Thursday, June 26, 2008

How to move to Oz

Ok people, here is a record that can exist in the vaults of the internet for whichever lucky sod googles for it. I couldn't find a handy tick list like this - hopefully it will be useful for someone. Sorry for the lack of info on the visa - my work sorted it.

You need to register for a tax number before anyone will pay you (unless you want to pay 45% tax!). You can register here.

Looking for somewhere to live? Gumtree is great for flatshares or if you are looking to rent or buy. If you are looking to get your own place, most rental viewings take place as an open house for 15 mins on a saturday so it can get competitive. Some people take a cash deposit with them so they can move quickly...

You need to sign up for Medicare to take advantage of reciprical health agreements the Oz goverment has with folks like the NHS. Look on their site to find the nearest branch, pop in and registration takes about 10 mins. You need to take your passport!

Unless you want to pay $1000 from your first pay cheque you also need private medical. The TV is crawling with ads for this, but beware that as a temporary resident you will have a YELLOW medicare card and many health policies only insure people with blue or green (Aussies, basically). Try these guys.

You will obviously need a bank account. The banks that seem to have the most ATMs are ANZ, WestPac and Commonwealth. This is important because they charge you for using another company's ATM. You will also need to get a credit card as there are many things you can't do otherwise (booking tickets etc, and some bars only take cash or credit). The banks all offer credit cards as well as savings and "cheque" (current) accounts.

Want money in your bank account ready for your arrival? Open your account before you go, and transfer the money by walking into your UK branch. If, like me, you didn't know to do this, you will need to either write to your UK bank or do a cash transfer from your Visa. Be careful, this does incur a fee (but you can minimise the daily interest by crediting your Visa in advance of making the transfer). You can't use your UK Maestro in stores here, but can use your Visa and your Maestro works in ATMs.

Finally, and my biggest headache as yet still unresolved, is the super (superannuation). This just means pension, and is a legal requirement in Australia. Employers pay at least 9% of your salary into a pension but unfortunately it seems EVERYONE is restricted by law from advising you of a plan! Many employers have a scheme, which seems idyllic from where I am sitting right now - I have decided to go for a pot-luck approach and talk to a financial advisor back in the UK at Christmas because even calls to FAs here have proved overly complicated. All I can suggest is to try this site for advice. Oh, and ignore people who say you can't release the fund when you return to the UK (I have a book that says it is released when you turn 60!). Not true, according to the government website. When you leave it reckons you can take it with you.

All that should help you on your way!

If anyone made it to the end of this post who isn't planning on moving to Oz, wow you must be having a boring day :-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Emily, thats a great checklist, really practical. I emigrated myself about 20 years ago, and somehow we did all that without realising it so i know what you mean about no checklists available. I am an English and Australian chartered accountant, and an Australian financial planner, so if you still need help with super, give me a shout. OR if you have super left in the UK and want to transfer it over to Australia, let me know if I can help.
Good luck with it all.
Kind regards
Mary Benton
Plan4Wealth Pty Ltd
( to request more info)

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