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  1. My family and I (husband and three children) lived in Australia for 17 years and became Australian citizens in 1982. We returned to UK a number of years ago in order to travel Europe and that side of the world. We stayed longer than expected but intend to return towards the end of the year. Unfortunately, my 60 year old husband had a brain haemorrhage 20 months ago which resulted in a severe stroke. He is now confined to a wheelchair and is aphasic. In the UK he receives Disability Living Allowance of £67 per week plus his mobility car. I receive my UK pension which is only £80 as they reduced it because of the 17 years spent in Australia. I have not as yet applied for my Australian pension. I wondered if someone on this site receives a disability allowance or could someone tell me which government department I approach to enquire about disability allowances and whether my husband would be eligible. I have made enquiries about his medication and have been informed by the PBS that they are on the subsidised list. My daughter returned to Australia two years ago and my two sons, daughter in law and grandchildren are returning in the next six months, so all our family will be over in Oz again. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!
  2. SOFTER HOUSE PRICES DO STERLING NO FAVOURS UK inflation still above target but don't expect any rise in sterling interest rates. Australian rates could be going up as soon as October, though two thirds of analysts think not. A range of little more than three cents saw the pound peak on Thursday before falling back. It opened this morning in London almost unchanged on the week. House price data had almost more effect on sterling than all the other statistics combined. Early in the week it was the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) House Price Balance, which came in at -32% after -8% a month ago. The Index compares the number of members reporting higher prices with the number who see prices falling. Simplistically, a figure of -32% would equate to 40.5% of members reporting higher prices, 59.5% seeing them lower (40.5/59.5 - 100% = -32%). Rightmove's index, released on Sunday night, is altogether more simplistic. It takes a raw average of the asking prices in estate agents' windows and turns it into an index. It was equally gloomy, however, down by -1.1% in September after a -1.7% drop in August. The consumer price index (CPI) inflation numbers were higher than expected. Yet again the analysts' predictions were thwarted when CPI inflation refused to fall into the bounds of its 1%-3% target. At an annual 3.1% it was not way too high but it was sufficiently adrift to confirm the status quo and to leave the balance of probability on the side of higher, not lower rates. Practically, the difference between 2.9% and 3.1% is invisible. The lower figure would not have meant an interest rate cut, just as the higher one does not mean a rate increase. But investors are a traditional bunch. They knew they were supposed to buy sterling on unexpectedly high inflation numbers, even if they couldn't remember why, so that is what they did. The employment figures showed their biggest quarterly improvement - 286k - since 1971 even though there were still question marks, especially over the tiny 8,000 fall in unemployment over the same three months. August's retail sales figures were more obviously mediocre, with a surprise -0.5% monthly decline that left sales just 0.4% ahead of a year ago. NAB's business confidence indices were on average better in August, with confidence itself nine points higher at 11 and business conditions unchanged at 5. On the other side of the counter, Westpac's consumer confidence barometer went the other way, falling from +5.4% to -5.0%. New motor vehicle sales improved by 0.3% after a -2.6% fall and medium term inflation expectations rose from 2.8% to 3.1%. Except for the consumer confidence index the figures were positive for the AUD. The Reserve Bank of Australia was even more helpful, at least as far as the governor's comments were concerned. Governor Glenn Stevens let it be known that it might be game-on again for higher interest rates at the RBA's next policy meeting in two weeks' time; "If downside possibilities do not materialize, the task ahead is likely to be one of managing a fairly robust upswing... Part of that task will, clearly, fall to monetary policy." Investors leaned heavily on the governor's hint, taking the AUD higher across the board. The AUD's position is not without risks. Gravity-defying property prices have been discussed here before and Bloomberg is the latest commentator to blow a cooling breeze on the currency. To quote the news agency; "Purchasing power parity, a measure of the cost of goods relative to other countries, shows the so-called Aussie is 27 percent too expensive, according to data compiled by Bloomberg." Bloomberg's summary is that "Australia's dollar, this quarter's best performing major currency, is now the most overvalued." The impact of Tuesday's publication of the RBA's policy meeting minutes will probably have been dented by the governor's speech. It is now down to the market to second-guess what decision will be reached in two week's time. Sterling's list of economic data releases is short, with just government borrowing and the minutes of the Bank of England's August policy meeting making up the important numbers.
  3. STERLING STRUGGLES AS INVESTORS EMBRACE RISK · Bank holds UK interest rates steady at 0.5% for a 19th month · Australian employers add 31,000 staff in August. For the first half of the week sterling was resilient. On Wednesday morning it was unchanged from Monday. The following two days were a different proposition. The pound dropped two and a half cents. The flavour of the week was that the major currencies went, in the end, nowhere; only the commodity-related currencies had anything to say. According to Reuters, the sharp drop for sterling on Monday was allegedly the result of 'heavy selling by a UK clearing bank... related to the UK's contribution to the European Union's agricultural budget.' It was certainly nothing to do with any economic news. The British Retail Consortium's Retail Sales Monitor had showed like-for-like sales in August to be 1% ahead of those for the same month last year and double the previous month's 0.5% July-July increase but it was not exactly stirring stuff. More useful was Wednesday's Halifax house price index. It rose by 0.2% in August. Even though the annual rate of increase slowed from 4.9% to 4.6% the monthly rise was much more palatable than the half per cent fall investors had been expecting. Sterling jumped sharply on the news. But that was about the top and bottom of it as far as positive UK economic news was concerned. Industrial production rose by 0.3% - more slowly than expected - in July and Thursday's trade deficit (for July) was an unwanted record. Friday's producer price index (PPI) data had manufacturers' costs rising by 8.1% in the year to August while factory gate prices went up by just 4.7% over the same 12 months; a further squeezing of margins. The irrelevance of the Bank of England's Bank Rate to the wider economy was highlighted on Thursday. As the Bank kept its key policy interest rate at 0.5% for a 19th month the news papers wailed about the real cost of borrowing. The average high street bank overdraft interest rate went up to 19.1%, its highest level since records began in 1995. The five most expensive overdraft lenders were all government subsidiaries and top of the tree was NatWest (RBS) at 19.89%. The Reserve Bank of Australia announced, as expected, that it would hold its Cash Rate steady at 4.5%. Less predictable was the same day's revelation that two of the three independent Australian MPs would side with incumbent prime minister Julia Gillard in a coalition government. The RBA decision sent the Aussie lower and the first signs were that the return of a Labour government would do the same, if only because of the vanishingly small majority. Thursday's employment data solved that problem. Employment went up by 31k in August after rising by 25k in July. That was good enough but the breakdown was even better: the number of part-time employees went down by -22k but there were 53k more full time staff. The icing on the cake was a fall in the unemployment rate from 5.3% to 5.1%. From sterling's point of view the critical figures this week will probably be the employment numbers. Take note also of developments at the TUC conference in Manchester: If the unions really are intent on attacking the government through strike action, and if the rank-and-file are up for it, sterling will be under pressure. It is not so yet; investors are not convinced that workers will put politics above self-interest, but the possibility is now on the radar.
  4. If anyone is interested there is a documentary on ABC TV tonight at 8.30PM Eastern standard time called "The Making Of Modern Australia",it's about the great Australian dream of owning a house.by the look of the synopsis it should be interesting.
  5. I read and see many times the words 'The Australian Dream' and do at times get a little confused just what it is. Is it many things to different people or is it a lifestyle that involves a pool, the weather, the ability to make 'something' of yourself, etc. Or as I said is it a thought (dream) that is as totally individual as you are. We all have our own ideas of what the Australian Dream is I think, or in these harsh economic times is the Australian Dream a thing of the past. Housing costs rising, unemployment rife (to a certain extent) crime, etc, are all integral to our day to day lives, so is the Australian Dream a reality or is it simply a misconception that has been portrayed by those that want to live in Australia. Personally I have never bought into the myth of the Australian Dream, Australia for all its advantages still holds many a disappointment but what I found was not the Australian Dream, it was more akin to be able to simply live and work in a different country that has for ME paid huge dividends. After all, you can have a (insert country) dream wherever you choose to live IF that place suits you at that particular time. I dare say some would say that there is such a thing as The Belgian Dream. It may suit you down to the ground. So in summation, is there such a thing as The Australian Dream or is it a just a myth made up in order to make us feel more comfortable and at peace with ourselves. Cheers Tony:wink:
  6. Bank Warning on Australian Property Prices Morgan Stanley analyst bearish on housing market. LOCAL property investors have become "Ponzi borrowers" in a market 40 per cent overvalued, according to a Morgan Stanley strategist. In a bearish note to clients this morning, Morgan Stanley strategist chief strategist Gerard Minack warned Australia's housing "bubble" could be pricked should banks tighten credit or "loss-making" middle-class landlords start to sell. He argues owner-occupiers are in too much debt and investors are riskily relying on capital gains to repay their loans and interest repayments. Compounding the problem is "ill-advised policy", such as the government's first home-buyers grant, which has combined to make Australian houses "40 per cent above fair value", Mr Minack says. "Buying an asset that's over-priced never ends well," he said. "The real return on residential property over the next decade is likely to be negative, in my view." No surprise, the supposed increase or spruiking of house prices has been based upon "population growth" spike due to labour demand till 2008, returning Australians, international students and backpackers (statistics and related info lags a lot...). But this has slowed dramatically with new student enrolments for 2011 "falling off a cliff", permanent residency blocked for many due to "immigration debate" so they are either not coming in the first place or are returning home, thus investors assuming they can rent out their properties should be very wary..... owner occupiers should be fine in medium term.
  7. I am currently a Secondary English teacher living and working in Scotland, who would love to emigrate to Oz to be near my two sisters who have emigrated. Unfortunately I turned 46 in November and i am now too old for most Visas. I have degrees which are recognisable and have Aussie equivalents so that documentation should be no problem. Any one any suggestions as to the best way of me securing an employer to sponsor me? Most employer Sponsor Visas mention permanent places required; what are my chances ? Any advice would be welcome!!!! :arghh:
  8. TRICKLE OF WEAK DATA WEIGHS ON STERLING Purchasing managers' indices and house prices falling Investors embrace the Australian dollar as they desert the US dollar A generally uncomfortable four-day week for sterling saw it lose four and a half Australian cents and left it facing further damage when London opened this morning. The pound was dogged by disappointing economic data throughout the week. None was outrageously bad but the trickle feed of mediocrity had a depressing effect on sterling. Perhaps the best figure was the four-point improvement in consumer confidence GfK's measure) that kicked off the week. It improved from -22 to -18. Still negative, granted, but heading in the right direction. Unfortunately the market was not impressed; it set more store by the dreary mortgage and personal lending numbers later on Tuesday. There was no chance that investors would be overjoyed by the pathetic 160 increase in the number of mortgages approved in July. Nor were they smitten by Nationwide's house price index which fell again August, this time by -0.9%. Wednesday's banana skin was the manufacturing sector purchasing managers' index (PMI), which measures (by calculation; it is not an opinion-driven survey) activity across a commercial sector. Including a downward revision to the previous figure the index for August was three points down on the month at 54.3. Against the equivalent numbers from Europe and the States it looked weak. There was more of the same on Thursday with a 52.1 reading for the construction sector PMI and on Friday when the services PMI came in at 51.3. Both had lost a couple of points on the month. If they go below 50.0 it will mean activity is shrinking, not just glowing more slowly. A heartening piece of news for Britain, if not for sterling itself, was the three-yearly survey of foreign exchange activity by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). London has extended its mastery of global FX, handling 37% of all activity. It is more than double the 18% accounted for by the United States (New York and Chicago). No other country makes it into double figures. Paris and Frankfurt together do less business than Singapore. As well as an impressive 1.2% quarterly expansion of gross domestic product the Lucky Nation was able to reveal a 19% increase in company profits in the second quarter of the year. Inventories were down by -0.5%, possibly a sign of fading confidence but equally possibly an indication that orders are running ahead of production. More good news came with a 2.3% increase in dwelling approvals after three months of decline that saw them cut by a fifth. Retail sales, too, were ahead of forecast with 0.7% monthly growth in July; nearly 100% better growth than the market had been looking for. The trade balance for July was also better than forecast with a $6.5 billion surplus, miles better than the previous $3.2 billion deficit. In value terms exports rose by $21% while imports were up by less than 5%. The terms of trade helped, improving by 12.5%. Beyond the domestic Australian developments investors were also interested in pursuing Friday's US employment report and in a general perception that things might not be as bad as they seemed for the global economy. On the world stage the smaller-than-expected loss of US jobs in July, a net -54k people instead of the expected -76k over two months, led to investors dumping safe-haven yen, Swiss francs and US dollars and rushing back to take advantage of the higher yields available from the commodity- and growth-related currencies. A North American holiday today (Labor Day) and a relative shortage of interesting data leave investors with not much to provide guidance this week. UK industrial production should have risen in July and with a bit of luck the weak pound might at last be serving to narrow Britain's trade deficit. Thursday's meeting of the London Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is highly unlikely to result in any change to interest rates. Neither is the Reserve Bank of Australia going to shift its Cash Rate, at least as far as most analysts are concerned. That does not mean investors will sit on their hands and do nothing. On Monday morning they seemed to be teed up to give sterling another whack. Buyers of the Australian dollar should use a forward transaction to fix a price for half the currency they expect to need and take advantage of any sterling spikes to improve their average.
  9. The decision by the independents to back Julia Gillard just now does open the chance that we will see the SMPs sooner rather than later. Still most likely that there will be a new Immigration Minister and therefore no SMPs immediately, but most of the suggestions I am now hearing suggest January to March next year. Obviously, had the Gillard government been returned easily, implementation would have been quicker. With such a close outcome, any single decision by government will be sweated over for fear of a negative electoral effect. They won't rush to implement anything. Good luck for those still waiting. Cheers, George Lombard
  10. Guest

    Australian CV

    Hi all I was hoping you could help, I've read somewhere that an Australian CV is longer than a british CV, should it be 3-4 pages with full detailed job history? Any other differences to note? Also do you state in cover letter that you need sponsorship?? Thanks :biggrin:
  11. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHuuUFCDpaY
  12. Guest

    Australian bank transfers

    Hi Wondered if there are any Australian banks that would allow me to tranfer to my UK lloydstsb account. Looking to open up one before we leave and would appreciate any advice. many thanks Lia
  13. UK GROWING FASTER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT But investors worry that it peaked at 1.2% in the second quarter. Australian construction work up, new home sales down. Another week of fruitless graft saw sterling open in London this morning more than a cent lower after the eight-day week. It range was very similar to that of the previous week, covering four cents, but a sharp downward move on Friday cost it two cents which it was unable to recover. The week got off to a bad start after The Times published an interview with Monetary Policy Committee Member Martin Weale. Asked if Britain was on course for a double-dip recession, Mr Weale said, reasonably enough; 'I think it would be foolish to say that there's no risk of that.' Had he left it at that no damage would have been done. However, he went on to list all the things that could cause that second dip: a renewed rise in unemployment, declining house prices, another banking crisis, a sovereign debt crisis, a new liquidity crisis in the private sector, tough fiscal tightening, higher levels of individual saving and lower consumer demand. In a week otherwise bereft of useful UK statistics Friday's first revision to second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) took centre stage. Having initially estimated quarterly growth of 1.1% the Office for National Statistics upgraded its guess to 1.2%. Surprisingly, there was a negative reaction to the good news. The sell-off was only brief but it was enough to demonstrate the market's confusion about sterling. It is almost as if investors saw the strong GDP figure as a sort of economic swansong. They believe the chancellor's austerity budget will weigh on the economy and that the numbers will get worse; they just don't know by how much. Australian ecostats were even fewer and farther between. Construction work in the second quarter of the year was up by 3.5% compared with Q1 and that first quarter figure was itself revised upwards from 1.9% to 4.2%. Analysts had been suspicious about the originally low Q1 number when it came out; the revision put it more in line with where it ought to have been. On the other side of the construction coin, new home sales fell by -7% between June and July. It was the third successive monthly decline and sales were down by 2% compared with the same month last year. The steepest fall was Victoria's -12.9% while sales went up by 4% in South Australia. The Housing Industry Association's chief economist blamed the decline on 'regulation, development charging, and excessive taxation on the cost of new housing supply' and said the government should do something about it. Sterling faces challenges this week from the purchasing managers' indices, an important barometer of how the manufacturing and services sectors are performing.
  14. Guest

    Am I an Australian citizen?

    Hi, I came out to Australia on my parents passport in 1966 on the Fairsky on one of those 10 pound pommie schemes. We stayed at Bradfield Park hostel in one of those army style corrugated iron dome huts. I was 3 when we left. As both my parents are dead and I can't ask them if I was naturalised and I've never had a passport am I an Australian Citizen? My Father told me I automatically became one but now I'm not sure. I'm just going through the final stage of landing a government job and don't want to find out I'm not eligible. I have never left the country since arriving here. I have been on social security and have voted before but have never had anything to say I'm a citizen or have dual citizenship with Australia and England. After 45 years in Australia I would like to think I am a citizen. Is there anyone else out there in the same boat?
  15. GOING NOWHERE YET · Sterling repeats the previous week's lack of certainty · Australian election result realises worst fears of a hung parliament Having covered a range of nearly four cents over the seven days the pound opened in London this morning unchanged on the week against the Australian dollar. For the AUD this was a respectable achievement. Sterling's week got off to a slow start. It was not until Tuesday that the UK economy had anything to say for itself, with the consumer price index (CPI) figures. They were in line with expectations. CPI inflation slowed from 3.2% to 3.1% in July after prices fell by -0.2% on the month. Sterling was a net loser on the day against everything but not because of the CPI data, nor for any other immediately obvious reason. Equally lacking in reason was its rally the following day. Yes, the minutes of the August Monetary Policy Committee meeting provided the catalyst because they included no bad news, but sterling's rise on Wednesday was as mysterious as its decline the previous day. Thursday morning's positive performance was more clearly founded. Public sector net borrowing in July was £3.2 billion, two billion lower than forecast and less than a quarter of the previous months shortfall. Retail sales rose by 1.1% in the month instead of the 0.4% analysts had predicted. But the euphoria evaporated quickly after The United States delivered another set of duff data. Sterling had to give back in the afternoon what it had won in the morning. The Australian economic data came and went without creating too many ripples. Westpac's leading index was a tad softer than expected at 0.0%. So was the wage cost index which rose by 0.8% in the second quarter, although the average annual wage increased by 3% in the year to June 0 just as it had in the year to March. Low-profile though it was, the figure that might be worth consideration was the Housing Industry Association house affordability report. The affordability index fell by 9.1% in the second quarter, close to an all-time low, as a result of higher interest rates. The news coincided with a cautionary research paper from investment bank Morgan Stanley. The analyst there, Gerard Minack, predicted two years ago that Australian house prices would fall by 30% between then and now. He was wrong but he is sticking to his guns. To quote him directly: 'Most measures suggest that house prices are around 40% above fair value. There's a word for a financial asset that's over-valued by 40%, so let's use it: housing is a bubble.' He goes on to say that the event most likely to prick the bubble is 'broad-based job losses.' Perhaps the new government will give some thought to the housing 'bubble' as it makes its plans to invest heavily in Kennedy, Tamworth and Port Macquarie. The hung parliament seems to have done the AUD no particular harm. It opened on Monday well below Friday's closing level but recovered fairly easily. Whether it remains quite so resilient in coming days and weeks depends on how the horse-trading pans out. Buyers of the Australian dollar should continue to protect themselves with a 'stop' order, always bearing in mind that the first law of stop orders is never to move them backwards
  16. any one used them are they any good filled in one of there online forms and it says someone will ring within 48 hours Australian Visa: Australian Visa Bureau
  17. NERVOUSNESS GOOD FOR SAFE-HAVEN CURRENCIES Good employment figures from the UK but could they mark the peak? Good news and bad news in Australian employment data. Sterling consolidated the previous week's gradual gains, moving sideways within a three-cent range. It managed to add a cent in the process but only, apparently, by accident. If there was any dominant feature of the UK economy last week it was the struggling residential property market. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors' house price balance counts the number of estate agents reporting house prices and compares the figure with the number reporting price falls. In July the RICS came up with a figure of -8%; a majority of agents saw prices going down. The Department for the Community and Local Government reported prices static between May and June. Estate agents' portal Rightmove saw the average asking price fall by 1.7% in August. The Halifax house price index has fallen in four out of the last six months. The slowdown in prices is coupled with a slowdown in turnover. Potential buyers are reluctant to commit if they fear for their jobs or expect the slowing economy to bring prices lower. Many who would like to go ahead are unable to come up with the higher deposits now required by mortgage lenders. The softer housing market and the difficulty faced by those trying to get on the housing ladder will have contributed to the further deterioration in Nationwide's index of consumer confidence from 63 to 56. The week was not without good news from the UK economy. The number of people in employment went up by 184k in the June quarter, the biggest increase since 1989. The Office for National statistics put a cautious spin on the numbers, noting that 'The quarterly increase in total employment was mainly driven by part-time workers, which increased by 115,000 on the quarter to reach 7.84 million, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1992.' However, the number of full-time workers went up as well, by 68k. Investors did not react as positively to the employment figures as they might have done. They worry that the June numbers could represent the peak of the cycle and that government cuts will mean less positive results in coming months. There were economic data to suit all tastes from Australia but it was the pessimists who cheered the most. NAB's surveys of business conditions and business sentiment were both lower in July; the conditions index was three points lower at 5 and the confidence measure fell from 4 to 2. The index of confidence was the weakest reading since May last year. Rather better news for the AUD was Westpac's index of consumer confidence, which went up from 113.1 in July to 119.2 in August. The 5.4% improvement was strong. Having fallen by 15% after back-to-back interest rate increases in March April and May, confidence has recovered by 17% in the last two months. It is back up to the levels seen before the Reserve Bank of Australia started to turn the interest rate screw 11 months ago. The optimists could also raise two cheers after the July employment report showed a 23.5% increase in Australian payrolls. The pessimists won the day though; all of that increase - and more - came from part-time jobs while the number of full-time employees fell by 4.2k. Another negative factor was the unexpected rise in the rate of unemployment from 5.1% to 5.3%. Buyers of the Australian dollar should continue to protect themselves with a 'stop' order. They should consider raising its level a fraction to take account of sterling's gains, always bearing in mind that the first law of stop orders is never to move them backwards.
  18. This calculator is used by thousands of businesses in Australia if they dont have computer systems or pay rates when employing people. Its put there by the government (ATO - Austrailian Tax Office) to provide the correct witholding rate for taxation purposes. TAX Calculator Leave all the examples as they are, this is the usual standard for all employees unless they are under specific personal circumstances. Basically plumb your numbers in i.e. your week pay, gross amount and hit calculate. As said lots of firms use this and then just issue their own payslips and keep the printed ATO version for their Payment Summary (P60) for the year end. It makes only a little differnce at the end of the year when you come to do your tax.
  19. MIA has sent a series of specific questions relating to migration to each of the key political parties... Here is the detail..
  20. I am currently a Secondary English teacher living and working in Scotland, who would love to emigrate to Oz to be near my two sisters who have emigrated. Unfortunately I turned 46 in November and i am now too old for most Visas. I have degrees which are recognisable and have Aussie equivalents so that documentation should be no problem. Any one any suggestions as to the best way of me securing an employer to sponsor me? Most employer Sponsor Visas mention permanent places required; what are my chances ? Any advice would be welcome!!!! :arghh:
  21. restfamily

    One year as an Australian :)

    Hi I thought it was time for me to post an update on my journey so far as Saturday marks my first anniversary as an Australian citizen! I emigrated in April 2007, six months pregnant with my second child and a lot has happen in the 3 years or so since then. There have been many highs and lows but on average, Canberra is now home. It feels more like home than anywhere else I have ever lived and I put that down to the wonderful friends and lifestyle I have managed to achieve here. In the UK you acquire many friends over the years but when you move somewhere new you have to go and consciously make friends. I have therefore found although I have less friends here each one I do is a good friend, each one I could call at 3 am and ask for help. I had not lived close to my parents since I was 18 so I never really missed them in a daily sense, but I do miss them when major things happen, like birthdays, moving house and illness. I had to hit the ground running when I first arrived in Canberra as I was pregnant and I had to quickly work out the medical system and find a rental urgently. Finding a rental can be stressful but I did find somewhere after a few weeks of looking. After only a month I took a financial risk and bought land in Canberra and then the following year I built my first Aussie house. I have since sold that house and am in the process of purchasing my second home in Canberra, so I guess I am staying put for a while! I struggled with the isolation of Canberra for a while, as I was use to just saying “let’s go to Oxford for the day” etc. The distance really became a reality for me when my 12 week old son was seriously ill in HDU and required transfer to ICU. It was at that point I discovered despite being the capital we do not have a paediatric ICU in Canberra and it was time for a helicopter to Sydney. Thankfully he pulled through and in the end we stayed in Canberra and have only had to go to Sydney for specialist treatment, but that still feels like a major expedition just to see a doctor! The healthcare system does take some getting used to and on many occasions has close to sent me broke. Things like the fact you have to pay for children’s prescriptions. I find health insurance is not really insurance (i.e. it doesn’t pay out when you are sick so you not struggling when you are ill) but more a part payment system. I have had my children in good childcare centres and am pleased with the education system so far. My daughter has been classed as gifted and has started primary school a year early and is doing really well. I was also pleased to discover some of the primary schools in the ACT have special programs for gifted and talented children. I had a few check point milestones along the way. The first after 18 months when my husband and I separated and the second after my first trip back to the UK after 3 years. Deciding to stay and stick it out as a single parent was a tough one. In the end it came down to the fact single parent life would have its difficulties anywhere in the world, I had moved to give the children a different lifestyle, I had moved to cut long commute times, these were all still true. When I think about it now there is no way I could have balanced all this in the UK. In Canberra I can drop the children at school and still be in work by 9.15am, I doubt I could do that in the UK. I also have managed to establish a lot of activities to keep me busy, many of which I couldn’t have accessed in the urban sprawl of the SE England. I recently visited the UK for the first time and concluded yes I missed things, but they were mainly materialistic things: NEXT, M&S, supermarkets…. I do not miss the weather, the traffic, the small houses. The only thing I really still struggle with is my career. Whilst I doubt I will ever really be out of work in Canberra, I do not have the same type of work I enjoyed in the UK, but I just have to remind me at the cost that came at: 6.30am trains, a collection of air miles, hours on the M4… compare that to a 20 min drive to work without traffic! I have got my evenings back, I feel healthier because I have more time to exercise, to cook and I can get out for a walk in the sun most days of the year. I guess in summary, a place is what you make of it, keep a balanced view of what you have changed for the better and what you are missing and why. Take the opportunity to meet new people and do new things, but most of all put your head down and get on with life here like you have no choice for a least, I know everyone says it, 2 years. For me 3 years was a good time to head back to the UK, I wouldn’t have wanted to go earlier. In fact I got stuck there for an extra 8 days due to the volcanic ash cloud and I got really upset because I just wanted to go “home”. I am happy here for now and I am going to keep capitalising on that. All the best no matter what stage of the journey you are at. K
  22. Hi i am in the process of applying for a spouce visa with my 3 children also on which I submitted in May 2010 from the UK. My husbad is Australian. We were told that it would be granted on the 11th of Aug and recieved a phone call today saying we have to wait untill september because of the changes in the law regarding the processing time. We are trying to work out which priority group a spouce visa comes under. Can you help us? We have had contact with the case officer who e-mail us to say our visa would be granted on 11th Aug. We have booked flights and as of 22 Aug have no home. We need to know if there is any advise so we can get this re assed and prioritised by the immigration department. Thanks Lindsey
  23. STERLING SURVIVES THE WEEK · But was it by luck or judgement? The UK economic data were hardly compelling. · RBA rate outlook calm after latest board decision. Sterling edged higher but with no conviction. The two-and-a-half cent range was all but horizontal and the pound's net half-cent gain was unremarkable. It was a strange sort of a week for sterling. Despite making one small error after another it came through virtually unscathed. Except against the euro, where it lost a couple of dozen ticks, sterling was either steady or higher this morning compared with last Monday's starting level. Its best result was the two cents it gained against the US dollar. But there were plenty of unforced errors. After several weeks of bouncy economic data the UK delivered some decidedly unimpressive figures. The manufacturing sector Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) measures the robustness of manufacturers' activity on a scale of 0-100. A reading above 50 means that, on average, their business is growing. Monday's figure was 57.3. It was not absolutely a bad figure but was softer than the previous month's 57.5. Also moving in the wrong direction were the construction PMI (54.1 v 58.4 a month earlier) and the services sector PMI (53.1 v 54.4). UK industrial production was another disappointment, falling by -0.5% in June when it should have gone up (according to the analysts) by nearly that much. Manufacturing production, a narrower measure which does not include things like mining and electricity generation, went up by just 0.3% on the month, half what was expected. The Bank of England did exactly what was expected on Thursday; nothing. Although inflation is still above its 1%-3% target, and factory gate prices are going up at an annual rate of 5%, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided, predictably, to stick to its 0.5% Bank Rate for an 18th month. The MPC remains convinced that inflation will come back into line without the need for higher interest rates. Although the MPC has no brief to help the economy it is bound to be aware that it is not a credit binge that is pushing prices higher; higher interest rates will not prevent the price of bread or petrol going up. The Australian dollar tagged along with the other commodity currencies, rarely putting its hand up to be counted. There were just two events that nudged it from its steady course. The combination of another monthly fall in new home sales (-5.1% and -6.4%) and another fall in building permits (-3.3% after -6.6%) made investors twitchy about the future upward course of interest rates. Shortly after the announcement of thee building permits figure the Reserve Bank of Australia confirmed it would not be raising its cash rate from 4.5%. It was no great surprise after last week's low inflation figure. The governor's accompanying statement ended with the not entirely surprising comment that 'The Board judged this setting of monetary policy to be appropriate.' After due consideration, investors came to the conclusion that there would be no further tightening at least until after the next quarterly inflation figure in October. With low inflation and what looks increasingly like a struggling residential property market the cash rate could linger at 4.5% until next year. As that possibility sunk in the Australian dollar moved lower. A three-point quarterly rise in the new house price index the next day did nothing to change that view. In the last couple of weeks sterling has handled everything that has been put in its way. The pound's biggest test this week will be Wednesday's UK employment figures. Over the last three months unemployment has been going down. If investors hear the same story again they should be able to maintain their modestly positive attitude to sterling but they would be far less enthusiastic about any reversal of that trend.
  24. Hi, Does anyone know what the following on my ACS Skills Assessment means: "you have satisfied the requirements of the ACS PIM2, Group A"? I'm not sure what's meant by PIM2 and Group A. Thanks. Michael.
  25. STERLING AHEAD ON ALMOST EVERY FRONT UK retail sales report strongest in three years. Low inflation print suggests no change for AUD interest rates this week. As far as the UK economic data were concerned it was a low-key week for sterling. Nationwide announced a -0.5% monthly fall in house prices, the Bank of England reported a slight fall in the number of mortgage approvals in June. Gfk's index of consumer confidence was three points lower at -22. The only statistic that made any difference - and it was a positive one - was the CBI's distributive trades survey. It was surprisingly strong with a net 33% of shopkeepers reporting higher sales in July; the strongest reading for three years. In one of sterling's luckier weeks it had also a minimal amount of non-statistical flak to avoid. The National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) shot wide when it assessed the risk of Britain's economy falling back into recession next year at one in five. Prior to June's emergency budget that risk was one in seven. NIESR thinks living standards will not return to pre-crisis levels until 2015, roughly the same time horizon recently mentioned by the Federal Reserve in the States. Another damper-than-usual squib was Bank of England Governor Mervyn King's appearance in front of the Treasury Select Committee. His comments were in line with recent Monetary Policy Committee minutes and sparked no reaction from sterling. The governor was evasive at times: Answering a question about the impact of the emergency budget, and the risk of it derailing the recovery, he said 'I don't think it made a significant difference to whether we would get what is technically called a double-dip recession.' Two inflation measures last week rained on the parade of those looking for higher Australian interest rates. At the beginning of the week the producer price index - factory gate prices - went up by 0.2% in the second quarter of the year after analysts had predicted it would rise by 0.8%. Although that took the year-on-year increase to 1.0% that was still well below the 1.5% annual rise investors had been looking for. The disappointment on Wednesday was even greater when the consumer price index rose by considerably less than the 1% that markets had been expecting. At 0.6% CPI inflation was well short of the level that would make an interest rate increase by the Reserve Bank of Australia inevitable at this week's policy meeting. A survey of 23 economists by Bloomberg found all of them predicting the RBA would leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 4.5% on Tuesday. Taking advantage of Britain's impressive GDP performance in Q2, sterling made it back to the top of the range that has held it for a fortnight. It shows no sign of breaking higher as long as investors lean towards the growth-and-recovery story and continue to favour the currencies with higher yields. Buyers of the Australian dollar should continue to hedge 50% of their requirement.