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Everything posted by FamilyHughes

  1. Gosh the last 12 years have zoomed by since leaving the UK to live here in Australia and resident for tax purposes. This year I turn 60 and am entitled to receive my UK Defined Benefits Pension at the normal scheme retirement age. I have decided not to take a lump sum and simply want to receive the standard payments monthly. I've received a letter from my Pension scheme in the UK asking for my wishes in terms of lump sum/monthly payment options and wanting to know which bank account to pay the funds into. I've searched online for information and indeed this forum but can't find anything that seems to explain how I go about arranging for my pension payments to be paid with no UK tax taken off at source. I am hoping that I can arrange to pay all taxation in Australia from day 1. I've seen mentions of P85 form needing to be completed and also mention of needing to get the ATO to fill in a form and send to my pension provider. I filled in P85 when I left the UK and have that letter retained, but there was no mention of an NT tax code for example so that doesn't maybe seem relevant. I have searched on the ATO website and the only information I can find is how to apply for a tax off-set once I have been taxed by the UK... just what I'm hoping to avoid. Is there anyone on this board who has gone through this and managed to work out what to do with success? My pension is due to be paid in September this year, so I have a little time to get things organised if possible. Thank you heaps everyone!
  2. FamilyHughes

    Jetpets Dog Death

    Do Jetpets stay with the dogs until they are boarded or just drop them off at the airport like cargo and then leave once their paperwork is completed? Do they send you a text, or photo, to show all is well and your dog is safely on the plane? I think these are questions that an agent should be asked and I will do so in the future. I used Jetpets to fly our dog from Melbourne to Canberra once he was released on a Sunday. Jetpets didn't send anything to me past the point of confirming the booking and they were quick with responding to my questions about the coming release date whilst he was in quarantine. As it was a Sunday flight Jetpets offices were closed for enquiries. I just had to hope he would turn up as expected. Luckily he did and was fine. Though Thank you to Petraveller, who I wish I had chosen and probably will do in the future if needed, who stayed with him, gave him extra water and sent me a text to say he was on his way!
  3. FamilyHughes

    Golden arrow pet shipping

    Catlady2014. Golden Arrow sent photos of his several weeks stay with them in the UK.
  4. Hi , our standard Labradoodle has just been released (last Sunday) from quarantine and we used Golden Arrow to manage the process for us. He's arrived safely and is very healthy too. He's a large dog, standard poodle/Lab cross, and very energetic. We had to leave him in the UK for 4 weeks over Xmas and New Year to complete his final blood tests and parasite treatments before he was 'ready' to ship. I've given a bit of detail below as to who we chose, why we chose them and why it was a good choice for us. I know that when researching myself I wanted to know detail of OP's actual experience and thought it might help some here! We wanted to find somewhere that we believed would look after him really well and also give him special attention to get used to the crate for his trip. Due to an early puppy experience of a tummy upset whilst crated overnight he has had a massive aversion to them ever since. After his castration the vets had to take him out of his pen until we arrived to collect as he had attacked it within a few minutes! So you can imagine our concern. When searching for a company we obviously were concerned to get a competitive quote ( as it is so expensive) but also really needed what we hoped would be the best care and prep for him before travel. Golden Arrow had good recommendations on this forum and in communicating with them before hand they were so reassuring. They have decades of experience. Their quote was indeed very competitive also. I took a trip from our home just North of London ( so you can see how much the care of the dog was important for me not to use a London based company) to their kennels and I'm glad I did. It is lovely. The whole team there are lovely. It is as if the dogs/cats are their family. The facilities for exercising the dog I would suggest are second to none. The onsite handyman skills of their carpenter are a big bonus as they custom make on site to the exact size of your pet which is very robust indeed. It is so much stronger than the kennel made for our cats by a nearby Heathrow based exporter several years before on a previous trip to Oz. The cats crate was indeed adequate, just nowhere near as robust. GA kept me up to date throughout the few weeks of his stay with emails and photos and they got him used to his crate well in advance of travel. When he arrived in Melbourne, AQIS sent me an email to say not only that he had arrived safely, but ' he has appeared to travel very well'. You can imagine my relief! GA have also been in touch a few times since he's been back with us this week to see how he's been settling in as well. Re costs, then AQIS now charge a standard set fee of AUD 1,200 plus a few set fees including AUD29/day. This worked out a bit cheaper all in than the previous cAUD130/night quoted earlier in the thread and I wasn't charged any additional fees. Golden Arrow paid for the standard fee and set fees up front on my behalf and I paid them the whole in GBP. I do agree it is a horrendous cost now and we couldn't afford it this time for our two now elderly cats. They've done the trip to and fro once before. They have had to stay at home with my Mum this time. They have settled in really well and I think are enjoying the dedicated attention without our dog hassling them all the time! I definitely miss them more than they miss me! By the way, for internal Australia transfers I would recommend Petraveller based in Melbourne! They also seem to really care for the pets and send you reassuring emails/texts and photos. Good luck!
  5. FamilyHughes

    Golden arrow pet shipping

    They've been wonderful with helping us to ship our dog too. They boarded him for over a month and prepped him for his journey. The kennels are in a lovely spot and they have great facilities for the dogs to be walked and safely play. We couldn't have hoped for better care. He's in quarantine at the moment. They've sent me photos and updates to reassure me during his stay
  6. FamilyHughes

    Canberra meet-ups?

    Hi Aussieadventure! Did you get to find out if there was a Canberra based Poms in Oz meet up group? We are in Canberra for a second time after a year back in the UK ( to sort out a few things!). We'd be interested in occasional get together BBQ's, picnics etc...
  7. FamilyHughes

    Sick Dog!!

    So pleased all is now well !
  8. FamilyHughes

    Quarantine Costs - 1st December 2015

    Thought you'd like to know that we've used Golden Arrow to look after our dog Alfie and fly him out to us in Australia. I've just had the confirmation from Mickleham to say he arrived safely and ' has travelled well'! We are just so relieved as Alfie is quite a handful ( a large Labradoodle just over a year old) and hates crates. He attacked his crate at the vets when he was castrated and they had to let him out they were so worried about him. Golden Arrow knowing that the crating could be a problem used the weeks before hand to slowly get him used to it, encouraging him with treats etc... They managed all his final bloods, parasite treatments etc... I've had emails from them and photos over the 6 weeks telling me how he is getting on. They evidently care a lot about these temporary friends and tracked his flight out too. It's been a great relief dealing with them (Fissa, Steve and Chris) and I hope you have a great experience too. Just have to wait now and see what state he is in after 10 days in quarantine... counting the hours!
  9. FamilyHughes

    Sick Dog!!

    Oh no that is dreadful! Please let us know what has happened, and I do hope your dog recovers quickly!
  10. FamilyHughes

    Domestic pet shipping

    Hi Mrsfilip, If you don't want to fly yourself , a good suggestion by The Pom Queen, then I would recommend JetPets. I've also used Golden Arrow for shipping our dog from the UK (a fantastic experience by the way and involve quite a lengthy board... they were just so lovely and reassuring) and I'm using Jetpets for the internal transfer. I obtained several quotes and Jetpets were not only the most reasonable they were also very responsive and very professional. Good luck with your cat... it will be lovely for you all to be together !
  11. FamilyHughes

    We're wondering whether to take our cats to oz

    Costs to ship two cats to Australia quoted at £3000 plus by 3 companies. Note that the quarantine fees in Melbourne are horrendous and will add nearly £900 per cat additionally. We are not taking our two cats back with us this time to Australia and are re-homing them with family. They've been once to Australia and back to the UK but the Australian quarantine costs have put an end to this as they are now 13 years old also. We just, just may take one.... Very sad....
  12. FamilyHughes

    Pet shipping company recommendations

    I think I am going to choose Golden Arrow. It was a bit strange getting information through the post, but they did also answer all emails. I really liked the personal touch (I know they all do this, I just felt it more from GA) and really seemed to help consider the options for our dog and possibly two cats. One of the big factors for me was boarding for possibly a lengthy period before hand and I really liked the response that the grounds were beautiful and walks for the dog would be quality time. Costs were competitive too. Good luck with the decision you make though!
  13. FamilyHughes

    Something British in Canberra

    ooh thank you Jumpingjillybean. I'll have to ask my husband to look out for these. He's working in Sydney Mon-Fri at the moment. :smile:
  14. FamilyHughes

    Something British in Canberra

    We've found that we could get good alternatives for most of the British brands in Australia we thought we preferred before. Still, it was great to see that Heinz tomato ketchup, Hellmans mayo, and Oxo cubes were available! The one thing I missed the most as the one making the Sunday dinners was Bisto gravy powder. I could get the granules from Woolworths but they were not the same. Anyone spotted this anywhere in Canberra? Silly small things really, but just eases the flow of prepping dinner! Ahhh...! Oh, and if Galaxy chocolate and Walkers cheese and onion crisps were also available that would be marvelous!
  15. FamilyHughes

    UK Endowments

    Can anyone advise on what the likely treatment would be in the UK and in Australia re out Endowments which are due to mature in the next 1 to 3 years. We currently still own a home in the UK which is rented out. I plan to move back to the UK for a period to sort out various business matters and potentially also sell our house before returning to Australia. My husband and I both have endowments. The completion of each required towards paying off our UK mortgage. After nearly 25 years both of our endowments have recently returned to Green so we really do not want to stop these early. At maturity if we are both, or one of us, are still living in Australia would we have to pay tax on any 'gains'. Thank you!
  16. FamilyHughes

    Cheap flights back to UK

    Hi Sgoxon! Have you had a look at the Qantas site in the last few days. They are advertising sale fares at the moment. e.g. Sydney to London HR for $800. Not too bad....!
  17. FamilyHughes

    Liverpool ** fan clubs/meeting places in Canberra

    ABL275 have you seen this post? Another one may be interested Breezer! :-)
  18. Hi Gbye grey sky. So another family looking for not just a change but an adventure! If you have any specific queries about Brisbane or Canberra then ask away. We didn't specifically choose Canberra, it was were my husband was relocated with work. Initially we were not sure, although my husband had visited a couple of years before and found it unique and interesting compared to the standard large cities on the coast. Canberra has just been voted as Australia's most live-able city and we can see why from our point of view. It is certainly getting better and better each year as well as its population grows and more and more choice of housing and social scene venue appear. If the city had its high speed rail link to Canberra approved that would be fantastic and of course we do wish international flight schedules would start from the brand new, and empty international airport! Enjoy your recce in August. If you do get the chance then take a visit to Canberra to see how different it is. It is very, very different to Brisbane/Sydney/Perth/Melbourne in feel :yes:
  19. Hi Zoegilly... gosh this is a hard one. I also think ABL275 and Quoll have mentioned a lot of key points. Just a few added thoughts for you. - how secure is your job? By that I mean, are you returning to work with your previous employer prior to your maternity and hence the offer for you to work in Australia for a period of time is actually a 'secondment'? Will you still be employed by your UK employer? Reason I suggest you to consider this, is that if you will be transferring to work for an Australian employer without the safety net of being seconded from your UK employer, then there are risks. Check the terms of your contract. If the employer can let you go without a significant period of notice, say 3 months, then financially you could be at risk if they terminated your employment earlier than the 18 months. Which in Australia and Canberra's current economic and political climate not unlikely. A lot of the above, and what I will say next depends on your area of work. I would say if you are not in a specialised area of IT, a health professional, qualified accountant, or education professional, then in Canberra work is pretty hard to find at the moment and probably for the next year or so at least. Hence if things don't work out with your Australian employer then don't assume it will be easy to find an alternative 457 employer in Canberra. I would suggest that there is a stronger chance of being 'let go' as a 457 employee than Australian PRs and citizens. We have experienced a stronger sense of protectionism /patriotism in Australia than we experienced in the UK. Or, maybe we are just more aware of it! I don't necessarily think it is a bad thing either, but as a temporary resident just something to be aware of and be prepared for. If you have a very specialist skill which is in demand then less risk of not being able to find an alternative if the worst happens, without having to knee-jerk and come home. - Your 457 visa employer will have to be prepared to fund your home fare if the worst happens. However there is a limit to their liability - $10K ish is my memory, but do check this out as it could be wrong!. Hence again, check your contract very carefully. - Check the salary that they will give you. After living here for c. 2.5 years we now have a much better feel of the cost of living in Australia vs. the UK. Irrespective of exchange rates ( as these go up and down!), I would say that for like for like buying power you are looking like needing a multiplier of x 2 - 2.25 on your UK salary. Apart from all the financials then quality of housing and price vs UK depends on where you lived in the UK I guess! You can get more decent accommodation for your money than if you lived in London, but if you lived further North or out of the Southern/East/West commuter areas, then you will find housing in the more central areas of Canberra v. expensive and properties quite old on average. Further out, prices drop dramatically. If you have a car, then it is really easy to travel around Canberra than almost any city in the UK I know! Re practicality of child care, then yes, it can be hard to find a place. Bit of a show stopper whilst on the waiting list. Again, depends on area. Might be worth investigating further if your OH intends to work also. If not, then this will make everything so much easier. Re missing family, being homesick etc... then this depends on your own personality and circumstances. I can't remember feeling homesick so much, more bored and lonely from time to time. Mind you having two children so young, I think you have everything going for you to help with this. You will be so busy I imagine you won't have time to be bored... and with a young family it is the perfect time to bond with other families. We certainly miss the extended family and long term friends we have in the UK. Also, of course F& LTF's provide that cover when you need it to take care of the children. However, again, we have loved making new friends and whilst it has taken us longer than we expected to form 'close' friendships, this is now happening and has extended our experiences more than if we'd stayed in our safe familiar circle back home. Finally, Canberra... what does my heart say? I absolutely love it! Maybe it was a time in our life thing. We had our daughter late in life just over the 40 hill! Also, we'd spent our UK lives in and around London. So, we'd done the busy, busy, life and had to change anyway with our daughter arriving on the scene. We enjoy so many things in Canberra; - the landscape is truly stunning. Canberra is surrounded by hills/mountains and bush country. At first the colours of browny green felt a little dull, always Autumnal almost. However, those colours and the quiet landscape have seduced us over time. Just driving along in the car from home to town, to work, to the shops, you are always surrounded by the most amazing vistas and the smell of gum/pine/eucalyptus. In addition, because Canberra is seasonal then you have all those British spring flowers still, as well as all the exotic flowers and fruits in the summer. - the light - I don't know what it is but the quality of light is just 'brighter'! The sky at night is blacker, the stars shine more vividly, the blue sky is 'bluer'! We just feel more alert and awake, no matter what time of the year. No SAD syndrome experienced here. The weather is warmer by far. Whilst it can be cold over many nights in winter and early spring and late Autumn, the day times normally climb to reasonable temperatures and the sky is still often so blue! The city itself is quiet, without question. However, it is 'smart' not shabby, and has all the capital city museums and other public buildings you would expect. All on a smaller scale in the UK, but then all interesting never the less. All free too of course... all so much more accessible as they are on your doorstep and not crowded. All very children friendly places. If you love the outdoors and sports, dancing, music, then you are spoilt here. Children (and adults) certainly seem to have more of an opportunity to get involved and be fit, healthy and busy with activity. We haven't missed being on the coast. We weren't in the UK anyway. Mind you, we do have a pool in the garden ! Finally, Canberra seems a safer, calmer place to bring up children and live life as an adult also. Quality of life for us is beyond any doubt on balance better here... ... we just wish we were closer to family and indeed Europe and the US to travel to! If you decide to come then it is certainly a very exciting adventure. If you check things out carefully it won't be an expensive one, and you can relax and enjoy the experience without having to commit to leaving the UK from the start. Good luck with your decision :-)
  20. FamilyHughes

    Moving to Canberra!

    Ah! Been in Oz too long already. VAT is 20% back in the UK. It tends to be the smaller UK retailers that will knock off the VAT. The saving in cost though did outweigh the postage cost.... at the moment. With the £ rising against the AUD now then maybe it won't be beneficial to post over from the UK for much longer . Definitely worth buying online in the UK for UK F&F presents as the UK import duty kicks in at a ridiculously low amount.
  21. FamilyHughes

    Changing 457 to De Facto/EEV/Spousal Visa - help!

    When you apply for a Partner visa whilst your current temporary 457 visa is still active (that is has not been cancelled) you may well be automatically awarded a bridging visa class A. However, this bridging visa only comes into operation when your current 457 visa expires. If you have been made redundant from your 457 visa employer (seems to be happening more and more at the moment) then you have a minimum of 28 days to either apply for another visa, like the partner visa, or find another 457 visa employer to work for. The act of applying for another visa prevents your 457 visa from being cancelled by DIAC. However, it has not expired and you are still tied to the conditions of your 457 visa . You cannot take advantage of the bridging visa A which gives full work rights with no restrictions. Your 457 visa will only expire when it comes to the end of its natural life, i.e. at the end of the 4 years. You cannot get around this by hoping somehow to get your 457 visa cancelled and take advantage of the Bridging Visa class A. If your 457 visa gets cancelled you have to leave the country, start again, and apply for the partner visa probably offshore. On a more positive note there are very recent cases of 457 visa holders who can prove solid proof of partner relationship obtaining their Partner visa's very quickly once all paperwork has been submitted. e.g. ABL275 above who's visa came through in a couple of weeks!
  22. FamilyHughes

    457 to partner visa

    Hi, Collie, I'm afraid what you have been told by DIAC is true. The action of applying for your partner visa has given you the ability to stay in the country and stops your 457 visa being cancelled. The Bridging visa with full work rights only comes into effect when your 457 visa expires at the end of its natural life... hence Nov 2013. You are not allowed to work for anyone except your 457 visa employer until your partner visa has been assessed, and granter, or your 457 visa expires in November. However, you can apply for a jot with another 457 visa employer and have the visa transferred. There is no way round this. It is a really tricky situation and is due to the nature of the 457 visa. There are quite a lot of 457 early terminations at the moment and this situation is becoming more and more common. Good luck and I hope your partner visa comes through v. quickly...
  23. FamilyHughes

    Mattress on the floor - so excited!!

    Hi Kelly! Good luck to you all, your spirit of adventure will carry you through! My daughter ( 5 years too) and I are also sleeping on a shared mattress at the mo. Hubby is sleeping on a mattress in Canberra waiting for us to arrive. Container tracking says furniture due to arrive on the 9th, and we fly out 24th... so hoping the rendezvous will be blessed with beds! We are very, very excited, and the mattress definitely makes it feel kinda special! x
  24. FamilyHughes

    renting with a cat

    Hi dferri2000! We actually logged on daily to mainly allhomes.com.au to get an idea of what was out there and how quickly it moved. Then when hubby went out in June he used a relocation agent to help him with advice on dealing with the agents, inside info on areas, what was a good rent etc... The agency was Auslocate (auslocate.com.au) and we used Kim Donaghue based in Canberra who couldn't have been more helpful with all sorts of valuable info, including where to buy a car! We found this very effective. Basically we had a house sorted by the end of his first week there, which he moved into just a couple of weeks later. Good luck!
  25. Hi Folk! Any opinions on whether it would be best to fly BA LHR to Sydney and Q-Link to Canberra, or Quantas all the way? I'm travelling just myself with daughter 5. It would be very desirable (although I guess not essential) to take more than our basic 23Kg luggage allowance each. This only seems feasible costwise if we choose a BA operated flight through to Sydney. Fares are very similar. I've read that Quantas service is better than BA, but wonder if it really is that much different? Seem to both have same seat pitch and entertainment facility (n.b for my daughter!). Any views from experience greatly appreciated. Thanx!