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Graemsay last won the day on June 2 2010

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About Graemsay

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  1. Graemsay


    Just an update. Whilst posting the above, my RRV came through.
  2. Graemsay


    I've got a similar RRV headache. I'm due to attend a funeral for a family member in the US next week, and have just applied to renew mine. Yeah, I should have sorted it out a couple of weeks ago, but didn't. When I spoke to immigration yesterday I was told that it could take up to 47 days, or nearly seven weeks, to come through. My options are currently: Book a return flight from the US in a fortnight, and gamble that the visa will be issued on time. Book the return flight in six or seven weeks, and hang out in LA until the visa is issued. I could then bring the return leg forward if it's issued sooner. Use it as an excuse to fly out to the UK, and book a return at the end of June. I can't book a one-way flight to the US, as immigration there needs to see proof I'll be leaving within ninety days. Fortunately I'm not working, so I don't need to explain an extended leave of absence to an employer. I think that the sensible thing for @Marcus109 to do would be to cancel his return flight and wait for the visa to be issued. This will cause some problems with work, but I can't see him being allowed back into Australia without one. He could try to harangue the DIBP, but I don't think that they'd speed things up for him.
  3. Graemsay

    Breaking News - 457 Visas Stopped

    @fensaddler the changes to visas are typically made with no notice to prevent people from making a last minute application to avoid tightened rules. I think that immigration has benefited Australia in many ways. But successive governments haven't been willing to match infrastructure spending to the numbers of arrivals, which has exacerbated the problems. The anti-immigration rhetoric has been growing over the last couple of years, and as I said in my last post, I suspect that numbers are going to fall, and Australia is going to become fussier. I don't think that this is necessarily a bad thing for the country as a whole, importing workers for low-skilled jobs, or to force wages down doesn't benefit the locals. But for individuals like yourself it could be a disaster. @Alan Collett the Kiwis are engaged in similar Aussie Kiwi first reforms. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/19/new-zealand-restricts-skilled-worker-visas-in-kiwis-first-approach-to-immigration
  4. Graemsay

    Breaking News - 457 Visas Stopped

    I think that @imthedave has the right plan, as the Department of Immigration has been known to make sudden changes, and there's a chance that waiting will put you on the wrong side of one of these. The Australian and New Zealand governments are keen to bring down immigration, and it looks like the permanent visas will be the next target. Changes to the citizenship programme have also been mentioned, though I haven't heard any details. A lot of media commentary has mentioned that the number of arrivals is running at about twice its long term average. I suspect that we'll see a halving of the intake in the short to medium term, which will make things more difficult for would be immigrants.
  5. Graemsay

    So Brexit now needs parliamentary approval?

    This piece from Conservative Home argues that Theresa May's secrecy is a feature, not a bug, and a method of keeping the Tories together. http://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2017/01/may-must-refuse-to-explain-the-details-of-her-brexit-plan.html The problem is that the government is engaged in a policy that half of the country thinks is great, and the other half thinks is completely insane. This thread is evidence of the divisions, and there's been no attempt to heal them. In fact, a number of politicians are using them to further their ends. Lastly, I want to throw this link in here. Research by the LSE suggests that support for Brexit might actually be slightly under 50%. So much for the "settled will of the British people". Also note the FT's research on demographics, which is mentioned in the article. If voting intentions don't change as people age, there'll be a growing remain majority by 2021. http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/brexit-is-not-the-will-of-the-british-people/
  6. Graemsay

    Stay or go

    I moved to Melbourne almost exactly two years ago from London. My situation was similar to Kurt's, except a couple of years older (42 then, 44 now), I was working as a contractor, and I'm not Greek. I made the move for a couple of reasons: I was in a rut, as London's property market made it increasingly difficult to think about buying a place of my own. I had a visa which I'd have lost if I had waited another month to arrive, and it would have been a waste not to use it. And my father urged me to take the opportunity. I don't know if I'll stay long term, but I'll be apply for citizenship in 2018, so I'm planning on sticking around until then. For me, a lot hangs on what happens with Brexit, as I'd prefer to be on the Continent than in the UK, and that might get difficult in 2019. But I don't think that I'm going to be any worse off for being over here for a couple of years. At risk of being labelled a remoaner, I think that there's also a chance that the UK could have a negative shock from Brexit. There's already talk of banks and other companies making plans to relocate. Comparing earnings and costs at £1 to $2 (and it's around $1.70 now), I think that salaries might be slightly higher, and contract rates slightly lower. There's not a huge difference between Sydney and Melbourne. Accommodation is a lot more in Sydney. I'd put the price of housing at a roughly similar level to London. Melbourne's about a third less, rents are maybe a bit lower again, largely because there's been a massive oversupply of apartments in the inner suburbs. Bear in mind that you'll probably need to purchase a washing machine and fridge, as most rentals don't include them. Prices of other goods and services vary. Some are similar to the UK, others can be twice as much. If you've got nice furniture, then it's worth shipping. A Large MoveCube is around £1100 all in, and will swallow most of the contents of a one bedroom apartment.
  7. Graemsay

    So Brexit now needs parliamentary approval?

    The median salary in the UK was about £28K last year. As far as I can tell, £35K puts you into the top quarter of incomes. Most British workers earn less than that too. According to InFacts, who aren't necessarily an unbiased source, most of the stories about the EU giving grants to businesses to relocate outside of the UK are myths. Ford shifting production to Turkey might fall into a grey area, as they received a loan from the EU at about the time they discontinued production at Southampton, but already had the Turkish factory. Regardless of the economics of Brexit, I think that the politicians are continuing to botch the process. The UK is deeply divided on the issue, and Theresa May's secrecy and unwillingness to allow any debate isn't helping, nor is Labour's inability to hold the government to account.
  8. There were a lot of people saying that demand would support house prices in Ireland, and that a crash couldn't happen there. Here's a debate back in 2007 in which one economist reckoned property values would track earnings, the other reckoned that they were stupidly overpriced. And here are a few quotes from an article in the Irish Independent from about the same time. They're from paragraphs picked out at random from the piece, but I've heard similar claims made about the Australian market. The December Budget personal taxation measures and the doubling of mortgage interest relief for first time buyers, coupled with increased competition between financial institutions, has improved affordability, even allowing for the interest rate increases which now appear to be close to their peak. We are very lucky now to have interest rates of just 3.75-4 per cent. This is very low compared to the 10-16 per cent that prevailed in Ireland in previous decades. As one who has been involved in the Irish property market for 40 years and has experienced every type of market scenario, I am totally convinced that the market is currently in good shape and that anyone buying now will do extremely well in the years ahead. There is no better investment than Irish property at present, and I believe that I will be proved right in this conviction. Why do we allow scaremongers and doomsayers with unfounded pessimism and unbridled negativity dictate our thinking and blunt consumer confidence? We all know how that one turned out... Of course, Sydney's been booming since 2008, and made a whole lot of economists look very stupid over the past decade. Steve Keen predicted a 40% collapse in prices at the tail end of the GFC, and they've doubled since then.
  9. Graemsay

    So Brexit now needs parliamentary approval?

    Modern economics believes international trade operates under the gravity model, namely the amount of trade between two countries is proportional to the size of their markets and distance. It holds up well under empirical scrutiny. The other observation is that borders slow trade due to non-tariff barriers. There are two main issues: Customs checks slow down the transport of goods, and technical standards ensure that a widget manufactured in Burnley is interchangeable with one from Bavaria, without having to undergo independent tests. In combination, these make it easier to sell between EU countries. In fact, an awful lot of the red tape from Brussels is there to enact standards that all EU members adhere to. Paul Nightingale, who got into a Twitter spat with Douglas Carswell over the Sun, Moon and tides, wrote a piece explaining all this in simple terms. So being outside of the Single Market, even with tariff free access, is going to cause an impediment to trade with Europe. Being a rich market of 440 million people, that's going to hurt the balance of payments. A free trade deal with China or India isn't going to offset this. They might be bigger markets, but the distance from the UK will reduce the amount of benefit that. And that's assuming it's not completely one sided. The agreement between the Chinese and Swiss gives the former immediate tariff free access, whilst the latter has to wait fifteen years! Lastly, I want to make a point about Change Britain's figures. They have a projected benefit of £24 billion in event of a Clean Brexit. The UK's GDP is just under £2 trillion, making it worth about a 1% advantage. I find a lot of politicians to use big numbers as a kind of rhetoric, but they fail to put them in context.
  10. What struck about Australia is how blatantly big business sets the political agenda. In fact, most of the wealthiest Australians have made their fortunes due to political connections, rather than innovation. Around half of all mortgage lending is made to investors, rather than homeowners. Changes to the tax laws, such as eliminating negative gearing, would harm that. There was a huge amount of lobbying by the real estate industry, which was effective given my opening point, and with 1.8 million property investors in Australia, there's a lot of votes of stake. I don't know how much Chinese investors affect the Australian market. It's hard to tell someone who's emigrated and been granted PR or citizenship, from someone who's still based there. I also suspect that they're not as fabulously wealthy as claimed, most of the estimates suggest that there are 1.3 million millionaires over there, which is just slightly ahead of the million or so in Australia. The thing is there aren't any easy solutions. If property prices fall to an affordable level, that would wipe out virtually every investor, would wreck the finances of a lot of people approaching retirement, and probably cause a financial crisis. If they stay where they are, the younger generations are increasingly locked out of home ownership.
  11. Graemsay

    Where to rent in Sydney?

    I'm going to echo the comments that @northshorepom and @srh82 have made. Moving your daughter to Australia in the middle of her A-levels is going to be massively disruptive to her education. The academic year starts at the end of February, and given a two month processing time for a 457, you've got no chances of being settled in Sydney by then. So either you takes a year out of school, or has a massive amount of catching up to do. And that's before you think about things like differences in the curriculum. My suggestion would be either to move in July next year, and send your daughter back to the UK for her final academic year, or put off emigrating until the middle of 2018. As for Sydney, property costs are on a par with London. I'd be looking along one of the rail routes, or somewhere that has a ferry service on the harbour. A lot of places look much better on the listings websites than they do in reality, so you really need to be here to see them. I'd recommend staying in temporary accommodation for a couple of months to get your bearings. In any case there's shipping time to get your furniture down from the UK. Lastly, most rentals don't include white goods, so you need to budget for a washing machine and fridge.
  12. In contrast, last year's Senate inquiry produced a number of recommendations. http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Economics/Affordable_housing_2013/Report The housing market in Oz strikes me as being really messed up, and there's way too much money chasing investment properties. It's not going to end well in Sydney and Melbourne.
  13. Graemsay

    So Brexit now needs parliamentary approval?

    Also, take a look at this blog post. Enough of this "Will of the People" nonsense
  14. Graemsay

    So Brexit now needs parliamentary approval?

    I'm going to take issue with this whole "will of the people" thing, because it's making it out as though there's a massive majority in favour of Brexit. There isn't. Prior to the referendum opinion was roughly split three ways: Just over a third wanted to remain, just under a third wanted to leave, and the rest were undecided. And as we all know, leave won by a small amount. Boris himself concluded, "And yet we who agreed with this majority verdict must accept that it was not entirely overwhelming." Leave supporters frequently claim that if the referendum was re-run, they'd still win, but with a greater majority. This isn't supported by the polls. In fact, this chart, from the LSE's Brexit blog, shows how opinion has shifted since the vote. In fact, there is evidence that: Opinion has shifted against Brexit since the referendum. Non-voters favoured remain over leave. I suspect that a lot of the leaders of the Leave camp know the above, hence there's been a strong desire not to have a second ballot or election prior to the UK exiting the EU. I don't know what the solution is, and think it's a political Kobayashi Maru scenario. The referendum was won on a 52% vote for Brexit, and it's likely that opinion now is at a similar level against. That suggests the country is divided down the middle, rather than there being a consensus, and I think that's what Theresa May should be looking for. Perhaps we stay and attempt reform of the EU, perhaps we leave, or maybe there's a third path (e.g. EFTA membership) that we take instead.
  15. Graemsay

    Moving money back to the UK from Oz

    Going back to the exchange rate, the Pound has just jumped to $1.62 on news that Article 50 has to be invoked by Parliament. The FX markets don't like Brexit.