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About Tychen

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  1. Firms on both ends are now much more relaxed about requiring people to requalify, in view of the constant ratcheting-up of the requirements for requalification, and the prospect of mutual recognition under the FTA. Because it's so difficult to requalify, firms don't even bother. So not being locally qualified isn't really an obstacle these days for employees working in commercial law. If you are looking to be a partner, or need to stand up in court, then that's a different matter.
  2. Tychen

    Living in Australia - things I'm looking forward to

    Real sand beaches nearby, that you can enjoy even in so-called winter. We live in the inner west, miles from the ocean, but the little river beaches nearby at places like Gladesville or Putney or Cabarita are perfect for small kids. Mango season. Ethnic-specific enclaves that aren't exclusionary or grim. Seeing the harbour from my office window, not just concrete blocks. National parks close to the city - one minute you can see the city skyline, then you turn the corner and spot whales on the horizon.
  3. Tychen

    Choosing a home down under

    @Marisawright is right. Melbourne is better in this regard. Functioning high streets exist in Sydney, but you have to know where to look. Parramatta has a high street as well as a Westfield. I'd say Burwood and Chastwood are also okay - though the high street in Burwood is very Chinese. Elsewhere, you can find functioning high streets in a lot of the little town centres in the North and in the Inner West - Lane Cove where OP is looking has a very nice village centre, Lindfield is pretty pleasant too. Probably more of them in the Inner West - eg Concord, Leichhardt, Balmain, Homebush, Erskineville, Marrickville are a few that come to mind. I also find the very ethnic high streets in the southwest quite charming. The very Greek looking Earlwood, the Vietnamese high street near Bankstown station, Little India in Harris Park, or the straight up slice of Southeast Asia that is Cabramatta...
  4. Tychen

    Choosing a home down under

    I visited Castle Towers for the first (and hopefully, last) time last year. It was huge and there were quite a lot of young people there. I understand teenagers from the other end of town might have different preferences, but all the Hills District / Bible Belt youths seemed to be enjoying themselves. I say hopefully last not because there was anything wrong with the shopping centre, but because it was a nightmare trying to get in and out. The place was basically the epicentre of three miles of swirling traffic jams in all directions. On the eastern end of the northwest there's Macquarie Centre - that's also huge, is also surrounded by queues of cars, and seems to have a greater variety of things that might appeal to young people. Cinema, ice rink, multiple book stores... Everyone in the northwest seems to spend all their non-working hours either stuck in a traffic jam or in a giant shopping centre. It's obviously a lifestyle that works for people who live there... Sorry that's gone off topic. The upper north shore where OP Is looking is not the northwest.
  5. Tychen

    Choosing a home down under

    What surprised me most when we moved into a house in Sydney (an old Federation-style one) was how leaky it was. There are built-in vents top and bottom on all sides. There were gaps between floorboard and the wall where you could actually see through to daylight via the underfloor vents. Big gaps under all the doors, internal and external. I've read Federation style houses described as "tents on bricks" as far as insulation is concerned, and that's pretty accurate. This is a problem for heating as well as for wildlife. A few years later and we've just about got the ants and slugs under control. We've evicted the possum that's been a long-term tenant in the roof and we haven't had a brush turkey nest in the backyard (yet). But it's been nice getting flocks of colourful corellas in the garden during their migrations.
  6. Tychen


    You are probably right. I haven’t been there since 2018 and my impression it’s grimmer is mainly based on expat friends who’ve moved away due to the continuing political arrests and schools being forced to teach Chinese propaganda etc. - meanwhile issues like finding a clean public toilet haven’t improved. So it’s just a lot more like the other big Chinese cities now, but the political stuff wouldn’t affect you on a stopover.
  7. Tychen


    I've done long stopovers in Shanghai both via China Eastern and via a Qantas/BA connection - you arrive and depart from Pudong Airport, and it was relatively easy to get to Pudong's financial district from there, where you can find Western standard toilets (v important to know where these are when travelling in China), cafes, restaurants etc, and from there you are only a ferry or cab ride away from the old European bits and the old Chinese city across the river. You can stay at quite nice hotels in Shanghai for fairly cheap. China Eastern can be v cheap, and definitely towards the budget end of full service, but it was bearable other than the food, which was terrible. Pack your own sandwich. Another one I've done is Tokyo. This was when international flights only flew into Narita, I think you might be able to arrive and depart from Haneda now (or a mix of the two). Haneda airport is much closer to town. You can easily stay in say Minato or Akasaka or Odaiba and get quite a bit of sightseeing done in 48 hours. Hong Kong used to be a comparable option to Singapore, but obviously a lot grimmer now. On an Emirates/Qantas combination you can do one stopover in Asia, then break up the long second flight further with a stop in Dubai - and it would probably be cheaper than Qantas/BA the whole way.
  8. Tychen

    Travelling alone with children

    FWIW, I used to travel out of the UK for work regularly, and sometimes my wife would travel alone with our child from the UK to meet me, so that we could tack on a family holiday. No-one ever asked questions at either end. My impression was that, in the absence of a dispute from the other parent, the UK border officials only got worked up if the mother's surname didn't match the child's surname. If you are concerned about it, could your partner write a letter to remove all doubt?
  9. I forget, it was something to do with the new gadgetry they used to authenticate for online banking. Possibly expired card or needed a new pin to be sent by mail. It worked out eventually but was a lot of hassle.
  10. We had the opposite problem. Tried to close a sBarclays account to consolidate it into an HSBC account after we moved. Barclays wouldn't accept instruction to close over the phone, wouldn't send a cheque to Australia... Sounds like we should have just let it be until they closed it!
  11. HSBC is quite good for maintaining accounts in both countries - they are happy to send you UK statements etc to your Australian address, and you can transfer between UK and Australian accounts. You can even do some UK banking through an Australian branch and vice versa. They are not one of the "big 4" banks in Australia, but big enough at least in Sydney and Melbourne for everyday use.
  12. A couple of things in no particular order: - think about what you need to ship by airfreight and what can slowly go via sea freight. - when you land, sort out private health insurance. Waiting periods are annoying, but some providers will be willing to waive waiting periods if you had an equivalent plan in the UK. Ask around. - Australia has a protectionist racket on child car seats. Your EU-rated seats are probably not legal in Australia. You can take a taxi home from the airport without car seats, but you'll need Australian-rated ones for your own car. - If you don't have a car waiting for you here and you aren't shipping one, think about ordering one now. Wait times are terrible.
  13. Tychen

    Dual Citizens carrying 651s and Outreach Visits.

    You don't need a valid Australian passport to *enter* Australia if you in fact have citizenship under Australian law. You'd need to explain yourself at the Australian border but they cannot refuse to let you in: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/entering-leaving-subsite/Pages/Entering/return-documents.aspx . This is the general legal position in most countries. The tricky part is whether the airline would let you on the flight at the other end - usually they will want to see some proof of your citizenship or a visa. If the eVisa helps to get past that stage, then fine, but they need to be aware that technically it's not legally possible to hold a visa to visit Australia if you are a citizen.
  14. Tychen

    Renting with large family

    I imagine that is a very healthy budget. You can even get a house in a reasonable part of Sydney on that budget, so I imagine you would get a palace in FNQ! The market may be less competitive than Sydney. However, based on experience renting as a family in Sydney, I would suggest it's important to present yourself well and also exaggerating the length of time you intend to rent for. Suburban landlords tend to be very choosy about tenants: some don't like to rent to a family with kids, and o-one wants to have to find new tenants after only a year. Also, if it's a property with a garden, committing to hiring a professional gardener can help beat out the competition.
  15. Tychen

    Swimming pool - asset or liability?

    Weeding around the pool is a bigger piece of work because you don't want toxic chemicals to wash into the pool, so it's organic herbicide (which has more limited effectiveness) and then physically removing the weeds. Plus, the rest of our yard is mostly lawn. I'm happy to mow, much more annoyed about weeding. If the pool wasn't there, I wouldn't have pavers in that area, and ordinary trees rather than privacy hedges.