Retirement in Australia offers expats a high quality of life and an opportunity to enjoy their retirement in a spacious, pollution-free environment that has an abundance of natural resources and beauty hot spots. In addition to its well-developed infrastructure, Australia’s moderate winters have made it an increasingly popular destination for those retirees from abroad who seek warm, pleasant climates.
Australia has some of the least expensive cities in the world in which to live. As with every other country in the world, there is a variation in the cost of living from city to city. The cities which frequently appear as offering a low cost of living compared to the quality of life on offer are Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne.
Life expectancy in Australia is high and the health and social care facilities on offer are of very good quality. However, retirees should always bear in mind the fact that they will not be entitled to any government or medical benefits during their retirement in Australia and will need to secure their own fully-comprehensive insurance policy from an Australian company.
The Australian residential market is primarily focused on renting as opposed to sales and because of the lack of competition for properties that are for sale, purchasing a property can often act as a useful economical entry point for people who are looking to retire in Australia. However, it is important to note that the housing market in Australia does not typically offer buyers a good return and for this reason, only people who are looking to stay in the country for a long time should consider purchasing during their retirement in Australia.
Typically the further a property is away from a large city or town, the cheaper it will be. Rents and purchase prices tend to be highest in Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin.
Social and Political Climate in Australia
Australia is regarded as having a very low risk of political instability and it ranked second in the world for political stability in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2009.
Australia has a low crime rate and is a relatively safe country. However, as with most destinations, retirees should act with caution, especially when out in the city at night. Homes and cars should be kept secured when unoccupied.
Australia has a highly developed and sophisticated infrastructure and the standard of communications, transportation and public services on offer here is on par with that available in other developed nations.
Retirement in Australia: Visa Requirements
Standard Retirement Visa
People who wish to retire in Australia must be over the age of 55. With the exception of your spouse, who does not need to over 55 to qualify, you cannot have any dependents. People who apply for the standard retirement visa will be awarded a temporary visa in the first instance, which is valid for four years. After this period has lapsed, the visa can then be renewed on a two-year rolling basis. In order to qualify you will be required to demonstrate that you are in good health and have no previous criminal convictions.
Permanent Australian Retirement Visas
If you are looking for a longer-term retirement visa you may choose to apply for a permanent retirement visa. In order to qualify for this, you will need to adhere to stricter rules and regulations. Permanent Australian visas are viewed as investment visas and for this reason, you will be required to demonstrate that you possess assets of a pre-determined value. This value will vary according to which area of Australia you wish to retire. However, a general rule of thumb is as follows:
- High Growth Region: $750,000 worth of assets and an additional $500,000 for any dependent (spouse).
- Low Growth Region: $500,0000 worth of assets and an additional $250,000 for any dependent (spouse).
You will be required to demonstrate that you have owned these assets for a minimum of two years prior to applying for a permanent Australian visa.
For full details about the latest visa requirements for retiring in Australia please see our international relocation guides. These contain full and up to date details of the visa requirements and application process.