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Found 79 results

  1. KevR

    Melbourne - Ten Months

    Hi All. I am now ten months into emigration, and I am finally sitting down and composing a post, I found these very helpful in my own planning, as well as all the great folks on the forum who advised me along the way. Be warned though, this may be a long post! Feel free to ask questions on any aspects, I will be happy to reply. Myself and my now wife ‘A’ made the decision to move from Dublin in August 2011 after a particularly wet bank holiday weekend - the kicker here is that a heat wave was forecast during the week and after all the BBQ prep was done on Friday, the heat wave was cancelled! A had been struggling to find work over the past few years due to the public sector freeze, and after spending seven years in Uni and a BA, MA & MSc under her belt, it was very tough and frustrating for her. Going to Australia was something that we had discussed briefly before, but after recently buying a house, getting engaged and being the proud owners of two dogs, we brushed off the idea. Got on the phone to an agent to discuss my options the next day and I discovered I was eligible to apply for Skilled Migration. We went with OE Visas, and I can recommend them. To keep this short, applied for the skills assesment, got the IELTS, medicals etc. and we received out PR Visa’s in September 2012. If you’re interested, I work in IT. We rented the house in Dublin out at the beginning of January 2013, shipped our stuff (Airsea) and I flew out on my own a week later. A was following me at the beginning of March and the dogs were staying with my folks for a little while until we were settled enough to bring them over. I had about 6-7K euros total, the mission was to find work, get a place to stay and try get as set up as possible before A arrived. Luckily, I had a friend here in Melbourne where I could stay for a week or two which cut down on cost. Flew with Singapore Air, Dublin - Frankfurt - Singapore - Melbourne. I had a seven hour stopover in Singapore which was tough, but checked into an airport lounge there. It was less than 20EUR and included food, soft drinks, tea & coffee etc. and most importantly, hot showers. I highly recommend avoiding a seven hour stopover, but if you need to, this was a good option. Overall, I really underestimated how tough the flight and jet lag would be. My tip, lots of water and avoid alcohol! I unfortunately did the opposite! Jumped in a taxi, got to my friends place in Brunswick, happy days. Got all the normal stuff sorted, bank accounts, VicRoads, medicare etc. Pretty much got started on the job hunt straight away, but as I suspected, December / January is not a good time to be looking for work in Australia. I sent off loads of applications with very little response. Began house hunting almost immediately, however, I quickly learned that unless you have a job, you will find it very difficult. Only option to start with was a short term house / room share which I found without any great hassle, a empty room in a house share for three weeks. Moved into that place after a week or so on my friends couch and continued to look for a short term apartment. We needed a house with a garden for the dogs, but until I was more settled I decided that 3-6 months in a apartment would do. I found myself spending a lot of time walking around discovering the city, went to the zoo, QVM night markets, sports in fed square etc. Rented a car for a week, started exploring the city a little, checking out areas - We wanted to be somewhere fairly close, I looked at Elwood, St. Kilda, Brighton, Windsor, Brunswick, Parkville etc. On the car rental, they hand out parking and speeding tickets here for fun, it is insane - 66 in a (sneaky) 60 zone earned me a ticket, as did 8 mins over metered parking. Just a heads up! About 2-3 weeks in, I got a couple of interviews, first job was eventually pulled, second one was only three days a week, applied for that one by accident! Got a call regarding a great full time position, good money, permanent etc. in Melbourne CBD around the second week in February. Put my name forward for that, it was the first really suitable role in four or five weeks of looking that came up. About the same time I found a one bed apartment in St. Kilda, 6 month lease, $390 a week. Place was small and dingy, but practically on the beach and beside the tram so I took it. Gave it a good clean etc and it wasn’t too bad. Picked up a PS3 for pretty cheap (about the price of 1 or 2 nights out), there was a TV in the apartment, thats how I spent a lot of evenings - Can be tough to fill time when you are on your own, especially as you find yourself constantly worrying about money, work, accommodation. Also, you realise you have a container of stuff and a wife arriving, it really piles the pressure on. Week two in February, I got a call about that one opportunity that i was a good fit for. Had an interview and the next day got a phone call offering me a second interview. About 5 weeks into the job hunt at this stage, and not much more had come up at all, apart from the odd role that would have been right for me about four years previously. The following week I had the second interview and the week after on March 1st I was offered the role. A was arriving the following week, and my stuff soon after so not a minute too soon. The role wasn’t starting for another two weeks, but once I knew there was money coming in soon, a heap of the pressure faded away. Quick side note, I had applied for at least 50 - 60 roles, and after getting that job, only got a call for 2 or 3 after that. I have since learned that IT is getting more and more competitive here, especially in the entry level and high end roles - The guy I replaced is looking for work for over three months now, and he is highly skilled with over 20 years experience. I now realise how lucky I was. I was pretty broke at this stage, but the next week was spent chilling on the beach, walking around the city and doing stuff cheaply. Looking forward to A arriving, again completely underestimated how tough it is spending the best part of two months on your own trying to start a new life. A arrived, moved in and we had 5 days before I began work. She held here role in Dublin right up until she flew, so having that wage at home really helped with everything. We were still pretty broke, but luckily I got paid the day after I started which was fantastic. Had so much to get, but could treat ourselves to a nice BBQ and a few bottle of wine guilt free! A started job hunting straight away, but while there were a lot more jobs coming up than in Ireland, you are still only looking at 1 or 2 a week, with a good few applicants. I was settling into work well, a month or so went by (End of April) and all was fine except for the apartment. Heater broken, weather getting colder, stuff leaking, noisy etc. We put a few calls into the landlord, nothing done about it, another call went in and so on. We eventually placed a serious call saying we were moving as soon as we found something better, we couldn't last during the winter there. The landlord agreed to cut the lease short. At this stage, my shipment had arrived, but for $20 a week, the shipping guys would hang onto it at their warehouse. It wouldn’t have fit in the apartment! We started house hunting, I had a permanent job and two payslips at this stage, so we were feeling confident. We found a lovely 2 bed victorian house with a back garden for the dogs, we applied and we got it. In the St. Kilda / Prahan / Windsor area. $620 per week. We got our full bond back on the short term place, and moved into the new place two weeks later. We arranged for our shipment to be released, and a few days later it arrived. It was an amazing feeling to have our stuff back, in a clean nice house, a back garden etc. Now all we had to do was furnish it…. It was not all work and business at this stage, we went to a few good gigs, Springsteen, Young, Stone Roses, Manics. We went to three of the Lions games, including the third test in Sydney where we caught up with a lot of friends from back home. We were making friends, getting invited out to events and parties, everything was coming together on the social side. A month or so later, the end of July, A finally got a job - took her about four months in total. We were furnishing the house in small bits, got the fridge, bed couch etc. Once the second wage came in we didn’t know ourselves, we could actually begin to think about finishing the house and shipping the dogs. We had all the rabies work etc done for them in Ireland, so that was fine. The role was ten minutes from where I work on foot, and I didn’t mention that my commute home is only ten minutes on tram or fifteen on a push bike. That was pure luck. So now, we can catch up for lunch, then meet up after work and grab a drink or grab some bits for dinner etc and be home in 15 minutes. In September, we got the ball moving on our dogs. We used Kevin Kenna in Dublin, cheapest quote and quickest response by email. All vet visits were booked, flight sorted etc. Total cost of bringing both dogs was about 7500-8000EUR. Mid October now, the sun is out, staring at the lovely Melbourne skyline from my office. The house is fully furnished, the two dogs have just left Dubai and are landing within hours. The only decision I need to make today is beef or fish for dinner and whether to use the gas or charcoal BBQ. Maybe pick a wine to go with it. Emigrating is not an easy thing to do, it has been scary, stressful and it really pushes you to your limit. On the other hand, I don't think I have ever lived so much. Good or bad, chilled or stressed, crazy busy or completely bored. At the end of the day, so far, it is been fantastic and we have zero regrets. Kev
  2. Hi All My husband and I have decided that we'd finally like to start the proceedings to applying for a visa. It looks like we're eligible for the 176 state sponsored. My husband is a mechanical design engineer/draughtsman. It looks as though he is going to have to do the Competency Demonstration Report with Engineers Australia. We've learnt about the changes to the points system taking place in July 2011, its likely that we'll struggle to get our application accepted after this date. This means that we have a relatively short time to get this application prepared. I've read on Engineers Australia that the processing time for the CDR is 16 weeks. I've been reading on various forums that people spend months putting their CDR together. Clearly, if we want to get our application in before the points change we don't have very much time available to us. Can anyone help with answering how long they spent preparing their CDR? We're happy to use a migration agent to help with this aspect (possibly the whole application), is using an agent for this aspect a good help? ie take some of the legwork out of it for us, in terms of putting the CDR together? and more importantly, reduce the time in which it will take us to prepare it? As its a report so personal to the individuals work experience I can’t see right now what a migration agent can do to help with it. I’m waiting calls back from a couple of agents but thought it worth a mention on here. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.
  3. Hi Everyone, Another person I live with is a member of this site - but I wanted to register as a new user to ask this question. What would you do if you knew someone who was in Australia on a 12 month tourist visa, but who was actively looking for work?? Surely it is a clear breach of this persons visa conditions. They are actively phoning around and looking for sponsorship, and have actually applied for at least one job that I am certain of. Is there anything that can be done? Can it be done anonymously? Should I bother?
  4. roflie

    Melbourne 4 months report!

    Long time no speak Hi all, Firstly can I apologise for not being active on here since my move to Australia around 4 months ago, as you can imagine Its been a busy old time and with a 1001 distractions I’ve not had time to sit down and type out something meaningful. To recap, I’m a 27 year old lad from the north east of England and having secured a job in a hospital way back in Feb I embarked on my visa mission to get myself on a plane to Australia….. Work arranged a company to process my visa and the agent was quite helpful but at times didn’t seem to know everything you would expect them to know (she advised I need a medical/health check up as I was going to work in a hospital but after a little bit of reading online and speaking to you guys on here it turned out not 100% of people needed this check up so when the agent looked in to it a little further turns out I didn’t need it and saved myself a few hundred pounds in the process)… Anyway after accepting the job and getting together all of the paper work I lodged my e457 on 11th April 2011 and after submitting some further information (It was a travel insurance document to prove I was covered for medical on my arrival in Aus – I didn’t bother with private medical, still haven’t, just got a cheap 20 pound travel insurance policy online) on 27th April I heard the great news that my visa application had been successful on 4th May 2011 (24days from it being lodged!) I booked my flights through Singapore airlines and flew out of Heathrow. I managed to negotiate up to 30kg by sending the customer services an e-mail – they could not have been more helpful! I had never been to Australia and I didn’t know anyone out here so it was a bit of a leap in to the unknown but I eventually boarded the plane (and sat delayed on the run way for 2 hours!!!) 15th June and away I went. I had managed to set up some accommodation before I left using easyroommate.com.au….. basically I was to be sharing with 2 kiwi’s and an aussie on my arrival and just paying for the room and bills all inclusive on a short term deal until I could get something for concrete. This was based in Cheltenham to the South East of the city. The journey over to Australia could not have been smoother…. The check in staff were great and I can’t praise Singapore airlines enough. I was flying on one of their air buses and could only get a seat on the lower level for the leg to Singapore but luckily I had a vacant seat next to me which made everything that bit more comfortable, especially considering the longest I had ever spent on a plane was 5 hours!! The food was great and the staff regularly popped round offering refreshments…. The little touches like the touch brush/tooth past/mouth wash/hot wet towels all just added to a splendid journey..... I took a small netbook on to the plane with me but hardly used it. The onboard entertainment was enough to keep my occupied, although the excitement probably helped, but with my standard travel plug the netbook kept its charge for use whenever needed. Due to our delay out of London we had a quick turnaround in Singapore…. We got through the internal checks relatively quickly and just wondered straight up to the departure gate… I had checked my bags all the way through and was grateful for this as it meant I could relax for 30mins and stretch my legs whilst waiting to board the second leg to Melbourne…. This was on time and I was lucky enough to get on the dog deck and had once again a vacant seat next to me (felt like I was in business class!!)… both flights were about 80 – 85% full but I guess I was just lucky having the seats vacant next to me….! I didn’t sleep much and landed in Melbourne bang on the expected time, early in the morning on the 17th June. The weather wasn’t great on my arrival, the typical Melbourne winter really… bit of cloud, the odd splash of rain and the sun trying hard to make an appearance but it was nice and cool and I was just happy to have negotiated my way there without any problems… Due to the fact we were one of the first to land in the morning the queue’s for customs weren’t too bad. I declared prior to going to Australia on my visa that I had been fined by the police in the UK about 5 years ago and I mentioned this on my customs form (which they ask you to fill in on the plane!)… I got asked what this was for after I had passed through the main customs desk (nothing scary like some people had reported about being hauled off to a darkened room and interrogated) by a nice guy who was happy just to take note of this and let me on my way. My bags were waiting for me after I had passed through customs and I wondered straight through without any problems…. The Beagle sniffer dogs are pretty cool… one woman just in front of my in the queue had food in her bag (fruit I think) and the dog sniffed it out no problem…  I was greeted by my new boss at the airport and hitched a lift with him to the rented accommodation I had lined up in Cheltenham after a spin round the City. It took around 30mins (from memory) to get in to the city and a further 40mins+ to make our way down to Cheltenham. As mentioned I hadn’t ever been to Melbourne and I was impressed by the city and all of the big buildings. Everything felt a little bit strange to start off with, like I was on holiday but when I arrived at my rental accommodation I soon settled in and began to enjoy suburban Melbourne. Cheltenham is quite well placed on the Frankston train line and has an express service running in to the city centre (about 30mins)… I was also luckily situated quite close to the Southland shopping centre (a large indoor purpose built centre with three floors of shops and everything you would ever need) which was great and really handy for my first bits and pieces I needed. I was going to be working in the city and in East Bentleigh and without a car I have found the public transport to be more than tolerable…. Its not the most posh/comfortable ride but I’ve found it to be a load better than the public transport on offer in the north east of England and its very affordable… you can get round Melbourne all day for $11 (that’s zone 1 and 2) which is cheap compared to the price of everything and the wages. On a Sunday they do the same ticket for $3.40ish which provides an even better excuse to get out and about. I haven’t got a car yet so not sure how much they cost (does anyone know how I go about sorting my driving license out or if I can drive on my uk one whilst over here?), they seem more expensive but again that’s expect and they are probably proportionate when you factor everything in. Dental is expensive so get everything check out and fixed if needed before you arrive… clothes and shoes can be pricey if you want a brand or a name… that said a few of the shops in the uk deliver over here now (I’ve personally used topman who only charge 9GBP and it took 8 days to arrive) if you ever needed a few cheaper bits and bobs and you know they are going to fit…!! I would recommend Cheltenham as a suburb to anyone…. Its quite peaceful and quite with not a great deal going on but it has great links to the city with the major Nepean highway running through and the train line too. There seems to be a big push around Melbourne’s inner suburbs to upgrade single storey houses to doubles or big flat complex’s but Cheltenham has survived this to an extent which is nice as you get a feel of being away from the city. I regularly ran to Sandringham beach which took around 25mins or so… Its beautiful and every time I have been (granted its been winter over here) its been deserted… even when the sun was out… Little things like this have made being here great. I’ve settled in really well and met some really nice and friendly people. It hits you straight away how genuinely nice the people here are, especially when compared to the UK… I love England but everyone seems very busy worrying about their own little world to just say hi to a neighbour or just G’day (I was the same to be honest) for no other reason but to be nice and polite…. I’ve found settling in really straight forward and any advice/help I’ve needed I’ve been able to find or get quite easily. The price of things was probably the most difficult to get my head around…. I know there is always a big debate on how expensive things are here when compared to the UK but I do find when everything is considered that Australia is fractionally more expensive. This might be because I have had to set myself up with a lot of ‘home’ type stuff which we tend to get quite cheaply in England. I like to shop around, get a good deal and have a handle on what things cost so I’ve sort of enjoyed the whole experience of a new country in that respect. Whilst I think day to day things cost more I am earning a lot more than I was in the UK and at the end of each fortnight (fortnightly pay is a dream and its pretty much he norm over here I’m lead to believe) I have more in the bank than I ever did back home and that’s with all of the start up costs and everything which comes with moving countries…..I’m even using moneycorp (free transfers for PIO members) every once in a while to send some money back home (although the Aus banks do like to charge you for it!!)  I signed up with commonwealth bank, they are one of the big four, and whilst they have been fine I am looking at moving to one who charges less for international money transfers…. They hit you with a $22 charge initially and they pass it on to a third party bank who charge you $25….. I have heard one bank does offer free transfers if you deposit a set amount each month but I’m nt too sure who (any advice appreciated on this one!?)… The bank account was really easy to set up. As was the Medicare card. Just turn up in the shops and away you go… just have your I.D. handy when you go out and about the first few weeks as I needed it quite a bit to sign up for various things. Another I got straight away was a sim card…. $2 a sim card and I top up $30 for 30days and it gets me $300 credit… its about $0.50 a text back to the UK and about $2 per minute ringing friends on their uk mobiles so it works out really cheap (this is just a convenience pay as you go deal with Optus one of the big mobile/comms companies out here so I am sure you can get a better deal). I haven’t bothered with a 12/24 month contract but when I enquired they wanted a bank statement with 10 transactions on before they would accept me as a customer. There is so much to see and do in Melbourne, whilst I’ve been busy at work and really trying to get my head down I’ve hardly touched the surface I’ve been to the Aussie rules (I’m a St Kilda fan now!) and soccer, the aquarium and recently the Caulfied Guineas…. They love their horses over here!! A must do if you are coming here is the Australian animal sanctuary in Healesville…. Its amazing… They pretty much have all the usual Australian animals and then some!! I signed up for a years zoo pass as they have the Melbourne zoo and a safari type zoo/park and you get unlimited access for a year ($100 I think). I’m probably missing out loads so feel free to ask…. I shipped over 3 big boxes (about 25kg each) with Transglobal express… they were fine and very competitively priced although I did get a 100GBP fine for having some shaving foam in my box… hey ho… They used DHL for the delivery and I had my boxes within 10days (quoted 5 days but delayed due to the shaving foam and the delivery at this end was sub contracted to someone who wouldn’t arrange a time for delivery which was a bit of a pain!) ….Downsides are few and far between… there is a lot of graffiti in the city and on the trains/buses but you almost forget its there after a short while…. Alcohol is expensive where ever you go (even supermarket), even when you factor in the inflated wages you are on over here (a standard crate of 24 costs around $40 - $50 depending on what you go for) …. Speaking of supermarket, Coles is really good and stocks a decent range…. Aldi is great for cheaper items and there are fresh fruit and veg shops in every suburb so I shop at a range of places to keep prices down…. Furniture is expensive too…. I’ve recently moved away from Cheltenham (a little too quiet and away from the city for me) and now live in a flat with a couple of friends I have met since being here. There’s a lot more going on and its only 15 mins in to the city. Loads of good restaurants (the Asian food over here is simply amazing, loads of variety and slightly different twists which is great as I love my food) and just a busier type vibe to it which suits me a little more…. I’ve not really come across any problems as far as crime/violence/hoodies/chavs are concerned, there’s not the massive binge drinking culture on show over here (I’m sure it exists in pockets but its not thrust in your face in the street or through the media over here) and I haven’t seen any nasty wildlife… which is great as I’m not a fan of spiders!! The birds over here are pretty noisy but I don’t mind it… they are way more pretty and colourful than back home and it makes me smile when I see a pair of the green/blue/orange parrot things sat squawking away as you really do feel a million miles away from home but in a good way…. I haven’t found anywhere to play soccer regularly yet but there are loads of parks to go for a kick around….. We have foxtel (same as sky) so I get to catch up on every premier league game from back home and its got a good selection of programmes, incl some of the British stuff! I know I will have missed loads out and probably the important bits which people want to know about but I’m happy to comment on anything I’ve written or may have missed or any questions/queries anyone has…. All of this is just my opinion and I just wanted to share it with the forum as it was a great help to me when I was moving over that I should have tried to get this written sooner… I guess it’s a testament to how good Australia is treating me that I haven’t had a great deal of time to sit down and get it done…. All of this and we are just getting in to the spring months and the warmer weather!! Cheers Roflie
  5. The Pom Queen

    Queensland Floods Interim Report

    For anyone interested here is the link for the Queensland Floods interim report. http://www.floodcommission.qld.gov.au/publications/interim-report
  6. Hey All Prospective Migrants Check it out...Some useful stuff... http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/immigration-update/nom-july11.pdf Source: http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/ thanks and regards Big Bob
  7. Hi, having been here for a month now, I thought it might be useful for those of you getting ready to come over if I noted down a few tips/observations which might be helpful for you in the first few weeks. These are obviously all my own opinion, and others may disagree, but hopefully it might help a bit...here goes! Accommodation: Compared to the UK, renting and buying here is expensive. Most people seem to get a short term furnished let for a month or so and then try and secure a longer term unfurnished. That was what we did: got a furnished let in Ainslie which is inner North (about 10 mins walk from the city centre). Staying in the city was handy for banks, shops etc, especially if you don't have a car organised. However, most of the suburbs have pretty good shops and nowhere is really that far from a supermarket - so don't feel you have to stay in the city if you don't want - Canberra is not really that big a place, so if you have a car, you are 20 mins at most from anywhere unless you are right on the outskirts. Word of warning -it is cold here at the moment at night and if possible try and get somewhere with ducted heating or at least plug in radiators - you will need them. I have already posted re longer term lets - try and get on to this as soon as you get here - viewings are generally very quick (15 mins) and you will not be the only people looking. Again, I would warn you that there are some shockers out there - we saw quite a few properties with original (1950-1970s) kitchens!! At least 2 we viewed were bascially uninhabitable. Depends on what you want and what you are prepared to pay - we have ended up in Weston Creek which is about 10k west of city - nice area and nice house too - not ultramodern but good roomms and good size yard for our dog. A lot of people say that the newer developments up North (Forde, Gungahlin) are better equipped and modern as they are new builds - but they are on smaller plots and tend not to have large grassy gardens - depends on what suits you I guess. Now is a good time to rent - competition is not so fierce - we put in for this house we are in and got it, maybe lucky. If you are not working, make sure you provide agent with a bank statement with plenty cash in it if possible - they are ultimately interested in who can pay the rent! Shopping Ive read quite a lot about prices here - a lot of which isn't true. Some things are a bit more expensive whereas others are definately cheaper. For example, microwaves are for some strange reason more expensive than in the UK - bring yours if you can; whereas TVs and laptops are cheaper - I bought a pretty high spec laptop for about 400 quid - would have been more in UK. If you are buying electricals, barter with them - and try and buy as much as you can at one time as you will get a better deal if you are buying 2 or 3 items at once - the Good Guys in Belconnen or Fyshwick were very good and were prepared to do a deal. Supermarket shopping is different from UK - the two main supermarkets, Woolies and Coles tend just to sell food, not everything like Tesco or Asda. Also, the alcohol is sold in adjoining liquor stores - dont spend ages looking for the wine aisle like I did!! If you are going in to buy Heinz beans and other UK brands you will pay more, but shop around and buy bulk when you can as you get a better deal. Meat prices here are really good - steaks and chicken are very well priced - especially if you buy a lot. A kg of chicken breast cost us about 10 dollars - thats maybe 6 quid - pretty good. There is a Costco opened out at the airport - some of our new pals here have joined it and say that it has great savings on household products etc. again, if you buy in bulk - I think its about 60 dollars to join. Veggies and fruit can be bought cheaper outwith the supermarkets - most shopping centres have vegetable/fruit markets - plus there is a farmers market just north of the city at the Canberra Exhibition park every Saturday morning from 8ish - we got good prices on great frsh vegetables and meat there. For kitchen, bedding etc. i can't see past K Mart, Target and Big W: especially when you first get here because they are cheap and if you are waiting for your shipping, there is no point in spending a fortune. They are basically all like Matalan in the UK. There are also quite a lot of "pound shops" which are great for dish cloths, kitchen basics etc. - they also sell some brand toiletries and cleaning products cheaper than the supermarkets. We got a set of plates, cups, mugs and cutlery from K Mart for 19 dollars which was great. They also sell microwaves, irons etc and have pretty good prices. For furniture, Fantastic Furniture in Fyshwick was great - modern stuff but reasonably priced and really quick delivery. Cars OK - basically second hand cars are more expensive (by a lot) than in UK, but new cars are reasonably priced - I bought a second hand toyota and actually wished Id paid another 4 or 5 thousand dollars and bought a new one! Buying the car was the same as UK - haggle with them and if they don't budge - walk away - they will chase you!! The system here is that a car has to be registered in the State you live in - each state has its own numberplates! If possible, try and buy a car registered in ACT as then you don't have to change the registration and the plates (if you buy one not registered in ACT bring a screwdriver - or get one from K Mart as i did!) You have to go to 'Canberra Connect' to register a car - there is one in Dickson, inner North. You need proof of residency to register - they basically needed a passport, bank card with your name embossed on it, a medicare card (or the temporary receipt if you don't have it yet) and a lease agreement. The lease agreement has caused some people problems, particularly if it is a short term arrangement and not a formal lease - if possible try and ensure you get a formal lease if you are intending to register a car. The folks at Connect told me they will take a short term lease as long as it is for occupancy of an entire unit - e.g. a standalone house. I could go on forever about cars and drivers licences - so if anyone has any specific questions please let me know - I've just been through it all and happy to help! Misc Medicare - go into Medicare centre in city asap after you have filled out the form, which you can print off from internet - just search for 'Medicare'. They give you a temporary receipt - you can then use as a proof of ID. Medicare cards arrived a few weeks later. Insurance: get home insurance asap - renters insurance is pretty cheap here. Tax number: go online asap and apply for this - it took about 4 weeks for ours to come through. Banks - make sure you get a visa debit card asap - NAB seem to give you a basic card if you organised an account from the UK, but you can go on to their internet banking and request a visa debit - took about 10 days to come through. We are so far enjoying Canberra - its a really nice location and the folks are all friendly. Great wildlife on your doorstep and good weather to see it. The first 4 weeks or so will be hectic - ours have been, but just try and sort one thing out at once and remember that some things take time to organise. Oh, and i would recommend the PIO meet ups - we went along to the last one and met some nice people who we are now friends with. Good luck and enjoy the experience!! :wacko:
  8. Guest

    Canberra Arrival Report 9 days in...

    Hi Everyone, As we've gotten so much from other people's arrival reports I thought I would give you my warts and all (there aren't really any warts by the way) view of our experience so far. We spent a week in Thailand on the way over and whilst we were there we received the excellent news that our 176 state sponsored visa had been granted (we were entering intially on the 457 business visa but luckily our permanent visa came before we landed) so we are now fully fledged residents of Canberra! When we arrived we spent 5 days in Sydney with friends who have just moved out here to. FYI they have a BEAUTIFUL apartment on Bondi Beach so naturally we were bowled over by our first few days in Oz and were starting to worry that we might regret a move to Canberra, especially when we drove down to Canberra, on a rainy day spending our first 4 nights in the Rydges Eagle Hawk "Resort!" Pah!!! Resort my a*s*! Avoid if you can!! Our very very first impressions weren't great. When we arrived (late Sunday afternoon), we came in from the North (driving down from Sydney) and the first thing we did was to do a reccie of my route to work (I was due to start work the next morning at the Canberra Times in Fyshwick), how long it would take etc and so the easiest route looked to be a road around the town called Majura something or other, which is basically a bypass (we now realise!). Now those of you already in or familiar with Canberra might appreciate why at this point we were thinking where is everything?!! Nevertheless, despite it getting dark by this point we then drove back going through the town, past the parliament buildings, and went to do a reccie of Braddon and surrounds which is where we had a rental booked for 12 weeks from the Thursday night. On that night we came across the shopping area at Dickson and cried halleleujah that we had found life (and a subway, McD's and a KFC!!!!). Anyway, over the course of the next few days (OH isn't working yet so spent most days just driving round and I have to get out and about as part of my job) we started to discover more suburbs, shopping areas and the Canberra Centre and started to appreciate what people say about it being such an easy city to live in and that you have to go and find the shops, bars, cafe's etc - and that is SO true! Every day we discover a new suburb, new shops, bars, restaurants etc, they just don't scream out at you like they do in Sydney and Melbourne and you can easily miss them. Already we have discovered Manuka (lovely cafe's, really quaint and cool), Kingston (same again) Barton, Braddon, Dickson etc, lots of inner city suburbs and we really like it. Where as Sydney has the instant wow factor (opera house, harbour bridge and a gazillion beaches) Canberra grows on you and it has really grown on us and already feels like home. We moved in to our short term apartment (booked through Canberra Furnished) in Braddon on Thursday and we love it! Very expensive but we would rather feel the pinch and be comfy than live somewhere we don't like but that's just our preference. Last saturday we had to go back to Sydney for the day (2.5 hours BTW) as a friend from the UK was in town so I couldn't miss the chance to catch up with her and despite LOVING Sydney, I found myself being grateful that I don't have to live there every day. The traffic is a nightmare and it took us an hour to get from the CBD to Manly whereas in Canberra it really doesn't take more than 20 minutes to get ANYWHERE! So whilst I know we'll probably head to Sydney once a month ish to see our friends there I will very happily head back to Canberra on a Sunday evening knowing that life here is much calmer, cleaner, and easier! I'm quite fortunate to have had a job lined up on arrival which for me has made a lot of difference. I haven't been able to get out and explore like the OH has but I'm getting the inside track on where to go from my new colleagues at the Canberra Times. This morning we went and sorted out our driving licenses ($289 for the two of us) ouch! No point complaining you just have to get on with it! General observations: People here are so friendly. Alan keeps finding people to stop and chat to and everyone asks you how you're doing, not just in a "I work here and I'm trained to ask that question" kind of way but just being genuinely friendly! You NEED a car! The best way to discover Canberra is just to drive around it. Go down all the little roads where traditionally back home you would think it would just be houses but then you come across shops, cafe's bars etc. Apart from the first few days we were here it is REALLY sunny and when the sun is shining Canberra is beautiful and I can't wait to see it in the Spring when the leaves start to grow back. When it starts to go dark it's a little dreary, especially at the moment as it's so cold. It's not as cold as everyone says though (I don't think) but that's because we're used to living in the UK. Canberrans think its freezing and don't leave the house if they can help it but it's all relative. The sun shines a lot so it doesn't matter to me. Besides, in a few months it will be nice and warm just when the UK is getting cold again!! Bottom line, we're really enjoying living here and are looking forward to making lots of friends in our new town! Anyway, I've rambled A LOT but just wanted to "give back!" We would love to meet up with anybody already here or soon to be arriving so please get in touch. x
  9. Hi all Just thought I'd add what we found in case it helps others, on a recent reccie trip over in advance of our move this coming November I will be working with an employer in Chatswood, travelling on a 457 visa, and have other friends and family living on the North side of Sydney - so knew we were looking for a North Shore location, which at least cut things down a bit. Important things to us as part of our move are cutting down the commute (currently I do 75-90 minutes e/w into London from Suffolk - bleurrgh), finding a really good school for our son who's nearly 5, a nice sized and quality spec family home, and the general "feel" of the area. Hard to describe - even harder to give a brief to someone to help with! We were fortunate enough to have the services of a relocator, who arranged appointments with schools and some houses to see what sort of price we'd have to pay for what we wanted in an area we liked. They drove us round for 2 days and were massively helpful, so it was a great service. No idea what it costs - my employer is paying - but very handy indeed and I know we're lucky and most people don't have this luxury Initially we thought we wanted to live somewhere near the water, so pencilled in suburbs like Lane Cove, Northbridge, Seaforth, Middle Cove, Castle Crag - and we visited all these. We discounted Mosman on account of overpricing (Sister in Law lives in Cremorne, so we know it quite well) Lane Cove I liked quite a bit, but my wife wasn't so keen. She found it a bit urban, whereas I quite liked the variety of housing and the handiness of the shops. Northbridge had nice houses, we weren't so keen on the shops and facilities, and we found the streets narrow and steep with very few pavements, which we felt might be an issue for small kids. This applied to most of these waterside suburbs to be honest, and wasn't something we were expecting. Northbridge also seemed very expensive for what you get. Castle Crag and Middle Cove were much better in this respect, and the shopping "village" in Castle Crag was really nice. But streets still a bit narrow really. Seaforth again similar in terms of steepness, but there are tons of facilities there and it seems like very good value - but you have to put up with Spit Bridge & Military Road traffic So we were a bit stuck - our relocator had arranged appointments in the Upper North Shore and initially we weren't keen as it felt a long way out to us. But as soon as we turned off the Pacific Highway and into Wahroonga, it felt really nice - lovely villagey feel around the train station, very leafy and green with mature trees, wide streets, pavements, nice houses - to be honest it ticked every box for us. So the next day we concentrated on this area and looked around Turramurra and St.Ives and some of the suburbs further down. I know this sounds odd, but these three suburbs actually felt quite villagey to us, it's probably the amount of bush and green space, and we realised that's what we wanted - the suburbs further in towards Chatswood - Gordon, Killara, Roseville - felt much more what we'd think of as suburban, which isn't really what we're after. We went out there with an open mind, because we know where we currently live (mediaeval house in an old village) isn't something that can be recreated in Australia, but we were surprised with what we concluded So we're settled on looking for somewhere to live in Wahroonga (ideally) or Turramurra/St.Ives for second preference. Let's see how we get on when we land in the early Summer! As for schools, we visited Northbridge, Seaforth, St.Ives North (public) and Wahroonga prep (private). All of them seemed pretty good to me, of the public schools St.Ives North looked the best in terms of organisation and facilities, from what you can tell from a 45 minute short visit any way, which obviously isn't much. I would say the standard of primary education looked a bit better than that commonly available in the UK Hope this helps someone!
  10. swifty99

    11 weeks in my report

    Well i know how i loved reading other peoples report after their first few weeks in oz so i thought i would put mine. Left a rainy heathrow may 26th and landed in a rainy melbourne 27th may it was around 9pm so pitch black, was met by my sister that i have only met twice, my brother in law only met once and my niece who i had never met before, was great to have friendly faces greet us as as much as you prepare for that flight, with a 3 year old and bugger all sleep i was feel emotional and knackered. Driving to my sister house i was more that a little freaked out, as it was dark so couldn't see much, the motorway seemed a free for all, and she seemed to live a million miles away. Took us all a few days to settle into a normal sleep pattern, and the day after we landed we went to a family party were i met yet more of my family that i had never met before. Think i spent most of the first week in a strange state, had been so excited about moving over and meeting everyone that i didn't prepare for the tiredness and the feeling of being lost and overwhelmed. Now 11 weeks later i feel totally at home here, have settled in a lovely house in sanctuary lakes, been here for 5 weeks and love it here. Considering it is winter we have had some amazing warm days getting as warm as 22c last week. Have met some lovely people, a few from this forum who have been amazing great sources of information and great to have made friends, so i thank them all for everything so far. My advice is only you get settled get on here and tell people were you are and ask if anyone around wants to meet up, as it is great to share experiences and pick their brains and things. It certainly isn't britain in the sun, we all love it here so much however you will realise that britain is a more progressive and more advanced in certain things, you will also realise that the aussies do not rush themselves to do things. We have been a little unlucky with our house as we have had more that a few problems and our agents response is usually to laugh and try to make light of it, and after chasing and chasing them up you end up giving up and realising that if it gets fixed it will be at their pace not ours!!!! As for the cost this is just my general observation, chicken is more expensive, beef is cheaper, food is a little more expensive on the whole and you do have to learn to shop around and look for the offers, markets like here in melbourne the queen victoria market are great such a vast choice and great prices, i miss the likes of asda and tesco but i am sure after a few years i will be well over it. i find make up and deodorant are way more expensive so stock up before you come over, clothes shops for women are well....... crap no choice we are spoilt in england, however most english shops ship to oz anyway so no worries. People have been very friendly and welcoming and always willing to help. Aussies telly is poop but i think once the weather gets better i wont be watching it anyway. i love the positive feel here the general feeling of happiness and not as stressed and down beat as how it was where i lived. found renting a house very easy to get but this is the west and there are alot of properties available, but like i said before you will find yourself chasing up your agents which they find amusing. Driving is different here, bit like dodgems on the road sometimes feels like there are no real rules but you soon adjust. I have found that food wise there is alot of choice and i could get seriously fat with the yummy ice cream the great crisps (chips) but a former chocolate lover in england have to give it a miss here, but must try the chocolate lounge their hot chocolate is heaven in a cup..... Have babbled on loads but still feel like i have not covered half of it. All i can say is after years of talking about doing it, we are so glad we finally did it, it is undoubtedly very hard very emotional and very stressful but it has so far been the best thing we could have done for not only us but our family, so for us so far our choice is AUSTRALIA :cool::biggrin::jiggy:
  11. I live permanently in Sydney and am looking to remortgage my London property with Barclays. Thay have advised me that I must update my "Customer Profile Report" by going into one of their branches. Problem is Barclays don't have a branch in Sydney. Any sugestions? HELP!!!!
  12. Hi all, I'm from Tunisia and I hold an engineering degree in IT. I went through the ACS assessment but got a negative one... It seems they didn't recognize my degree as a bachelor degree or more.... thought I've sent them all my degrees certificate, transcripts, description of my courses and the study plan signed by my uni. I also get a paper signed by my uni describing the educational system in Tunisia which is the same as in France... I wasn't expecting such a decision since I already received 3 masters offers from Australian universities including RMIT. I think also the translation of my degree (Diplome nationale d'ingénieur en Informatique) to National engineering degree in IT didn't make any sense for them... Now that I'm wondering if I shouldn't have applied for Engineers Australia instead and went for a CDR?? In total I have studied 5 years and a half post secondary school.. and I hold 3 years experience as engineer... to get an engineer degree in Tunisia, you have to go through what we call a first cycle that lasts 2 to 3 years and you can get a technician degree.. only after that first cycle you can apply for engineering classes that lasts 3 years... so for me, I hold a first degree as a higher technician (2.5years) and then my engineer degree (3 years)... As far as I've looked I only found civil/mechanical engineers posts about CDR.. so am starting to wonder if I can also apply as an IT engineer... Please don't hesitate to share your experience or give me advice.. am kinda getting desperate of all this... Thanks !
  13. chiara

    police report

    So my DH is hoping to hear about a job in oz this week which will sponsor him on 457 visa. If he gets the job, he will be leaving the UAE within days since he sincerely cannot take another day of the bull**** there (owed almost three months salary). However, he needs to prepare and so I was wondering, on a 457 does need a police report? I know for the 175 he needed one from each country he had lived in over the past so many years so am I right in assuming this is the case with the 457? He will need to get it fairly quickly if that's the case IF he is offered the job (oh please oh please!) Thanks
  14. This is very interesting for people researching roles and wages etc for the 457 visa http://www.immi.gov.au/media/statistics/pdf/457-stats-state-territory-may11.pdf
  15. Hi all This from a DIAC report, dated June 10th: I think they mean January 2012 for allocating PG3 outside Australia applications. Assuming PG1-3 inflows continue, PG4 allocations look like being a long way way. Very unfortunate for those in PG4, and patience has its rewards for PG3. I suggest PG4 and some PG3s in a hurry look at other options such as 457.
  16. Hi all, Well, we arrived in Brisbane on 20th April and feel we've done so much in the last week or so. Flight with Emirates was good but were surprised to stop at Singapore for half an hour as we'd booked the flight which only had one stop in Dubai from Glasgow. Should've been Dubai to Brisbane but stopped in Singapore just long enough to go to the toilet and board again but no complaiints as it broke the journey up to 3 7hr flights roughly. One annoying thing with the journey was we were charged excess baggage as we had an allowance of 120kg for the 4 of us, but had 127kg. There was no flexibility and we had to pay for the extra 7kg at £35 each - very annoying but we were over. We had tried the night before to shed some weight and got rid of 6kg but couldnt shed any more. Got here early hours of Wed am, got a maxi cab to my sister's house, and on Wed we picked up our hire car, booked through Holiday Autos UK (much cheaper than Aus co's we looked at), and my sis had arranged for us to see 3 rentals. We ended up liking the first on, but not too sure so didnt rule it out. It was a 3 bed house very close to my sister, walking distance to the school, lovely quiet leafy area, with a gorgeous garden and huge new kitchen. The only thing that put us off was the 70's style bathroom and smallish bedrooms. The next 2 were horrible, I didnt even go into the 3rd. After looking online and not seeing any we particularly liked, we decided to go back and look at the 1st. We decided we may not see a rental that ticked every box and this had the most important things for us - a nice garden and kitchen in a good area near the school so.....to make sure we didnt lose out, on Thu we informed the agent we liked it and put a deposit on it until they opened again on Wed. Everywhere was closed Fri-Wed for Easter. After putting in our application, we were advised on the wed that we got it, so we move in next week. Great, that was easy! On the first few days, we also got medicare sorted, as I am 30weeks pregnant, we also got an appt with the doctor and registered with a surgery, got referred to the Mater Hospital for having the baby, applied for TFN's, got PAYG sim cards, validated our bank accounts and called the contacts my OH had for jobs. Well, we got the few days of holidays over by visiting South Bank on Anzac Day which meant the City Cat was free, Australia Zoo where my daughter met Bindi and got her book signed, and the Rocks Park. We went out yesterday and ordered beds, tv, fridge and washing machine all to be delivered the day we move into our rental. We got some great buys in the sales, and would say that we've seen some lovely furniture here. Our shipping arrives in about 6 weeks for the rest of our stuff though. We got beds from Super A Mart, which we are very happy with. Not the cheapest of their range, but not the most expensive either but we got some lovely beds, a gorgeous queen size bed and cute bunk beds, and mattresses. We got the other stuff from The Good Guys, and managed to get it in the sale too. Only thing we havent done yet is change over our driving licences as the offices were so busy that we have left that for now. My OH now has 2 interviews early this week with another few employers he still has to contact. This week we will be busy trying to buy a car before our rental has to go back and stock up on bits for the house, ie toaster, kettle, crockery, to do us til our shipping comes. Schools - Got our 8yr old registered for the local state school which seems great. I had researched all the schools in the area, and narrowed it down to 2. We made sure our rental was in the catchment area for one of them, and after visiting the school are sure we got the best one for our daughter out of the 2. It is small like her last school, very friendly, but with great philosophies and lovely grounds. It was affected by the floods, so has just had a brand new huge library built, new tuckshop, and huge sports oval as well as new prep buildings. She's so excited about starting next week after the principal took her into her class and introduced her to the kids. They did do an assessment to determine what year to put her into but I said I'd rather she went into the class with her age peers as the year above may have been more like what she'd been doing work-wise, but with all the changes, I wanted her to feel settled and not worry about school work for now. Anyhow, some of the work is different, and with the NAPLAN testing is this week, I didnt want to put more pressure on her. They will assess her at the end of the school year to see if she can skip a year, but I think I'd rather she didnt. We will see how she gets on though. All in all, everyone has been so friendly and helpful so far. We are getting through the money we set aside very quickly, but did budget quite accurately and have stuck to it quite well. Hopefully OH will be working soon so once the last of it is gone we wont have to dip into the pot set aside for our house deposit for when we do eventually buy. We initially signed a 6 month lease but see us extending it for another 6 if all is ok. Dont want to be moving before xmas. Hopefully by next year, house prices will be better and the exchange rate too. We've not made it to a Brisbane get together yet but hopefully in the future. My other sister is here on holiday at the moment so busy spending time with her too. Shaz
  17. Been a month now here in WA. Took a short term lease at Rockingham and will be moving in shortly for a longer lease at Perth. Got the medical & Tax number sorted out as well as opening a bank account. The only thing remaining now is getting my WA driving license and getting a job, the hard part, but I will come back to that. A few notes that might be of use to some: 1. Got myself a maxivan from Perth airport to Rockingham. It’s no easy task. Now, this is one good reason why it might be better to stay at perth initially then work your way out further north or south. With a lot of baggage in tow, getting from point A to B is quite a feat. (Didn’t rent a car right away as I’m used to driving in the right lane). 2. Get all your documents ready for your house hunting. It ain’t easy and references (jobs, personal refs) do come in handy. Took me a full month to get mine sorted out, lots of viewing and all. 3. TFN, Medical and Opening a bank account’s easy. You need only the passport, visa and of course the money. Commonwealth Bank worked nicely for me as they didn’t require lots of cash to open one. 4. With a valid driving license, migrants can drive around for 3 months within which you need to have your own WA license. Mine is not from an accredited country so I have to take the exams. Still, I could drive around within the time span. 5. Now, in finding a job, I’m stumped. I am certified as Building Associate but could do Civil Engineering, Quality Control and Facilities Management. But unless you’re Professor X or Einstein, it’s very difficult to find one. No matter what they tell you, websites rarely work here. Been talking to some locals and neighbors, and was told jobs work by referral. Grab a beer, call a mate and get endorsement. Which brings me to my current predicament: I’ve got the beer ready. Just PM me Mate!:biggrin:
  18. tcillc

    DIAC Annual Report 2008-09

    DIAC's annual report 2008-09 has been released: Annual Report 2008–09 (PDF)
  19. Hi, been back a month now and spinning but thought some people might find our report useful, I know i have really enjoyed reading other peoples. We departed on feb 13th from london, first stop Brisbane, we flew china airlines, to be honest for no other reason than it was literally half the price of all its competitors. They get a bad press but were fine, seemed to have all the services, films etc from other flights i have been on. Not posh but fine. well worth saving two grand! I should introduce us, me, my partner and our three children aged 1,4 and 7 !! needless to say the trip was not relaxing !:eek: They were good kids on the plane and we had a bassinet for the baby which really helped. Stayed initially for ten days on the gold coast. Cheap but nice apartment in broadbeach near surfers.It was a little tired but clean and dead cheap. Had the lot including pool. I was amazed at how much i loved the gold coast, had been once years ago and not keen but it was great fun.Lovely weather, loads to do and i particularly loved the area's away from surfers such as curumbine and thereabouts. Could live there in a heartbeat!! the kids adored it ! My o.h looked for jobs in her speciality and had a look around and a visit but looks like jobs don't come up that often which was very disappointing. Last job that came up ten people applied! She is not on the skills list and we are appying for defacto as i have an australian passport so are fortunate that we can go anywhere. we drove down from the gold coast and had an idyllic two days in byron bay before stopping for three nights in port mcquarie. We stayed in a caravan site there and i would really recommend this to anyone, wild parakeets in the morning!! Beautiful. Drove down to sydney for the rest of the month. Had a shock there. Found out my oh could not work there as her job does not really exist in the same form. That was a shocker and wish we had researched better before planning our reccie ! Was really suprised to find my feelings had changed towards sydney.Loved it when i worked there years ago but that was as a single younger woman. Found it too cityish and big, with dreadful traffic!Not great for kids. Also found we could never afford to live there. Had a great time, went to mardi gras, visited beautiful beaches, coogee in particular but realised could not live there!Maybe its an age and stage thing! So home we came and it has been a whirlwind!! Made our mind up that we definately want to do it but feel cheated that we did our reccie in two places we cannot go !! With the benefit of hindsight should have included a trip to western australia as that is where we are now looking.!! What did we learn ? We absolutely love australia,:biggrin: my partner had never been and was blown away by its beauty and cleanliness. We both could not believe how friendly everyone was, compared to the uk. My health was so improved, i have arthritis and my joints were so much better, i cut down my pain meds by 50 per cent and swam every day!!so it is the place to go for a better future, at least for me ! Cost wise ? there is no doubt that things are more expensive. We shop cheap and found that a weeks shop was a about 120 dollars compared to 60 pounds here. However in my opinion the cheap stuff was better value and good meat and wine a lot cheaper. We also found that k mart was cheap for bits and bobs...body board 4 dollars! Beer was silly money!!Petrol of course alot cheaper. We felt the money even's out as we spent so little in the day and everywhere had clean and free barbies in parks and by beaches so could take our food and drink and spend the day there. It was amazing to see the children body boarding and swimming everyday,especially coming from a cold long winter! Sorry this has gone on a bit but really wanted to share our story so far! So now starts the long process of visa application. Just a word of caution, if , like us, you are not rich think really carefully about if you need that reccie! We had a ball,caught up with friends and of course now know its the right thing to do but the downside is we have spent alot of money just when we need it ! Good luck to everyone and thanks to all for sharing your stories and insight!
  20. Guest

    Our Canberra Reccie Report

    Reccie Thought I’d offer some thoughts from our recent reccie to Canberra. This was the first time we had been to Australia, and had immediate fears of travelling with our 18 month daughter Charlotte. We thought long and hard about the travel, and decided to pay extra for her to have a seat. I scoured the airlines long and hard for best prices, and found some saying “bring a car seat and we will decide at check in if allowed”. Great I thought!! Then happened to stumble on Virgin Atlantic, not everyone’s favourite and a bit pricey, but travelled to Sydney via Hong Kong. Best bit for us was they offer an infant car chair on the flight – which is basically a car seat for planes. This frees you having to take your car seat, which you can reserve at the other end if hiring a car. Brilliant. We decided to stop over in Hong Kong both ways, very hot and humid compared to Ozzy Winter, but Disney Land on the way and Kowloon on the return. This allowed us to have a plane break, and Charlotte sleep in a cot – again not everyone’s choice, but great for us. Each leg of flying was great, Charlotte behaved superbly, and no delays. As said, Hong Kong Disney was on way, which was great apart from all the Chinese Lady’s stroking our Daughters blond hair – must be good luck. Onto Sydney via a night flight, and arrived in Sydney bright eyed at 6am. We decided before to have another night at the airport hotel, before picking up the Hire Car. Following day collected the Car from the airport, we used Thrifty – who were great. Reserved a car seat and a GPS system (made driving soooooooooo easy). We were allocated a Ford Falcoln XR6 – which fitted 3 x large suitcases, 2 x hand bags, baby bag and pram in just fine. Not to mention it was 4litre and very nice to drive J. But we had concerns on fitting it all in, but had no issues. Typed the accommodation into GPS, and away we went out of Sydney airport. The drive to Canberra direct is so simple, less than 2 hours and 1 toll booth where you can pay cash. Anyone that does this, will chuckle when they pass Lake George! Arrived into Canberra, along some nice tree lined streets, and the main pass from North to South Canberra takes you around Parliament House basically past the large lake. A cracking entrance, on a beautiful sunny day. Onto Kingston, where we stayed at the Oxley Court Self Service Apartments. Off street parking, nice manager, bit pricey for the basic amenities – but a great base. Had the added benefit of an in apartment laundry room, great for young kids. $190 a night, and they are on line. We spent the next few days meeting the Migration Team, visiting Schools, Play Groups, meeting Ex Pats and attending recruitment agency meetings – all of which were very positive indeed. We wanted to use our 12 days to good effect, and certainly saw all we needed to. We checked out house prices and rentals, which are steep – but then again it is the capital – but there is variance depending on where you want to live. Canberra is made up of multiple suburbs, catchment driven for schools. We spent a lot of time driving around, shopping, checking food prices, doing the tourist stuff – and must admit there isnt much to do for people visiting you if you lived in Canberra. We reckon 1 week visit by relatives would exhaust the tourist trail, but if you are living there that’s good. I worked in New York for 6 months, and never really felt belonging due to the tourist stuff and never doing it all. A favourite haunt of ours was Adore Tea at Cockington Green. This is a tea house that does >200 flavours of tea. We went there at least 4 times. So why go at winter, purely we had to validate by September and my work dictated we go when we did. But for me it was T Shirt weather. Lovely sunny days, no clouds. Pure bliss. The seasons that Canberra experiences is of definate appeal to Brits who may think they cant stomach 12 months of blistering heat. So all in all a great experience, and it’s a yes from us. We are working to a 2 year plan, using the 2 years to save hard and maybe save the 1st years rental. Most likely will go out with no jobs, and we have our daughters well being to put first. So, see you in 2012 Canberra. Particular thanks to Peter Jeffery and family, and Angela (Quoll). The Sabins
  21. TheOptimist

    Arrival report....

    After nearly 3 weeks in Melbourne I thought I would share my experience of my journey so far with fellow PIOers. So here goes. I applied for a 309 partner visa in July 2010 offshore at Australia House in London. I was very lucky and had a great CO who was only too happy to help me with questions (some of them silly) and after a nail biting wait, I was granted my visa on 29th October 2010. I still vividly remember how incredible that day was. I arranged to have my visa placed in my passport. As soon as my visa was approved I booked the shipping company. After 3 quotes, I decided to go with John Mason International. I found the whole process was very smooth and perhaps it was luck, but within a week of booking them my life was on a container and heading over to Melbourne (I later found out that I shared the container with another fellow PIOer, Tracy123). Overall I was very impressed with them as a company: Great value for money and a seamless process. They were great at keeping me informed of timescales and in the end my container was delivered a couple of days earlier than estimated. All in all no complaints from me. My last few weeks in England were a massive mix of emotions and this was the hardest part of the whole journey for me. Nothing prepared me for how upsetting the goodbyes were. And nothing prepared me for how difficult saying goodbye to my mum was. I can still see her devastated face when she waved me goodbye. I flew with Singapore. I took a mid week flight and it cost £540 one way to Melbourne from London. I stopped off in Singapore for 10 hours and stayed in the transit hotel at the airport. The room was better than I expected (though no window - perhaps I have very low expectations) but was worth the £40 for an 8 hour block. There were no delays for either of my flights and the food and service on board was good. I got lucky with the Singapore-Melbourne flight as I had 3 seats to myself so for the first time in my life I slept on a plane and arrived in Melbourne feeling not too bad. I was rather hoping someone at Customs would say 'welcome to Australia' or similar - but no. A quick flick through of my passport (in the queue for internationals) and I was waved through. The customs line was crazy - over an hour in line waiting and knowing that my boyfriend who I had not seen for 7 months was so near by was excrutiating. After a tearful reunion with my boyfriend, we took the 30 minute drive home to my new life. It felt very humid that day and I was a bit dazed and confused but so relieved to finally be here. Though I have been to Melbourne a number of times, it felt different to me as I knew it was now home. Pulling up in the driveway and getting into the house was amazing - as though the previous couple of years of planning and heartache and expense were all crystalized in that one moment of stepping through the front door and seeing all my furniture laid out etc. And it was worth every second of the huge effort involved. The rest is very much private... :tongue::wink: Later that evening the tail end of Cyclone Yasi hit Melbourne. It was quite frightening (perhaps more so because I was starting to flag after my 2 day journey and was dazed and confused). We were in the car to fetch a pizza, and the rain arrived. Have never seen anything like it. In 15 minutes huge portions of Melbourne were under a couple of feet of water. Compared with QLDers it was nothing but still quite scary - thunderstorms and flooding were the theme for the rest of the evening and following day. The next week was spent adjusting and recovering from jet lag. Despite the good journey I was very jet lagged. I caught up with my boyfriends friends and family, all of whom were fantastic and I do believe that the support from them and my fantastic boyfriend made everything easier. After allowing myself a week off I started to get things sorted. I set up a bank account which was very straightforward. Only needed to present my passport and within 5 minutes it was sorted. Then I applied for my Tax Flie number and Medicare cards. Again both very straightforward. You can apply for your TF no. online in around 15 minutes and it takes up to 28 days to arrive. You can work before you receive this but would be eligible to pay 46% tax, so worth doing this asap! (though you can claim back). Applying for a Medicare card simple too. There are 'Medicare Centres' all over - my nearest was in Weribbee CBD. I had to present my visa again (was glad I had a visa stamp in my passport - made things much more simple) and just needed to fill out one simple form and was given a temporary card, with an interim card sent in the post a few days later which is valid for 12 months. My impressions of Melbourne are very good. As mentioned earlier, I have visited a few times before but it does feel different knowing that this is now home. I have been interested in every tiny detail. Food shopping does seem pricey to me - but you get used to what is more expensive compared with the UK and then search for cheaper alternatives. Some food is cheaper than the UK so if you are prepared to look around you can get some great deals. I am impressed with the quality of the food - particularly the fruit and veg. Its nice to see that it is all locally produced (at least a lot of it is). I have yet to try public transport but I start work next week so will know more then - though I gather its fine and less congested than the London transport systems I am used to. I think that more or less brings you up to date! For all you people out there going through the limbo stages of applying for your visas - keep going. You WILL get there in the end, and when you do you will be so glad you pursued your dream. Australia is very different but that is great as far as I am concerned - I love it here already. I think you just know. No doubt I will have some wobbles ahead and know there will be days when I am homesick but I have no doubt in my mind that this place is right for me.
  22. We have been in Brisbane for nearly three weeks now and thought it must be about time for an arrival report! I thought that I will put into words our journey how we got here as well as it may help someone. Its going to be along one so grab a coffee, sit down and lets crack on. I have always wanted to live in Oz but my then wife was not having it so I put it on the back burner. We got divorced 8 years ago and the first thing I did with the bit of money that I had, was to book a 3 week trip for myself and my new girlfriend to oz to have a look. We loved it and it once again rekindled my love to move to oz. My brother left to live in Sydney that year as well. Roll on 6 years and that girlfriend was now my wife and she had just fulfilled a life long dream of being a nurse. In her last year as a student, we managed to sort out a placement in an Australian hospital. We stayed near my brother and then travelled the East coast a bit. I am a firefighter and was not sure as to what trade I was going to do once there but was willing to give it a go. However I contacted all the State fire services and WA came back and said that they were trying to sort out a lateral policy so that UK firefighters could transfer straight in. Excellent I thought but the missus was not prepared to go somewhere where we had not been so we did a reccie to Brisbane and Perth later that year. It's horses for courses and we did not like Perth. It was not for us but we loved Queensland.So we decided Queensland was our destination.Whilst in Brisbane I attended a Queendsland police information evening as I fancied a career change so found out what I needed to do to apply. Lisa finished training on January 6th 2009 and we knew we had to wait a year to apply. Due to our ages,we decided to go State sponsored as we needed less points. I read all the websites and could not find any reasons why I could not apply for the skills assessment and State sponsorship before Lisa had completed a year so that as soon as she done a year as a nurse we could apply. So we cracked on. The skills assessment was done in May 2009 and once we had that, we registered Lisa as a nurse in Queensland as I predicted ( and I was right) that there was going to be an almighty cock up of nurse registrations when AHPRA took over. We were about to apply for SS when the dreaded IELTS for nurses raised its head. We had a look at what everyone was saying and we decided that Lisa would take the test 3 times and see what happens and then we would reassess. I downloaded loads of practice tests off the net and was really strict with Lisa and using her words "I made her do the tests everyday"! The result was that she came out of the test centre and said that it was not as bad as she thought and if she had to do it again it would not be a problem. However 10 days she got her results and she had got a minimum of 7 in each part first time round and so we were able to apply to Queensland for state sponsorship.We had to borrow £20k from Lisa's parents to show Queensland that we had the funds and then we gave it back to them once we had the required bank statement. State sponsorship was granted in September 2009 so we were now waiting till January 7th 2010 to apply for the visa. In October I got a phone call from an estate agent who asked us were we still thinking of selling our house. We had discussed it before and had decided that we would put the house up for sale as soon as we had the visa but we said yes to the EA coming round to give us a quote. We were surprised when he said that our house was worth £20k more than what we thought so decided to test the market. We put it up for sale and we had an open afternoon and one couple turned up!However that couple paid the asking price and 6 weeks later we had moved out into rented. As I did not have a degree, I needed to do an Australian diploma in Justice just to be able to apply for the police. I was going to do the 10 week course when we got to oz but I managed to find an online provider that the police would accept despite me being in the UK. I had to have 4 months off work due to a shoulder operation so I cracked on with the course whilst off work and passed it. On January 7th 2010 we applied for our 176 visa and I had set the goal of flying out by the end of the year so I went ahead and booked flights for flying out on christmas day. Then I panicked a bit as there was the big shake ups in the visa process and I thought that our grant may not happen in 2010 so we had a discussion and we decided to go for our medicals as we thought it might speed up our visa grant. So we booked medicals and when we got home from doing them there was an email from DIAC saying we had a CO and to go for our medicals! We then sent off for our police checks and our visa was granted. I think ours is a record: from applying for the 176 visa to being grant was 6 weeks and 3 days! So we were waiting all of 2010 to emigrate. We saw as much as we could of our friends. Then I had a thought....If I had my visa and I had the diploma, why cant I apply to the police now? So I contacted the police and they said as long as I was prepared to travel to Brisbane, they would let me do all my tests and interviews in a week. So I sent off my application form and three weeks later I was on a plane to Brisbane. My idea behind all this was that applications were taking 6 months to process. If it cost us a grand to go to oz and sit the tests and I passed and managed to get on a recruits intake in January or February 2011, then I would be earning as soon as we got to oz. It was a gamble that we were willing to take. Whilst waiting for my Police interview, I started to talk to the bloke next to me who had just come out of the NZ army and was looking to join the police. He asked me about our plans for work and then told me that his brother was head of nursing at Nambour hospital. As the Sunshine coast was one of our possible destinations, he said that he would take my email address and give it to his brother.Well two weeks later, his brother emailed us and the following week Lisa had an interview and then got a FT job in Nambour Hospital. In September I heard from the Police. They score you in each stage of the process and then give you an overall score at the end. The higher the score, the higher chance you have of getting an intake. I scored an A-! Could not believe it. In December I got the official email inviting me to the January 31st intake in December so now we were both sorted. In fact this morning I have received my joining instructions. We decided that it was going to be easier to beg, borrow and steal furniture etc in the UK than OZ so we sent our stuff over early. We used PSS and they came on the 19th November. PSS sub out their operations in the South east to another company. The lads who turned up were brilliant. Everything was packed and everything that we told them not to pack was still there when they left so no complaints.We did not use their insurance as we used insure your move (who advertise on here) as they were a lot cheaper.I have just had an email from PSS's agents in oz who have told me that our stuff has cleared AQIS with no problems at all and should be with us the day after we move into our rental. Bloody hell....my timing is good! We used Zoflora to clean everything so that it was spotless and smelt lovely. We also did not take any garden furniture as we thought this might have caused us problems. We bought a washing machine and tumble dryer from Hughes Electrical and an imac from PCworld and had them all delivered to the PSS warehouse so that we could claim the VAT back. Pss charge you £25 to process the first claim and then £10 each claim after that. Bit steep if you ask me as all they do is write to the companies and confirm that it was shipped off. Hughes were brilliant and came back to me straight away and said that they had not done this before but will look into it and get back to me. They did and we got the VAT back. However Pcworld were a different matter. I got a letter point blank refusing to pay the VAT back as "is against their policy". However after a few phone calls to them and a warning that I would be taking them to a small claims court and would be claiming a return flight from Australia and a hotel for a week, the money turned up in our account. So to the arrival report.Despite sending most of our stuff over by ship, our cases weighed 28K and 27K so well over the 20K limit. the girl in Heathrow did not say anything however when we checked in at Hong kong it was a different matter. We blagged it and said that we were migrating (he then checked for our visa stamp) and we thought that we were allowed to bring that much. A little porker I know! But he let us go with a stern telling off so we got away with it. We flew with Catahy Pacific and they were good. We had 2 nights in Hong Kong as Lisa's parents were coming out with us for three months and we felt that a 2 day stopover would do them good. We landed in Brisbane on the 29th December and picked up the hire car from East Coast Car rentals who I have used three times before. I would definitely recommend them. We drove to Lorikeet Lodge which is owned by Rudi on PIO.A very central spot and it has all your needs except a masher as we found out lastnight (hope you are reading this Catherine LOL). I had met Nurse sue from PIO and her family as they had kindly put me up when I come over in June and Sue had come to the house and decorated it with Aussie flags and posters and had put a lovely hamper in an Eskie on the back patio. She is an absolute diamond and has a lovely down to earth family.Thank you very much Sue. We had a well deserved sleep and went out the next day looking at cars. We decided that as second hand cars we so much money, we would buy new. We had a budget of $28 but ended falling in love with a Kia Sorrento with loads of bells and whistles. After a bit of haggling we got the car for $34K with loads of extras.However we have not got it yet due to the floods.The same day we went to the NAB bank and validated the bank account that we had opened in the UK. We asked them to send a statement to our house ASAP as we would need this for ID to get our driving licences. The next day we went to get our medicare cards but the lady said that we were not probably on the system (although she did not even check!) and told us to come back in two days. We did and we got the temp cards then. For all these things we used our temp address and we will change everything when we move into our rental. As soon as the bank statement came, we got ourdriving licences. The whole process took 30 mins and was painless. Rentals: we looked at a few houses and applied for 2. We got accepted on both of them! The reason why is this: Before I left the UK, I got in contact with everyone that we had had finacial dealings with, Council tax, loans, mortgage company, HP companies etc and asked them to send me a statement or a letter confirming that we had been excellent payers. I also got a personal reference from our line managers and a couple of friends who were a chartered accountant and a social worker. I then scanned everything and put it on a data stick. I also got a scan of the ozzie bank statement before we had started using it. We finally chose the house on Peregian Springs and move in next Monday. As I said earlier our container has arrived and I have booked it in to be delivered next Tuesday. I will let you know whether this happens and whether we had any breakages. Lisa went to visit her hospital ward. It is only 4 months old and where she was looking after up to 19 patients in the UK, she will only be looking after 8 here. She is really looking forward to starting work on the 31st January. Nurses over here get paid a lot more than UK nurses. We have found food shopping quite expensive. So we are not converting back to sterling anymore as we live here now. We live in Australia now and this is not the UK.Having said that,meat is a lot cheaper though. Also, after talking to some people it seems like its swings and roundabouts: somethings are move expensive, some things are cheaper. At the end of the day, we decided to come here, no one made us do it so what right have we to complain about things. Too many people come over here and expect it to be England without the sun.Its not, its Australia.If you are not prepared to try and fit and fit in, then you might as well go back to the UK as you will never be happy. We managed to get contracts on Mobile phones with Vodafone but cancelled them after 3 days as the Vodafone coverage is shocking. We will probably be going with Teslstra as the coverage is a lot better however they are more expensive. Everyone here seems really friendly and everyone seems to say hello and have time for you. If you are going to make it here, you need to put yourself out there and try to strike up conversations and gain friends. Its no good moaning and saying you are lonely if you are not trying. The ozzies are not going to come to you, you have to go to them.Its your fault if you cant find friends. The weather was great the first few days and then the floods came. We got turned back 5 times trying to get somewhere but have not been affected where we are. Everyone is really concerned about everyone else and there is a blitz like spirit amongst people. Its lovely to see. The weather has changed and today it is expected to reach 32 degrees and there is not a cloud in the sky. So, so far so good. My advice to anyone thinking of coming over is RESEARCH,RESEARCH,RESEARCH. Our three children (aged 21,21 and 23) did not want to come to oz and stayed in the UK. Although we miss them, this is our time in life to do what we want. Australia has so much to offer us as a couple and we are looking forward to enjoying it. We know that we are going to have ups and downs over the next year or so butr we are strong enough as a couple to find a way through it. At the moment its not a good time to come over due to the exchange rate and many people on here are contemplating the move. My advice to you is to ask yourself why you are doing the move. Wealth can be measured in more ways than money. Someone asked me last week why I came to Australia and my answer was "because I can". My wifes brother Lee walked into a room 6 years ago and collapsed. According to the coroner he was dead before he hit the floor.Lee loved life and would have totally approved of what we are doing now. This terrible experience has taught us that you never know what is round the corner so grab your opportunities and hang on. I am in contact with some school friends on Facebook and they are still in our home town 30 years on and have not challenged themselves whilst me.....I'm living the dream! I wont be on here much over the next few months due to my police training but if I can help anyone and give back to PIO what it has given me I will. JOHN
  23. Well, it was not the best time to travel to Brisbane. Three days after we landed, the floods hit Brisbane and we... The flights with Emirates were excellent. We did not come with the A380 as it does not fly to Brisbane (or at least ours didn't), but the one we flew with was good enough. Plenty of movies, games and music and have to say that the food was top notch. They also gave party bags to our kid with drawing stuff and soft toys on each flight. The trip is long, oh my, its my 5th time to OZ, and I have to say I hate it, but once in OZ, it will be long forgotten. We were also very lucky with luggage. We were 3...and we brought 120kg in transit luggages and a big hand luggage each weighing 11kg! We knew the guy at the airport and it was easy peasy. Whenever we changed plane (twice) no one bothered checking the weight or size of the hand luggage. Just be sure to be first though as you need to find some space for your luggage on the plane! After 25hrs of travelling, we finally arrived in Brisbane!!! 2:30am in the morning. It was 1hr 30 mins late. We could see a thunder storm to the north just before landing. Was a huge one! Couldn't believe it...after all those years waiting and waiting..I was finally inm Australia!. It took us around 30 mins in all to get out of the airport...totally impressive! We got down from the plane, then quite a loooong walk to the passport check-in...one for ozzies and one for others....the queues moved fast, but maybe cause of the time of the day too. It was our turn. We handed over the passports, got a smile in return, the nice lady checked them out, scanned them or something in this little machine and we were moving in a minute or so. I said to myself, wow, that is it!? Quick! So, we started walking towards the luggage pickup and there was a row of what seemed to be immigration officers scanning (with their eyes) people. Here we go! Hi sir, they told me, can we see your passports please!? Lord no, I'm tired! (I said to myself). We handing over the passports....."Ooohhhh, Malta! Welcome to Australia. We have lots of Maltese here. Have a nice stay and good luck!" Phew, just another nice guy I said to myself. Anyway, the luggages come through in a few minutes and we were out of the airport. My cousin was waiting with his car and trailer and we set off to the motel in Cleveland. The whole thing didn't take more than 30 mins! The air was warm with a nice fresh breeze. Lots of clouds and it drizzled on the way. The motel room was great, 1 king and 1 single bed, clean, had a/c, good bathroom. Very close to the center.Shower and we all slept like babies. Though, the biological time clock of our little one was totally screwed. Waking up in the middle of the night, sleeping during the day, then waking up at 5am, she killed our nights really, but now, a week on, she seems to be getting to nornmal sleeping ours. At 5am I was up and went for a nice walk! As some of you know, we have rented a unit from abroad. Many adviced against it and I have to say that it was one of the best decisions I took. Living in a motel is OK, but obviously it does not feel like home. I had done lots of research about renting and managed to secure a unit. BUT, at least, you need someone to check it out for you. Ours turned to be perfect. The unit is new, nice and clean. The area is beautiful and quite and the landlords are the nices people I have met on earth! Maybe I was lucky on this one too, don't know, but maybe my extensive research and checks paid off. A day after we arrived, we moved into our unit! No stress or pressure! It felt good I tell ye! Obviously it was unfurnished, empty, except cooker and dishwasher. But I had planned that too I had called fantastic furniture a month before. They have an online catalouge of their stuff for sale. So, I choose 3 mattresses (which will then be used for the guest room), paid online by account transfer and asked them to be delivered on a specific date. And they were spot on. On that day, in the morning, they were there with the matresses. You need a car. Not sure when staying in the city. But, outside, you need a car and a GPS. So we rented one. Quite cheap I have to say. For $400, I got a Nissan Micra, latests model, with GPS, car seat for 8 days (and I took the expensive insurance...without it deduct $100). It was not one of the popular renting companies, just a local one. The price was 50% less! And they are as good. Then we jumped into the car, went to Coles and did a little shopping. There are also Aldi and Woolworths. Apperently, Aldi is the cheapest and Woolworths has a bigger choice. As a first impression, I saw things quite expensive, but I dont want to rush into this decision until I have really done the calculations well. using the exchange rate can be very misleading so I intend of working my own forumla based on precentage of wage/commodity price. We also went to Kmart, Super Amart, BigW, Target, Buy more pay less (or something like that).....and we bought all the sheets, pillows, towels, toaster, plates etc etc. Quite cheap really, nothing special, but they will get you started. The day after, we went to Harvey Norman, The good guys, Clive Anthony, Retravision...got quotes, compared and finally bought Bosch washing machine, westighouse fridge, LG microwave, TV, dvd player (both Sony), panasonic fixed line phones, kettle and a fast toshiba laptop. Were all good brands, but did not buy top of the range, just went for middle (for example TV, Sony Bravia 32 inch). All in all, spent around $3700 including delivery, I things it was a good deal. This was Sunday. On monday morning, everything was delivered!!! The Sony TV was totally smashed when I opened it! Shocked. It was changed that same day, no questions asked. We arrived Friday at 2:23am. By Monday morning we were all set up in our unit...I tell ye, it feels good! Had a little hickup though. On Monday morning, we were asked to register with our new energy providers...did that but in the afternoon we found a letter that the power was switched off for our unit!!! Oh my oh my! Maybe it was the confusion created by the floods, or maybe they are a crap company. Anyway, I had to call 3 times and wait for 3 days to get the power on offically. Thank God, the landlord had a few tricks up his sleaves and we had power switched on during the night. Then we had medicare done. Very easy and straight forward. Just took our passports to the medicare center and proof of address, the nice lady checked them out, registered us and we were in and out in 20 minutes or so. She gave us temporary cards until we receieved the final cards by post (arrived a week later). That same week, our daughter fell sick...24hr stomach bug...we rushed to the center to a private clinic and it was all free! Yes, kids apperently are free. We shown him the medicare card and that was it. Ask them what type of payment they accept, apperently the best and easiest one is bulk payment. Don't know what it means, but we paid nothing. Not all clinics take the same payments, so they told us to ask for bulk payment. Again, we were in and out in 30 mins, little one was ok, and we paid nothing. We also went to change our driving licence. Lol, sorry, maybe I am sounding a bit unrealistic. But we were in and out in 30 mins too! We went in...there was a touch computer in the middle, you choose what you're after and it directs you to take a ticket and which application form to fill. They were all there, easy to spot and fill. So we filled them up and in no time we were called. Just be sure to ALWAYS take your passports, proof of address (in our case we took a bank statement) and the driving licence. No tests no nothing. We showed them all the docs and the application we had filled, they checked them a bit, took us a photo and that was it. I slipped my QLD driving licence in my wallet and proceeded proudly outside Maybe it was easier for us cause I had done more planning before. Just for you to know, I had opened a bank account with NAB from Europe and also one with HSBC. The NAB, you cant do much with it until activated in the CBD. But the HSBC one proved to be so handly. I had all the debit cards delivered to me by post in Europe. I had the leisure to transfer the money before we arrived. I could also link my europe/ozzie account together which makes transfers instantenious!!! And I tell ye, was really surprised, the exchange rate is better than all the other forex transfer comapanies. Was surprised really. The account is called HSBC Advanced and make sure it has the Me To Me service. It was a saviour to us. Also, since I had an address in OZ, I could get statements on my address from day one which is very helpful when applying for things. Hmmmm, so we were all set. I'm gonna cut it short now, but in the following days we went to the Gold Coast, to Redcliff (where there is an awesome pool for kids!!). we went to Bribie island (beautiful and quite!), drove to the city (and took a couple of trips by train too), we went to Wellington point, manly and wynnum (stoped at some parks and swings), Redland bay and a couple of shopping centeres in Capalaba, Victoria point and around. Loved it! everywhere was so nice and green and the people are so nice and helpful! At times, they come over to you to give you directions and info just on their own initiative! It took 2 weeks to get internet and fixed line. We went with TGP, get 15mbps, unlimited download and fixed line for $59 a month. Not bad at all. However, we are near the exchange so that helps with a good speed. For the 2 weeks without internet, we got an optus dongle 3G for $79 with 4G download limit and valid for 3 months. Was good enough for browsing and email. We had registered (about 3 months ago) our little one in a private church school, just round the corner from our unit. We went this week for a tour, loved the school and the staff. She starts next Tuesday and little one is really looking forward to it. Poor thing needs some friends, hopefully she'll manage to make some. I have a good feeling she will Just bought her uniform yesterday (shop was at the same school) and she looks so cute in it Now, we have no car. We feel disabled without it, but do not want to spend more money before I get a job. Started applying for jobs and in a week I have 3 interviews, one tomorrow, which I am really looking forward to cause it seems a good one. Have also another one set for next week. So, hopefully, its looking good. Have a few options with buying a car. For around $10/$15 K, you'll find a decent 2nd hand one. Also, toyota are offering 2.9% finance for new cars which cost from around $20k onwards. We'll see. Weather? Hmm. We did not see the sun for a whole week. That's when the floods hit. It was really aweful watching the news. It did not really affect us here in Cleveland cause apperently its on high grounds, and its far anyway from where it hit. I had interviews scheduled for that week in the city which were all cancelled. been to the city yesterday, and it seems normal, but I am sure lots of damage has been done. Surely the little 'beaches' on the river banks we had planned to go to... It has been very hot for the last few days. The sun really burns, make sure you put lots of sun lotion or you will get burnt! The humididity is generally high, but we are used to it in Malta. Here in Cleveland, you get the fresh breeze from the sea. So in the evening it gets better and we get some nice breeze into our house. The temperature goes down during the night, we havent used and a/c, a fan was enough really. In the city it gets hotter. We could not bear the heat yesterday in the city at mid-day. But after all, this is bang in the summer, sO I heard it will be much much bearable in winter, most probably perfect, nice and warm, dry heat. I guess.. So, here we are, on our new adventure, so far so good, its a long journey, its not easy, its exciting, fun, stressful too, but hey, thats life and I am happier than ever that I had the opportunity to take on this challange. ....we are safe and sound and more reports of our adventure will follow soon Cheers B!K3R
  24. Guest

    My (belated) arrival report

    Hello everyone, as the title says, this is my very late arrival report. Unlike many forum members, we moved to Australia without much settled at all - no job, no house (other than that which my in-laws provide), and practically no money (most of our funds went on getting ourselves and our stuff here) Things were also pretty hectic before we arrived, having to finish everything in Berlin, see friends and family, ship out all our belonging etc. We also arrived to some bad news – my wife's grandmother, who was one of the reasons for our move, passed away while we were on the flight. It was not the welcome we hoped for, but it did allow us to be there for the funeral, and for me to offer any support I could. The funeral meant we didn't really have much time for jet-lag, so we got stuck into job hunting as soon as we could. We arrived in late October, and I would not recommend looking for jobs around this time - all the Christmas casual stuff is already filled, and not many companies are looking to take people on right before the holidays. Luckily, as my in-laws are a family of teachers, they were also taking holidays which made us feel less like losers for not working! Australia, and Sydney specifically) is a great place to be. While our old home was freezing through a cold winter, we were enjoying barbecues and trips to the beach! After living in Berlin, it has been a bit of a culture shock, as everyone is A) speaking English, B) polite, and C) things are easy. Food, and living costs generally, seem to be more expensive. It could be due to the fact we're broke, but our weekly shopping is giving our finances a hammering. I feel it's due to a combination of factors though: we don't have a car, so have to rely on the closest (and not the cheapest) stores, the amount of choice is 10x greater than in Berlin, so we are still experimenting with what we like, the way people cook seems to be different so things that would be staples before are now “luxury” After a few weeks of volunteer work (myself at the new Sydney Chamber Opera, my wife at Sculptures by the Sea) the job drought seems to finally be lifting for us, as more interviews and opportunities open up week after week. I now have a casual job at the Australian Museum, but have yet to actually do any work for them, and therefore get any money... All in all, the decision to move feels like the right one, and we're happy that we did it. It's great to see my wife enjoying the company of her family, and I'm loving the new experiences the country has to offer! Finally, here are a few bits of advice that I feel I can pass on in the hope they help people in the same position: Document certification: Setting up a bank account may need certified copies of documents, and it's hard to know who to ask. The post office will apparently do it for a fee, but I found the staff at the local police station to be very helpful if you bring in the copies. Tax File number: If, like me, you had been to Australia on a working holiday visa you will probably already have a TFN. Mine was “archived” which meant they had to re-activate it before you can use it again. Give the Tax Office a call, and they might be Driver's License: Get it ASAP. This will make things easier for ID purposes, as you don't have to worry about carrying your passport (and that all-important visa) around with you, and it will have your Australian address on it. There should be no need to take any test if you have a UK license, so just take it in an pay the fees. I chose to get a 1 year license, just because I don't plan on living with my in-laws for longer than that! I hope I'll be back on PIO more often now things are finally getting stable
  25. Hi Everyone I found this website to be very useful for checking out suburbs to live in etc. I hope it helps you too. http://www.rpdata.net.au/ Then click on free Suburb Profile and get your report, it contains heaps of information. Apparently it provides all the below information. DEMOGRAPHICS (Source: The last Australian Census) Age Sex Ratio This graph displays the Age to Sex Ratio for the suburb in 10 year bands. This is then compared to the local municipality to give you a comparison against a larger sample set. Household Income (%) This graph displays the yearly income brackets for the residents in the suburb in $20k bands. Is the suburb full of people with large disposable incomes? Household Structure This graph displays the makeup of households as a percentage of the total suburb population. Couples with Children; Childless Couples, Single Parents, Lone Households, Group Households, Other. Household Occupancy This graph displays the various types of occupancy as a percentage of the total suburb population. Owns dwelling outright; Renting; Purchasers; Other. HOUSE STATISTICS: (Source: RP Data proprietary and Valuer General ) RP Data is tracking detailed statistics on 30 million properties around the country. That is why we are Australia's number one property information service. Below are some of the statistics available for your suburb. Median Prices (Past 10 Years) This graph displays the median price of houses in the suburb for the past 10 years. This is then compared to the local municipality to give you a comparison against a larger sample set. Capital Growth in Median Prices This table displays the percentage change in house prices in the suburb over the past 5 years. This is then compared to the local municipality to give you a comparison of change against a larger sample set. Recent Median Sale Prices (Graphed) This graph displays the median price of houses in the suburb for the last 12 months (rolling). This is very helpful when trying to understand what has been happening in the market recently. This is then compared to the local municipality to give you a comparison against a larger sample set. Recent Median Sale Prices. This is a tabular display of the same median prices of houses in the suburb for the last 12 months (rolling). This is then compared to the local municipality to give you a comparison of change against a larger sample set. UNIT STATISTICS: (Source: RP Data proprietary and Valuer General ) Median Prices (Past 10 Years) This graph displays the median price of units in the suburb for the past 10 years. This is then compared to the local municipality to give you a comparison against a larger sample set. Capital Growth in Median Prices This table displays the percentage change in unit prices in the suburb over the past 5 years. This is then compared to the local municipality to give you a comparison of change against a larger sample set. Recent Median Sale Prices (Graphed) This graph displays the median price of units in the suburb for the last 12 months (rolling). This is very helpful when trying to understand what has been happening in the market recently. This is then compared to the local municipality to give you a comparison against a larger sample set. Recent Median Sale Prices. This is a tabular display of the same median prices of units in the suburb for the last 12 months (rolling). This is then compared to the local municipality to give you a comparison of change against a larger sample set. AREA MAP: This is a suburb level cadastral map highlighting the official suburb boundaries. Points Of Interest such as schools, libraries, hospitals, police and fire stations are marked on the map. .
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