Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Living and Working in Australia

Today I have another guest post from my friend Archie. In this post he gives some great tips for those who are thinking of living and working in Australia. It's great to have some guidance on things to think about before making a big move to another country. Enjoy!
You’ve reached a point in your life where you are ready for a change. After talking with friends and family, you’ve decided you need to relocate for a fresh start. You’re seriously considering Australia, but is this the right decision for you? What do you need to know before take this major step in your life? Where do you even start? The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to make this major decision.

How’s the Climate?

Australia runs the gamut of the climate rainbow depending on where you choose to hang your hat, so choose wisely. This is mainly due to its large size. Here’s a bit about what you’ll find:

Seasons. The summer season is from December to February. Australia’s autumn is from March to May. Their winter season is from June to August, and spring is from September to November. One season that is often overlooked is Cyclone season, which is from November to April.

Climate. Like hot weather? Head north to Western Australia, the Northern Territory, or Queensland. In Northern Australia, you’ll experience tropical and desert-like weather. Don’t care for the heat? Consider the southern states, like Tasmania and Victoria.

The Visa Process Demystified

First, figure out what kind of visa you’re going to need. Will you be moving on your own or as part of a job transfer? If you’re moving as part of a job transfer, you’ll need a valid Australian visa that provides you with “work rights”. Your employer will be your sponsor and, as such, handles that bit of it. If for any reason you change employers while there, that’s okay. It’s just a matter of changing your sponsor.

Is your move a temporary choice, or are you looking to make Australia your home of permanent residence? If you’re looking into permanence, the process is a bit more complicated because you have to do the work yourself -- unless you hire a professional, of course.

Necessary Tasks to Live in Australia

In order to live in Australia, you’ll first need to obtain a Tax File Number. It’s their way of keeping track of any money earned from things like your salary and wages. Don’t delay applying for one.

You’ll also need an account. Open one within six week of arriving in Australia. You’ll only need your passport to serve as identification. Procrastinating can cost you. After six weeks, you will be required to present additional identification. Don’t risk having to pay unnecessary fees or missing work because you can’t get motivated enough to take this step on time.

It’s also important to obtain an Australian driver’s license. Like in most areas, look forward to taking a written and eye exam along with a driving test. Pay extra attention to staying on the right side of the road!

Find housing. It’s not easy to locate a place to live in Australia, so it may be easier to use an agent local to the territory you choose to reside in. Once you pick an agent, decide together whether it makes more sense for you to rent or buy. Australia offers something called the First Home Owners Grant to help with the purchase of your first home. Ask your agent if you qualify.

Obtain proper immigration paperwork. If the thought of delving into the waters with the Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship scares you, consider hiring an immigration agent. In Australia, an immigration agent is called a Migration Agent. In order to find a qualified agent, contact the Migration Agents Registration Authority. You’ll find that it can benefit you immensely to have guidance for this process.

Learn the law. In order to avoid unintentionally ending up in legal trouble and possibly losing your visa along with your freedom, make sure to educate yourself on the local laws.

This post comes from Archie, an Australian expat living in Thailand. He has been compiling a list of nearly every Australian destination for his commercial travel website, Skedaddle Car Hire.

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