Tips for Living in Australia
My name is Ria Dellosa. Migration Ways of Australia helped me obtain my Partner visa so I could enter Australia to start a new life with my husband, Tyrone. Although I was born and grew up in the Philippines, I have lived and worked in Singapore for the last 10 years. I know how hard and daunting it can be to move countries. There is so much to learn and do, to adjust to.
I’ve now been in Australia for two months and I can say that I have adjusted pretty well and fast. By making sure that things were in order from the moment I booked my ticket to Australia up until the week I arrived, really helped to make my adjustment to this new country easier.
I would like to share some of my experiences of how I adjusted to Australia with others who might soon be starting a new life in this country.
Moving your whole life to an entirely new country was something I was familiar with. In 2007, I came from the Philippines to work in Singapore carrying 30kgs of luggage; nothing but clothes, shoes and a laptop. Fast forward to 10 years later; I now needed to move 10 years-worth of my “stuff” from Singapore to Australia. Added to this, I also had to purchase clothing for the changing seasons in Sydney. So, I now had books and memorabilia I wanted to bring with me, thick jackets and coats, and shoes and bags for different occasions, such as sports, casual, office, holiday, and so on. In order to save time and effort, I organized to ship some of my non-essential things and decided to just carry with me on the plane what I needed to have with me to survive my first few months in Australia.
Months prior to my flight, I started joining Australian job sites and recruitment agencies. I also went to my doctor and asked for a copy of all my medical records and test results, and a signed letter regarding the medications I’m currently taking. Having this information with you will help your future doctor in Australia have your medical background at hand.
Saving money is very essential, especially if you haven’t yet secured a job in your new country. So, plan to save money for at least a few months before your move. Ironically, my move also demanded that I spend money to shop for cheap winter clothes and accessories, office clothes, and so forth. But just buy enough items to last you while you wait for a job opportunity and having a source of income.
Nope, not terms and conditions. Transportation and Communication. Upon arrival in Sydney, it was essential for me to get an Australian phone number and to save on my phone all the important Australian phone numbers, like the emergency numbers (police, fire and ambulance) and those of people I knew who I could contact in case of an emergency. I also updated my resume and the job sites I was a member of with my new Australian phone number. Now when an interested employer would stumble upon my records, he would find a local number that he can contact, instead of my previous overseas number. To have a transport card, I bought my Opal (NSW transport) card a couple of months back, when I took a vacation in Sydney after my spouse visa application had been lodged.
Tax File Number and Medicare Card
On the second day after my arrival, I immediately filed for a Tax File Number (TFN) at an Australian Tax Office (ATO), just in case the procedure would take days to process and to cover the time it might take for the card to be mailed to me. This TFN can also be requested online or through an accountant. If you are unsure how to do it, I suggest going to an ATO office as they have lots of staff willing to walk you through the process. Remember to have your important documents at hand, as you will need to fill in your details very accurately. This process of requesting a TFN took less than half an hour and I was informed that the actual letter was going to be mailed to me within a few days. At this office, we were advised where the nearest Medicare office was and within the same day I also received my temporary Medicare card. (In case you don’t know, Medicare is Australia’s government based medical insurance/care system. You must have some kind of medical insurance in Australia.)
With the money I had saved, I opened a bank account so that once I landed a job, I would already have a bank account to provide to my employer. It was also essential for me to open a bank account as it helped me to gain access to local ATMs anywhere I go in Sydney. I have also linked my Opal transport card to my bank account, so that I know that I will never run out of a balance when I travel in Sydney.
Upon settling in and sorting out all the above little things, I dived right into those job sites again and started my job search. I signed up at a lot of job recruitment sites and job search engines such as CareerOne, Seek, Indeed, Jora and Adzuna. Each day I would spend almost half a day emailing, writing cover letters, finding and applying for every job that I was suitable for. In Singapore, I worked as an Operations Executive and was now looking for similar work in Australia.
Since I had a specific industry in my mind (Export/Import/Trade Finance) that I was interested to be a part of, I researched companies in that industry using Linkedin and Google. I would then go to these companies’ websites and search for career opportunities. At the same time, I also applied for part-time work that could help me get by just in case my job search would take longer than I expected. I emailed one company that I was familiar with, even though they hadn’t posted a job vacancy, and I asked to be part of their company. Luckily, a position had just opened and they read my email before they had advertised the job. This led me to a job interview and here I am now working for a company in the industry that I was very interested in.
This is my last tip, but definitely not one to forget. It’s important to stop and enjoy the new environment you’re in. At the same time, this is also a way for you to get familiar with the places and landmarks and train stations, etc, of your new home. If you have a job interview, test your travel time or your journey connections at least a day before so as not to get lost on the day itself. Travel around the city, walk around to find cheap marketplaces, visit historical places and ENJOY your new home! And now I have someone to share all this fun with.
Even after my visa was approved, my relationship with my migration agency (Migration Ways) didn’t stop. They helped me and my husband prepare for things we had to do and where to do them, which made my adjustment easier. My husband and I ensured that we kept in touch with our agents and they were as approachable as they were when we started our visa application process. All the very best to you all for your move to Australia. A land of hope and opportunity indeed!
Check out this Migration article of tips to find work and employers in Australia.
To learn more about the visa and citizenship services of Migration Ways, a leading Melbourne migration advisory service.
To book a consultation with one of our bilingual visa experts, at either our CBD Melbourne office or over Skype.