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DrDougster

Travelling light

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Member, observer, about to move...

So, we're making the move. However, it is now with some trepidation given some odd emails from my employers/future colleagues.

My plan is that me, my wife and our baby (who will be 1 three days after we land) will travel light as we're on a 457 and I've listened to the warnings/horror stories on here. We're going to keep our house and cars in UK for now and see how it goes for a few months. I've got a job in Darwin which will allow us to rent a nice apartment and my wife will be going back LTFT working with the University there. I have a few questions which are forum fodder:

1) How long should we plan to "stick it out", "experience it", "settle in" before we make decision to stay or not? (expected answer is six months) I've booked flexi return flights through Singapore.

2) Despite the warnings about renting online I am tempted to do all the paperwork for this place before we go: https://www.realestate.com.au/property-unit-nt-nightcliff-422575634 anyone in Darwin got any thoughts?

3) I've done the usual BUPA quick insurance for the 457 but should I do the medicare reciprocal cover? - it looks like it would save about $1000 a year

4) What am I forgetting? What are the big/little things? Turning the water off, SORN the cars etc.

5) Insanely stupid question: when I went to Aus "back in the day" I'm sure I had to send off my passport. Is it all "on the line" now? Can we just get on the plane?

I've set up a bank account - Westpac were brilliant, got insurance, going to ship a few bits with sevenseas, going to rent a car and then lease, being shown around the above property the day after we arrive...

Thank you for creating and contributing to a great site which has helped me so much!

Waggons roll!

Edited by DrDougster
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1 hour ago, DrDougster said:

Member, observer, about to move...

So, we're making the move. However, it is now with some trepidation given some odd emails from my employers/future colleagues.

My plan is that me, my wife and our baby (who will be 1 three days after we land) will travel light as we're on a 457 and I've listened to the warnings/horror stories on here. We're going to keep our house and cars in UK for now and see how it goes for a few months. I've got a job in Darwin which will allow us to rent a nice apartment and my wife will be going back LTFT working with the University there. I have a few questions which are forum fodder:

1) How long should we plan to "stick it out", "experience it", "settle in" before we make decision to stay or not? (expected answer is six months) I've booked flexi return flights through Singapore.

2) Despite the warnings about renting online I am tempted to do all the paperwork for this place before we go: https://www.realestate.com.au/property-unit-nt-nightcliff-422575634 anyone in Darwin got any thoughts?

3) I've done the usual BUPA quick insurance for the 457 but should I do the medicare reciprocal cover? - it looks like it would save about $1000 a year

4) What am I forgetting? What are the big/little things? Turning the water off, SORN the cars etc.

5) Insanely stupid question: when I went to Aus "back in the day" I'm sure I had to send off my passport. Is it all "on the line" now? Can we just get on the plane?

I've set up a bank account - Westpac were brilliant, got insurance, going to ship a few bits with sevenseas, going to rent a car and then lease, being shown around the above property the day after we arrive...

Thank you for creating and contributing to a great site which has helped me so much!

Waggons roll!

We went to Sydney, initially on a 457, the day after our youngest daughter's first birthday, so I can somewhat understand your trepidation!  We subsequently got PR and citizenship, so I guess that would be my first question.  Would you be able to get PR, either independently or through your employer?  If you are ultimately unable to get PR, it won't really matter how long you should stick it out, as you'll always have to return anyway.  However, I'll answer your questions from my perspective, as someone who has been there and done that, as it were.

1.  This very much depends on you.  Some people never settle, some people settle from the first moment, some people (like us) settle at first but become less settled over time, and eventually move back having had a great experience of living in a foreign country.  I think that most people would say two years or so.  You need to experience each season a couple of times, you need time to make friendships and to find your way around, and those things take time.

2.  I'm not in Darwin, but I would be very wary of setting your heart on a rental place before you go.  We did this, with the help of a relocation agent that OH's company paid for, and although it was nice enough, with hindsight I'd have liked to have visited the suburbs before signing up to a six month rental.  It was a bit of a pain for OH to get to work, because although it was handy for his eventual work location, to start with he was in another practice which was more difficult to get to from where we were.  It is better to rent a holiday place or serviced apartment for a few weeks, and then look around for a rental when you get there.

3.  You should apply for medicare anyway, as it is a reciprocal entitlement that you have as a UK citizen.  However, it will only cover essential medical care, and you would have to pay for extra stuff such as physio or maternity care, so you might be best off keeping some insurance for that.  When we were there, the kids vaccinations were covered.  I'm not sure about NT, but in NSW we needed ambulance cover.  We discovered this three days after we arrived, when youngest dd and I were taken to hospital by ambulance, with suspected meningitis for her.  The bill we received a few weeks later was a bit of a surprise!  The states differ in this though, so you should look it up.  You just need to rock up to the Medicare office with your passport and evidence of your visa (grant letter) to get a medicare number.

4.  Notify HMRC etc so that they stop child benefit and things like that.  You will also need to notify banks, mortgage company etc.  You could get a full set of medical records for you all to take, but we never needed them.  Take evidence of vaccinations to date for the little one (do they still do the red book?  I took that for mine).

5.  Yes, everything is online.  Your passport number has the visa on it.  If your UK passports are near to expiry, renew them before you go.  It is an absolute pain to do it when you are there to start with, because you won't know anyone to countersign.

I hope that helps a bit.

Edited to Add:  I've just had a look at the photos on the property listing you posted, and whilst it looks nice, you should be aware that real estate agents do alter photos for house listings a bit.  When we sold our house in Sydney our photos were altered slightly, and definitely made it look more appealing!

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Re 1. Darwin may or may not tick your boxes. It’s climate isn’t for everyone either. I’d see how you feel as you go and keep reassessing as needed. 

Re 2 - I’d wait till you get there. Rental pics can be years old or the area totally unsuitable. If it’s the wrong area or house to rent, it could really ruin or set  more negative mood or mindset.

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The most important thing to remember is you only have a temporary visa and until you have a permanent visa, you have to assume that you will be leaving Australia in a maximum of four years. Possibly less. Do not assume that being a doctor offers more safety in that respect. The opposite as the government have stated they intend to remove medical occupations from the skilled lists which would prevent you from getting any further visa. 

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6 hours ago, Yelverton said:

Re the little things - get your mobiles unlocked before you leave the UK

And take lots of power boards and adapters for your electrical stuff. 

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The phones thing is a another minefield. At the moment we both have iPhone 6s that our little treasure has smashed. I'll have a work phone and we very rarely call anyone outside of Whatsapp or facetime. I wonder if the best "other phone" would be a dual sim for my wife so she has her UK number and an Aus number.

Is it best to buy the power adaptors here?

I think I'll ship the Neo to keep me sane.

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11 hours ago, DrDougster said:

The phones thing is a another minefield. At the moment we both have iPhone 6s that our little treasure has smashed. I'll have a work phone and we very rarely call anyone outside of Whatsapp or facetime. I wonder if the best "other phone" would be a dual sim for my wife so she has her UK number and an Aus number.

Is it best to buy the power adaptors here?

I think I'll ship the Neo to keep me sane.

Not sure why you would bother keeping a UK number. Hubby kept a UK number for a while after we moved but never really used it so it got canned after a year or so. If the number wasn’t used in X amount of time on his PAYG it got reassigned anyways. We couldn’t keep a contract from overseas plus the cost would have been a huge waste even if we could have done. 

We use FaceTime, Viber and other apps for calls to most people round the world. If we want to call UK numbers (usually landline for tax or some such) we simply put some credit on Skype and call via that. Line is clear as anything, never had any issues. My parents in the UK call us via it also from time to time. 

Mid you mean UK power adapters and extensions, then yes, buy in the UK. Don’t forget if you bring anything with a plug on it when you fly over, bring an adapter or two. Plus an extension board. 

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9 hours ago, snifter said:

Not sure why you would bother keeping a UK number. Hubby kept a UK number for a while after we moved but never really used it so it got canned after a year or so. If the number wasn’t used in X amount of time on his PAYG it got reassigned anyways.

They're keeping an open mind about whether they'll settle, PLUS they're only on a 457, so it makes sense to hang on to their UK numbers for if/when they return.

The phone companies say they'll reassign your number if you don't renew the contract.  However, I still have my UK number in an old phone.  The contract expired nearly two years ago, but although I can't make calls, I can still phone that number and it still rings on that phone.  

Edited by Marisawright

Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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31 minutes ago, Marisawright said:

They're keeping an open mind about whether they'll settle, PLUS they're only on a 457, so it makes sense to hang on to their UK numbers for if/when they return.

The phone companies say they'll reassign your number if you don't renew the contract.  However, I still have my UK number in an old phone.  The contract expired nearly two years ago, but although I can't make calls, I can still phone that number and it still rings on that phone.  

One solution is to buy a cheap non-smart phone and stick the K sim card in that. t'll still get calls and texts and will retain the number when going back to the UK - at which point the UK sim can go back into the main smartphone. My OH and I did this while moving so much between the UK and oz - the main sims for the country we were in went in smartphones, the other sims were in (and still are in) basic Nokia phones. Both UK sims are out of contract.

Edited by Nemesis
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I'd also be cautious about committing to the apartment without having inspected personally.  I note that the real estate blurb says that the photos are of "an" apartment in the complex...specifically not the one being advertised.   Also, because of its price and location, I'd be concerned about Airbnb type rentals as neighbours.  You may find yourself living in party central. ..which may make working (sleeping) and life with a baby very difficult. 

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One more thing - I'd be cautious about leasing a car.   Check very carefully what would happen if you need to leave the country before the lease ends. Usually you won't be able to sell the car because it's under finance.


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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On 25/05/2018 at 05:44, Marisawright said:

One more thing - I'd be cautious about leasing a car.   Check very carefully what would happen if you need to leave the country before the lease ends. Usually you won't be able to sell the car because it's under finance.

Might go for buying second hand and selling if we leave early. We've always owned our cars.

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On 22/05/2018 at 04:33, DrDougster said:

Member, observer, about to move...
 

1) How long should we plan to "stick it out", "experience it", "settle in" before we make decision to stay or not? (expected answer is six months) I've booked flexi return flights through Singapore.

Six months is a ridiculously short amount of time to make such a life impacting decision.  Give it at least two years is my reply.

2) Despite the warnings about renting online I am tempted to do all the paperwork for this place before we go: anyone in Darwin got any thoughts?

Well places ALWAYS look much better online than they do in person. Better to book into a caravan park cabin, or motel short term, and then look at rentals when you are there. It is hard to break a lease, so better to be sure before signing paperwork

I've set up a bank account - Westpac were brilliant

Yes I have always found them to be an excellent bank

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9 hours ago, Tootsie said:

1) How long should we plan to "stick it out", "experience it", "settle in" before we make decision to stay or not? (expected answer is six months) I've booked flexi return flights through Singapore.

Six months is a ridiculously short amount of time to make such a life impacting decision.  Give it at least two years is my reply.

2) Despite the warnings about renting online I am tempted to do all the paperwork for this place before we go: anyone in Darwin got any thoughts?

Well places ALWAYS look much better online than they do in person. Better to book into a caravan park cabin, or motel short term, and then look at rentals when you are there. It is hard to break a lease, so better to be sure before signing paperwork

I've set up a bank account - Westpac were brilliant

Yes I have always found them to be an excellent bank

Westpac good (old style professional bank).  Stay well away from NAB and ANZ.

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Can't speak highly enough of Westpac. Personal service and what seems like a very good transfer rate - fee free 1% off real rate for £6K starter cash so $10407 today.

We went for moving straight into the apartment!!!

Don't fret - a friend looked around it and said we should definitely go for it and we haggled a bit. Said friend is collecting an Ikea order for us and dropping it off.

I've arranged the electricity to be put on the day before we get there and the internet connection is being turned on too. Cancelled internet, tv etc here.

I've cancelled all my professional memberships, changed house insurance, got car covers.

Cleaner is going to do a couple of hrs every fortnight to keep an eye on things.

What am I missing?

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Netflix/Prime etc?

Give the cars a good wash/wax and leave them to dry before putting a cover on.

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