Resicom – Holiday Investment – 04-21 – LB

Invest down under

Australia is a favourite amongst expats and investors – a lack of language barrier, brilliant weather and a variety of iconic cities make it appealing to those wanting a change in lifestyle without a huge culture shock.

60,000 people emigrate to Australia annually, some due to work commitments, with ONS revealing that 59 per cent of people emigrate for work, whilst some are just chasing the Australian dream of beaches and barbeques. Natural beauty juxtaposed with modern cities adds diversity to Australia that few countries can compete with, perhaps suggesting why so many Brits choose to live ‘Down Under.’

The hotspot for expats is predictably Sydney, the country’s most famous city and its economic centre. Positioned in New South Wales, a state which boasts 780 National Parks and 11 universities, it is clear why Sydney may be a favorite for families. Melbourne is also popular, as is the Gold Coast city of Brisbane, the latter of which has a youthful population with an average age of 33, perfect for those seeking fun in a foreign country. However, Adelaide was recently voted the most livable city in Australia by the Property Council of Australia. The city holds art and music festivals and is in close proximity to the wine regions, making it somewhere investors should not overlook.

A typically safe option to invest in, Australia avoided the harsh effects of the global recession largely due to plentiful natural resources which actually bought a mining boom to Perth. Foreign nationals are slightly limited in terms of property types which they are able to purchase, and all purchases are regulated by the Foreign Investment Review Board. However, the rental market in the country is currently extremely competitive with low availability and high demand. Whilst this is bad news for expats looking for a home, those looking to invest can expect a stable level of interest especially in the low to medium price range of rental properties.

Australia’s notorious visa system can be daunting for any expat or investor, yet in reality it is fairly straightforward. Several types of visa can be issued, with the Skilled Visa, which aims to plug a skill shortage in the country, the most common. This can be applied for via an employer sponsored scheme or a skilled migrant form.

Another common visa type is the retirement visa, available for self-supporting retirees over 55 with no dependents and at least $500,000 Australian dollars in assets.

Upon arrival in Australia, expats are required to apply for a Tax File Number, similar to a British National Insurance number. They are also encouraged to register with Medicare, a government scheme aiming to help with basic medical expenses. A reciprocal healthcare agreement between the UK and Australian government entitles UK citizens to certain treatments.

However, last July, Australia’s 457 visa rules were tightened further, making it harder for local employers to hire temporary foreign skilled workers. This inevitably led to a fall in visa application numbers.

Despite this minor setback, the influx of Brits heading down under each year seems unlikely to slow. The plethora of cities, beaches and rural locations means that there truly is something to please everyone, meaning that the sunny nation is likely to be a winner for expats and investors alike.

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