Making the move from the UK to Australia

Category: Australia & News & United Kingdom

Earlier this year, you may have read the story of John Harrower, a Senior Financial Planner in our Perth office who moved to Australia with his family in 1972, as a “Ten Pound Pom”. 

That article attracted a lot of positive feedback, particularly from clients of John who were unaware of his story.  

As a result, we thought it would make a nice contrast to share the story of another team member  who has made the journey with their family much more recently – within the last year, in fact.  

Our HR business partner, Ané Lindenbaum recently relocated from the UK to Perth. Here, she sets out the reasons she and her family had for making the move, the challenges they have faced, and some tips for anyone planning the same journey. 

The decision to move was relatively straightforward 

My husband and I are originally from South Africa and had lived in the UK for 20 years, until we got tempted by the Australian lifestyle, and weather, after a couple of visits to Perth. 

I was fortunate to have the opportunity through bdhSterling to work from the Perth office, and this made our decision to make the big move more straightforward than perhaps it would have otherwise been.  

Working for a financial planning firm, with offices in both the UK and Australia, certainly made the transition easier.

Preparations had to be detailed and thorough 

We have two boys and a dog who had to be prepared for the move. Understandably, for such a big undertaking, getting the arrangements in place became all-consuming in the run-up to the move.  

We had to consider such issues as: 

  • Visa requirements 
  • Finding a school for our boys 
  • Arranging the shipping of our possessions  
  • Navigating the minefield of importing a pet. 

It was important to slow down sometimes, take a breath, and remind ourselves of the reasons why we were making the move. 

Taking five minutes to picture the sun and sea really did give us the energy to sort a few more boxes and fill in yet another form!  

As parents, the biggest concern is how our children will navigate the life change and settle into their new life.  

So, from the start of the process, we involved our boys in discussions about the move. We aimed to help them feel that they were part of the journey and had some control of what was happening around them, preparing them to say goodbye to life as they knew it.  

Moving a pet can be a challenge  

We have a three-year-old Shih Tzu named Rocco, who is a very big part of our family.   

Very early on in the moving process, we engaged with a pet import specialist to guide us through the requirements. At the time of writing, we are still going through the process and Rocco is due to join us in Australia soon.  

It’s worth being aware that, from start to finish, it takes about 18 months to arrange for a pet to be exported to Australia, due to long waiting times for import permits and a place in the quarantine facilities.  

It’s important to consider this timeline when organising a move to Australia that includes a pet.  

Adapting to life in a new country 

We are embracing the lifestyle and spending as much time as possible with the boys outdoors.  

We enrolled them in sea swimming classes as the indoor heated swimming pool that they were used to in the UK doesn’t really compare.   

They are also members of local sport clubs, and that interaction is helping all of us to settle into the community.  

The outdoor lifestyle is commonly cited as one of the main attractions of moving to Australia, and we wouldn’t disagree with that.  

There are lots of parks dotted throughout the local neighbourhood and it’s common to meet up with friends there for a picnic. These local parks often have BBQ facilities too, which is a great addition.

We are also looking forward to Christmas on the beach and are sure there will be a turkey on the menu!  

There is always something going on locally, from sunset food markets on the beach, to music events in the park, and sporting events.  

We’ve found joining local Facebook groups and keeping an eye on the local media has helped us learn about what is going on.  

Problems with spiders… and shopping! 

In terms of other challenges we’ve faced, one thing we’ve missed is next-day delivery. It’s hard to get hold of that quick last-minute item such as a birthday gift. Also, shopping hours are a lot shorter than back in the UK.  

We’ve also learned to shop seasonally as fruit and vegetables are not available at the same price all year round.  

Easy preparation dinners from Marks & Spencer are also nowhere to be found, but most supermarkets stock British food so you can get hold of Yorkshire Tea when needed!  

The local wildlife has also posed challenges.  

Barrier spray, huntsman, and redback spider have become part of our daily vocabulary. As the weather warms up, snake sightings also become increasingly likely. 

We haven’t encountered a snake yet but I have saved the local snake catcher’s number in my phone, just in case. And, we did recently help eject a huntsman spider from a fellow Australian residents’ car in the Coles supermarket car park!   

Making the move yourself 

From a practical perspective, the big piece of advice we’d give anyone thinking of the same move is to engage the services of professional experts where appropriate. These could include: 

  • A visa agent   
  • A financial adviser to help manage the financial details of your move 
  • A specialist packing and shipping company  
  • A reputable import agency if you’re moving a pet.  

Doing this means you’ll have someone on your side with experience of the different requirements, and potential pitfalls. They will help you to navigate the process and ensure it runs smoothly without any unnecessary delays.   

It is also important to recognise the emotional impact a move can have on everyone and give yourself time to adjust and settle in.   

Get in touch 

As financial planners fully authorised in both the UK and Australia, we have helped many of our clients make the move, and the reverse journey. 

If you have any queries regarding the financial aspects of your potential move, please get in touch with us.