Moving to Australia
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Moving to Australia: Essential steps on arrival

GOOD DAY MATE! Prepare yourself to hear this a lot, every day, if you are moving to Australia

Who has never thought of leaving everything behind and going on an adventure to an unknown land? Imagine building a dream life in the tropics where every winter is an Indian summer? Nothing better than this beautiful country that is Australia to touch your dream with your fingertips!

In this blog post, I have gathered the essential steps to take upon arrival to succeed in your installation. If you are still at the beginning of your project and wish to have more information about visas, go and have a look at the article dedicated to explaining in detail the WHV visa Australia.

Why moving to Australia?

Realise your dream of leaving on the other side of the world

If like me, you come from Europe or elsewhere, Australia seems to be clearly at the end of the world. Have you ever dreamed of escaping to a deserted island and discovering what the world has to offer. Australia will not disappoint you. You can discover a new continent, a new culture. And Australians know how to make you feel welcome; super relaxed and very low-stress, they will make you feel at ease. You know the motto “Hakunamatata”, the Australian version is “No worries”. With them, everything is “No worries”. And I can assure you that you will quickly get the hang of it.

Meet the unique flora and fauna

Australia is an Eldorado for animal lovers: Kangaroos, Koalas, Quokkas, Platypus, Wombats, Dingoes and many others. You can meet these animals ONLY in Australia, as they are endemic to this continent.

Looking for incredible scenery and vast landscapes? Australia has more than 500 national parks where you can discover incredible wildlife. Australia is very proud of its land and takes great care of it.

Get new professional experiences in a favourable economic environment

If the ‘American Dream’ was in vogue in the past, it turns out that the Australian Dream; also known as ‘The Great Australian Dream’, has taken over. Indeed, more and more people want to move to Australia for a few years or on a long term basis. Probably because of favourable living conditions: a pleasant climate, ease to find a job, more attractive salary than in Europe.

sydney night

All these reasons already convinced you and you are ready to fly to the other side of the world? Well, be patient! Before you can enjoy the sun and the sweet Australian life, you’ll need to get the Holy Grail called visa. 

Getting your Working Holiday Visa (WHV) and move to Australia

To fulfil your dream of moving to Australia, you will need to go through a few administrative steps beforehand. The most important one is of course your visa application. Indeed, anyone wishing to enter the Australian territory must obtain a visa (holiday, work, resident etc.).

The most popular ‘work’ visa and probably the easiest to get when coming from Europe is the WHV visa. Also called Working Holiday Visa or Working Holiday Programme. Easiest work visa to apply for as it allows you to stay for 1 year (or even 2 or 3 if you work in particular sectors) without being on a skill list. The benefit of this visa is for most travellers the easy way to finance your trip. Because you can work for up to 6 consecutive months for the same employer (note that this applies to French nationality only, please check the conditions for your nationality as they may differ).

The requirements to obtain a WHV

– Be between 18 and 35 years old

– Have a travel insurance

– Have a minimum amount of funds to live in Australia

– Not have any dependent children

– Be outside of Australia when applying for a visa

I have written an article, complete and detailed, dedicated to the preparation of your WHV in Australia. You can find it by clicking on the kink below.

Don’t worry if you don’t fit the WHV criteria (over 35, family, etc ;). Other work visas are also available. However, for most of them, you will need to have a job offer or be qualified in a shortage skill areas by the Australian government. This type of visa also requires more preparation and often the help of an immigration officer can be an advantage. Laws and eligibility requirements change quite often. For more info, visit the Australian immigration website. Something is coming soon on this topic – stay tuned!

The essential steps to make your arrival a success

After a long flight, and once you’ve set foot on Australian land, I’m sure you’ll want to enjoy the magic of Australia. That’s understandable. But if you want to Fully enjoy and get the final paperwork to move abroad, you will have to complete 4 steps. I promise you that after that, you will finally be ready to live the adventure of your life in Australia.

1 – Choose your accommodation

2 – Get a local phone number

3 – Open a bank account

4 – Apply for a TFN number

If you finalise these as soon as you arrive, within 2 weeks you can be fully settled with accommodation and a job. Yes, administration in Australia can be quite efficient.

1- Choose your accommodation for the first days/weeks

There are a range of accommodation available in Australia. For a smooth arrival, I recommend you to book it before your departure. This will avoid you having to look for one on the spot, especially with the fatigue of the 24-hour flight and the time difference. Also, because of th last paperwork may require to be completes on-site, I advise staying in a large city for a few days or a week.

– Youth hostel

The accommodation of choice for young people arriving in Australia is the youth hostel, called “backpackers” or “hostel”. It is one of the cheapest solutions in the cities and is a good way to meet people from the beginning.

– Airbnb

This can be a solution if you don’t like the hostel atmosphere or want to stay in your little cocoon with your partner or family. However, be aware that the price will be relatively more expensive than a hostel.

– Free accommodation: Woofing/ HelpX or Housesitting

If you want to immerse yourself in the Australian culture as soon as you arrive while saving money, Woofing or HelpX are the ideal solutions. Indeed, via these 2 websites, you can find a family ready to host you and feed you for free, for a few days or weeks, in exchange for a few hours of work (4-5 hours per day). The work required is usually easy, such as gardening, work around the house/farm, … In addition to meet locals, you will eat local food and speak english. Perfect as a little training before looking for a job.

Housesitting is a bit different. During a housesitting, your mission is to look after the owner’s house (and often the animals) while he/she is travelling/holidaying. You will therefore have your own accommodation in which you can stay for free in exchange for looking after little furry creatures.

I have written a full blog on housesitting and how to get your first mission. HERE!

2- Obtain a local phone number

If you want to build a network or work in Australia, having a local number is essential. I know that many of you are hesitant to take an international plan with no extra charge, like FREE in France can offer. These plans can be great if you omly intend to travel for a few months on holidays. However, I don’t recommend you just go with this package if you wish to have a job and stay long term. Many employers will want to contact you by phone after you apply to briefly discuss what you are looking for. If you want to give yourself the best chance, get a local number as soon as you arrive.

In Australia, there are many phone operators in the market, but the three main ones are Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

To choose the plan that will suit you best, think about what you want to do in Australia: live in the big cities or travel all over the country and therefore be in the countryside. Because the mobile network in Australia is not available everywhere and some phone operators cover more than others. Telstra is the operator that offers the widest coverage in the country. So, if you want to go on a road trip in the Australian bush, this operator will surely be the best option.

I chose to subscribe to Telstra during my trip because of its wider coverage and also because of its wifi network Telstra Air. Phone plans in Australia rarely include unlimited internet, so we have to find ways to save our data for the month. Telstra Air is the largest wifi network in Australia and you can find wifi hotspots available all over the country. You can only access these hotspots if you are a Telstra customer. I have used Telstra Air many times during my stay in Australia, it is convenient.

Once you have chosen the operator that suits you, you just need to go to the nearest shop with your passport and tell// the package you want. It only takes a few minutes and the shop assistant can also activate your sim card directly on your phone.

That’s it! Now that you have your local number, it’s time to open your bank account in Australia. Maybe it’s even the first account you open abroad. Exciting time guys!!!

3- Open an Australian bank account

To settle in Australia on a medium to long term basis and be able to work, having a bank account will be mandatory. You can only receive your salary to a local bank account. In addition, for your daily purchases, having a local bank card will avoid the high overseas fees, often charged by your bank in your home country.

There is heaps of choice in terms of Australian financial banking companies:

– Westpac is the 1st bank in Australia

– ANZ

– Commonwealth

– NAB

– HSBC

– St George

– Citibank

It can be a good idea to find out about the different banks before you leave. Some may have a partnership with your current bank. For example, the Westpac Group has a partnership with the BNP Paribas group, the Bank of America or the Barclays Bank in the UK. This bank has many partnerships abroad as they are part of the Global Alliance Network.

Furthermore, some of these banks offer the possibility of opening your bank account online. This means you can open your account before you even get on the plane. Then, you’d only need to go to a branch once you are there to confirm your identity and collect your local bank card. In addition to saving time once you arrive, opening your bank account online will allow you to transfer money (via TRANSFERWISE for example) and therefore have these funds available immediately upon arrival.

I chose Westpac Bank during my two years in Australia. This bank has one of the best national coverage and the online opening was very easy to do before my departure.

4- Apply for your TFN number to work

And the best for the end, the famous Tax File Number, more commonly called TFN, which will be ESSENTIAL to work and live in Australia.

The TFN is your Australian tax number and is therefore very important if you do not want to be taxed at 45%. So don’t forget to apply as soon as possible to get it for your first job.

You can apply for the TFN online via the official website of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) with your passport and visa.

This process is very easy and will only take a few minutes. Then, the ATO will post your TFN at the residential address you chose in your application within 3 weeks. If you stay in a backpacker, temporary accommodation and leave before receiving the letter or if you need it earlier to start a job, you can still ring ATO to request your number over the phone.

Moving to Australia

Now that you know a bit more about what you need to do once you get there, it’s up to you to make it work. Moving to Australia is a big step and the more you are ready the better. Obviously, with the current situation (Covid-19), it is important to check the official Australian immigration website frequently to keep update on the latest regulation regarding visa/travel requirements.

Let’s make the most of this “transition time at home” and think positively by preparing yourself for what will surely be the trip of a lifetime.


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1 comment

Ashleigh's Atlas   -  

Great tips! I’d also suggest applying for a Medicare card (if you’re eligible). It’s quite time consuming because you have to go into the office in person, but then you get free healthcare 💖

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