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  • Writer's pictureElite Woodhams Relocation

Do returning Australian Expats need relocation assistance...? “She’ll be right”… Right?

Coming back home after living overseas can be harder than anticipated...

With no community transmission of Covid-19 currently in Australia, the government continues with measures to ‘keep Covid out’ allowing the population to live freely and without restrictions.

Mandatory hotel quarantine for 2 weeks, passenger caps on flights and very limited eligibility for travel exemptions have been in place for over a year, all curbing inbound travel and the risk of cases occurring. But this is a major challenge for organisations facing local skills shortages. Additionally, the government has identified those industries and professions critical to Australia’s economic recovery as defined in The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List. If not on this list, the Department of Home Affairs is not considering such visa applications at this time.

So what is the solution? Many companies are seeing Australians respond to their overseas recruiting efforts and apply to take up roles back home. It's a win-win situation.

Coming home...

Covid-19 has forced many of the more than a million Australian citizens living overseas to reconsider the viability of living and working away from the comfort and security of home. The lure of wide-open skies after living in dense locations such as New York, London or Tokyo or a health care system that is not a major financial burden is very enticing.

In moving to Australia, citizens:

  • Are not required to seek a travel exemption

  • Are free to return as they wish, subject to securing a flight

  • And their employers incur no costly visa fees or other associated expenses, such as private health insurance.

But do these new hires require any other support? While there aren’t language barriers to consider, is a “She’ll be right” attitude taken by a hiring company actually, right?

Acknowledge new priorities...

While delighted to have an opportunity to advance their career and return home, the employee’s life may have changed dramatically since they left. A 24-year-old bachelor returns from London a 34-year-old Dad of 2 with very different priorities. Considerations of where the family-friendly suburbs are and which school to enroll at are all new for this returning Aussie. Equally, they could be relocating to a completely new city from their state of origin – one they’ve never visited, let alone lived in.

Plan in advance...

If there is a pet to bring home, the import process needs to start at least 6 months before the employee returns. Australia requires rabies shots to be administered a few months in advance and there is quarantine to consider too.

This is also the time to pre-organise money matters such as tax obligations and transferring funds from overseas.

Many returning Australians are surprised by how expensive it feels here after being away for years. Being upfront about the cost of living in Australia and in particular the housing market (that is constantly getting press attention) goes a long way to managing expectations.

Win in a competitive market...

Contrary to what may have been predicted at the height of the pandemic in 2020, Australia’s real estate market is extremely competitive in many sectors. It’s been widely acknowledged that returning Australians are fuelling housing demand, impacting both vacancy rates and property prices. Australian expats may also return to live in their own investment properties further lowering stock. Most capital cities have seen vacancy rates drop in the last quarter with the majority now well below the 3% considered a stable and balanced market.

Whilst Sydney and Melbourne vacancy rates indicate some softness in the market, zoning in on particular neighbourhoods tells a very different story. Family homes in the Bayside area of Melbourne or the Lower North Shore of Sydney are few and far between.

In recent months, we have seen applicants offering significantly over the asking price on a property. One company paid 12 months’ rent up front to secure a home for a new employee. In order to be efficient and productive in their new job, a returning Australian needs to hit the ground running and be successful in quickly sourcing a new home. Where long-standing relationships help applications get to the top of the pile, independent support to navigate the market is a huge benefit.

There is also a substantial list of administrative tasks that have to be taken care of such as connecting utilities, getting internet access and re-establishing medical insurance. Guidance on these matters can certainly relieve some of these headaches.

Getting Re-Settled...

It’s not uncommon to romanticise coming back and many feel disillusioned with the reality that things don’t just fall into place and social networks may have changed. Relocating is one of the most disruptive life events we can go through and whilst there is a soft landing in Australia, it can be a daunting and emotional time. Having an expert’s support through this process can be very valuable in ensuring a smooth start.

Demonstrating your commitment and being an employer of choice...

Finally, as with any new hire, the onboarding experience is critical in creating a strong first impression of the organisation: One that is committed to investing in its people and their success. What better way to demonstrate this than to recognise the challenges of relocating and support them through that, Aussie or not?


For Returning Australians, we have designed the following relocation support packages to ensure you settle quickly.

The Sweet As Package – Essential knowledge and expert input to increase your chances of getting the property you want, when you need it.

  • Unaccompanied Home Search

  • You research the market with our advice.

  • We’ll book up to 8 properties from your short-list

  • You visit the properties by yourself, we’ll train you on what to look out for.

  • We assist with up to 3 applications and provide a lease review

  • We’ll kickstart the utilities connections process.

The Ripper Package – Be efficient and targeted in finding your new home with our expert support.

  • 1 day Accompanied Home Search

  • We’ll research the market in line with your requirements

  • We’ll accompany you to visit up to 5 properties

  • We assist with up to 3 applications and provide a lease review

  • We’ll kickstart the utilities connections process.

The Green & Gold PackageSit back and relax, let us do the leg work for you.

  • 2 Day Bundle to cover accompanied home search and settling in tasks

  • We’ll accompany you to visit up to 10 properties and assist with up to 5 applications

  • We can be present to do the condition report to ensure you are not inadvertently held accountable for any damage

  • During the accompanied support, the consultant will provide valuable local insight about the local area.

  • As a trusted name in the market, EWR’s great connections with real estate agents will lift you above the competition. See your rental application get put to the top of the pile!

Our accompanied services can also be done on your behalf, showing properties over FaceTime if you are in quarantine.

Optional Extras

  • Unaccompanied or accompanied School Search

  • Household Goods Management and pet relocation

  • Short-term accommodation from 1 night to 12 months, while you look for long-term housing

  • Flight bookings

  • Immigration needs of non-Australian family members

  • Departure support from the current location

If you are a returning Australian or you have a new employee returning to Australia, please reach out to us at or call +61 (2) 9955 3300 or +61 427 219 079.


Written by: Anna Kavelj - Managing Director 07/05/2021


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