31 May 2016

Be ready for Aus!

When preparing for your move to Australia, it's tempting to be sucked in by one of hundreds of companies who promise to find you work, accommodation and set things up for you. But really, everyone I've spoken to who used these companies and paid a lot of money for them, regret it or would never advise them. In some ways they're handy, but it truly is easy enough to just wait until you are here and can sort things for yourself.

Things to arrange before your arrival:

  • VISA! Use ONLY the Australian Government Website to achieve this. It's an online form which you really should take your time with, it will ask for payment and then depending on your application information, it will take a matter of seconds to discover whether you're allowed in or not.
  • A hostel. Use Hostel World, Booking.com and TripAdvisor to carefully decide where you want to set up camp to begin with. Read reviews, lots of them. They're mostly truthful (so I've come to find). Look for things such as free breakfast, lots of weekly events to get you all together and more than one plug outlet in one room.
  • Pack your backpack/suitcase BEFORE it's leaving day. This is my biggest regret. Now I know I could have fitted more by utilising the little space you carry on your back./
  • A bank account. It's super easy to set up. Use the address of your first hostel to register online. I personally used CommonWealth bank. From this point on you will have full access online to your account until you're able to prove your identity and pick the card up in person.
  • I personally chose to use Thomas Cook's Cash Passport service. This is an easy way to have money in Australia and avoid all of the fees generated through transfers and withdrawals you may receive from using your English account.
  • Get your phone unlocked if it isn't already. This way you'll be able to pick up a SIM card so easily and you're ready to go. Avoid all of those roaming charges too when you're tempted to check Facebook for just a second...
On arrival:

  • With CommonWealth you will receive an email with a cover letter explaining which branch your bank card will be ready to collect upon your arrival in the UK. Take your passport and this letter and it will take no longer than 30 mins.
  • Sign up for Medicare. For this you will have to find out which branch has the facilities to start up new Medicare accounts. Take your visa grant notice, your passport, sometimes they ask for proof of arrival. (A boarding pass or a stamp in your passport). The form is pretty long and then afterwards you will be seated with an employee who will go through your application and then you just have to wait for your card.
  • Visit Optus or Telstra for an Australian SIM card. Most hostels have these at reception. I pay $40 for unlimited calls to the UK, Australia and texts to Australia. Free Spotify streaming and 6GB or data to use in 30 days, that's with Optus.
  • Apply for a Tax File Number (TFN). This is essential if you plan on working in Australia. It's an online form which doesn't take up much time at all.
Raven Twigg
Just Write About It.

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