The Australian government endeavors to maintain firm control on the movement of people into and out of the country. There are strict rules and regulations, which govern this. It is important to understand the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) is the body who deal directly with issues relating to citizenship and immigration.
In order to reside/study/work in Australia newcomers require specific visas, which can be applied for by completing a physical form or an electronic form online. Some of these visas include
- Partner visa
- Parent visa
- Skilled migration
- Employer sponsored
The DIBP provides an online portal allowing applicants to complete, submit and even pay for their Visa applications. This service is known as eVisa. The progress of your application can be tracked online. When dealing with the DIBP it is important to refer to your Transaction Reference Number.
For people who would prefer to deal with the application manually the DIBP website provides the ability to print PDF versions of the application forms. Once you have the pertinent form take care to fill out the form correctly, completely and truthfully. Ensure you provide supporting documentation where applicable in some cases of original or certified copies may be required.
Successfully qualifying for a visa can obviously make or break your move to Australia, thus many people choose to retain the services of a migration agent which can be found online using a quick search. It is important to ensure the migration agent is registered with MARA – Gratian agents registration authority.
If you decide to ship household goods to Australia an important and unavoidable part of the process is the quarantine examination.
When dealing with imported goods, protecting Australia’s biosecurity system assumes absolute priority. Anything that may be considered a threat, or perceived to bring harm to the country is strictly prohibited and consequently quarantine examinations for certain items are standard practice when importing goods.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will assess all household goods entering Australia, with the potential of a physical inspection. An detailed inventory/packing list of goods within your shipment must be provided (this is provided by the international Relocations company you select). Any items of concern will be inspected, possibly treated or destroyed. In some cases you may have the option of re-exporting items, which are prohibited.
It is important to understand each shipment is treated on a case-by-case basis and charges will apply should any action be applied to your shipment. As the owner of the goods (shipper), you will be expected to cover all related costs.
The authorities are chiefly concerned with the following, which are either severally restricted or flat out prohibited:
- Soiled items, or items containing organic residues
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Live plants/bulbs
- Prohibited and restricted seeds
- Unidentified seeds, which may include foods, including spices
- Live animals
- Unprocessed goods (originating from animal or plant)
- Biological/ Some pharmaceutical products including some plant based, herbal medications
If clarification is required on any item you wish to import you can check the BICON (the Biosecurity import conditions database).
Once you have confirmed what you should leave behind, you can help alleviate the chances of quarantine inspection by ensuring everything you ship is clean, especially anything form the basement, loft, garage or garden areas. Additionally check any wooden items to ensure there is no signs of rot or distress and look out for any sign of insect infestation.
IMPORTANT – Quarantine inspection fees are calculated based on the time it takes for the authorities to inspect your goods. Additional charges can be applied if your goods require treatment prior to release. This is the reason most movers will exclude theses charges from your door to door quotation.
Australia, though a huge country, is regarded as a small continent, which is separated from Antarctica by the Southern Ocean. It is not subjected to the frigid polar air movement that sweep across the continents of Northern Hemisphere during winter. As a consequence, winters are relatively mild. Generally there is not a sizeable contrast between summer and winter temperatures. However, in parts of the country, seasonal highs and lows can be considerable: temperatures can range from above 50 °C (122 °F) to below zero.
Winter can be cold, and generally you may not find central heating or double-glazed windows in many homes/offices. However, with the exception of a few weeks of rain, winter skies are clear and blue, and provided you wear a winter coat the cooler months can come as a welcome relief in the warmer parts of the country.
If you’re moving to places such as Brisbane you will experience very mild winters of around 15 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately though summers are tropical: humid and wet. If you have the flexibility to move in spring or autumn you can acclimatise by taking advantage of the dry and milder conditions.
Probably the most important aspect of the climate in Australia is UV levels. Ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) in Australia are very strong (estimated to be 15% higher than in Europe). If you are in the sun, particularly sunbathing, then sunblock is an absolute must. Australia is the skin cancer capital of the world and it is estimated that 60% of Australians develop skin cancer by the age of 70. For more information on ways to reduce the effects of UV radiation, click HERE
The Australian public healthcare system; Medicare is nationwide, publicly funded and operated by the Department of Human Services. Medicare provides free or subsidised treatment by medical practitioners and specialists to all Australian citizens and permanent residents.
To be eligible for Medicare it is advisable to visit your local Medicare office a week or so after your arrival in the country, register and complete some paperwork. Take any medical records you have along with your passport.
You can find out more about Medicare by clicking HERE
Depending on the type of visa you posses, you may need to take out private health insurance.
There are a wide variety of private health insurance plans offered by several providers in the market. Many feature health schemes which are ideally suited to people who are moving to Australia to live and work.
One of your initial tasks when moving to Australia should be to open a bank account. This provides you with an opportunity to deposit funds, obtain an ATM and online banking. Some banks will offer you the facility of initiating this prior to your arrival in Australia, to make sure you hit the ground running.
There are several types of bank accounts available in Australia, the more popular ones are:
Transaction accounts is the equivalent of a current account and can be used to pay bills and manage your day-to-day expenses. Generally speaking these types of accounts do not yield any interest. They can provide ATM and credit cards.
Savings accounts It is common for people to operate a savings account in conjunction with their transaction account. These accounts tend to offer interest, which can fluctuate depending on the number of deposits and minimum balances. Some savings account can have restrictions on the level of funds you are able to access.
Term deposit If you have a lump sum, perhaps from an asset you sold prior to your arrival in Australia then this type of account could be something you want to consider. With short to long term commitments generally ranging from 3 months – 5 years and steadily increasing amounts of interest term deposit accounts are popular with people who are keen to place funds out of reach at a higher fixed rate of interest. It is important to note that there will be penalties incurred if you need to access the principal sum, but bank accounts like this can have some flexibility and it is a good idea to shop around for the best deal.