I just got my visa and moving to Australia soon. What should I do next?
Some of you might have the same question as I did. Moving to a country means you need to start over and prepare everything from the most basic things. It’s normal to worry about stuffs like this, but as you go through everything, it’s not as hard as you think. These five points might be able to give you insight:
- Learn About Your Visa
The most essential thing to get into Australia is visa. There are several types of visa which allow you to get into the country according to what occasion you’ll be doing in Australia. Tourist, student, work or work and holiday visa is the most common visa for foreigners. All the information is clearly stated on Australia Government official website. You can see all the terms and conditions here, rules authorized or prohibited. Do not seek for trouble by violating the rules, for example illegally working without proper visa.
- Get a Place to Live
First thing you have to make sure once you get into any regions or cities in Australia is accommodation. Having friends or relatives that can accommodate you is a good thing otherwise you need to spend money for couple nights in hotels/hostels. The price varies depending the location. The closer you stay to CBD, the more money you have to spend. In Sydney, the cheapest bunk bed starts from $23-25 in a hostel. A room in a hotel starts from $60.
But, you don’t want to stay too long in a hotel or hostel or else you’ll broke. Quickly find a flat to share from some websites such as gumtree and flatmates. Again, how much you pay depends which location you stay, for example in Sydney City, for a share room it costs $170-$200 per week. Always inspect the place. Some apartments offer you very cheap rent per week but there can be 10 people in a unit. Usually, they require a minimum stay and bond money as well. Find a flat where you easily access the public transportation.
- Get a SIM Card
It’s very basic to get a SIM Card when you’re about to stay long-term in any countries. In Australia, mostly people use two big operators, Vodafone and Optus. Vodafone is known for its reliability and stable connection, while Optus is cheaper. Both Vodafone and Optus offer a prepaid plan, slightly different between one and each other. $30 Optus prepaid plan includes unlimited standard call and SMS in Australia, 1GB data. With Vodafone, you can get unlimited standard call and SMS in Australia, in addition with 3GB data for $40. Check more plan options in their website. How to buy them? Easy. Just pop up to their stores and consult to find what’s the best plan for you.
- Open a Bank Account
You will need a bank account to deal with money transactions. ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB, and Westpac are four big companies that “steal” nation’s trust to secure their financial future. Click here for the ratings and compare these four banks. Most of my Indonesian friends are using Commonwealth cause it’s linked to Commonwealth in Indonesia, and atms are everywhere. I personally used NAB, no particular reason and no major difference compares to Commonwealth. The benefits of NAB is no monthly fees charged and higher interest rate.
- Get Tax File Number or Australian Business Number and Superannuation
Okay, this is the complicated one, not to stress about, only need to pay extra attention about this. If you’re planning to work in Australia, you must get a Tax File Number (TFN) because the tax you paid will be returned to you annually. The wages or salary you get will be deducted by your employer for the tax, normally about 10-20% depending overall income per year. To apply for TFN, go to ATO official website and fill the form. It’s free and take about 7 days to get your TFN mailed to your home address.
Australian Business Number (ABN) is essential for you to start a business. You need ABN if you work as, for example architect, IT specialist, baby sitters, cleaners, or labours. You can apply for ABN only after you get TFN. Read more about TFN and ABN on http://www.ato.gov.au/ and to apply. Make sure you read through all the information in detail so you can successfully claim all your tax back.
Superannuation is a way to save for your retirement. Beside salary or wages, employers are required to pay 9.5% (as of 1 July 2014) into your superannuation fund. You can withdraw all your money back when yo permanently leave Australia. Normally your company will arrange to get your superannuation fund number however you can also get it by yourself. More about super fund click here
- Find a Job
Finding a job in Australia is easy sometimes but can be difficult in the same time. Actually it depends on yourself. There are many job vacancies available in websites such as gumtree, seek, and indeed. Send lots of your resumes online or drop your resumes directly to the shops. You can also check airtasker to find a wide selections of freelancing tasks from gardening to coding.
For work and holiday visa holders, you can do casual jobs unless you have skill such as engineering or IT to work in a big companies. There are so many opportunities as a cook, barista, wait-staff, bartender, etc. Most of the people I met find their jobs within two weeks. Some employers seek for someone’s with experience working in Australia, but many accept non-experienced one. Sometimes you need RSA Certificate to work in a place that sells alcohol. Some of you might search for jobs in farm in order to get your second year visa. Bear in mind, this is a seasonal work so do more research on which area and which month to go.
The minimum wages per hour in Australia is currently $17.29 per hour before tax. However, some places especially in Sydney pay the staff under the minimum wage. It’s illegal and the company can get fined but many companies still doing it. Some employers offer to pay in cash which is not good for you cause you won’t get the benefits such as superannuation. If your employer treats you bad or doesn’t pay you, you can report them here.
- Living Cost in Australia
According to an annual consumer price index, for the fourth consecutive year (2015), Australia is still “awarded” as the most expensive country to live. Despite all the ridiculous high prices, the money you earn can still cover up your daily expenses, depends on your lifestyle. Consider cooking than eating outside. If you eat outside, you have to spend minimum $10 for a “stomachful” Asian-type meal. Instead buying a bottle of water outside for $2, buy a water filter and drink from tap water as it meets the safety guidelines. Walking is a cheaper and healthier option rather than calling a taxi. Public transportation in Australia is perfectly connected and reliable even though it costs more in anywhere else. In Sydney, grab an Optus card and use it for trains, buses, ferries. After eight times ride, you’ll get free ride onwards for that week.
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