matt796

Canberra Advice

18 posts in this topic

Hi

 

My partner and I have been looking at Australia for the past 2 years and doing plenty of research. I have been offered a couple of jobs and the latest is in Canberra as a Hair Stylist.

 

The offer is a 457 visa and then regional sponsorship after 3 months which if honoured by the employer will be fine.

 

We have two children - one in primary school and the youngest only 14 months old.

 

Any advice on living and working in the ACT please? Also my partner here in the UK is a Police Officer so any advice on jobs for him as AFP only recruit Australian citizens.

 

Many thanks

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Temporary visa holders in ACT can find themselves having to pay up to $10k pa per child for school fees so the first thing to do is to check with the International Students Section of the Dept of Education to see if your occupation is exempt or not - if you are up for fees this could mean that unless the salary they are offering you is very high it might not be financially a good idea. The Catholic schools charge less but you would still be several thousand out of pocket and there is no guarantee that you would get into a Catholic school.

 

Your partner, as you suggest, isn't going to get into the AFP, neither, as a temporary resident would he get into ACT government roles at the jail or youth detention centre.

 

Canberra is not your typical "Aussie dream" type place but it's one of the better place to live. It has distinct seasons, it's clean and organised and "bushy". Has great facilities and lots to do for kids and families. On the downside, it's very expensive, the people aren't all that friendly - is a public service town and if you find yourself in a suburb with lots of public servants is all about "what level are you?" Most families need to be 2 income to make ends meet and there's a bit of the garage door syndrome so you may never see your neighbours. You could do worse but, as I said, check whether your kids would be up for school fees (and take the visa progression thing with a pinch of salt - some 457 visa sponsors have not always followed through with promises!).

 

My advice to your partner would be to take a career break as getting back into UK policing is nigh on impossible one you've been out of the country for a spell!

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Thank you for the reply.

He is waiting to hear back from the local ACT council as we speak.....they are checking with their HR department.

 

I have also been offered a job in Penrith, NSW on a 457 visa. Again the employer has mentioned about sponsorship after a year or two.

 

I think it was $5,000 per child in NSW for education. The wages offered are the same in line with the minimum 457 wage requirements.

 

I will take a look at the ACT schools and fees etc.

 

I really appreciate your reply.

Many thanks

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Hi Matt,

 

It's not all doom and gloom. Canberra's a beautiful city full of breathtaking views and a great place to bring up children, but it can take a while to become established. The private sector is relatively small and many (most?) of the jobs are government related (like police roles) and require citizenship or permanent residence (and often a security clearance as well).

 

However, once you've got those there are generally more jobs than resources so life can be pretty good and on balance we reckon it was worth the effort. It was difficult to make friends at first as there is a huge transient population of diplomats, military staff and political types so you have to convince the real locals that you'll be around long enough to make it worth their while to invest the time in getting to know you but once you've done that you'll be readily accepted.

 

You can apply for permanent residency after 24 months, at which point your husband could be eligible to join the NSW Police although I suspect availability of roles (and locations) will be dependent on wherever they have vacancies. Nonetheless Queanbeyan, Yass, Goulburn and Cooma are all within about 45 minutes drive of Canberra.

 

Regards living here, the city's well designed and easy to get around. There seems to be a sports oval every 500 yards and the city is apparently the same size as New York but with less than 2% of the population - most of it is open spaces, reserves, parks and lakes. Basically the rest of Australia pays to keep it as a model city but only we get to enjoy it all the time.

 

I'm undoubtedly biased but having worked in Sydney for a year on a contract, unless you're in the North Shore or southern coastal areas it can be just hot and congested. Traffic can be worse than London (although the trains are much better) but West Sydney has a reputation for being way too hot in summer as well as having some suburbs with very high crime levels (http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/news/major-crime-down-in-nsw-but-blacktown-murder-rate-twice-state-average/news-story/bacd8a70ee9d213571cb13a9c030963d). Penrith may be an exception but it's worthwhile checking further.

 

Happy to answer any other questions if I can - all the best

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Hi

 

Well that's good news. I have emailed ACT with regards to school fees and what they are for primary school etc.

 

2 years would be a while to wait for PR if I could be sponsored for regional migration after being there 3 months then that would be great.

 

I have ask for some clarity from my prospective employers so will wait and see what they say.!

 

Thanks again

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Thank you for the reply.

He is waiting to hear back from the local ACT council as we speak.....they are checking with their HR department.

 

I have also been offered a job in Penrith, NSW on a 457 visa. Again the employer has mentioned about sponsorship after a year or two.

 

I think it was $5,000 per child in NSW for education. The wages offered are the same in line with the minimum 457 wage requirements.

 

I will take a look at the ACT schools and fees etc.

 

I really appreciate your reply.

Many thanks

 

Canberra would be better than Penrith especially if you have kids. If you are faced with fees for education NSW is cheaper but there are some loopholes for ACT whereby if your occupation is on one of the lists (I forget which one) they will waive fees - it's not HR you need to talk to but International Students section, be sure to get the right lot for advice!!!! Catholic schools are going to be cheaper than government schools in both states.

 

I thought you had to have a 2 year wait to apply for PR but someone else will know whether that is right or not.

 

The minimum 457 wage will be a bit of a struggle no matter where you are - they can't get Aussies to work for such low rates! For real estate all homes.com.au is the place to go and see what you might be able to afford - choose somewhere close to where you might be working if you can.

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Well according to several sites the ACT is deemed regional for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme 187 visa - which is permanent.

 

However, the employer states you must live and work in the ACT for that visa for 3 months, hense, the 457. I don't know if that then effects the possibility of applying for PR through the 187 visa (this is different to the ENS one - 186 maybe ? ).

 

If anyone knows the answer please let me know!

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I came over on a straight 457 visa so no experience with 187 visas I'm afraid.

 

It's true that getting by on a minimum wage would be challenging but things are looking up. The long-established duopoly held by the two main supermarket chains, Woolworth and Coles (which many believe kept prices higher than necessary) is starting to collapse as Aldi have made huge inroads into Australia recently and Lidl are also appearing in increasing numbers - forcing the two Australian brands to become more competitive.

 

One other thought: Does your visa actually require you too reside in the ACT or just work there? If it's the latter then the ACT is small enough to live in NSW (e.g. Queanbeyan or Jerrabomberra) and drive into the ACT in which case you'd only have to pay NSW school rates if the children went to school in NSW too. I seem to remember that my 457 was linked to my employer and so I could leve anywhere I wanted.

 

It's also worthwhile also looking at the tax rates which are broadly better than the UK at the lower income levels:

 

[h=3]Resident Tax Rates 2014 - 2015/2016/2017[/h][TABLE=class: table-striped table, width: 100%]

[TR]

[TD]Taxable income[/TD]

[TD]Tax on this income[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=bgcolor: #F9F9F9]

[TD]$0 – $18,200[/TD]

[TD]Nil[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]$18,201– $37,000[/TD]

[TD]19c for each $1 over $18,200[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=bgcolor: #F9F9F9]

[TD]$37,001 - $80,000[/TD]

[TD]$3,572 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $37,000[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]$80,001 - $180,000[/TD]

[TD]$17,547 plus 37c for each $1 over $80,000[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=bgcolor: #F9F9F9]

[TD]$180,001 and over*[/TD]

[TD]$54,547 plus 45c for every $1 over $180,000[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

See http://www.exfin.com/australian-tax-rates

 

There also tends to be more generous allowances for the self-employed and even those in employment who use their own tools/assets for work. With a good accountant you could end up keeping much more of what you earn!

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I have emailed the prospective employer regarding living in NSW and working for them.

 

I have also explained that the info about the 187 RSMS visa is not accurate. A MARA agent kindly informed me that there is no requirement to live and work in the ACT for 3 months.

 

Thanks again to everyone for their advice!

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In terms of wages I am told I will receive $54,000 in line with the requirements for the 457 visa.

 

Matt has found some jobs working in offices / reception etc that all pay between $40,000 - $60,000 depending on what the job entails.

 

Is $100,000 enough to get by on in the ACT or surrounding NSW towns?

 

Many thanks

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It's do-able, it won't be luxury but you should survive. If you aren't paying school fees that will be a bonus but child care is going to cost you upwards of $100 a day and there are no benefits to be had for temporary visa holders. It is often also difficult for temporary visa dependents to get positions so don't be surprised if it takes a while for him to get a job (and please, whatever he does, not to resign from his UK job but get a career break!!!!!!!). It's going to be a struggle to begin with but if you take a nice wadge of cash with you, that should be a buffer. The longer you have to survive on your $54k the harder it will be - with just the two of us, two cars, no mortgage, solar hot water, scavenger wood heating, no expensive hobbies even 5 years ago, when we left, our average credit card spend for the month was around $5 K (ie $60kpa!!!!!) - we didn't stint and we did go out for dinner occasionally but we aren't profligate people. I can't imagine it's got cheaper since then! It's the little things like insurance (health, car, home, contents), repairs, medical, dental, optical etc etc

 

The only town that would be close enough in realistic terms would be Queanbeyan but it has a bit of an up and down reputation (usually down if you talk to most Canberra folk). The other places are country settlements. Places like Yass and Goulburn are just a tad too far for a daily commute.

Edited by Quoll

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It can get very cold in winter but it's not far from mountain ski resorts if you are into snow sports.

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We have been fortunate to have job offers in the ACT and QLD. The ACT has offered PR and so I think I will accept and start the process. Thank you for all of the advice.

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So will you get PR before you go? I wouldn't be trusting that an employer will sponsor you for PR down the track (2 years isn't it?), so many renege on offers! But if you are eligible for PR then get it before you go and don't be dependent on an employer.

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There were two job offers in ACT. One with PR and one without. After Skype calls I informed the employer that I would have to take the other job etc as it was PR.

 

The next day I was contacted to be informed I could apply for a 190. I was dubious so spoke to the relevant ACT department and it was confirmed I could start the process off shore regardless of what it said about being closed.

 

I was very surprised but have been informed that it is correct by the ACT government. Good news!

 

I have informed the QLD employer of my choice so hopefully everything will carry on. Thank you again

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Congratulations - stay in touch

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So will you get PR before you go? I wouldn't be trusting that an employer will sponsor you for PR down the track (2 years isn't it?), so many renege on offers! But if you are eligible for PR then get it before you go and don't be dependent on an employer.

 

regional migration scheme VISA's give you PR immediately, then you're supposed to commit to ACT for the subsequent two years etc..

Hence the preferential treatment compared to the usual migration hotspots (beach cities)

Theoretically they can cancel it if you do a runner before the 2 years are up, but ACT are pretty reasonable if you've committed to move to the other side of the planet and then the job disappears or the skill is removed from the list.

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