Availability: High

Paddington

Seen as a neighbourhood where style meets culture, this trendy suburb is a great area for both singles and couples. There will always be something going on in Paddington to pique your interest— aside from the weekly Paddington Markets that take place every Saturday, there are also various art galleries and the cutest independent shops to keep you occupied.

With its laid back vibe, coupled with the picturesque row of Victorian terraces that line the street, Paddington is the perfect suburb to come home to after a tiresome day at work.

Commute to the CBD: 
 18 mins
Price for a 1 Bedroom: $473/ week
Rental Availability: High

Melbourne

Carlton

Credited as being the birthplace of Melbourne’s cafe culture, this suburb is the ideal location for foodies who love to wine and dine. Furthermore, there are various arthouses and museums that have events year round. For example, the contemporary Melbourne Museum is located at the Carlton Gardens.

Commute to the CBD: 16 mins
Price for a 1 Bedroom: $335/ week
Rental Availability: High

Hawthorn

For those looking for accomodation at a slightly lower price tag and don’t mind the commute, Hawthorn is a highly sought- after suburb that embodies a marriage between period-style houses and modern apartment buildings.

Aside from the typical mix of restaurants and pubs one can expect to find, Hawthorn is also conveniently located near the Yarra River, which is complete with its very own cycling path.

Commute to the CBD: 24 mins
Price for a 1 Bedroom: $295/week
Rental Availability: High

Brisbane

Fortitude Valley

Affectionately known as The Valley, this suburb embodies what it means to be an entertainment precinct. With clubs, bars, pubs and restaurants that greet you at every turn you take, this inner-city suburb is sure to spoil its residents.

Fortitude Valley also holds weekly Valley Markets. Holding the proud title of the longest-running market in Brisbane, the Valley Markets comprise of stores that sell quirky DIY crafts and knick-knacks, emerging fashion brands and much more.

Commute to the CBD: 16 mins
Price for a 1 Bedroom: $360/ week
Rental Availability: High

Springhill

With an increasing number of young dwellers moving here, spring has well and truly sprung in Springhill. This popular suburb continues to attract working professionals because of its proximity to the CBD.

Despite its convenient location, Springhill is often overlooked in favour of more alluring suburbs, such as the aforementioned Fortitude Valley and West End. Hence, this suburb would be ideal for those who prefer a bit of peace and quiet, and do not necessarily want to live in an incredibly hectic environment.

Commute to the CBD: 7 mins
Price for a 1 Bedroom: $400/ week
Rental Availability: High

Best Suburbs for Young Working Professionals in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane

Best Suburbs for Students in Sydney

Best Suburbs for Students in Sydney

With the new semester just around the corner, it is not uncommon for students to start looking for a change of scenery in terms of their accomodation.

After all, it can get frustrating having to share living facilities, such as the bathrooms and kitchen, between a whole floor of students. As such, many students often bid goodbye to their student accomodation and in turn, look towards renting off-campus accomodation either individually or with a group of friends.

With the help of results generated from Liveable, we’ve narrowed down the most popular suburbs amongst students that are both close to their chosen university, and have a buzzing student community that resides in the area.

University of Sydney (USYD)

 

  • Newtown

    Newtown is a favourite amongst Usyd students, not only because its conveniently located just 10 minutes away from the university, but also due to the vast number of pubs, bars and restaurants in the area.

    The University of Sydney has also recognised the convenience of this location and hence, has established one of their biggest student accomodations, Sydney University Village, in this friendly suburb.

    Furthermore, Newtown is vibrant and pulsing with life— with the Enmore Theatre, a popular music venue often drawing large crowds on the weekends.

    It costs $288/week for shared housing or $500/week to live in a 1 bedroom apartment.

  • Enmore

    This inner-west Suburb is another popular area that students choose to reside in. Despite being a little bit further away from the University of Sydney compared to Newtown (18 minutes via public transport), its appeal lies in its contemporary grunge vibe.

    Furthermore, Enmore is home to many up and coming foodie hotspots and has a ton of hidden gems that are tucked away, just waiting to be found.

    Similarly, it costs $288/week for shared housing or $500/week to live in a 1 bedroom apartment in this suburb.

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

 

  • Randwick

    Randwick is often the suburb of choice for UNSW students because of the fact that it only takes a mere 9-minute bus ride to get you from lectures to the comfort of your home.

    Due to this fact alone, there is a thriving student community in the area. This is complemented by lots of cheap eats (Randwick is particularly well known for its asian cuisine) and supermarkets— making it extremely convenient for students to adapt to living alone.

    Living in Randwick would set you back $334/week for shared housing or $510/week for a 1 bedroom apartment.

  • Kingsford

    If you’re after a slightly more affordable option, Kingsford may be the suburb for you. With an average rent of $275/week for shared housing or $430/week for a 1 bedroom apartment, many UNSW students also choose to call Kingsford home.

    Because of the large student population, it is not uncommon to chance upon restaurants and pubs with great student discounts. It also doesn’t hurt that this suburb is just a short 13 minute journey from the University.

University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

 

  • Ultimo

    Interestingly, the price of shared housing in Ultimo is comparative to a 1 bedroom apartment, with the former costing $390/week and the latter costing $380/week— not too steep of a price considering you’re a quick 6 minutes from UTS, and also incredibly close to Broadway shopping centre.

    With that said, it may be of interest to note that this suburb is known for having a relatively high crime rate, hence, students should be a little wary should they choose to walk home from late night study sessions or a night out.

  • Chippendale

    Chippendale was predicted to be Sydney’s next “it” suburb by Vogue Australia in 2015 and it has well and truly lived up to this reputation. In recent years, Chippendale has managed to redefine itself as one of the prominent art precincts, with regular gallery walks taking place in the area (eg. BEAMS Art Festival).

    It is a 6 minute journey to UTS and would cost an average of $338/week for shared housing or $510/week for a 1 bedroom apartment.

Macquarie University

 

  • Marsfield

    Marsfield is a great location for students who don’t enjoy the hustle and bustle of city living, but still crave the convenience of having a variety of shops and restaurants at their doorstep.

    This suburb is just a 4 minute drive to Macquarie Centre and a 13 minute bus ride to Macquarie University; needless to say, this is why Marsfield has such a concentrated population of students living in the area.

    Rent here would set you back $229/ week for shared housing, or $368/ week for a one bedroom apartment.

  • Pennant Hills

    Despite being 28 minutes away from Macquarie University, the commute would be well worth it for students who enjoy living amongst nature.

    After all, this safe and peaceful suburb is nestled within two large national parks. With a ton of walking trails to choose from, as well as a huge number of sporting facilities, your weekends will never fail to be dull in this Northern suburb.

    Rent in this area is an average of $217/ week for shared housing, and $385/ week for a one bedroom apartment.

Best Suburbs for Students in Sydney

Top 5 Dog-Friendly Suburbs in Melbourne

Dog-friendly suburbs in MelbourneA couple of years back, news that Gardenhill Complex was developing the first high-rise dog friendly apartments in Australia caused an incredible stir online. The building, inclusive of an enclosed ground-floor park where dogs are permitted to wander around off-lead, was set to begin development in Melbourne.

With findings that show more Australians live in households with pets compared to children, and that 2 in every 5 Australian households own a dog, its no wonder that the Gardenhill Complex sold more than 80% of its units in record timings.

But don’t fret if you missed out on buying a unit in this development— Melbourne has repeatedly been rated the most pet-friendly city in Australia, with a plethora of suburbs consisting of dog parks within walking distance from wherever you reside.

Using stats from Liveable, we found a variety of suburbs with a high number of parks in the area to ensure that you and your furry friend will be spoilt for choice:

  1. Carlton

    Princes Park is nestled in the heart of Carlton North, and is one of the few parks available for your four-legged friends to be able to roam free, off-leash. It is the best compromise for someone who is also looking to have a good work out while simultaneously taking their dog on a walk, as the area is surrounded by a massive jogging track.

    1 BR: $335/ week

    2BR: $482/ week

  2. Hawthorn

    Hawthorn is home to two gorgeous parks— Grace Park and Fairview park. The former is centrally located, and consists of a picture perfect oak-lined boulevard that runs through its centre. It also has a playground that your little ones will definitely delight in.

    Fairview park on the other hand, is a grassy space just off Riversdale Road. With its vast oval, this park is particularly popular with the four-legged community and you would be able to see balls being hurled across the field at any time of the day. It also consists of a river, making it the perfect spot for a casual stroll on a Sunday morning.

    Hawthorn, with its low crime rates, would also be ideal for people who often work late or prefer to take their dog for walks after sunset.

    1 BR: $295/ week

    2 BR: $425/ week

  3. Melbourne

    Just because lil Fido and you live in the city centre doesn’t mean that you have to give up the luxury of having parks nearby. In fact, Melbourne has multiple dog parks scattered across its city centre. Our two favourites are Clayton Reserve and Yarra Bend Park— both which allow for dogs to be off-leash.

    Clayton Reserve is securely fenced off so that you can relax while your pooch socialises and runs free with other dogs. With a peace of mind, Clayton Reserve is also ideal for dog owners to rub shoulders and mingle with each other.

    Yarra Bend Park, located near the CBD, is one of the largest multi-zoned parks in the city. This natural bushland has an open woodlands that can be explored so your walks with your pup will never become routine or boring.

    1BR: $385/ week
    2 BR: $550/ week

  4. Fitzroy

    Edinburgh Gardens is one of the more popular parks located in North Fitzroy, constantly filled with people having BBQs, playing footy or skateboarding. The gardens also have many eateries and pubs nearby, with friendly staff that will welcome your pooch with a bowl of water and endless pats.

    Darling Park is just that— absolutely darling. Despite its smaller size, it is packed with lush greenery and has a great community atmosphere.

    1 BR: $395/ week
    2 BR: $550/ week

  5. Broadmeadows

    Grab your walking shoes and head out with your furry friend to Broadmeadows Valley Park. It has multiple feature walks that can take you through scrubby bush or by river banks, depending on what you fancy.

    With its slightly lower price tag compared to the aforementioned suburbs, Broadmeadows is a viable option for students on a budget who are happy to live slightly further away from Melbourne’s CBD.

    1 BR: $220
    2 BR: $320

Top 5 Dog-Friendly Suburbs in Melbourne