Top 5 countries for Aussies to work abroad

Find out the pros and cons of working and living abroad in our favourite destinations

Do you know there are over one million Aussies living and working overseas at any one time?1.

A recent survey2 reveals, perhaps not surprisingly, that Australians who were born overseas tend to return to their country of birth to live and work. But 44% of Australian-born workers choose their future employers in the United Kingdom, United States or New Zealand, with Singapore (10%), Hong Kong (5.4%) and United Arab Emirates (4.6%) following close behind.

If you’re thinking about heading to one of these countries to apply your work skills and experience, there are some things to consider.

1.    United Kingdom

  • The UK is the most popular English-speaking country for Aussies working overseas.
  • While it can cost a bit to get there, and it’s a long way from home, hopping over to Europe is easy and cheap, so you can travel there on weekends and during breaks.
  • The UK can be pricey to live in. According to Expatistan's Cost of Living Index, London is the world’s 11th most expensive city to live in.
  • It rains a lot, but most expats just get used to carrying an umbrella.

2.    United States

  • The US is known for innovative companies to work for. Silicon Valley in San Francisco for example, is known for digital disruption and tech start-ups who work alongside Apple, Facebook and Google.
  • There’s so much to see in the US and transport by air and train means you can travel from the east coast cities of New York, Washington and Boston to the West Coast must-sees of Hollywood, Disneyland and Las Vegas in around five hours.

3.    New Zealand

  • Thanks to the 1973 Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangements (TTTA), Australian and New Zealand citizens can visit, live and work in either country without restriction, so long as they have no health or character concerns.
  • NZ is close to home so is easy to get to, plus you can get some excellent value airfares on sale.
  • Australians also share a lot culturally with NZ, which can make the move easier.

4.    Hong Kong

  • There’s a small, friendly circle of expats (people who live overseas), making it easy to network with like-minded people from home.
  • Hong Kong is an easy gateway to other Asian destinations, such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore.
  • There are tax advantages of working in Hong Kong, but check with your financial adviser about your personal situation.
  • The weather is hot and humid and can be prone to typhoons and ‘black’ rain.

5.    United Arab Emirates (UAE)

  • Living and working in Dubai can be an amazing experience if you are willing to keep an open mind and be sensitive to the unique culture. Over 80% of the population are expats from around the world, making it a real melting pot of multi-cultural workers.
  • It’s not cheap to live in Dubai, but one reason people love working there is your salary is not taxed – a big incentive if you’re looking to save (or spend) more before you return home.
  • English is spoken widely and there are plenty of perks offered by employers, such as competitive salaries, housing allowances, flexible work hours and work-life balance3.

What else do you need to think about?

If you’re seriously considering moving overseas to work, make sure you read the government’s guide for all travellers.

Check what documents you’ll need to work overseas.  All countries require passports and some (such as the US) need it to be valid for six months after your return date. Visa eligibility differs for each country and may depend on factors such as your age, type of work and how long you intend to stay. Read more on the SmartTraveller website. Australia has reciprocal arrangements with various countries which allow Australians to work while on holiday there. 

Prepare financially as there numerous costs involved in moving overseas. Think airfares, setting up house, visas, plus funds for any travel you plan to do.

Think carefully about your finances:

  • Will you need to save up?
  • Do you have any debts to service?
  • Will you be able to pay them should your income or expenses change?

We’re here to help

Think about getting an AMP Bett3r Account to help you manage your money and save for your goals.

Learn more about managing your money in our online learning module.

If you’d like like professional help with your finances, speak to your adviser. If you don’t have an adviser, call us on 131 267 or use our online find an adviser tool.

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Any advice in this page is general in nature and is provided by AMP Life Limited ABN 84 079 300 379 (AMP Life). The advice does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of this advice having regard to those matters. AMP Bett3r Account is issued by AMP Bank Limited ABN 15 081 596 009, AFSL 234517. Consider the terms and conditions available on request by calling 13 30 30 or at and whether this product is appropriate for you. Fees and charges apply.

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