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  1. Moving to Victoria and Your Driving Licence - What You Need to Know If you are moving to Victoria and you hold an overseas licence, there are different steps that you will need to take depending on what visa you obtain. Temporary Visa Holders: If you are a temporary visa holder, you are not required to get a Victorian licence or learner permit. Instead, you can drive using your current overseas licence for the length of your stay as long as your driving licence is written in English, or accompanied by an English translation or international driving permit. Permanent Visa Holders: Under the Migration Act 1958, if you hold a permanent visa you are allowed to drive with your overseas driving licence. This is, as long as it is written in English, or it is accompanied by an English translation, or international driving permit. If your permanent visa was issued before you entered Australia, you can drive with this licence for 6 months from the date you first entered Australia. If the permanent visa was issued to you while in Australia, you can drive 6 months from the date your permanent visa was issued to while you’re in Australia. After this time, if you want to continue driving in Victoria you are required to obtain a Victorian driving licence. Even if your overseas driver licence has expired, you can still take a driving test. Once you’ve been issued with your Victorian driving licence or learner permit, you are forbidden to use your overseas or interstate driving licence in Victoria. What Steps To Take: In order to obtain a Victorian driving licence, your current licence needs to be verified. The verification process may involve your driving licence being sent off to be checked. If you are applying for a Victorian driving licence, you need to be at least 18 years of age. If you are under 21 years of age and you have held your overseas licence for less than 12 months from your 18th birthday, then you will be issued with a P1 probationary driving licence. A P2 licence is issued, if you are under 21 years and you have held your overseas licence for more than 12 months, or if you are over the age of 21 and you have obtained your probationary driver licence for less than three years. For a full Victorian driving licence to be issued, you need to be over the age of 21 and have held your overseas probationary driving licence for at least three years, or hold/have held an overseas full driver licence. Once your overseas driver licence has been verified, you then need to check if your overseas licence is recognised in Victoria. If your licence has been issued from one of the following countries or jurisdictions, then you are good to go and you will not need to sit a test. List of countries: - Austria - Belgium - Canada (licences from Ontario, Canada must be surrendered and returned to the licensing authority) - Croatia - Denmark - Finland - France - Germany - Greece - Guernsey - Bosnia and Herzegovina - Ireland - UK - USA - Isle of Man (for licences first issued on or after 1 April 1991) - Italy - Japan - Jersey - Malta (for licences first issued on or after January 2004) - Netherlands - Luxembourg - Norway - Portugal - Singapore - Spain - Sweden - Switzerland There are some other countries from which your driver experience is recognised in Victoria and you will not need to sit a test, once you are over the age of 25. If you are under this age, you will be required to sit a test. These countries are: - Bulgaria - Czech Republic - Republic of Cyprus - Estonia - Hong Kong - Hungary - South Korea - Latvia - Lithuania - Poland - Romania - Slovenia - South Africa - Taiwan There are still varying restrictions with regards to some of these countries, so you are best to check this out before applying for your Victoria driving licence. The Final Steps: You’ve checked everything else off the list, now it is time to book your appointment! You can do so online or you can call 13 11 71. Once you have made your booking, you will then be required to get some paperwork ready. Documents which you will need to take with you to your appointment include; evidence of identity documents, your current overseas licence, a completed application form, and, the adequate fee.
  2. Do we have to pay school fees? Now this is a subject that confuses a number of people. Firstly it depends on what fees you are discussing. If it's tuition fees then if you are on a temporary visa yes you will pay fees, however, the rules are different for each state so please see below. Australian citizens and Permanent residents still pay fees even when they are at a state school. These are voluntary fees and range between $100 - $1000. Even though they say they are voluntary and you can refuse to pay them there have been numerous parents who complain that their child has been treated differently, refused school excursions etc. Don't forget you also have to purchase: Uniform - 99% of schools insist you purchase the uniform from their supplier, most are branded. School uniform fees vary. For the school my son is at the fees are as follows: Shirt formal $33 Tie $21 Shorts Formal $30 Trousers Formal $40 Belt $14 Sports Top $29 Sports Shorts $24 House Top $35 Socks $6.50 Socks Formal $5 Jumper $58 Jacket $85 Hat $14 Bag $70 Obviously you are going to need a couple of each so it's quite expensive. Just make sure you get a large size. Books These are study books, in Australia they aren't included like the UK. The price for the books can either be included in school fees, loan the books and pay a smaller fee, or buy the books outright. Stationary Every child needs to provide their own writing books, pens and pencils, calculator, glue, etc at the end of every year you will receive a book list. You may not need everything on the list especially if you already have them. 457 Visas A few years ago there were a couple of states who didn't charge school fees for families on 457 Visas, unfortunately in 2016 South Australia became the latest state to now charge. South Australia South Australia work on a means test if you earn a joint income of under $57,00 you will not pay any fees. If you are earning over $77,000 the fees will be approximately $5,100 for primary aged children and $6,100 for secondary. Any subsequent child will receive a 10% discount. WA In WA the school fees are only payable if you earn over $75,000 and then the fee is $4,000 per family (not student) if you earn under $75,000 joint income you can apply for financial hardship - https://aumigforu.ms/2sceeTC NSW In NSW the school fees are between $5,000 - $6,000 depending on what year your child is starting. You can apply for an exemption like the other states, details can be found here https://schoolsequella.det.nsw.edu.au/file/af2345bd-f02a-4700-9fbb-55338904d1c9/1/fee-exemption.pdf ACT This is one of the most expensive states for schooling. For 457 Visas, only the occupations listed on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) are eligible for fee exemption. School fees are as follows: Pre School $3,900 Kindy to Yr 6 $10,400 Yr 7 - 10 $13,600 Yr 11 - 12 $15,200 Victoria and Queensland - Neither of these states currently charge school fees for 457 Visa holders. QLD - http://education.qld.gov.au/schools/school-operations/fee-exemptions.html
  3. If you are making the move to Melbourne you should be aware of the fact that public transport is the most convenient way to get around the city. Melbourne is becoming increasingly popular as a city to migrate to and it is busy! With a population of over 4.5 million, it has been predicted by the Bureau of Statistics that Melbourne’s population could almost double by 2056, meaning that it may overtake Sydney in becoming Australia’s most populated city. So, you need to think smart when it comes to travelling around Melbourne. Pick up a Myki Smartcard: If you want to travel at ease in Melbourne, the best thing that you can do is purchase a Myki smartcard. With the Myki card, you can get around on trains, buses, and trams, completely hassle-free. Another thing you might need to consider is purchasing a Myki Explorer Pack when you arrive. You can purchase this pack from various spots including the SkyBus terminals at Melbourne Airport, Southern Cross Station, and at Melbourne Visitor Centre in Federation Square, as well as at many different hotels. This explorer pack costs $15 and includes a $9 credit amount, the concession card costs half the price and comes with a card which is topped-up with $4.50. This fantastic travel pack provides you with all of the travel necessities including; useful information for the first-time visitor, maps, and a ready to go Myki smartcard. In the information pack it will remind you of important ‘must-do’s’ such as remembering to tap-on and tap-off each time you board a bus, train, or tram. The Myki Explorer kit is also available to purchase as three different options, you have the option of Full Fare; this is for those who are 19 years and over and are not entitled to concession, the Myki concession card; for people including pensioners and students, and the Myki Child Card. Public Transport Victoria (PTV): PTV (Public Transport Victoria) Hubs will provide you with all the information you need for getting around Melbourne and these hubs are situated in various different locations across the city. You can also download the PTV app for both iOS and Android and on the app you can access all public transport information including service times, journey planner, as well as different Myki card top up locations. Trains, Buses and Trams: As regards to the trains, buses and trams in Melbourne, they all run at frequent hours and offer a convenient and reliable service. In particular, the train and tram services in Melbourne city operate all week, including Sunday, running from early in the morning right through until late at night. The bus routes are also reliable and frequent, offering services seven days a week, until 9pm every night. At weekends (Friday and Saturday nights), there are also late night buses, as well as the Night Network operating late night trams and trains. Another great aspect of the trams is the ‘Free Tram Zone’. This is an exclusive service that runs in the CBD and Docklands areas of Melbourne. Since the beginning of 2015, as long as you are making your journey within the assigned zones, it is a free service! This means that you are not required to tap-on with your Myki card, so you end up saving yourself money for more travel time in Melbourne!
  4. Driving in Adelaide: Transferring Your Overseas Licence So, you’re migrating to Adelaide and you are unsure of how your overseas licence will work once you arrive. Well, this article should provide you with all of the knowledge that you need before making your move! If you are planning on becoming a permanent resident in South Australia, it is vital that you get your South Australian driving licence within ninety days of arriving, and once you have been issued with this, your existing licence will become invalid and you may be required to surrender it. What are the rules and regulations? There are a couple of different rules depending on varying factors such as; your visa type, age, licence type, etc. If you are between the age of 17 and 19, or you are over 20, on a permanent visa, have an overseas full licence from one of the eligible countries, then your existing licence can be transferred to a full South Australian driving licence. Your only obligation is that need to do this within ninety days. In order to actually transfer your licence, you should first download a MR205 application form, complete this form, and take it along to any Service SA customer service centre. In order to complete your application, you will also need proof of your identity, signature, age, and address, your current drivers licence, and a medical certificate if required. Temporary Visa Holders: If you are over the age of 17, hold an open overseas licence, and you are visiting Australia on a temporary visa, then you can drive in Adelaide with your overseas licence. If you are 16 and you are a visitor on a temporary visa in South Australia, you can also drive with your overseas licence, as long as it is still valid. You must only drive a vehicle that complies with the conditions of your overseas licence. Also, when you are driving you are required to carry your valid licence as well as a current passport at all times. If you are in the country and your overseas licence expires and you are unable to renew it, you will be required to apply for a driver’s licence in South Australia. If you don’t actually have an overseas licence and you wish to drive in Adelaide, there is a process that you need to go through. First you will be required to sit a licence theory test, then obtain a learner’s permit, complete a compulsory amount of hours during the stage of learner permit, and pass the hazard perception test. You then obtain a P1 provisional licence for one year and a P2 provisional licence for two years, before graduating to a full driver’s licence. Driving Licence Fees: The general driving licence fee is $42.00, a provisional licence will cost you $143.00, whereas a learner’s permit is $59.00. The majority of countries in Europe as well as the U.S will allow you to easily transfer your licence. If your licence expired less than 5 years ago, it is still possible to transfer it to a South Australian licence, however, if it expired more than 5 years ago then you will be obliged to apply for a new South Australian Driving licence.
  5. Transferring to a Queensland Licence: What You Need to Know So, you’re making the move to the state of sunshine and beautiful coastlines and you want to take in the scenery by being able to drive around. Well, in Queensland, depending on the type of visa that you obtain, there will be a couple of things you need to do if you would like to drive. Before arriving, you should have everything in place so that you don’t have too much hassle when you arrive. What are the rules and regulations? In the case of migrants who are not Australian citizens, he or she must transfer their licence to a Queensland driving licence once they have been living in the state of Queensland for three months. There are two categories relating to this transfer, so be sure you know which category you fall under: 1. If you are not a citizen of Australia but you were given a resident visa before you actually took up residence in Queensland, and you have now been residing in Queensland for three months, you then need to transfer your overseas licence. 2. If you are not a citizen of Australia but you were provided with a resident visa after you arrived in Queensland and you have now been living in Queensland for more than three months, then you must also transfer your overseas licence. Temporary Visas: A resident visa is a permanent type of visa and this does not include a temporary, business or guardian visa. For example, if you are a backpacker on a Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417), then you will be eligible to drive in Queensland with your valid open overseas licence. It is only when you are no longer temporary, that you need to change your licence. For example; if you have arrived in Queensland on a backpacker’s visa and after some months you then become employed and sponsored and stay in Queensland, you then need to change your licence to a Queensland licence, because you are then considered as a permanent resident. Driving Licence Application: In order to go about applying for a driving licence in Queensland, you need to be sure that you are applying for a licence in the same class as your current foreign licence. It is a straightforward application and you can complete this via the Transport and Main Road customer services centre, or you can also go to a Queensland Government licence issuing centre where they will be happy to assist with all of your queries. In the regional areas of Queensland, you can apply through a licence-issuing police station. For your application, you are required to apply for your licence by completing the driver licence application (Form 3000). This can be downloaded as a PDF file. You will also need to take with you your overseas licence in English, or translated to English if it is in a foreign language. The translation on your foreign language licence needs to be approved by the NAATI - National Accreditation Authority and Interpreters, before it can be processed. Proof of your residency in Queensland will need to be shown, as well as a declaration of being medically fit to drive. You will also need to know what the fee if for transferring your licence, and depending on your circumstances this fee can range from $70.00 to $165.00. Finally, one crucial piece of information to remember is that once your Queensland licence has been issued, it will then become illegal for you to drive in the state with your non-Queensland licence.
  6. By Miriam Watson (Currency Conversion Rate: 1.74 AUD equals 1 GBP) There are a few noticeable differences between grocery shopping in Australia and grocery shopping in the UK. One of the main things that stands out is the fact there is a much more varied choice of supermarkets in the UK than there are here in Australia. Woolworths and Coles are the two major supermarkets in Australia and they account for 80 percent of the Australian market. In addition to Woolworths and Coles, there are also ALDI and IGa who both have a good reputation albeit whilst operating on a much smaller scale. In fact, Aldi began trading in Australia in 2001 and since then they have already gained approximately 11% of the east coast market. In the UK, however, there are seventeen major supermarkets, including Tesco, Sainsburys and Waitrose, to name but a few. Whilst there may be more to choose from in the UK, the quality of food here in Australia tends to be that bit better considering the fact that the majority of products are Australian Made and fresh produce is generally imported very seldomly. In researching, we have discovered the following comparisons: ● 1 gallon of milk - Australia 5.38, the UK 5.38 ● 1 llb of bread - Australia 1.36, the UK 1.49 ● 1 llb of rice - Australia 1.26, the UK 0.95 ● Eggs (12) - Australia 4.65, the UK 3.31 ● Beef Round, 1 llb - Australia 7.10, the UK 6.19 ● Chicken Breast, 1 llb - Australia 4.71, the UK 4.72 ● Tea Bags (25) - Australia , the UK 2.10 ● Instant Coffee 500g - Australia , the UK 11 ● Potatoes - Australia 3.78, the UK 3.49 ● Onions - Australia 2.73, the UK 1.40 per kg ● Garlic - Australia 2.93, the UK 3.12 per 500g ● Tomatoes - Australia 4.98, the UK 2.09 ● Oranges - Australia 3.98, the UK 2.62 ● Apples - Australia 4.63, the UK 3.49 ● Bananas - Australia 4.63, the UK 1.80 Whilst some of the prices may seem expensive in comparison to the UK, the salary in Australia makes up for it, being 6,000 GBP, or 10,456 AUD, higher than the average UK salary. This is bound to make a difference when it comes to shopping for your favourite groceries. SuperMarket Specials One thing to look out for each week is the Supermarket specials. Unless you opt out of receiving unsolicited mail, each week you're likely to get catalogues in your mailbox detailing all the discounts a supermarket is having that week. If you take the opportunity to stock up on these products (assuming they're not perishable or have a long expiry date), this can be a great way of saving money in the long run. If you don't wish to recieve the paper based versions of the catalogues, then online digital copies are also available at: https://www.coles.com.au/catalogues-and-specials/view-all-available-catalogues https://www.woolworths.com.au/Shop/SpecialsGroups/catalogue http://www.iga.com.au/catalogue/ https://www.aldi.com.au/en/special-buys/ Reward Cards Supermarkets also offer rewards cards, offering you another way to save money: Coles uses the flybuys card - https://www.flybuys.com.au/collect#/partners/coles Woolworth uses the rewards card - https://www.woolworthsrewards.com.au/