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Everything posted by Marisawright

  1. Marisawright

    Cost of Living expectations

    Sydney is by far the most expensive city in Australia. Comparing Sydney costs to other Australian cities is like comparing London costs to the rest of the UK. I don't know one single person - friends or acquaintances - with a stay-at-home partner, except for a few with new babies. Where in Sydney are you thinking of settling?
  2. Marisawright

    thinking of moving back to uk

    Before you make any other decisions, apply for Australian citizenship. That way you can come and go between the UK and Australia as much as you like and not have to worry about your right to get back into Australia. You may not be keen on Oz right now but you don't want to get into a situation where your wife and child are here and you can't get back into the country to see them. I also think counselling, preferably with your wife, sounds like a good idea. It sounds like the two of you aren't able to communicate and that's what counselling helps with.
  3. Marisawright

    Permanent resident VS 457

    That's why you need PR. With a 457 you'll get no rebates at all.
  4. Marisawright

    Is it wise to move to Melbourne?

    That's your choice - but just because you're not getting sunburnt doesn't mean you won't get skin cancer. Getting sunburnt increases the risk but just the exposure at high or extreme levels is enough. And although the heat and sun feel very similar to Spain, Portugal or Greece, the UV index rarely goes above 10 there - whereas in Australia it can get up to 13. As for the South Coast, nowhere in the UK gets above 8 as a rule. It's true Australian statistics for relatively harmless skin cancers are probably higher because of improved detection. However I don't think you can argue with stats for skin cancer deaths - people die whether they got checked or not. In fact, Australians are more likely to survive skin cancer because of better detection, yet we're still in the top 5 countries for skin cancer deaths. http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/skin-cancers/by-country/
  5. Marisawright

    Permanent resident VS 457

    I believe that if you're on a 457, you don't get access to a lot of benefits which would be available to a permanent resident. I'm not sure of the distinctions but I'm sure someone here will be able to provide the details. With kids, that could make a difference to your budget. PR is not easy to get so I wouldn't be passing up a chance to get it. The rules may change by the time you're ready to make a permanent move and you'll be kicking yourself that you let the chance go. Even if you don't like it, I'd have thought you could commit to a two year period so you avoid any penalties. It's quite possible your wife's "fixed term" 1 year contract is just to get around hiring restrictions at the company, and she'll get a renewal at the end - that's not uncommon here. Plus if she's a PR and has already got a year under her belt in Australia, she'll find it fairly easy to get another one-year contract if needs be.
  6. Marisawright

    Is it wise to move to Melbourne?

    Yes it is hard because, let's face it, everyone is different. If someone asked "where's the best place to live in England", you wouldn't expect a unanimous answer either! People do complain about the Melbourne weather, but it's in comparison with the rest of Australia. Yes it is variable but it's still better than UK weather, IMO. And if you're an outdoorsy family, then there's one thing which makes it more desirable than much of the rest of Australia - the UV index. If you look at a UV map of Australia, you'll see that even now in the middle of winter, the UV index in Queensland is still "moderate" meaning sunscreen needs to be worn (whereas Melbourne drops to 2, which requires minimal protection even for sensitive skins). In summer, everything north of Sydney shoots up to "extreme" (11 to 13) - at that level, the official WHO advice is to stay indoors! So, if you're likely to be spending a lot of time outdoors, your children will be safer south of Sydney than north of the border. Here are the UV index maps for Brisbane vs Melbourne: http://www.arpansa.gov.au/uvindex/models/briuvmodel.htm http://www.arpansa.gov.au/uvindex/models/meluvmodel.htm At first glance they may not look much different, but look closer and you'll see Brisbane doesn't just go higher, it stays higher for longer. For comparison, the UV index in the UK does not usually go above 8, even in the summer (which just goes to show that Melbourne's weather isn't the same as SE England!). Here's a city by city comparison of UV index, where you can see how Sydney, Darwin and Melbourne compare to European cities through the year (no idea why there are no UK cities on there). Remember the seasons are opposite in Oz when doing the comparison! You'll see that even Greece and Spain don't get anywhere near as high as Darwin (Brisbane would be about halfway between Sydney and Darwin). http://www.who.int/uv/intersunprogramme/activities/uv_index/en/index3.html You may think this is all scaremongering,but Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world (three times the rate in the UK and even higher for melanoma), and Australians take it very seriously. When you get here, you'll find your children have to wear long sleeves and legionnaire's hats to school, that kids wear rash suits for swimming and children in pushchairs are hidden behind screens.
  7. Marisawright

    advice on what to do with superannuation fund

    Usually death and disability insurance - they are often a compulsory part of being in the fund while you're working. Even though it was set up by your employers, the fund belongs to you and is your responsibility, so check your paperwork and find out how to contact them direct. There is no limit to how long you take to make a claim - basically it's like a bank account in your name, it will just sit there until you can claim it. Make sure you keep your address up to date and they'll send you a report each year to let you know how it's going.
  8. Marisawright

    The use of a migration agent

    "Getting through the loopholes" is a common reason that's given by people who use migration agents - which is just a euphemism for "getting around the law". I suspect that in countries where corruption is common (e.g. Malaysia, anywhere in Africa), people would assume a migration agent is worthwhile because he knows who to bribe! Ask any migration agent and they'd be very indignant at the suggestion they can get people in who don't qualify - the rules are the rules. However there are cases like Lady Rainicorn's where an agent can spot an opportunity or catch a potential problem.
  9. Marisawright

    Transferring credit card debt

    I guess most people would assume that the credit card debt, being at the worst possible rate of interest as most credit cards are, wouldn't be something you'd want to carry if you had money to spare. The fact that, apparently, if you paid back the debt you'd have no money to emigrate is something that worries those of us who have been through the experience, so it's natural that we are concerned for you. Emigrating always costs a sh**load more than you think, so to embark on it when strapped for cash is a very risky thing to do. Having said that, we don't know your circumstances. Yes you can.
  10. Marisawright

    NHS for Australians in the UK

    Contact the British consulate and get an emergency travel document: https://www.gov.uk/emergency-travel-document It can be issued same day in most cases. As for the NHS - in principle, he should be accepted for treatment: http://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/1087.aspx?categoryid=68&subcategoryid=162 In practice, it may be more difficult as I'm assuming you won't have had time to sell your Australian property, bought/signed a lease for a UK one, transported all your belongings or any of the other "signs" they look for when assessing your intention to remain - so have a think about which of those requirements you could achieve. Signing on for a GP is a different kettle of fish from hospital treatment and it seems as though it's up to the GP - theoretically they should have no objections to taking you on. As Boganbear says, the best bet is just to waltz in and not mention you're just back from overseas. As for the other benefits - the UK and Oz are alike in that different branches of government seem to have different definitions for the same thing! The link Boganbear provided links to the residency test for benefits, as distinct from NHS treatment, and you'll see it is slightly different - and probably harder for you to qualify. Best wishes to you both, it must be a very difficult time.
  11. Marisawright

    Is it wise to move to Melbourne?

    Nothing to add to this really, except that I agree 100% and I think it is a very accurate, fair assessment. It should be a sticky post and compulsory reading for all prospective immigrants!
  12. Marisawright

    Is 54 too old to return?

    You're in luck! Unlike the UK, Ireland has a social security agreement with Australia. That means you can claim your Australian pensions there, without having to come back. You just have to fill out a form. You won't get the full pension, but he'll get 34/35ths and you'll get 31/35ths. Of course, the means test still applies. http://www.humanservices.gov.au/spw/customer/forms/resources/aus140-1312ie.pdf
  13. Marisawright

    Is 54 too old to return?

    ...bearing in mind that even if you're "up to date" you won't get it unless you're in Australia at the time you want to claim it. Plus you need to stay in Australia for up to two years, otherwise you lose it again.
  14. Marisawright

    Is 54 too old to return?

    You must have been resident in Australia for 10 years to qualify for the Australian pension, if you live in Australia (if you leave, the threshold jumps to 35 years!). However, it is means-tested so you may not get it until later in life, depending on how much you have in assets. ] If you have an idea how much money you'll have by retirement age, you can plug it into this calculator and it will tell you whether you'll get any pension and how much: http://yourpension.com.au/APCalc/index.html The calculator takes into account all income, so yes, if you're getting a UK pension it will be included and may reduce your Australian pension. I'm not sure Centrelink will force you to apply for the UK pension but you'd be silly not to. After all, you'll be able to claim it from the day you're eligible, which you may not be able to do with the Aussie pension.
  15. Marisawright

    Keep trying or give up?

    I assume you've signed up with temp agencies? If not, you should. I don't mean the "official" employment agencies supported by the government - I've never been near one of those and most Aussies wouldn't go to them to look for work. Which means most of their candidates are via Centrelink which (in some employers' eyes) means no-hopers, which creates a bias against them. You don't have to wait till they have a suitable vacancy, just rock up and say you'd like to enrol for temp work. Say you're willing to do days here and there as well as longer-term contracts. I think you also need to take a dispassionate look at yourself - I very much doubt it's your age that's counting against you, so it must be something else. What kind of image do you present? When you go for interview, are your clothes appropriate? What about haircut, piercings, facial hair? One of the benefits of going to a temp agency is you can ask them for feedback on where you need to improve. I know it's not easy keeping up a presentable appearance on a low income but it is really crucial in getting a job. You can get yourself a good hair clipper for less than $40 at the Shaver Shop - it's not hard to use. When you go to a barber these days, virtually all they do is run a clipper over your hair anyway! How's your accent? Australians don't grow up hearing a multitude of different accents like Brits do, so they're not good at interpreting unfamiliar accents. I've seen Aussies struggling to understand Scottish accents which I would call "Anglified". If interviewers are having trouble understanding you, that would definitely be a problem. I remember having a similar problem in London forty years ago, before the BBC allowed regional accents on TV - I never had a strong accent, it's a bit Morningside to be honest, but I had to make a conscious effort to lose it just to make myself understood. I had some hilarious experiences just asking directions!
  16. Marisawright

    advice on what to do with superannuation fund

    I'd leave it, but do make sure you cancel all the insurances pronto. That's as simple as filling in a form (check their website to see if you can download one online). Do it asap to stop it now, you don't have to wait till you go.
  17. Marisawright

    The use of a migration agent

    This is a much debated topic. If you're an English speaker, you're the kind of person who is good at paperwork, and have a straightforward case, then there's nothing to stop you from going it alone. The process isn't difficult, it's just complicated, so if you have patience it's certainly do-able. However I can see non-native speakers would need help as it's vital to answer questions correctly, so you want to be sure you've understood the questions! I can also see how a migration agent would be valuable if you're not sure which visa to go for.
  18. Marisawright

    Keep ISA in UK?

    As others have said, as soon as you become non-resident your ISA will just become an ordinary account and be subject to tax. So, personally I would be putting it in an ISA until you move (so you get the tax benefits now). Then shortly before you move, look to see whether you can get better interest somewhere else, and move it if necessary. I wouldn't be moving it to Australia until you need it. After all, you may get here and discover it's not for you. If you move all the money over and then have to move it back again, you could lose a lot of money on exchange rates. To give you an example - we moved in 1985 when the dollar was worth 89p. We brought all our savings with us. Within 6 months it had dropped to 45p. So if we'd decided we wanted to go home, we'd have lost half our savings! Of course it's always possible the exchange rates will go the other way for you, and you could make money, but it's a big risk. So I'd say, don't touch it till you have to.
  19. Marisawright

    Is 54 too old to return?

    Oops sorry, didn't mean to mislead ... I'm talking about your Australian government pension. I missed the fact that you've only been here a fairly short time, so you wouldn't be eligible for that anyway. You'll be able to claim your super when you reach pension age just like you would if you stayed in Oz - unless your money is in a self-managed super fund. If that's the case, then you'll have to close it down and move the money to an ordinary super fund, because once you become non-resident it will be taxed heavily. Where do you live in Australia?
  20. Marisawright

    Advice please

    I'd second the advice about getting citizenship before you go. You never, ever know what's ahead of you in life and it would be silly not to give yourself that safety net. It may mean a small delay, but it's going to take a bit of time to organise your move anyway so a few more weeks won't make that much difference in the big scheme of things. I would start be decluttering - getting rid of all the things you won't want to take home with you. Sell, donate to op shops, or throw away. Otherwise, Lady Rainicorn gives good advice.
  21. Marisawright

    Is 54 too old to return?

    The big downside of moving back now is that you won't be able to claim your Australian pensions if you go now. The only way you can get it is to return to Australia when you reach pension age and stay here for two years - a fairly expensive thing to do. Of course what you have to consider is, when would you be eligible for an Aussie pension? If you've got any significant assets, or too much super, then you probably won't get the full Aussie pension for years after retirement age anyway. On the plus side, provided you paid at least 3 years of National Insurance contributions in the UK, you will be able to claim a partial British pension. The formula is simple - to get the full UK pension you need 30 years of NI contributions. If you've worked less, you get that proportion. So, if you worked 20 years you get 20/30ths. There are various rules whereby you can get credit for time out of the work force, e.g. caring for children. If you want, you can make extra contributions to top up your entitlement. The good thing about the UK pension is that it's not means-tested so you'll get it from the moment you reach pension age, regardless of what assets you have. https://www.gov.uk/state-pension/eligibility Note that the rules about the UK pension are different if you go back to live in the UK vs staying in Australia, so if you're researching make sure you're looking at the right thing.
  22. Marisawright

    Business -Who runs their own business??

    I don't have a business but I've thought of starting one many, many times. I think it's very tough for someone on a decent salary to make the switch to running a business, because the initial drop in income is so huge. The problem is that however you approach the business, you'll probably be working for nothing for the first few years. So you've got to be sure the business is going to last long enough, and prosper well enough, to make sure that gap is worthwhile. Say, for instance, you decide to buy an existing business. You can expect to pay the equivalent of two years' profit. So that means you'll be working for your first two years for nothing, because you have to recoup that money. And that assumes the seller has been honest about the business - if they cooked the books to make the profit look better, you could be working for three or four years just to get back to where you started. A similar thing happens if you start from scratch, because it can easily take a year or two for a new business to break even. It's not necessarily a problem, provided you have a long enough horizon. If you expect to run the business for the long term, your future profits could make up for those first few years of privation. The difficulty arises if you have left the switch later in life, so you may not be able to run the business long enough to compensate. You need to start getting practical and do some projections of how much you could earn and what your cost of living would be.
  23. Marisawright

    457 Visa - A Warning

    No - but the thing is, if you don't like the city you're living in, it's going to cost a hell of a lot less to move somewhere else in the UK (or Europe) than to travel all the way to Australia.
  24. Marisawright

    457 Visa - A Warning

    As you say, you were young enough to take a risk, and you went in knowing it wasn't a paradise. I'm not thinking of the singles and no-kids couples who feel like an adventure - they can move more cheaply so if it goes pear-shaped, it's a lot less painful. I'm thinking of the people with families about "living the dream".
  25. Marisawright

    Why Tasmania?

    I doubt you'll find any furnished places in Tassie. In fact I thought they were rare all over Australia, except for Executive lets and serviced apartments - are they more common in Qld? Could you rent furniture from a rental place like Rent the Roo or Mr Rental? I know it's not cheap, but rent on an unfurnished place + a furniture package would still be cheaper than a serviced apartment, especially in Tasmania. From memory, it's less than 3 hours' drive from Hobart to Launceston.