Arriving in a new country for the first time can be pretty daunting, even for the savviest traveller.
Some people may be lucky and land on their feet but for others there is quite a bit to sort out before being able to feel at home.
By now you will have sorted out your visa and know if you can work and live, (if not then check http://www.immi.gov.au/Pages/Welcome.aspx) but just how to do you go about settling into your new life?
The things you need to set up when moving to a new country are-
* Finding work
* finding accommodation
* opening a bank account
* obtaining the right to work document- TFN (tax file number)
* Getting a local sim card.
We landed in Cairns, Australia with little ideas and not knowing what to expect, our intention was to find accommodation for around 3-5 months, but we didn’t know where to start, we ended up looking around estate agent windows and enquiring but they informed us it was all a minimum of 6 months lease.
We also thought it would be easy to find work, but we didn’t research Cairns, we thought we might do some fruit picking/agricultural work and get our 2nd year visa right away, but that was July 2011, just 5 months after Cyclone Yasi hit Queensland and destroyed crops, so there would be no jobs on that side. Also we didn’t know what/where we wanted to work and we tried some recruitment agencies but they said there was little work. Feeling a bit lost we actually gave up on the idea of Cairns after only a few days.
By the time we arrived in Brisbane we already felt more comfortable, we asked the owner of the backpackers hostel http://www.bananabenders.com we were staying at if he knew how to apply for jobs, and luckily he did help- he had a list of contacts and actually found us some cash in hand work for a week (one of the most different jobs we done- working in a factory folding t-shirts hot off the press, I found it very therapeutic). Also Banana Benders had self-contained units which we jumped at, as it was not only the easiest option but our only option- we were yet to be introduced to the world of Gumtree. www.gumtree.com.au. The unit was cheaper than the hostel for sure, but a little over our budget and it did not have internet or washing facilities, so we had to take our washing back to the hostel to clean.
We also found a free internet café on George St which was a lifesaver, and we eventually found our saving grace- www.seek.com.au which is a site where you can look up and apply for jobs, and we indeed found several jobs on seek.
If you plan to find work and accommodation as soon as you arrive in your new country, then I think and have found it to be very beneficial to research before you go. My top idea for researching jobs is to look up www.seek.com.au
Also looking up accommodation is a good idea, not only does it help you see what’s out the on the market but it helps you get adjusted.
By the time we moved to Sydney we were ‘in the know’ and we found www.gumtree.com.au to source our accommodation, we did in all honesty view a few places before finding the one, and some we viewed were atrocious, from a vanity screen dividing up the living room with a mattress behind it, to large group meet up where we viewed a scary Victorian house and told we must decide then and there, as there were +10 of us walking around.
Which Order To Do Everything?
Opening up a bank account
You will need to make an appointment in the bank to see a customer service representative and they will book you in with a consultant
You will need ID- passport is the easiest and most convenient. They also prefer proof of address but this will not always be possible, as you will just have arrived in the country and may not have an address yet, so they will have your new card sent back to the bank branch and you can collect when ready.
We chose to bank with NAB who were very good.
You will need a TFN (Tax File Number) to be able to work and get paid. TFN can be filled out online at https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/tax-file-number/apply-for-a-tfn/foreign-passport-holders,-permanent-migrants-and-temporary-visitors---tfn-application/
There is a step by step instructions to guide you through the process.
Please note it can take up to 28 days to receive your TFN in the post.
Having a local sim card is beneficial, you can add it to your CV/ Resume and it's handy for calling job offers back and accommodation hunting.
We chose Optus for no particular reason and they were a good service provider.
As we were only here for 1 year we didn’t feel it necessary to get a contract as it would have been a waste of money, but if you are here longer it’s something to think about.
So in my opinion, you need to find work and accommodation before you arrive or as soon as you arrive, having a local sim card from the start also helps. You need your TFN number before your work can pay your wages, so this is also a top priority, but you will also not get paid if you don’t have a bank account (of course you can use your home account but not good with exchange rates and foreign transfers) and you need an address to send the TFN letter to you.