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About excitedbutterrified

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  1. excitedbutterrified

    drawing down super as non-aussie resident

    Myself and my wife lived in Melbourne for 2 1/2 years on a 457 visa, and left in 2018 When we left, we didn't reclaim our Superannuation, and it has sat in its respective funds- and growing much faster than any UK savings we might get. I'm not sure how much my wife's account has accumulated, but I think together we have in the region of 80/90k$ in there so it isn't insignificant - but not massive either. Although there is a possibility we will move back to Oz, as we have a visa expression of interest in, and keep looking at jobs, its looking increasingly likely that we wont return to live in Australia (which makes me quite sad!). What I would like to know is, if we leave our super in place until we are 60/65, can we then draw it down without paying the 45% tax we would pay if we claimed it back now - as non Australian residents? We have an objective to become silver nomads and do a significant amount of outback travel (which we enjoyed when we lived there) and having $90k in the bank as holiday spends would allow us to spend a load of time exploring.
  2. Agreed, particularly for native English speakers. For free preparation materials, have a look at " E2 PTE academic " on youtube (or indeed loads of other PTE youtube sites). it has all the tips you need for free. You can pay for some kind of premium service, but to be honest I found the free stuff so good I think the majority of people would be fine with that. If you aren't a particularly confident person (like me), I would recommend having a crack at the official (paid for) practice test, a couple of weeks in advance, which is scored in the same way as the official test and can let you know where to improve. Otherwise, know the test format, and have a plan for each type of question - nothing too detailed but a general framework for answering the different question types. I'm someone who is educated to degree level in engineering, but got B / C grades for English language and literature in GCSE. Scored 90s in all categories on both practice and real test. Oh, and I'm quite scouse, and didn't put on a false BBC newsreader accent - so the test didn't penalise for that!
  3. excitedbutterrified

    I have 75 points for 189 visa. 80 with my wife

    Indeed, Verystormy has it right, I put in my EOI with 80 points as an elecronics engineer back in August. Still waiting, and looks like it might never happen, as 90 / 95 seems to be the mark to hit at the moment. Its really sad, as we thought as a pair of professionals (doctor and engineer) we would have a straightforward path to skilled migration, but its not the case.
  4. excitedbutterrified

    How do we sort a house for when we arrive?

    I know it sounds stressful, but if you do have a furnished temporary place, it will be much better if you take your time a little. Most rentals have open days on weekends and evenings so you don't have to take any time off Don't worry about your removal crate, the shipping companies all know how moving doesn't always go to a strict schedule and will be only too happy to charge you for an extra couple of weeks storage. Its worth it to find both the suburb that suits you and the best house you can. Really try not to stress. As long as you have somewhere to go in the short term you will be fine, just stay flexible and ready to pounce when you see the house you want. Where about in Victoria are you working / looking to live?
  5. excitedbutterrified

    How do we sort a house for when we arrive?

    Yeah, agreed with the other posts. In fact I don't think you are legally allowed to put in an application at all without either viewing a house in person, or having someone view it for you. So it is vital you have somewhere you can stay for a couple of weeks at least. Air BnB is fine, but prepare to pay a lot for a few weeks. What you can do is get all your documents ready for the application. There is some kind of electronic application service (I cant remember the name), where you can upload things like : ID, bank statements, references, work contract, visa. Uploading all these in advance means that you can make an application in an instant, you can do a lot of this from UK. When I initially moved out to Melbourne, my new employer provided 4 weeks of temporary accommodation which was a godsend, but I found a nice house in the area we wanted within a few days of looking - we had done our research in advance, and had arranged our first viewing before leaving UK. I wasn't prepared that the rental market can be quite competitive, and we found it a little intimidating. The process goes : Find an ad on www.realestate.com.au or www.domain.com.au. Attend an open house viewing - there will be a (usually just one) 15 minute window where the house is available to view, and all interested people come at the same time and have a look at the house. 15 minutes is enough to literally get in, wander around each room once and get out, its all very fast. The agent will look at your ID when you view and put your name on a register. If you like the house, Apply electronically immediately. For the ones we liked, we generally were applying against 5 to 10 other couples so your application has to be good, all ready to go. The landlord then has a pick of potential tenants and will choose one (hopefully you) You then sign contracts and can move in on an agreed day. You may have to be flexible on this as they may want you to move in super fast or in a couple of weeks. So you really need to be prepared to make a snap decision and go for it. If you find somewhere you really like, you can also offer to pay above the advertised rent to sweeten the deal, but don't go overboard. For us, we applied for a few houses each time we moved to give ourselves the best chance of success, we also made a point to talk to the agent and landlord if they were there to come across as nice reasonable people - not sure if this helped!.
  6. excitedbutterrified

    Shipping furniture IKEA

    We moved to Melbourne and back to UK 3 years later, and moved significant quantities of Ikea stuff in both directions. We had a sole use 20ft container each direction and we filled it to the max! Both times, the stuff we sent "assembled" arrived a little worse for wear, a little more wobbly and needed the fasteners tightening - no big deal. But also on both occasions, we had a single item fall to bits completely, and had to bin it. One was a coffee table, the other a small drawer set. On the move out to oz, I was able to claim on the insurance we had taken out - which paid out significantly more than we paid for the coffee table which was nice. The movers disassembled some stuff, and shipped it flat packed, and assembled at the other end. (beds and wardrobes) Whilst I don't think the ikea stuff travels well, having our stuff arrive took the pressure off setting up home at each end. Buying stuff in Oz can be eye-wateringly expensive, and if you already own a house load of stuff, shipping is probably worth it. If you have a job offer in Oz, its worth asking if they will pay relocation costs. We had our move funded in both directions, and it really took pressure off.
  7. excitedbutterrified

    Swimming pool - asset or liability?

    If you are "handy" a pool is amazing, and doesn't have to be a bank breaker. We moved into a rental which had a disused pool which had been emptied by the owner, (well 90% emptied, the remaining 1 ft of water in the bottom was black sludge) who didn't know what to do with it and I thin was going to have it removed at some point.) I asked if I could have a go at bringing it back to use, which they accepted (why wouldn't they?) It took a lot of hard graft to empty the sludge, jetwash the sides, fix up and clean the pump / filter and about $300 of water to fill it, and then find and fix all the leaks. I got a second hand solar heating system for ~$150 and installed it myself on the roof - replacing a completely knackered home made one (I did this without telling the owner - but I did a neat job and I doubt he would ever notice) Once it was all up and running, it worked a treat. This took a couple of months which I did over the winter. The main work though is keeping the water quality up to scratch, but again this isn't brain surgery, you just need to take regular samples, the machine in bunnings tells you what quantities of chemicals to add, key is to do it regularly. I had several occasions where I failed to keep on top of water quality (either didn't remove fallen leaved during winter, or allowed the solar heater to get the water over 30 degrees - it went green) Its no big deal if it does go green / cloudy, but preventing is better than curing. I'm sure it can be very expensive if you have a company in to manage, or if you have a major problem like an underground leak, but as I said, normal maintenance isn't complicated, just a little work.
  8. excitedbutterrified

    Traveling back to the UK with a 9 month old

    We have flown UK/ Oz and back with the following combinations of our kids ages : 4 month old 2 year old & 4 month old 3 & 1 year old 4 & 2 year old 6 & 4 year old Its never easy when they are young. My advice is : Get the bassinet seat anyway, and try to use it. having just a little time not attached to your kid is bliss, and they will likely sleep better too. Even if you cant use it, you get a little extra space and your little one can play on the floor (if the flight attendants allow) Those are premium seats for a reason, so if you are eligible to have them for free, go for it. We took a perverse pleasure in watching the faces of people who had paid extra for the legroom realising they were sitting next to a baby for the next 14 hours (maybe we are a**holes). If you are going to stop halfway, make it a decent one, with a few days. Our worst trip had a 1 night stop in Dubai, It didn't help jetlag (particularly for the kids) and we wish we had just got it all over with in one go. For us it just extended the pain, and we weren't in Dubai long enough to enjoy it. - we spent one night in a really nice hotel - and didnt sleep great, plus some hours in Dubai mall and went up the tower (which is worth it!) Either stop properly, and have a mini holiday - or don't stop. Since our trip with the long stopover, we try to have the shortest possible transfer time, 2 hours is plenty for us. Agree with Wonderingaloud , sort your own food out, the airline will give you baby food, but if your little one is fussy, there ain't many other options once in the air, so sort something you know they will eat in advance, lots of snacks and their favorites to shut them up when crying. Make sure you dispose of all your non allowed food on the plane when you return to oz as the customs people will make you bin it anyway and aren't as nice! On the plane, try not to be too self conscious when your child cries (and they will), most people are generally quite generous and understanding, if someone offers to help and play with your baby for a while - do accept and get what rest you can. This has happened to us a lot, and we have offered to mind someone else's kid when the parents look frazzled. If you can afford a third seat, you may find it worthwhile (maybe you are rich??) but personally, I would rather go through the 24 hours of extreme discomfort and save some cash! Although 24 hours sounds a lot - and during the trip it can be hell - its over quickly and you can and will forget about it. Main thing for me is to relax - share the burden with your wife and try to enjoy it as an adventure.
  9. excitedbutterrified

    How will be life in melbourne with under 1 year old kid

    We used long daycare (7AM to 6PM) up until January 2018 as both parents were working, so a little out of date, but we were out in the suburbs, in a place called Glen Waverley / Wheelers Hill. Here we payed $109 per day, per kid - and with 2 in full time, we payed over $1000 per week, ouch. Shopping around, some childcare places were slightly cheaper, some (much) more expensive, but we found one we really liked and suck with it for 3 years. Also bear in mind if you are on a PR visa and working (plus some other conditions), you can claim child care subsidy, we didn't qualify as we were only temporary residents, but this can provide a huge discount so your budget may be better than you think. Don't worry about your child being "annoying", I'm sure they only annoy you! Melbourne is great for families with little kids, loads to do, play areas everywhere, very child friendly. We found a good community of other families with similar aged kids, and were never bored. My wife joined some mum and baby groups and once our eldest was old enough, she joined an aussie rules club (auskick) which was fantastic. On suburbs, normal rules apply, the closer to the city centre you live, the higher rent you will pay, and for less space. As you move out, housing gets more spaced out, but there is less to do. You have to find your balance. You can get away without owning a car if you are very central, but out of the centre, a car is essential. We had a big 4 bed house with a swimming pool and paid $600 per week rent. Glen Waverley is quite far from the city, being 40 /45 minutes by train, but (like most melbourne suburbs) is quite vibrant with nice restaurants / cafes - much quieter than central suburbs but still great. We lived there because we fell in love with the park (Jells Park) and the density of housing is quite a bit lower than the more central suburbs. Its a very "Asian" suburb, which suited us fine, but some people can find that jarring if they have lived all their lives in a majority white environment (We loved living in a multicultural place where our kids mixed with kids of all different colours, and you get the advantage of amazing Asian restaurants etc... but our parents found it uncomfortable to be in a minority for once - maybe its a generational thing?) We always hankered to live closer to a beach, as during the summer months we would be at the coast most weekends, but that also comes at a premium price, depends on personal preference. For groceries, everywhere will be well covered by the supermarkets, (coles, woolworths, aldi) but also look for independent Asian supermarkets for fresh fruit /veg which are much cheaper , and seem to be everywhere too. A trip to Queen Victoria markets in the city was like a day out, and you could buy pretty much any food item you can imagine! Anything else you want to know about living in Melbourne with kids, please ask.
  10. excitedbutterrified

    Removal Firms UK - Australia

    Not extremely recently but we used OSS to both move ourselves out to Melbourne in 2015, and move back in 2018. Both times we had a full sole use 20ft container, and the cost was about $7,500 Aussie dollars each time. Luckily we had the costs covered (and flights etc..) by our new employers both times we moved. The process was really very straightforward, and the moving companies are really slick and efficient. Absolutely no complaints about either move. At the UK end, OSS subcontracted to Britania movers who were fine. Are there any specific things you want to know?
  11. excitedbutterrified

    Missing transcript for skills assessment

    Which Uni did he attend? I recently had the same situation, and my old university (uni of liverpool) sent out a new transcript - which wasn't 100% complete - it was missing some module names during the first year, but had the module codes. Engineers Australia were happy with this. I graduated in 2003 and I think its a basic function of a university to keep such records.
  12. I sat the PTE-A last week in Manchester, so here is my advice. Most of this is obvious, and already out there, but here it is anyway!. The test is taken entirely on computer, and marked by computer. This is good because it is scrupulously fair. Its a bit impersonal because you wont speak to a real person. - this was a plus point for me, as I am a shy antisocial type! It also carries with it, quirks of how it is marked. Some question types are totally straightforward and there isn't much you can do to prepare, but some questions are tricky and require knowledge of what the computer is looking for to do well. Even if you are a native English speaker, you should at the very least familiarise yourself with the question format, and have some strategies of how to deal with those questions. You have to remember you are looking to satisfy a computer algorithm rather than a person. You should take an official PTE-practice test very early on, so you can focus on areas to improve on. The practice test was exactly the same format and "feel" of the real test, and the scores done in the same way, by the same marking algorithms. My scores were almost identical between the practice and real test. The question types I would spend most time preparing for and practicing are : Essay - use a structure ( intro, argument for, argument against, my opinion / conclusion) Re-tell lecture Summarise lecture Describe image I found the speaking parts of the real test very challenging, as you take the test at the same time as many others in the same room, and you can hear them speaking. Everyone is trying to do their best, loud, clear BBC newsreader voice so it can be very distracting. You need to just focus on your own test which is hard to do. The test can take up to 3 hours, but I was out of the room after less than 2 hours, I don't think I rushed anything, but I didn't use the 10 minute break, and after I answered each question moved immediately on to the next. I guess pacing is a personal preference but once I was in the zone I felt better banging through the questions rather than dwelling on them. For preparation, I used "E2 PTE Academic" free videos on youtube, where strategies for all the question types are presented, and which worked really well for me. Highly recommend their youtube channel, I have no idea what their paid courses are like.
  13. excitedbutterrified

    timing putting in an EOI for 189 visa

    Well, we have put our EOI in yesterday, but we are slightly (majorly) deflated that our chances don't look fantastic at the moment based on the online reaction to the August invitations. We have 75 points, (25 Age, 20 English, 15 education, 15 experience) which looks to be very sketchy for getting an invitation at the present time. Let the waiting commence!
  14. excitedbutterrified

    Visa grant for 189

    Hi Didizza, I am wondering if you can tell me if you had to supply police checks / medicals at the application stage, or would the system let you wait until the CO requests them? I'm about to submit my EOI, but I would like to string the process out somewhat to delay first entry to oz!
  15. excitedbutterrified

    timing putting in an EOI for 189 visa

    Thanks Nemesis, I suspected as much! I guess that's the nature of bureaucracy! Is there anyone who has recently been through the process for 189 who could tell me the exact stage that police and medical checks have to be submitted. I have heard slightly conflicting info, some info states the CO will request both towards the end of the process as the last steps, other say the police checks need to go in with the initial application, with the medicals later. Probably over-thinking this stuff, but I'm a worrier. Thanks again!