Australia and Los Angeles are two very different places. When you begin planning a new part of your life in the US, there are many things for Australians to consider. The entire process of moving will take time and aspects like the cost of living and lifestyle will differ substantially.
If you're getting serious about the move, read on for a few of the things you'll need to know.
The Visa Process
Getting a working visa in the US is now more difficult than ever, not to mention a very long process. If you need to apply for a visa on your own you'll need to fit numerous criteria, however, if you're lucky enough to get a job that sponsors you, the process will be a lot easier.
Some visas require a tertiary education at minimum and if you have specialised skills you may be able to attain an O-class visa. If you do get approved for a visa, the process can take many months and when it needs to be renewed you must still return to Australia to do so. Sometimes this will involve immigration lawyers, hopefully your place of employment has their own as it can cost thousands of dollars.
Getting a job in the US is not easy for Australians - with the difficulty extending to all foreigners. Companies with an in-house immigration lawyer will find the process a lot simpler. If you're a better candidate than a local American, you can often be passed over due to the complex process involved in hiring you. This doesn’t mean an Australian will not be hired. If you are highly skilled or experienced, you should always apply for the job.
Buying or Renting?
If you're moving to Los Angeles and are looking to buy a house, the news is not good, with prices having risen substantially over the last five to seven years. Having said that, the average price for a house in LA in 2015 was a little over $600,000. That is substantially lower than Sydney prices.
If you're renting, LA is one of the more expensive cities in the US. According to myapartmentmap.com, the average rent on a one-bedroom LA apartment is $1,949 a month. This will all depend on the area and the actual home. Typically, the further out of the city you live, the less rent you will pay.
When we think of LA, traffic comes to mind. The nature of the city being spread out means you'll need to drive or get transport everywhere. If you do own a car, gas prices are very high in LA. If you don’t have a car, you will have to rely on transport.
The LA metro has a base fare of almost two dollars which isn’t too high. In most cities around the US you must buy 30-day passes for public transport which are usually $100. Public transport in LA is not that expensive, however it does take long travel times due to the city being so large and traffic being heavy.
In terms of food, LA has it all. From upscale restaurants to delicious food trucks, there is something for everyone. According to Numbeo, the average cost of a meal for two at a restaurant in LA is $56 and the average coffee costs $3.89. This could be considered expensive if you factor in the exchange rate. However, buying food from supermarkets is a lot cheaper.
The US healthcare system is considered to be unique. The US does not have a uniform health system, no universal healthcare coverage, and only recently changed legislation assigning healthcare coverage for almost everyone. According to Castlight Health, you could expect to pay around $120 for a visit to a regular physician.
Los Angeles has a reputation of luxury lifestyles, celebrities and showbiz, however, the city can provide so much more. While the city sees a lot of urban sprawl and pollution, the outer city limits provide beautiful landscape and scenery. A city where you can be skiing in the morning and surfing in the afternoon.
Remember to start planning your move to LA early as the process of attaining a visa will take time. Rushing the process, or leaving it to the last minute is never a good idea, so giving yourself plenty of time and researching thoroughly will ensure you start your new LA life on the right foot.
If you do decide to move from Australia to LA, keep PACK & SEND top of mind for shipping your belongings across. We can help whether you're sending a small box, and extra suitcase, or a room full of your prized possession.