This is the start of a new series to document the different milestones I have made as a new expat to Australia. Most of the following milestones I managed to complete in the first couple of weeks since arriving in Queensland, but I intend on carrying on this series to document our settling in.
1. Getting a tax file number- I managed to get this the first couple of days that we arrived in Australia. We went to the city centre and found the myGov centre which was able to provide me with a tax number to allow me to start working and to also get a medicare card.This is really important for anyone that is on a working holiday visa or any visa that allows you to work really, as you never know when you might be offered a job!
2. Getting a medicare number and card- I also managed to do this at the myGov centre. Medical care in Australia is quite different to the UK in that most people have private cover, whereas most people in the UK use the NHS. You basically have to have this green medical card to receive a rebate of medical expenses under the Australian medicare system. The one time I've had a doctor come visit me at home, I simply had to present this card and the visit was free due to them able to bulk bill. You also need to present it at hospitals if you need to go there. This is so important for anyone who moves to Australia as you will need it to receive medical care in an emergency. Luckily as a UK citizen, Australia and the UK have a reciprocal healthcare agreement which makes things super easy.
3. Getting an Australian bank account- This one was simpler than I thought. I just went into my local Commonwealth Bank branch and they were really helpful with setting it all up. I only needed some ID and proof of address (I used my tax file number letter) and it was as simple as that. I think you normally have to pay a small annual fee, however as I held a PhD offer at the time I was classed as a student so got it for free- win!
4. Getting a car and insurance- After looking at many cars we managed to find a Ford Focus on Gumtree which we really like. Getting a car involves quite a lot of paperwork here in Australia including car insurance, ensuring it's registered in the correct state (which is an annual fee you pay), transfer of name costs and servicing costs. All in all it's a pretty expensive but it gives you so much freedom! We're so glad we got a car early on so we could explore our new stomping ground.
5. Getting a job- After Christmas, I managed to get a job which fulfills the criteria of my working holiday visa (which is pretty tough) as well as being suited to my qualifications- this is definitely a big one and one I didn't expect at all. I wouldn't say it was completely easy as I spent a lot of time writing up my CV and cover letters and sending them off to potential employers, but it worked out and I'm pretty happy. I'm getting paid way more than I would for the same job in the UK, and it relates to my degree yeah. Hopefully it strengthens my CV and future job applications because it is so relevant to my desired career path.
If you're an expat, how long did it take you to sort all this kind of bureaucratic stuff out?