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Moving to Australia

Author: International

Published: 28 Feb 2022

Frequently asked questions on living and working in Australia. Find out about your qualification, national insurance contributions, taxation, and entry requirements.
  • Will my ACA/FCA qualification be recognised in Australia, or do I need to re-qualify?

    Yes, it is recognised, and you will not need to re-qualify. Your ACA/FCA qualification is well recognised by practising firms (particularly those with global recognition and alliances), top recruitment firms, and global employers.

    Some local employers may need to have the qualification explained to them.

    Many members find work through fellow members who are recruiting for their employers and networking is a good way to source these opportunities.

    Members may have to gain local experience at a lower level before moving ahead in their careers. You should consider applying for relevant roles advertised as open to CAs or CPAs. You are entitled to call yourself a ‘Chartered Accountant’ and use the ACA/FCA post-nominal. You do not need to show ‘England & Wales’ after your qualification as in Australia there is no legal requirement to do so.

    The ACA is comparable to a UK Master’s degree or a postgraduate diploma. UK ENIC (the UK government's agency for the recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills) completed an independent review of the academic level of ICAEW CFAB and the ACA. The review was to determine how the qualifications compare to the national education system using benchmarks such as the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) which is used in Australia. UK ENIC concluded that ICAEW CFAB was comparable to RQF Level 4 (first year university), and the ACA was comparable to RQF Level 7 (UK Master's degree/ postgraduate diploma standard).

    Most chartered accountants in Australia have a degree in accounting and employers may be sceptical towards the qualification of an ICAEW chartered accountant with a non-relevant degree. However, under NOOSA the ICAEW ACA is recognised as equivalent to a Bachelor degree in Accounting.

    Further, many Australian Bachelor degrees are not awarded with Honours and therefore to state this in your cv and in your postnominals may assist employment opportunities.

    In Australia, there is a membership recognition agreement in place with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ). Should you wish, you may be able to join this Institute without sitting further assessments (unless you wish to be a partner in a firm of chartered accountants), provided you maintain your ICAEW membership. However, it is suggested that you first discuss this with your local Contact Member as there are several issues to consider before doing so and costs incurred. 

    For permanent resident visas you will need to have your qualification assessed (at cost) through one of the three Australian accounting bodies. This is straightforward through CA ANZ because of the membership recognition agreement. You will need to pass the appropriate English Language Test as well and meet the other requirements for migration such as character and medical assessments.

    If applying for permanent residence you may wish to use a migration agent. If so, you should use a migration agent recognised by the Australian Government’s Migration Agent Registration Authority (MIRA).

    It is important to note that professional registrations are not issued by CA ANZ or other accounting body but by government authorities based on assessment of your qualifications and experience. These include registered company auditor, tax, and Business Activity Statement (BAS) agent, financial adviser, and insolvency practitioner.

  • Can I get a training contract in Australia, or complete my training contract in Australia?

    No - ACA training is not available in Australia.

    Ideally you should consider completion of your training contract before arriving in Australia, as it is unlikely that Australian accounting bodies will provide cross credit.

  • What support is available to me as an ICAEW member in Australia?

    Whether you are thinking about a move, or are already in Australia, ICAEW can provide resources and networking opportunities. From local events to online resources and e-learning opportunities, we are here to support you.

    Find out more

    ICAEW has five contact members who are your points of contact in Australia and can help you with on-the-ground know-how.  They are there to support you and answer any questions that you have regarding your move.

    There are also three members groups in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, and Queensland. These groups support members and organise technical presentations and networking events for members to join. They represent a good opportunity to meet with other members, nearly all of whom have experienced the tips and traps around migration. To receive information in your local area, please ensure your ICAEW communication preferences are up to date.

    We also have a LinkedIn group set up for members in Australia, which will keep you informed of upcoming events and relevant ICAEW initiatives. 

    ICAEW is also part of the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA), which represents close to 800,000 of the world’s leading professional accountants in over 16 countries.  An alliance of ten of the leading accounting bodies including CA ANZ, the GAA was created to promote quality professional services, global membership support, facilitate information sharing and ensure collaboration on important international issues.

    ICAEW’s membership with the GAA ensures our members have access to a range of reciprocal benefits with affiliated institutes around the world.  This includes access to restricted areas of affiliated institutes’ websites, networking opportunities, training and development and publications at member rates. There is no cost to register and your ICAEW membership will provide you with all the assistance you need.

  • GAA Passport

    As a member of the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA), ICAEW members are entitled to a range of reciprocal benefits through Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ).

    The GAA Passport is free of charge and is designed to help members from other jurisdictions when they visit, or move, to Australia or New Zealand for work. You do not need to join CA ANZ to get the benefits and there are a whole host of benefits available to ICAEW members, which may vary across locations but generally include:

    • access to member magazines, such as CA ANZ's magazines and other online newsletters
    • access to educational and networking events, and continuing professional development courses including online webinars at member rates
    • limited access to online social networking (excluding MyCA) and support groups
    • limited access to online subject gateways and country resources
    • eligible for CA ANZ member rewards and discounts (restrictions apply)
    • access to library resources and meeting facilities

    If you would like to apply, please complete the form, and submit this form to service@charteredaccountantsanz.com to be processed.
  • How can I access CABA support when I am in Australia?

    No matter where you live in Australia, CABA’s free online services and local support helps past and present ICAEW members like you for life.

    You don’t need to be in practice, in work or even still in the profession to get help.  And don’t forget that husbands, wives, life partners, dependent children and young adults under 25 can access the support too.

    They are there to help – in all kinds of ways.

    Find out more

  • Will I need a visa to work in Australia?

    Yes – you will need a visa to enter and work in Australia (unless you are a New Zealand citizen). You should note that it is illegal to work in Australia without the correct visa, employers can be heavily fined, and those found working illegally will be removed. Those holding a tourist visa are not able to work.

    There are various types of visas available for your time in Australia.

    Find out which visa suits your needs

  • Whilst I am working in Australia, what support am I entitled to?

    Generally social security benefits are available only to Australian permanent residents or citizens residing permanently in Australia and only after a certain period.

    If you are struggling financially – whether you’re in work, unemployed, retired or have been affected by COVID-19, CABA can help in unprecedented times.

    Read more details

  • How does the tax system work in Australia?

    Tax rates in Australia depend on the residential status of the taxpayer.

    The general rule is that a person who is a tax resident of Australia is assessable on worldwide income (except to the extent that it is exempt income).

    Other than in respect of a working holiday visa holder, ‘net taxable income’ is taxed at graduated rates currently ranging from 19 percent to 45 percent with a tax-free threshold. There is no tax-free threshold for a working holiday visa and a minimum 15% applies. In addition, most visa types are subject to a health care levy (Medicare Levy) based on net taxable income and subject to different thresholds based on income, and single or couple status, and number of children.

    We suggest you consider obtaining professional advice on your tax position in UK before moving to Australia, and on arrival.

    Read further guidance

  • I have a UK pension or pension entitlement. What will happen to my pension when I move to Australia?

    We recommend you get professional advice on pensions and other entitlements before moving to Australia.

  • Will I still need to pay National Insurance in the UK when I move to Australia?

    You might be able to pay UK National Insurance while you are working abroad.

    Read guidance

  • How does the healthcare system work in Australia?

    The Australian healthcare system is a hybrid of both public and private schemes. A higher rate of Levy (Medicare Surcharge) applies to a permanent resident visa holder who is a high-income taxpayer (above a threshold) who does not hold a minimum level of Hospital cover throughout the tax year (1 July to 30 June). The surcharge is calculated from the day of arrival in Australia and if the threshold is breached the surcharge will apply for each day in the tax year for which cover is not held. Hospital cover cannot be backdated and if you are likely to earn more than the threshold you should urgently review your position as the income tax impost may exceed the cost of cover. Health insurance in Australia is part of the private sector.

     Information on Australia's reciprocal agreement with the UK and the access to healthcare services that this provides for UK citizens in Australia is available.

    If you are struggling to cover the cost of medical care and equipment CABA may be able to offer free financial assistance to help pay for things like prescriptions, medical insurance and more.

    Find out more

  • How do I set up a bank account when moving to Australia?

    Opening a bank account in Australia is relatively straightforward for those with a work visa and relevant identification documents.

Further questions?

If your query has not been answered, please contact us by email.