In a globalised world, moving abroad is no longer a novel idea. Studying and working overseas has become a right of passage for most younger people, and it can be a great way to make new connections and learn more about yourself.
For our international readers, we explain a few important things to consider if you’re considering a move ‘Down Under’. From Melbourne to Medicare cards, we round up the important things you should know about living in this great brown land.
Here are 8 things to know before you move to Australia!
#1 – Get a feeling for where to live
If you have an Australian visa that allows you to work and stay, then it’s worth pre-planning (or at least pre-considering) what type of location you’d like to live in. Australia is a bigger country than you may think – with a lot of variety, and it offers plenty of employment opportunities to visitors.
If you want to enjoy beautiful tropical weather and resort-style living, then look for job opportunities in tropical North Queensland. If you fancy a corporate fling, then inner-city Sydney would be your best bet. But Melbourne, Perth, and some other regional areas all offer great opportunities for visitors.
#2 – What to bring?
Some people will want to bring as much of their old life with them to Australia as they can, and others will prefer to travel light and start from scratch. It all depends on some obvious factors. Are you here as a permanent worker? Do you have family with you? Do you have certain items that you simply can’t exist without? Once you have decided what to bring, halve it!
#3 – Sort-out your finances beforehand
Take some time out before you depart to manage your money and get everything worked out. Set up a budget to list out your possible expenses and potential income in Australia. Make an appointment with your bank to gain the necessary debit and credit facilities you may need while away. While it’s fairly simple for foreigners to set up bank accounts in Australia, it’s wise to have a range of accounts at your disposal before you land.
#4 – Get a Tax File Number
If you think you’ll work in Australia, then you need to register for a TFN (Tax File Number). You can check out the Australian Tax Office’s official website to get all the required information, and it’s possible to apply online once you have received your work visa. Getting a TFN is free process and it means you’ll pay less taxes in the future.
#5 – Find ways to send money home
While you’re in Australia, it’s possible that you may need to send money back home for one reason or another. Whether you want to send a family member some money for their birthday, or send cash back to pay off a debt, sending money internationally has become a lot easier these days. You can use money transfer apps or go to physical locations that handle wire services to send money wherever you need it to go.
#6 – Get a Medicare card
It’s a good idea to find out if you are entitled to a Medicare card in Australia. Medicare cards allow you to use Australia’s healthcare system virtually free of charge. This includes free doctors visits, subsidised medicines and other healthcare benefits.
#7 – Brush up on your driving
You need to remember that we Aussies drive on the left hand side of the road! So, if you’re planning to drive while you’re here, then some of the driving conditions will feel quite different at first. Unlike much of the rest of the world, Australia is very strict on adherence to driving and road rules, and heavy penalties apply if you are caught breaking any of the rules.
#8 – Connect with social media groups
To soften your landing, why not join a number of online groups before you make the move down under? Joining a local group will not only give you a range of insider tips and insights, it will put you in touch with other like-minded people who are sharing similar experiences.