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Moving to Australia Information


This ‘Must Read’ guide is thoughtfully prepared for NZ Citizens who are considering migrating to Australia, or for those NZ Citizens who have recently arrived.

The information provided below is full of tips and advice to help prepare you and your family for your new life in Australia.

This guide is packed with information and links on what you need to apply for and be aware of upon arrival, including: Employment opportunities, Education and Study, Social Security Benefits, Housing (rent or buy), Citizenship and much much more.

Updated: May 2013

About Australia

Our country

Australia is a unique and diverse country in every way – in culture, population, climate, geography, and history. For articles on specific topics about Australian history and culture visit our Australian Stories index.


Australian culture is as broad and varied as the country’s landscape. Australia is multicultural and multiracial and this is reflected in the country’s food, lifestyle and cultural practices and experience.

Australia has an important heritage from its indigenous people, which plays a defining role in the cultural landscape.

This diversity of influences creates a cultural environment in Australia that is lively, energised, innovative and outward looking.


As of February 2010, Australia’s population is roughly 22 million people. The most populous states are New South Wales and Victoria, with their respective capitals, Sydney and Melbourne, the largest cities in Australia.

Australia’s population is concentrated along the coastal region of Australia from Adelaide to Cairns, with a small concentration around Perth, Western Australia. The centre of Australia is sparsely populated.


The majority of Australia experiences temperate weather for most of the year.

The northern states of Australia are typically warm all the time, with the southern states experiencing cool winters but rarely sub-zero temperatures.

Snow falls on the higher mountains during the winter months, enabling skiing in southern New South Wales and Victorian ski resorts, as well as the smaller resorts in Australia’s island state, Tasmania.


Australia is an island continent and the world’s sixth largest country (7,682,300 sq km).

Lying between the Indian and Pacific oceans, the country is approximately 4,000 km from east to west and 3,200 km from north to south, with a coastline 36,735 km long.

Canberra is Australia’s capital city. With a population of approximately 320,000 people and situated in the Australian Capital Territory, Canberra is roughly half way between the two largest cities Melbourne and Sydney.

Australia has 19 listed World Heritage properties. Australia is also famous for its landmark buildings including the Sydney Harbour Bridge; its ancient geology, as well as for its high country.


Australia’s first inhabitants, the Aboriginal people, are believed to have migrated from some unknown point in Asia to Australia between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago.

While Captain James Cook is credited with Australia’s European discovery in 1770, a Portuguese possibly first sighted the country, while the Dutch are known to have explored the coastal regions in the 1640s.

The first European settlement of Australia was in January 1788, when the First Fleet sailed into Botany Bay under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip. Originally established as a penal colony, by the 1830s the number of free settlers was increasing. Transportation of convicts to the eastern colonies was abolished in 1852 and to the western colonies in 1868.

Legal system

Australia follows a Westminster system of government and law inherited from the British who originally colonised the country.

There are two main political parties and a number of minor parties, which make up the Commonwealth Parliament. Each state and territory also has its own government.


New Zealand citizens entering Australia are issued with a Special Category Visa (SCV) on arrival, provided they meet security, character and health requirements. People with criminal records or serious health problems should check with the Australian Consulate-General before travelling to see if they meet these requirements.

An SCV entitles New Zealanders to live and work in Australia as long as they wish, provided they remain of good character. The Australian authorities can cancel an SCV if a person fails the character requirements (e.g. if they commit a crime). The person would likely then be sent back to New Zealand and may be unable to enter Australia again. If the person cannot be returned to New Zealand immediately, they may be placed in an immigration detention centre.

An SCV does not entitle New Zealanders to receive unemployment or sickness benefits in Australia. New Zealanders who arrived in Australia after early 2001 must obtain Australian permanent residency to be eligible to receive these benefits. There is a two-year stand down period for benefits after the date that permanent residency is granted (see New Zealand citizens who arrived in Australia prior to 26 February 2001 may be eligible for unemployment and sickness benefits.  Such persons should contact Centrelink in Australia to have their eligibility assessed.

Permanent Residence Visa and Citizenship

As a New Zealander holding and SCV it is not necessary to apply for or be granted permanent residence in Australia. The SCV allows a New Zealand citizen to remain and work in Australia lawfully as long as that person remains a New Zealand citizen.

You also need to be aware of some additional rules. In particular you, as a New Zealand citizen, must apply for, and be granted Australian permanent residency if you wish to access certain social security benefits, e.g. the pension, obtain Australian citizenship or sponsor their family members for permanent residence.

Generally speaking, the visa requirements you need to meet are very easily obtained. But to be certain it is recommended that you consult with an immigration expert.

New Zealanders can obtain Australian citizenship and an Australian passport without giving up their New Zealand citizenship or New Zealand passport. The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Citizenship recommend that Australian passport-holders always use that passport to enter Australia.

Children born in Australia to one or more New Zealand parents can obtain New Zealand citizenship by descent, by contacting the New Zealand passports office in Sydney on tel +61(2) 9225 2300, or

Further Information and Help

There are a lot of ways to get Australian Visa and Citizenship information and help on the internet. A few of the links are below:

Health Entitlements

Australian Health Care System

This information will provide links to resources that will help you understand the Australian Health System. This information changes regularly so please check all details with the relevant government authority.

The Australian Government funds three major national health schemes, Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the 30% Private Health Insurance Rebate. These are funded via taxes and the income based – Medicare Levy.

Australian residents are proactively encouraged to take out Private Health Cover to compliment Medicare services.

Suggested Health Care To Do List:

  • Before settling in Australia obtain medical records for each member of your family (including immunisation records for the children – these are often asked for by schools and daycare centres).
  • Research Private Health Insurance in Australia (
  • One week after arriving in Australia visit or phone your local Medicare Office to enroll.
  • Once you have been issued with your Medicare Card take it with you when you visit a doctor, hospital, when you have a prescription filled or when you make a claim at a medicare office
  • Consider registering for the Medicare Safety Net (keep your medical receipts)
  • Let Medicare know if you change your address.
  • If you have children visit Australia 101 Childhood Immunisation page or The Australian Childhood Immunisation Register.
  • Let us know if there is anything else you need to know we will do some research and add it to our online resources if possible.

Medicare Entitlements

  • Free treatment as a public hospital patient.
  • An 85% rebate on the schedule fee for treatments when you haven’t been admitted to hospital (ie. A visit to the doctor).
  • Medicare Safety Net – If you pay over and above the Medicare rebate you may be eligible. To find out more visit Medicare Safety Net.

Health Care Cards are available from Centrelink for those requiring additional financial help. Permanent residents are usually subject to a 2 year waiting period before one will be provided.

Medicare Eligibility

Go to Medicare’s eligibility criteria to find out how to enroll with Medicare.

You are eligible to enrol for Medicare if you are living in Australia and:

  • have been granted permanent resident status; or
  • have applied for certain permanent resident visas, and you:
  • hold a valid visa with permission to work in Australia; or
  • hold a valid visa and your parent, spouse or child is an Australian citizen; or
  • hold a valid visa and your parent, spouse or child is the holder of permanent resident status.

You might not be eligible for Medicare if you:

  • have a current parent visa application being considered; or
  • have a current application for a protection visa and have previously applied for a parent visa.
  • If you have a temporary prospective marriage visa (fiance-subclass 300), you are not eligible for Medicare until you have had an application for a permanent resident visa accepted by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs.


Prescription Medicine
The PBS rebate is deducted before being sold on to you. After this most people should pay a maximum of $23.10 towards the cost of a medicine covered by PBS, concession card holder a maximum of $3.70.

Doctor Visits
If your doctor Bulk Bills (rather hard to find but more common for concession card holders), you should not have to pay anything for an appointment with your doctor.

If they do not bulk bill, you will need to pay the ‘gap’ between the Medicare rebate and the fee if the surgery will do the rebate on the spot, or the entire amount (most common). If you pay the entire amount you need to apply to Medicare for the rebate, in person or via the post.

The Medicare scheduled fee for a standard appointment is approximately $29.45 and the doctor’s fee can be around $40. Your out of pocket expenses are what is taken into account if you register for the Medicare Safety Net.

How to apply
Migrants and Applicants for Permanent Resident Status (including applicants for a permanent protection visa) You need to apply in person at a Medicare office. It is recommended you wait one week after your arrival in Australia before applying, to allow time for Medicare to receive your visa details from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. Please bring your passport or travel document with you.

Medicare Australia Contact Details

For more information on Medicare visit:

Social Security Entitlements

Details of New Social Security Arrangements with NZ

The new social security arrangements between Australia and New Zealand provide a more stable, durable and affordable underpinning for the free trans-Tasman flow of people.

The changes will not affect New Zealand citizens who are already living in Australia. They will be able to access the full range of social security and other benefits. These people will automatically retain current rights and privileges as if they are permanent residents of Australia. We recognise that these people have already made Australia their home and want to ensure they are not unfairly disadvantaged by the new arrangements.

New Zealanders who move here in the future will find that the new social security agreement, covering pensions for people who are aged and support for people who become disabled after moving here, is similar to our agreements with other countries. Both countries will share financial responsibility for these pensions, based on the proportion of working life residence spent in each country.

New Zealanders who seek to move here in future will only be able to access the full range of income support payments and employment assistance if they become permanent residents of Australia – by successfully applying for a permanent residence visa.

New Zealanders in Australia will still be able to apply for a range of payments, including Family Tax Benefit A and B (including associated rent assistance), Maternity Allowance, Maternity Immunisation Allowance, Double Orphan pension and Child Care Benefit. They will have access to Low Income Health Care Cards and Seniors Health Care Card and will be able to use Medicare and public hospital services. If they are unemployed, they will still be able to access assistance in getting a job.

We will also introduce legislation to provide short-term assistance for New Zealanders who come here as temporary residents, live and work here for ten years, then fall into hardship.

Generous transition arrangements have been developed for New Zealand citizens not in Australia on 26 February 2001:

[doc_list]New Zealanders who are residing here or have lived here for a total of one year out of the last two, are not in Australia today but want to resume living here, can do so with rights and privileges as if they are permanent residents.
Those who had decided to move here when the changes were announced may still be eligible for permanent residence under the old arrangements, provided they take up residence within three months from today. They will then have three years from today in which to apply to Centrelink for a certificate of residence status that, if granted, will give them rights and privileges as if they are permanent residents.
To protect New Zealanders who are seconded to work overseas, those unable to be in Australia by 26 May 2001, but who can demonstrate that they meet the residence requirements under social security law on 26 February 2001 (which includes an assessment of assets and relationships in Australia), have 12 months from today in which to return to Australia and apply to Centrelink for a certificate of residence status that, if granted, will give them rights and privileges as if they are permanent residents.
New Zealanders who are currently receiving a pension or benefit from Australia, but who are temporarily overseas under the short-term portability provisions of the Social Security Act, will be able to return and resume living here as long as they return to Australia within the portability period – they will be granted a certificate of residence status giving them rights and privileges as if they are permanent residents.[/doc_list]

A new social security Agreement will commence from 1 July 2002. The new Agreement will cover age pension, disability support pension and carer payment. Until the new Agreement commences, New Zealanders will be able to apply for any payment that they are eligible for under the current Agreement (age pension, disability support pension, parenting payment and partner allowance) without first gaining permanent residence.

Those who are receiving payments under the old agreement will have their eligibility preserved. Some payments covered by the old agreement will not be covered under the new agreement (some forms of disability and single parenting payment). However people will still be able to apply under the current agreement after 26 February 2001 to receive these payments without first obtaining permanent residence until the new agreement comes into force (likely July 2002). People receiving payment under the current agreement when it terminates will continue to be paid until they cease being eligible for that payment. However once they drop off payment they may need to acquire permanent residence in order the regain access to payments, unless the payment applied for is included in the scope of the new agreement.

Details of the changes are outlined in an information booklet available at Centrelink Offices.


All Australian employers pay a 9% superannuation contribution on behalf of their employees. New Zealanders cannot get access to these contributions until they are 55 years old. If they return to New Zealand permanently after reaching the age of 55 they can have their contributions paid into a New Zealand bank account. For further information contact the Australian Taxation Office.

In New Zealand, both employer-funded schemes and government assistance for older people are described as ‘superannuation’. In Australia, ‘superannuation’ refers only to employer-funded schemes. For more information on Australian government assistance for older people see the ‘Social Security Agreement’ section below.

Old Age Pension

New Zealanders who are 65 or older and live in Australia may be eligible for both an Australian age pension and NZ superannuation, depending on the amount of their working life they spent in each country.

Australian age pensions are income and asset tested, so any income or assets a New Zealander has will affect the amount of Australian age pension payable. In addition, the rate of New Zealand Superannuation payable in Australia cannot exceed the amount of Australian Age Pension that would be payable if the New Zealander was entitled to receive an Australian Age Pension but was not entitled to receive New Zealand Superannuation. This means that where a New Zealander cannot receive the Australian Age Pension because their income and assets exceed the limits, that person cannot receive New Zealand Superannuation in Australia.

To qualify for a pension, a New Zealander must have been resident in either Australia or New Zealand for at last 10 years of their working life (between the ages of 20 and 65). To apply for a pension, a New Zealander must be able to provide proof of their identity (see ‘Proof of Identity‘ section of the Centrelink website) and their Australian residence (eg tax records). For further information contactCentrelink.

Disability Pension

Disabled New Zealanders living in Australia may be eligible to receive both a Disability Support Pension in Australia, and an Invalids (Severely Disabled) Benefit from New Zealand, depending on the amount of time the person has been resident in each country. To qualify for an Australian disability support pension and an Invalids (Severely Disabled) Benefit a New Zealander must be severely disabled and unable to work for more than 8 hours per week. For further information contactCentrelink.

If a New Zealander is eligible to receive the Australian pension, then Centrelink will tell them to also apply for a New Zealand benefit. If a person is not eligible for an Australian disability pension, then they are probably not eligible for a New Zealand benefit.

Carers of disabled New Zealanders living in Australia may also claim an Australian Carers Payment, provided they are the partner of a person who qualifies for the Australian Disability Support pension.

Carers of disabled New Zealanders living in Australia may also claim an Australian Carers Payment, provided they are the partner of a person who qualifies for the Australian Disability Support pension. Parents who are non-protected visa holders and are carers of a disabled child are not eligible for the Carers Payment.


New Zealand Veterans living in Australia are able to access a New Zealand War Disablement Pension for any disabilities that are attributable to, or were aggravated by, their war service. They are also entitled to free medical care for those disabilities. New Zealand veterans can also access assistance through the Veterans Affairs New Zealand Case Management service.

New Zealand veterans may also be entitled to an income support pension from the Australian Government. For further information contact the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand. The Welfare Officer of the local Returned Service League sub branch may also be able to assist.

Other Social Security Benefits

New Zealanders living in Australia may be able to claim other social security benefits including the Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Benefit, Maternity payment, Rent assistance, a low income Health Card, Parenting Payment and Commonwealth Senior’s Health Care Card. For further information contact Centrelink.

New Zealand Government offices in Australia have no funds to assist New Zealanders in financial difficulty. New Zealand agencies such as Work and Income NZ are unable to pay emergency benefits to assist people outside New Zealand

Paying Tax in Australia

New Zealanders working in Australia need to get a Tax File number (TFN) and pay Australian tax.

Tax File Number

New Zealanders working in Australia need to get a Tax File number (TFN) and pay Australian tax. Without a TFN an employer will withhold tax at the maximum rate plus the Medicare levy. Registration forms for a TFN may be obtained from the Australian Taxation Office.

For further information contact the Australian Taxation Office. People who are liable for tax in both Australia and New Zealand need to contact both the ATO and the Inland Revenue Department.

Recognition of Qualifications

New Zealanders who hold certain qualifications (e.g. a university or polytechnic degree or certificate) or are registered to practice in certain occupations (e.g. plumbers, electricians) are able to have their qualifications recognised in Australia under the trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement without having to undergo further testing and/or examination. This applies only to occupations that are required to be registered, certified, licensed or approved in both Australia and New Zealand.

To obtain recognition of a New Zealand qualification, New Zealanders need to contact Australian Education International.

Renting or Purchasing Property in Australia

Real Estate in Australia

Australia real estate is quite similar to New Zealand, but Australia is so much bigger. Like New Zealand, there are positives and negatives to each city and each suburb and it is important to do research before you leave New Zealand and when you arrive before you make any fixed arrangements.

It is highly recommend to give yourself some time to find which suburb suits you and your family best before you buy or rent any real estate in Australian and sign into a fixed term agreement.

Short Term Living Options

While you are still deciding which Australian suburb you want to live in and waiting for your furniture to arrive, there are a few short term living options.

Family or Friends

The best and cheapest option, as not only will you get cheaper board you will also be able to discuss different suburbs with them as you are exploring.

Rent a Hotel, Motel or Hostel

Most short term Australian rental accommodations will give a special rate for a fixed term stay of five weeks or more. You will need to contact each place directly (Google search) but the rate will end up close to what renting will be without having to sign into anything long term and give you time to explore your new city and suburbs.

On Craigslist you can find a lot of different housing options including: apartments / housing, housing swap, housing wanted, office / commercial, parking / storage, real estate for sale, rooms / shared, sublets / temporary and vacation rentals.

The listings cover Australian cities including: AdelaideBrisbaneCairnsCanberraDarwinGold CoastMelbourneNewcastle,PerthSydneyTasmania and Wollongong.

Finding an Australian Home to Rent

The Australian rental market is very competitive, especially in the main cities. Most Australian rentals will require you to submit a tenancy application, accompanied with the following documents, so it is best to have all the information ready to go:

  • Your last 3 months bank statements;
  • A written reference from your previous landlord;
  • Your previous landlord’s contact information;
  • Proof that your last bond was repaid in full (or an explanation as to why it wasn’t).

Provide and attach photocopies of documents required to meet 100 points of identification as the guide shows below:
Documents required for 100 points identification check

Submit only one of the following:
– Passport or Birth Certificate = 70 Points

Submit any of the following:
– Drivers Licence, Proof of Age Card or Other Photo ID from Government eg Pension Card, Student Card = 40 Points

– 2 recent Rent Receipts, 2 recent Pay Advices or Tenancy Ledger = 25 Points

Documents on which your name and current address appear:
– Car registration certificate
– Rates Notice
– Electricity Account
– Bank/Credit Card Statement
– Telephone Account
– Gas Account25

The best place to look for rentals is on the internet. However, all the best properties are snapped up quickly so there isn’t much point in seriously looking until you are two weeks away from being ready to move in. Below are some rental websites:

Bond and Rent in Advance

It is normal for landlords to request between 2-4 weeks rent as bond and 2-4 weeks rent in advance. This means that you will need to be prepared to front up with somewhere between 4 and 8 weeks rent before moving into your new place. Your bond with be lodged with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA) and returned to you minus the cost of any damages when you leave.

Finding Real Estate to Buy in Australia

Buying a home (real estate) in Australia is very similar to New Zealand. Below are the main websites for real estate listings in Australia:

You can research median house prices on the Australian Property Monitors (APM) website by following the below link:

Child Welfare

The New Zealand and Australian Government cooperate on a number of child welfare issues, such as protection orders and child support payments. It is important for those affected to be informed of these processes while living in Australia.

Child Protection Orders

Since November 1991 the New Zealand and Australian authorities have cooperated to help children who are the subject of protection orders, whether they are living in New Zealand or Australia, under a protocol for the Transfer of Child Protection Orders and Proceedings and Assistance. For further information contact the local state government agency responsible for child welfare.

Child Support Payments

Since 1 July 2000 the New Zealand and Australian authorities have cooperated to make sure New Zealand parents living in Australia continue to pay the child support they owe, under a reciprocal agreement between the New Zealand Internal Revenue Department and the Australian Taxation Office.

The authorities in the country where the child lives will assess the child support owing by the parents. If the parent is a New Zealander who lives in Australia, the Australian Taxation Office will take into account their income in Australia in assessing the amount of child support they owe. The ATO will also collect payment from that parent.

For further information contact Child Support Agency Australia or the New Zealand Government Child Youth and Family Services.

Driving in Australia

The holder of a New Zealand driver’s licence will generally be allowed to drive in Australia without having to obtain an International driver’s licence. However as each state in Australia have slightly different rules towards international drivers and slightly different road rules, it is very important to check with the licencing agency in the particular state that you are planning on visiting. See the list below:


If you are a driver or motorcyclist who has moved to Victoria from another Australian State or Territory, or from another country you will need to make arrangements with VicRoads to get a Victorian licence.

For up to three months after arriving, you can drive in Victoria if you have a current interstate or New Zealand (NZ) licence/learner permit, even if you are under 18 years of age. After three months you must change your licence to a Victorian driver licence.

If your time in Victoria is interrupted whereby you return interstate or to NZ and take up residency for a period of time, the three month period begins afresh from the date you take up residency again in Victoria.

You must be 18 years of age to apply for a licence in Victoria. No age exemptions apply.

If your interstate or New Zealand learner permit or licence is (suspended, disqualified or cancelled) as a result of a driving offence, demerit points, medical reasons or due to unpaid fines, you will not be able to obtain a Victorian equivalent, until your ban is over.

For more information on a Victoria drivers licence and how to apply visit: international drivers.

New South Wales

If you are a driver or motorcyclist who has moved to NSW – from another Australian State or Territory, or if you have migrated from another country – you will need to make arrangements to get a NSW driver or rider licence.

You can use your existing licence for up to three months, after which you must have a NSW licence in order to drive a vehicle or ride a motorcycle.

If you are a licence holder from New Zealand (regardless if you are a permanent or temporary resident), you must obtain a NSW driver licence within three months of residing in NSW or you must stop driving.

For more information on a NSW drivers licence and how to apply visit: international drivers orinternational riders.


When driving on a road in Queensland under your valid foreign driver licence you must:

  • only drive the class of motor vehicle authorised on that licence
  • comply with the conditions (if any) of your licence
  • show your licence to a police officer when asked to do so.

If your licence is in a language other than English you should carry a recognised English translation of the licence.

You must not drive in Queensland on your foreign driver licence if:

  • you have been disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver licence by an order of an Australian court
  • your authority to drive on the licence has been suspended or withdrawn.

To apply for a Queensland driver licence for the same class as your foreign driver licence, you will need to:

  • complete the Driver Licence Application/Renewal form (F3000)
  • show your foreign driver licence and a recognised English translation (if required)
  • show your supporting evidence of identity including Queensland residency documents
  • declare that you are medically fit to drive the class of motor vehicle
  • Note: If you have a medical condition that is likely to adversely affect your ability to drive or ride safely, you are required to show a medical certificate from your doctor stating that you are medically fit to drive or ride safely.
  • pay the licence fee.

You may also be required to:

  • pass an eyesight test
  • pay the road rules test fee and pass the test
  • pay the practical driving test fee and pass the test.

For more information visit the Getting a Queensland licence (for overseas licence holders) page.

South Australia

If you are visiting from overseas, or you’ve recently moved here permanently, make sure that you are driving legally and safely.

If you are issued a permanent visa and become a resident of South Australia, you must obtain a South Australian driver’s licence within three months and you may be required to surrender your overseas driver’s licence. Once you are issued with a South Australian learner’s permit or driver’s licence, your overseas licence is invalid.

Applying for a South Australian driver’s licence

You may be eligible for the equivalent class of licenceas your foreign licence. Minimum age requirements apply.

Go to any Service SA customer service centre and present the following documents:

  • your current driver’s licence – if this is not written in English you must bring an approved English translation or your international driving permit
  • evidence of identity – proof of your identity, signature, age and address
  • payment for your written test, if required
  • your medical certificate, if required
  • concession card, if entitled.

Western Australia

If you are just visiting Western Australia (WA) you can drive on your current overseas licence. However, if your licence expires whilst you are here or if you plan to live in WA, you will need to apply for a WA driver’s licence. To find out more go to Transfer your overseas licence.

To apply for a Western Australian driver’s licence you will need to personally attend a Driver and Vehicle Services Centre or regional Agent.

Please ensure you take the following documentation with you:

  • current overseas driver’s licence;
  • proof of identity – examples of accepted documents are provided in the “Proof of identity requirements for your initial (WA) Driver’s Licence” document found below;
  • proof of your WA residential address;
  • one document that shows your signature; and
  • the application fee (refer to schedule of fees below).


If you are a new permanent resident of Tasmania (fixed address) from another Australian State or Territory, or from another country you will need to make arrangements with DIER to get a Tasmanian licence.

If you hold a New Zealand driver licence you can transfer to a Tasmanian driver licence without having to sit a written or practical driving assessment.

You must produce a current New Zealand drivers licence (which doesn’t need to be surrendered only sighted) and pay the driver licence fee.

You need to provide the following in person at Service Tasmania shops or designated police stations:

  • your existing Australian licence (or New Zealand) and evidence of current residential address


  • Full Evidence of Identity
  • completed application form (Service Tasmania will provide this)
  • provide a medical certificate if applicable
  • pay a fee (if applicable)
  • have your photograph taken and provide your signature.

Northern Territory

You must change over your driver licence and vehicle registration within three (3) months of residing in the Northern Territory.

To Transfer your overseas licence you will need to :

  • provide a valid and current overseas driver licence
  • provide an international driving permit (issued in country of origin) or;
  • an official translation of the overseas licence into English by an Authorised Translator; or
  • an original letter from the licensing authority in the country of origin or the relevant consul or diplomatic corps confirming the licence details and status; or
  • an original letter from the licensing authority in the country of origin or the relevant consul or diplomatic corps confirming the licence details and status.

If you are not from a recognised country you will also need to pass a theory and practical (driving test).

Other conditions may apply, for further Information refer to Information Bulletins:


An Interstate / New Zealand public vehicle licence can be mutually recognised in the ACT under the Mutual Recognition (Australian Capital Territory) Act 1992 and the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997.

The mutual recognition legislation allows a person to transfer their interstate / New Zealand public vehicle licence to the ACT without completing certain requirements for an ACT Public Vehicle Driver Licence.

A person who applies for an ACT Public Vehicle Licence under mutual recognition must meet the eligibility requirements and provide certain documents in support of their application.

Applications for mutual recognition of an interstate / New Zealand public vehicle licence must be made in person at a Canberra Connect Shopfront.

An applicant for mutual recognition of a public vehicle licence must present the following documents on application to transfer an interstate / New Zealand public vehicle licence to the ACT:

  • Completed Application Form.
  • Evidence of resident status.
  • A statement of licence details showing the issue date of the interstate / New Zealand licence.
  • A current interstate / New Zealand public vehicle driver licence or public vehicle authority card.
  • A current interstate / New Zealand driver licence.

For more information on a ACT drivers licence and how to apply visit: international drivers.

Opening a Bank Account

New Zealand citizens are able to hold bank accounts in Australia, provided they are able to provide the appropriate identity documentation.

New Zealanders need to provide proof of identity before they can open a bank account in Australia. There are points assigned for information categories, and they must add up to 100 – a passport is worth 80, and other identification worth points may include a photographic drivers licence, Australian property lease documents, and electricity or telephone accounts. All these paper documents must be in the exact name of the applicant, with the name spelled identically.

Before leaving New Zealand, people need to ensure the name on their driver’s licence is exactly the same as the name in their passport, or it may not be usable as identification. New Zealand consular officials in Australia cannot alter New Zealand base identity documents such as drivers’ licences.

NZForex Foreign Exchange

NZForex is a foreign currency exchange service for those that are unaware of the high margins and fees that are often applied by the banks for international transfers. The difference in exchange rates can often mean savings of thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars (depending on volumes being sent). NZForex also provides hedging tools in order to assist you and your clients in managing the volatility of the foreign exchange markets.

If you are remitting funds to or from NZ or Australia, NZForex/OZForex can help.

Why shouldn’t I just use my bank to transfer my money to Australia?

We know what it’s like to move to a foreign country. Using a bank to transfer your money can cost you a lot of money and leave you wondering if and when your money has arrived. If you are moving to Australia, don’t settle for bad rates and large fees – take control of your currency transfers with NZForex!

About NZForex

NZForex is part of the OzForex global group of companies which was formed in 2001 with the aim of creating a smarter, online alternative to existing deliverable foreign exchange services. Focusing on providing individuals and corporate clients with a better deal, the group has over 100,000 clients globally who transfer in excess of $10 Billion NZD per annum. By using NZForex, you will enjoy;

  • Zero transaction fees
  • Extremely competitive foreign exchange rates across 52 currencies
  • Online access 24/7
  • Access to a dedicated Dealer by phone 24-hours a day, 5 days a week
  • Complete exchange rate transparency
  • Risk management tools through Limit Orders and Forward Exchange Contracts
  • Exchange rate alerts via email
  • Access to their highly regarded daily and weekly “Market Commentary”

Studying in Australia

Australia Education System

Each Australian State and Territory oversees its own education system, and there are small variations between the education systems of each State and Territory. To view the individual educational systems for each state of Australia, please click on the following link:

There are two main education sectors within each State – Government schools and Non-Government schools. Non-Government schools are classified as either Catholic schools or Independent schools. Most Independent schools have a religious affiliation, but some are non-denominational. All Government schools are non-denominational.

Types of schools

Most Australian schools use modern education methods within a traditional education framework. Children wear a school uniform, which is individual to their school. There are also a few schools which follow a particular educational philosophy, such as Steiner or Montessori.

There are Special Needs schools and special education programs within mainstream schools for disabled children, or children with other specific needs.

Schools often use remedial and extension classes or other approaches to meet the needs of students with differing levels of abilities. Some schools offer specialised programs in areas such as sport, the arts, or academia, for children who are gifted or talented.

There is a range of Boarding schools at Primary and Secondary level in the Private school sector throughout Australia. There are a few Secondary boarding schools, or accommodation, in the Government sector, in some States – mainly for students from remote rural areas. International students can study in schools in Australia.

You can search the the Australian Schools Directory for a comprehensive list of Australia schools, including Religious schools (Anglican schools, Uniting Church schools, Jewish schools, Christian schools etc), Special Needs schools, Alternative schools (such as Montessori or Steiner schools) or Boarding schools (

Boys Girls Co-educational

Most Australian schools are co-educational – for boys and girls. Some Catholic and Independent schools are single-gender, mainly at Secondary level, but sometimes in the Primary years as well. Some Independent single-gender schools offer co-educational classes in the early years.

Nearly all Government schools are co-educational. There are a few single-gender Government Secondary schools in some States in Australia.

Prep Primary and Secondary

Australia children usually attend a Preparatory year of school (often called Prep or Kindergarten), followed by Primary school and then Secondary school (often called High School). Including the Pre-School year, most students are at school for 13 years.

Students usually start in Preparatory school around the ages of four or five, and must start school by the age of six. Entry age requirements can vary by more than six months between schools and States.

Primary and Secondary schools are mostly in separate locations, but some Catholic schools and many Independent schools have Primary and Secondary schools on the same campus.


At Primary school level there is an emphasis on English reading and writing, mathematics and the Study of Society and the Environment (SOSE). Students usually also have music, sport, drama, computer studies, science, art, and learn a language (LOTE). Often there are many extra curricular activities offered outside of class time, such as choir, orchestra, chess or sport.

In the early Secondary years students continue to study English and Mathematics and other core subjects. As they progress through their Secondary years, students must study English, but can start to select which other subjects they study and they begin to specialise in certain areas of learning. Again there are many extra curricular activities on offer, such as debating, school musicals or sports competitions.

Finishing school

Secondary school finishes at Year 12. Depending on the State, students must continue their education until 15, 16 or 17 years of age. Further studies can be continued at Universities or TAFE (Technical and Further Education).

School Term Dates

Unlike New Zealand schools, which all have approximately the same school holidays, Australian school holiday’s vary depending on the school and state.

Please visit the website of the Education Department of the State of your choice for information about Government school term dates, or visit the Australian Government website here:

For Independent or Catholic schools please check with individual schools. Their term dates can vary a little from the Government schools and from one another.

List of Australian Schools

You can find a list of Australian schools by state or territory on the following Wikipedia page ( or on the Australian Schools Directory (

Below are a couple of websites that rank the Australian schools:

Moving to Australia Checklist

Below is a Moving to Australia Checklist (Pre Move Planner) ausmove put together to help you organize and plan your move. You can download a printable version from their website here.

4 weeks before you move:

  • Ensure passports, visas and any travel bookings are finalized.
  • Contact Post office and request change of address forms for redirection of mail.
  • Contact your doctors, dentist, schools and request all records be sent out to you.(Tip: Ask Doctors and Dentists for referrals to reputable Health professionals in your new location).
  • If you havent already started, now would be a good time to start discarding unwanted items. You may want to consider having placing an ad for a garage sale.
  • Advise your bank and credit card companies to arrange transfer of funds and/or termination of your account.

Notify the following departments/groups letting them know of your move:

  • Department of Inland Revenue (I.R.D)
  • Electoral Registrar
  • Your local council
  • Police Department if you hold firearms licence
  • Your solicitors
  • Your church or clubs you belong too
  • Publications to which you subscribe (cancel or transfer subscription)
  • Friends or Family
  • Confirm your removal date with Ausmove. And any other aspects of your move packing, storage, insurance, documentation, your pets etc.

2 weeks before you move:
Ensure to discontinue the following:

  • Milk/bread delivery
  • Newspaper delivery
  • Telephone – final reading also
  • Gas and electricity
  • Water services


  • If your plants won’t survive relocation give them away to friends or neighbours.
  • Organise someone to look after your children and pets on the day of the move.
  • Return all items burrowed and collect items on loan.
  • Arrange for the cancellation of services such as electricity, gas, phone and internet.
  • Arrange for disposal of anything not sold at your moving sale.
  • Dispose of items that cannot be moved, such as inflammable liquids.
  • Transfer prescriptions and be sure you have an adequate supply of medications on hand.
  • Assemble a file folder of information to leave for the new owner of your home.
  • Take animals to vet for immunization if necessary.
  • Arrange travelers cheques.
  • Personal accident and medical insurance arranged.
  • Inoculations for yourself and family done.
  • Power of Attorney arranged.
  • International drivers licence arranged.
  • Collect any laundry from drycleaners.
  • Remove all food from the refrigerator, and defrost the freezer.
  • Disconnect electrical appliances.
  • Empty the fuel and oil from mowers.
  • Empty gas bottles.
  • Clean out medicine cabinet and dispose in a safe way. I.e. via the chemist – unwanted medicines.
  • Have your T.V. aerial taken down and dismantled.
  • Anchor the drum of the automatic washing machine – please consult your local appliance dealer.
  • Arrange an easy meal for moving day with disposable utensils, or eat out.
  • Disposal of, or arrange with Ausmove to store unwanted furniture.
  • Return any borrowed items and garden tools
  • Set aside jewelry, money, valuable documents, travel documents, stamp collection, to take in your possession. Don’t forget to books and games for the children.
  • Lock up pets if required
  • Arrange for someone to mind the children on move day.

On move day:

  • Be sure someone is at the old house to answer questions.
  • Anything left behind, check prior to Ausmove leaving the garage, under the house or in unused cupboards?
  • No clothes at the dry cleaners, goods at repairers
  • Keys surrendered
  • Has your new house been cleaned prior to moving in – its easier to do when its empty Ausmove can arrange this if required.

Handy Hints:

  • Ensure fridge/freezer cleaned – wipe out using a damp cloth with vanilla essence, blow dry especially corners, put silica gel into fresh a compartment or four to five tea bags which will soak up any moisture and will ensure it won’t go mouldy.
  • Don’t place breakables, liquids or heavy items in drawers
  • Avoid overloading drawers with linen etc, and don’t forget to check that all items have been moved.