If you are getting ready to move to Australia there is a lot to think about. From getting furniture and possessions over to your new home, to setting up a bank account and getting a tax file number, the list can seem never-ending.
Fortunately there are quite a few things you can arrange before you arrive in Australia. Having the essentials like bank accounts set up and a place to stay arranged in advance will leave you free to focus on more immediate concerns once you get off the plane.
Here are our top six tips to help your move to Australia go as smoothly as possible.
- Find an international removalist
It is a big responsibility transporting all your possessions overseas so you will need to find a reputable removalist that you can rely on. Don’t pick the first one you see, make sure you get a few quotes so you can compare rates and services. It’s a good idea to choose someone who is accredited by FIDI. FIDI-accredited movers have to prove they can comply with some very strict quality standards. These include having insurance cover to protect their customers if anything is damaged in transit.
- Set up a bank account before you arrive
It’s important to have an Australian bank account so you can have easy access to cash to cover your initial set-up costs. Some of the bigger banks will let you open an account from overseas, so you will be all ready to go once you arrive in Australia. Most of the application process can be done online using copies of your identification documents, but you will usually need to visit your closest branch when you arrive to activate your account. For most banks you will need to produce an original passport, drivers licence and a letter from the bank with confirmation of your account details.
- Join Medicare
To access free and subsidised medical treatment and medication, you will need to enrol in Medicare. Medicare is available to all permanent visa holders, as well as those who have permission to work in Australia or can prove they have a relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident. To apply you will need to fill out a Medicare enrolment application form, and provide supporting documents. Once you have received your Medicare card, keep it with you at all times and show it whenever you visit a doctor or hospital, or buy prescription medicines from a pharmacy.
- Get a tax file number as soon as you can
Anybody who works in Australia needs a tax file number. Without one of these personal reference numbers, you will pay the highest rate of tax on your income and superannuation.
Application for a TFN can be done online, but you need to be in Australia, so it’s something you will have to do as quickly as possible after you arrive. Applicants must have a current passport and any other relevant documents. Once you have submitted your online application, you should get your TFN within 28 days.
- Buy a car (if you need one)
A car will probably be one of the biggest purchases you make when you first arrive in Australia, and whatever your budget, it’s important that you get a reliable vehicle for your money. To get an idea of pricing you can check out www.carsales.com.au before you leave for Australia. This site has listings from both private sellers and car dealers. Many people choose car dealers as they offer a higher level of protection than buying from a private seller. Make sure you test drive the car before you buy, and check that it has registration papers, a safety check report, and that the number plate and VIN details on the paperwork match those on the car.
- Find somewhere to stay before you leave
You probably already have an idea of where in Australia you want to live, but before you commit to buying a property or sign a lease on a rental home it’s a good idea to spend some time in your chosen area and find out if it lives up to your expectations. You can usually find reasonable deals online for motels, hotels and serviced apartments. Many Australians use AirBnB and this can be a good way to find a comfortable and affordable place to live while you look for a more permanent home.
Whether you are moving to Australia for work or to be closer to a family member, a bit of preparation in advance can save you a lot of trouble once you arrive. Hopefully these tips can help you get organised and make your big move go more smoothly. A registered migration agent in Australia can also provide guidance on your move and help you sail through the visa process as smoothly as possible.