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There are no money transfer regulations when sending money from Australia to the UK. The UK has traditionally been a very popular country for Australians to emigrate to. Popular cities with Australian expat communities include London, Manchester and Edinburgh. Below we cover some issues that relate to moving to the UK and sending money from Australia, whether in the early days of a move, for example, or to support children at university. Australia is also the number one destination for UK expats: research by to the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions, and the Institute of Public Policy Research, put the number of British expats in the region of 1,062,000 expats living in Australia in 2012, (of whom 251,000 were retired).
If you are moving to the UK from Australia, you will need to obtain the relevant visa. The most common reasons that Australians move to the UK is either employment, to join up with their family or with their spouse or to study at university. There are a number different categories of visas required for moving to the UK and eligibility will depend on your profession, who you are moving over with or if you are studying. Most work visas are Tier 2 visas whereby people are transferred by their company, or qualifying professionals take up new job offer. For the latter, there is a limit on the number of non-EU nationals who can secure such a visa each year. The Tier 1 visa is aimed at a small number of 'high-value migrants' such as entrepreneurs and investors; entrepreneurs are required to have access to and transfer to the UK at least £50,000 in capital, while investors are required to have at least £1,000,000 of disposable funds.
While the UK is popular with Australians as a place to work, relatively few come to study. That said, there were 1,880 students from Australia in the UK in the the 2012/13 academic year according to the UK government. According to a 2013 study by HSBC, the average annual cost per year of study in the UK for international students is £18,759 (around A$34,000), of which fees are £11,933 fees and cost of living £6,825. Fees for foreign student can often be higher than those for UK nationals, reaching as high as £38,532 per year for a taught clinical postgraduate degree at a leading university in London, for example.
Given that Australia is outside the European Economic Area, Australian students will need to obtain a Tier 4 (General) student visa. Once your place at an accredited institution is confirmed, the process of applying is simple, but you have to be able to demonstrate that you have sufficient savings to fund our course and cost of living. It is, however, usually possible to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week in term-time, full-time in a non-permanent role during term breaks, and pursue a sandwich course. Once your course ends, you can work full time hours for up to four months. You can also bring dependents on a Tier 4, but must be able to show that you have sufficient savings to cover them too.
To open a bank account in the UK, you will need proof of your income and employment, provide evidence of a local UK address, and a passport.
There are a several commercial banks in the UK but none of the major Australian banks have a substantial UK network. It will be easiest to have a UK account setup before sending money from Australia to the UK either for general living expenses or for a major transfer as payments in the UK can then be made out of that account.
The UK tax year runs from April 6th to April 5th of the following year, whereas the Australian tax year runs from July 1st to June 30th. This will have implications for tax planning. Australia does have a double tax treaty with the UK but you should still check which items may not fall under the treaty and may be taxed twice. It is essential to familiarise yourself with relevant UK financial regulations in advance of moving from Australia to the UK, particularly if you are considering purchasing a property or making a large currency transfer from Australian dollars into pounds.
Australia has strict rules laid out by the Department of Agriculture (formerly under the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service) governing whether you can bring your pet over when you move. Typically, cats and dogs can be brought into Australia so long as strict quarantine rules are adhered to. The quarantine period for a dog or cat entering Australia is 190 days but 180 of these days can be completed in the country of origin. There is a mandatory ten-day quarantine for all animals entering the Australia.
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