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Wanderer Returns

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  1. Dear Pom Queen, thank you for your reply and the contacts. Yes, the process to become a permanent resident in the UK seems a lot more difficult, more expensive and longer than it was in Australia. We wouldn't have even thought about coming here if it hadn't been for my mum. I think we've spent £3500-£4000 on the process so far, and we will have spent at least another £4200 by the time my wife becomes a British citizen. I've been handling all the paperwork myself, so there are no migration agents fees included in those figures. It's very frustrating when those from EU countries who have no connection with the UK can live and work here without restriction. Clearly that is likely to change in the future, but Brexit doesn't really benefit us either... Okay, rant over! On a more positive note, it would be great to hear from anyone who has returned on an RRV after the travel condition of their visa expired.
  2. Dear PIO Members, My wife and I returned to the UK in 2014 to take care of my elderly mum, who sadly passed away in January. Prior to returning I’d been in Australia for 11 years and obtained my Australian citizenship in that time, whilst my wife (who is a non-EU citizen) had been there for 3 years and got her permanent residency (subclass 100). We've made the best of being back in the UK during this time but neither of us feel as settled as we did in Australia, and we would like to return there within the next couple of years. Technically there's nothing to stop us returning immediately except that my wife has now spent 4 years on the 5-year route to becoming a British Citizen. Next year she will be eligible for permanent residency or 'Indefinite Leave to Remain' over here. After she obtains ILR she will be eligible to apply for citizenship straight away because she will have already met the 5-year residency requirement. Unfortunately, by the time she becomes a British Citizen the travel condition on her subclass 100 visa will have expired, and we will need to apply for a RRV to return to Australia. Clearly my wife will not automatically meet the residency requirement for a subclass 155. Yes, we could ditch the route to British Citizenship and come back earlier, but we are now so close and it will be a lot easier for her to travel in the future as she needs a visa pretty much every time we want to go abroad, at the moment. From the previous experience of forum members, what will be her chances of her obtaining an RRV so that we can return to Australia without any issues? I can see that they have really tightened things up in the last few years, and it's becoming a lot more difficult (and expensive!) to obtain Australian residency. Naturally I'm worried my wife might not be able to obtain an RRV, and we will have to restart the process again from scratch when we want to return to Oz! Apologies if I should have posted this in the 'Visa Chat' section – I wasn't quite sure. Many thanks in advance for helpful replies, Martin.
  3. Wanderer Returns

    Council tax, water rates etc - Queensland

    Thank you, Pom Queen. Yes, I've already heard some outrageous stories regarding body corp fees from my friends in Cairns. One pays $12,000/year for a 2-bed place on the Esplanade. How are BC fees regulated? - and how much are they allowed to increase them annually? Who knows, we may end up renting again - it might actually work out cheaper! :-o Cheers, Mart. P.S. By the way, please can you copy and post the relevant details from that Cairns post article you linked? It's a premium article, so I can't access it - many thanks.
  4. Wanderer Returns

    Council tax, water rates etc - Queensland

    I'd read somewhere that in Australia council tax and water rates were charged together, but I guess this varies from state to state.
  5. Hi PIO members, We will be returning to Australia at the end of the year after a three-year stint in the UK. When we lived in Australia before we never got on the property ladder but we are just in the process of selling our house in the UK, so we will definitely be buying a place on our return to Cairns. I'm very fortunate to have a job there, starting next January. I lived in Australia for over 10 years before and I have always rented, so I'm a little unsure about what my obligations will be in terms of paying council tax, water rates etc. I recall when I was renting before this was always included in the price of the weekly rent, and the only thing we needed to pay on top was the quarterly electricity bill. I know these figures are likely to be quite different depending on where you live in Australia, but if anyone has some general figures for council tax and water rates in Cairns (or Queensland for that matter), that would be most appreciated. I believe that if we buy a unit/apartment there will also be an annual body corporate fee to pay too? Many thanks in advance for helpful replies, Martin.
  6. Wanderer Returns

    Renewing Australian Passport before expiry date

    Many thanks for the info, and also for the links. As I definitely won't need my Australian passport before next January I'll leave it as long as possible before renewing – probably November, as they say the turnaround is only three weeks. I recall when I renewed my British passport they credited the unused months on my new passport, but it would seem that the Australian government doesn't do that. Best try and get as much time as possible, as they are not cheap these days!
  7. Wanderer Returns

    Renewing Australian Passport before expiry date

    Dear forum members, my Australian passport expires in September and I'm trying to find out the earliest that I can apply to renew it? Also, will my 'unused months' be added to the life of the renewed passport, or do you just get 10 years starting from the date of renewal? (meaning it would be better to wait as long as possible before renewing). Has anyone renewed their passport recently? I was just wondering what the length of time for the process was too? I believe that I will need to travel to London to complete the renewal process and that's not very convenient from where I live, which is why I wish to plan ahead a little. Many thanks in advance for your help.
  8. Wanderer Returns

    Returning to Oz with kids - what are the visa implications?

    Thanks Ken – it’s answered all my questions about the RRV, which would seem like an option in the future so that my wife wouldn’t lose her right of residency (assuming we were still here in the UK around the time that her visa expired). However, what I don’t quite understand is whether or not it’s possible to ’renew’ her existing Partner Visa (subclass 100) when it expires in November 2019. If not, does this mean that she would need to obtain an RRV every time she wanted to leave Australia to travel overseas? - If so, it seems quite inconvenient. The other question someone might be able to help me with is whether or not it will be possible for my wife to apply for Australian Citizenship whilst residing here in the UK? I’ve read somewhere that time spent together overseas after her permanent visa was granted can count towards the four year requirement, in some circumstances? Many thanks, Martin.
  9. Wanderer Returns

    Returning to Oz with kids - what are the visa implications?

    Thanks for all your replies and reassurance everyone, they’re very much appreciated. To be honest, I didn’t realise it was as clear cut as that if you have children. Fortunately my wife got her permanent residency just a couple of weeks before we left Australia, so that is valid until November 2019. If we we’re still living in the UK at that time we would definitely need to think about returning to Australia before her visa expired, because there’s no way I want to go through all the rigmarole (and expense) of obtaining a new Partner Visa for her. I’ve been led to believe that obtaining a Return Residents Visa was just a formality, but can this be problematic? As a matter of interest, what happens when someone’s Permanent Residents visa expires when they are living in Australia? – I’m guessing that is a formality to get it renewed in those circumstances – any idea how long it takes? Could this be something undertaken on a long holiday, if you get my drift? Many thanks again, Martin.
  10. Hi everyone, My wife and I returned to the UK about 18 months to take care of my elderly mum who’s now 87. Prior to returning I’d been in Australia for a little over 10 years and obtained my Aussie citizenship in that time, whilst my wife had been there for 3 years and got her permanent residency. My mum’s in quite good health for her age (although her mobility is very poor, hence the caring role), and with no other family members here in the UK we may be looking after her for quite some time to come. We are both happy to continue with this (at least for now!), but we would like to return to the Australia in the future. Generally, we are not unhappy about being in the UK but we both feel like we had a better life in Australia. (I know everyone has an opinion on this :-) Time’s ticking on and we’ve been talking more about having a family recently, as my wife is now 34. My question (and sorry it’s taken me a while to get there) is how difficult will it be for us to return to Australia in future if we have children born here in the UK? They would automatically have UK citizenship because I was born here, but I believe they wouldn’t have an automatic right to Australian citizenship (or residency) because I’m only a naturalised Australian. I’m sure this gets asked quite a lot in the forum so my apologies if it’s going over old ground, although my experience is that immigration rules can change very quickly. Many thanks in advance to all those who offer a helpful reply, Martin.
  11. Wanderer Returns

    Pen-cisions! Pen-cisions!

    Thanks again Marisa. Incredible to think that there isn't a reciprocal agreement between the UK and Australia considering the long standing connection between our countries and the latter being part of the Commonwealth!
  12. Wanderer Returns

    Pen-cisions! Pen-cisions!

    Thanks to all for the great feedback, in particular to Marisawright - that was brilliant! The problem with transferring my UK private pension into my Aussie super (as I understand it) is that unless it was done at the time I emigrated, I will forfeit 15% of the value of the pension fund. I haven't looked into this too deeply though so maybe I haven't got my facts completely right. It would also mean that I would have a higher Australian income on retirement and that would affect my Australian Age Pension because it's means tested. As I understand it, I would need to be resident in Australia for 10 years in total, with one period of at least 5 years. I'm assuming that you are allowed out of the country to take holidays in that 5 years? Right! Unfortunately I haven't lived in Australia for continuously for that period of time because I was overseas for 2.5 years in the middle of my 11 years, so I have been there for 2 periods of a little over 4 years. Am I right in thinking that I would also need to be resident in Australia for 2 years immediately before making the claim for Age Pension? Having too much money to disqualify me is unlikely to be a problem - I've never been very good at saving! :-) Much as though I love Australia, retiring to a (southern) European country would be appealing - certainly more appealing than retiring in the UK! Thanks again, Mart.
  13. Wanderer Returns

    Pen-cisions! Pen-cisions!

    Happy New Year to one and all! If you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ll know that my wife and I have just moved back to the UK for family reasons (to help take care of my mum). I am a British and Australian citizen and she is also an Australian permanent resident. I’ve lived and worked in Australia for the past 11 years and lived solely in the UK prior to that. I have paid 21 years NI contributions into my UK state pension and I now have private pensions in both countries of approximately equal amounts. When I come to retire, which I anticipate will be around 67, I should have (for argument’s sake) an income of about £4,000/annum from my UK private pension and something similar from my Australian superannuation. I have also considered transferring my UK private pension into my Australian super, which has performed much better over the years, but I think it might be too late to do that (and aware that there are considerable complications involved). The end of the year always seems to be a good time for reflection and I’ve started to look at the long term implications of retirement. My big question is… Financially will I be better off retiring in the UK, Australia or maybe even another European country? Based on my current financial situation (not that good, but not too desperate either!), retiring to a country where I’ll have the most disposable income will probably be a major factor. I’m thinking that’ll probably be Australia because I can receive my UK pension in Australia (even though it will be taxed), but I won’t be eligible to receive the (somewhat more generous) Australian state pension if I’m living anywhere else but Australia (please correct me if I’m wrong?). I also understand that to receive the Australian state pension I will need to relocate to Australia at least 5 years prior to retirement to be eligible (unless the rules change again). At some point I know I will need to seek some professional advice but for now it would be good to hear from anyone who has personal experience of this. Clearly, reducing the amount of tax I will have to pay across the board will be an important consideration wherever we end up. I accept that any advice given is general and by no means constitutes any kind of legal arrangement! Many thanks in advance for your feedback and all the best for 2015 :-) Martin.
  14. Wanderer Returns

    Australia's Best Beaches

    I've visited all those beaches except Cable Beach and have aged 20 years in the last 11 years to prove it! Rainbow Bay / Greenmount Beach at Coolangatta (QLD) are No.1 for me. One of Australia's best (if not the world's best/most consistent) surf spots combined with a natural lagoon (at high tide) for the families. Lovely boardwalk around the headlands with stunning scenery, a large number of restaurants and cafes to suit every budget, and a 10 minute bus ride from the Gold Coast airport - what more could you ask for? How about 300 days of sunshine a year? - well yes, there's that too :-) Mart.
  15. Wanderer Returns

    Time to move back

    This has to be one of the greatest urban myths in Australia, which I strongly believe is perpetrated by those living 'south of the border' in a bid to stop their extended families packing their bags and heading for the sun! Most of the people who come up with this old chestnut have never even lived in Queensland. It's up there with 'Melbourne has 4 seasons in one day' when it's more like a 'couple of seasons in one week if you're lucky', but that's far less evocative, isn't it? I'm originally from Derby so hardly accustomed to hot weather. I lived in Brisbane for 7 years and could probably count the number of days that were unpleasant on the fingers of one hand. If you are fortunate enough to live on the coast then it's usually a couple of degrees cooler there, even on the hottest days. For the last 3 years I've lived in Cairns and I would concede that it's too hot for too long up here but then I've never lived in a place with air-con because I'm too mean to spend the money, so I can't really complain. It'd be like living in Britain in the middle of winter without any heating and complaining you're too cold :-) Apologies to the OP as this has nothing to do with your original post, but then we are POMs so talking about the weather is what we like to do! Mart.