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Old Jan 5th 2007, 3:12 am   #1
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Default For those about to leave Pt 2 (Top tips)

I’ve had a few e mails on the back of a posting I made last week with regards to our initial settling in over here. I’m no great authority on this subject I just know what worked for us, so to save me sending lots of repetitive posts here’s the summary of the stuff we done that we think certainly helped our transition and the first month a lot less stressful than it could have been.

As we don’t have children (brought the dog though – he’s doing well) there may be glaring omissions here which I’m sure someone is better positioned to make a more informed post about.

We like most of you done a lot of research and reading before we came and to be honest, I never found a concise (or idiots!) guide to the things to do, it’s all there in different books and websites but the key things are often buried amongst a lot of nice to know stuff, so here goes – (if I’m telling you how to suck eggs my apologies)

Before you go (a few months before?)–

Make a (another) list. A big one. Put on it everything that you currently own, use, rely on and do. Everything from the hard stuff (your car, tools, furniture, push bikes, garden equipment), your utilities (electric, gas, water, internet providers) and the boring stuff (bank accounts, insurance policies, motor insurance and no claims certs, wills, mortgages). Your bank accounts/standing orders and direct debits are a good place to start to prompt you here.

Now, two things to consider, what do we need to do about all these things before we go and how will we go about acquiring these things in Oz?

With the material things it’s easy – what’s essential and what’s nice to have versus the shipping costs – we used Allied Pickfords as they seemed to be the only ones willing to send a rep to the wilds of Cumbria to come and make an assessment in our home. The guy was a mine of info and we ended up amending our list a lot after talking to him. Haven’t got it yet but its docking next week ahead of schedule so fingers crossed.

The non material stuff you need to consider how & when to close stuff down, it’s a bit of a pain but phoned them all a couple of months in advance and asked for the relevant contacts so they were at hand when the final month came. Cuts down on the last minute panics.
As to your utilities in Oz, if you rent through one of the biggies (LJ Hooker, Barry Plant etc) once you agree a rental a sub agency that they use will call you up and arrange all your utilities on your behalf – power, gas, phone, and internet. That seems to run really well. Hassle free!

Banking – Open an Oz account from the UK, Commonwealth, ANZ, Westpac all have an office in London that you can contact online and set the account up. We looked at them all & they all offer more or less the same service as they are bound by Aussie law. That law being you can send in as much money as you want but cannot remove any until you show up in person to activate your account. That was an experience; we used ANZ and trotted along to the desk in the main ANZ branch in Melbourne the day after we landed (looks like a church inside). Told them what we wanted and a guy took forty minutes aside with us to arrange our accounts, pin numbers etc (they can open a higher interest account for you when you’re here and then he sat us down in front of a PC until we both understood their internet and phone banking system. Good customer service).

We were lucky enough to have a friend (of a friend actually) who was kind enough to let us use their home address as our postal address until we rented. This is very useful if you can do it at all. We didn’t really want ATM cards etc being posted in the communal box of the holiday accommodation unit. You will also need a residential address to register a car to (certainly in Victoria – or so we were told). We owe these friends a night out.

BIG TIP! You cannot get a credit card in Oz until you are in employment so DO NOT give up your credit cards (in fact, if they are anywhere near expiry get new issues) and keep your UK bank accounts open. We told the bank that we were coming here on a suck it and see basis which seemed to keep them happy. Credit cards are just too useful over here – bonds on rental accommodation, car hire, even pay as you go mobile services – some only allow remote top up via credit (not debit) cards.

Moving money out here. We used HIFX and cannot say a bad thing about them (although they can be a bit pessimistic – they tend to phone you to warn of an impending drop in the exchange rate but I must have missed they’re call when there was 2.53 to the pound a while ago). Keep an eye on the rate yourself, every day. This is a great link
http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/f...5/intraday.stm
The UK bank will love you and lavish you with attention when you sell your home (better luck than us there by the way, comedian tried to drop the price at the last minute when he found out our plans – now that was stressful) and load up your UK account. We’d never been so popular. We opened an account (Nat West) with the specific intention of moving money about electronically, I told the guy who opened it where we were going and that I would at some point be needing to move large amounts of money abroad. No problem he lied!

Here’s the pinch as best I understand it. Amounts over £10K they will not move on an electronic instruction – they asked me to call in at the branch! Obviously not a runner. HIFX Australia (which we now use – once you are out here a UK based company cannot ship your money over to you as you are now an Australian resident) informed us that a UK bank must act on a written and signed letter from a customer, so off that went (you can get special international express envelopes over here that get back to the UK in two or three days allegedly – unfortunately there is no such thing for getting stuff back this way). Then the bank manager and/or the banks security service will call you up on the number you have given them in the UK. The moral of this story is keep you UK mobile handy while this process is going on.
The movement of money was the only hassle that we have had but in reality, its better set up that way to prevent someone else moving your money, so bear with it.



Right, rambled a bit there, sorry about that.

So you know what you’re sending and what your not. Time to prioritise what you will need to do once landed.

You need to live somewhere for a while – we used a holiday rental in St Kilda, booked it for a month. The up side was that it’s a great place and very near Melbourne city centre, the downside is that it is an expensive area to stay and despite the guide books telling you that it once was a red light area – it still is. And they are the probably the same Hookers that were there when the guide book was written. They all look like Suzi Quatros mam. Don’t let that put you off St Kilda though, it doesn’t have the dangerous edge that you associate with red light areas in the UK. It’s well policed and you just use a bit of common sense, and the Hookers did actually used to wish us Merry Christmas on the way home at nights, really!

Couple of pointers when renting initial accommodation from the UK, make sure that you can connect to the internet (get to that later) from your digs, a wall safe would have given us more peace of mind and it’s an advantage to find one that lets you let you pay in weeks at a time. This is important as we had found a rental within two weeks and you don’t want to have to fork out for two weeks you’re not going to use. We used a chain called easy stay and despite us actually paying in advance, when we wanted to quit early they refunded the last two weeks no problem. All they ask for is 48 hours notice your moving out. Holiday accommodation in high season is expensive; if you do not get stung a little here you are doing well.

In Oz

We started working through our ‘to do’ list the day after we got here (stayed in an airport hotel first night as we landed at daft’ o’clock in the morning, then hired a car from Avis at the airport – slightly cheaper to hire once here. No panic as there’s loads of offices at all major airports and they all tend to be next to each other. We shopped up and down the street and chose one. Get one with a big boot!) Then it went something like –

• Bought Aussie mobiles (pay as you go do some great deals – but you have to ask what offers are on, they don’t always advertise them!!!! ask for a pre-paid capped offer), you’ll need contact numbers for all the following stuff.

• Activated our bank accounts

• Registered with Medicare (Aussie NHS find their nearest office on the web)

• Took out Medibank insurance (private medical insurance) to cover dental and ambulance bills. The saying here is that if the accident doesn’t kill you the ambulance bill will! I blanched at the thought of the cost of private medi cover when I thought about what it costs in the UK, it costs us $26 (£11’ish) per month for a couple (again, find their offices on the web, they are everywhere)!

• Got on line. THIS HAS TO BE MY TOP TIP, absolutely invaluable. If your not computer literate no worries because I’m no genius and we managed, but before you leave the UK get to know how to search the web and send e mails that’s all you need (the fact that your reading this I imagine you are already there) or get a friend or a relative to give you a crash course. I closed my Virgin mail account before I left the UK as they don’t service Oz and opened an AOL account, can’t recommend them as they are not cheap and are in decline everywhere outside America apparently but it bridged a gap until I got sorted here. A yahoo mail account would have done the same and cost me nothing. Try not to rely on internet cafes as you will be surprised just how much time you will need to spend online (@$5 an hour or free for two hours in local libaries)

• I bought a Dell laptop (Dell’s warranty extends to Oz, apparently!) to travel with and it’s been worth its weight in gold, doesn’t have to be special just the basics will do.

• Once we got here we bought one months unlimited internet access for a dial up connection from Dodo. What? Easier than it sounds, go into a Tandy or any electrical store and you buy what looks like a DVD case, take it home and find no DVD, take it back to the store where they point out a little sticker with a phone number and a reference number, go back to your digs and call the number and then they call you back on your mobile (UK providers take note) and talk you through the set up (if you need to dial a number to get an outside line from your place let the technician know). Then your on line, the cost to use the line from our accommodation was 37c an hour. Peanuts. You can also use it to phone home if you down load Skype, computer to computer is free, we bought £20 of credit with them on Pay Pal so we could phone landlines and it was costing us .012£ per minute to UK. http://www.skype.com/helloagain.html , send and receive e mails and let the kids Yahoo their mates back home hence proving to them you are not actually abducting them to another planet.

• Register with all the estate/rental agencies in your area for daily updates, there are loads of them everywhere. Then you spend the morning scouring the net and the afternoons doing drive by’s (but not like the ones in downtown Los Angeles) and viewing properties.

• There is quite a bit of paperwork when you apply against a property to rent, no easy way around it. We bought a cheap printer/scanner here so once we had filled applications out in the evening we scanned them and sent them as an e mail to the estate agents overnight so the paperwork was in front of them the next day.

• We have been very lucky as in we have managed to rent fully furnished which I’m told is rare (good for us as we sold all our furniture before we came). We had always owned our own home in the UK and only rented for a month before we came, so we were short on the landlord references that were asked for. What we did do was write a covering letter with each application explaining who we were, what we did in the UK and explained why we had no income (ie. Only just arrived – but employable), we offered character references (called back to folk in the UK and they agreed to stand for us), we offered to show the agent our bank account bottom line & we were prepared to pay a number of months in advance to seal the deal (never had to go that last mile in the end). Certainly in Melbourne there is no shortage of rentals, I can’t speak for the other states but bear in mind that renting is much more common in Oz than in the UK.

• Buying a second hand car :scared: – the same world over. Be careful, we ended up going to a Ford dealership and spending a little more than intended (helped as we don’t need to buy furniture for a while!) as I think you get a better warranty. Also, don’t be freaked out by high mileage too much – they all have it, everywhere is so far apart! I found the dog end of the market, the bangers expensive but the new or nearly new considerably less so. RACV (RAC) cover is cheap and worth having if you’re planning on travelling any distance in a second hand car, the most expensive cover is $170 per year and that covers everything, they even send Kylie out in the tow truck …….well maybe.

• Last and by no means least, when you rent/buy go and meet your neighbours, they’ll be as curious about you as you are them. You don’t have to be an extravert just say hello you have moved into the area and could you tell me what day are the bins collected! Questions are great ice breakers. We done this and again have fallen lucky, we have been out to two sets of neighbours (every body needs good neighbours…..sorry) for drinks already and another offer pending. All Aussies, so don’t huddle under the expat thing too much…..go for it.

Right, that about it. I’m reading this back and it wanders about a bit but I hope some of it helps. Can’t say for certain that all the details are 100% accurate but I’m telling it like it’s been told to us from the people who we have dealt with.

Sounds like a big job doesn’t it? It is, but it gets a hell of a lot easier if you do the ground work up front, make a plan for arrival and share the work between you. Mind you I’ve got to be honest, our dog didn’t pull his weight much, you would sit him in front of the internet an he would make out like he just didn’t understand!

Has it been worth it so far? Love to tell you but I’m off to light the Barbie (no, not one of the dolls! The one we got in Bunnings for $400 in the sale).


Wish you all the very best of luck, it’ll be fine.

Mike & Jayne
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Old Jan 5th 2007, 7:20 am   #2
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Default Re: For those about to leave Pt 2 (Top tips)

Good comprehensive post - I'll add a link to the top tips thread

Thanks
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Old Jan 5th 2007, 7:59 am   #3
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Default Re: For those about to leave Pt 2 (Top tips)

Great pot Mike, Thanks for your time on this one, I'm sure I'll be comming back to from time to time, to check up on a few facts.
Keep up the good work.
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Old Jan 5th 2007, 7:59 am   #4
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Default Re: For those about to leave Pt 2 (Top tips)

Great post Mike, Thanks for your time on this one, I'm sure I'll be comming back to from time to time, to check up on a few facts.
Keep up the good work.
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Old Jan 5th 2007, 8:08 am   #5
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Default Re: For those about to leave Pt 2 (Top tips)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollyana View Post
Good comprehensive post - I'll add a link to the top tips thread

Thanks
Great post and really informative. Thanks for writing it. Sounds like you are settling in really well.
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Old Jan 5th 2007, 8:19 am   #6
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Thanks Mike for taking the time to help others about to embark on the same journey - good post.
S xx
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Old Jan 5th 2007, 8:24 am   #7
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Default Re: For those about to leave Pt 2 (Top tips)

Great post Mike

We are coming to Ozz Apr/May(Melb) and we had better start now cheers for the top tips.
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Old Jan 5th 2007, 8:55 am   #8
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Brilliant Post, just about to follow you over and some very valuable tips in there!!

Thanks for taking the time to put it all down!!
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Old Jan 5th 2007, 11:32 am   #9
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Default Re: For those about to leave Pt 2 (Top tips)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike H View Post
I’ve had a few e mails on the back of a posting I made last week with regards to our initial settling in over here. I’m no great authority on this subject I just know what worked for us, so to save me sending lots of repetitive posts here’s the summary of the stuff we done that we think certainly helped our transition and the first month a lot less stressful than it could have been.

As we don’t have children (brought the dog though – he’s doing well) there may be glaring omissions here which I’m sure someone is better positioned to make a more informed post about.

We like most of you done a lot of research and reading before we came and to be honest, I never found a concise (or idiots!) guide to the things to do, it’s all there in different books and websites but the key things are often buried amongst a lot of nice to know stuff, so here goes – (if I’m telling you how to suck eggs my apologies)

Before you go (a few months before?)–

Make a (another) list. A big one. Put on it everything that you currently own, use, rely on and do. Everything from the hard stuff (your car, tools, furniture, push bikes, garden equipment), your utilities (electric, gas, water, internet providers) and the boring stuff (bank accounts, insurance policies, motor insurance and no claims certs, wills, mortgages). Your bank accounts/standing orders and direct debits are a good place to start to prompt you here.

Now, two things to consider, what do we need to do about all these things before we go and how will we go about acquiring these things in Oz?

With the material things it’s easy – what’s essential and what’s nice to have versus the shipping costs – we used Allied Pickfords as they seemed to be the only ones willing to send a rep to the wilds of Cumbria to come and make an assessment in our home. The guy was a mine of info and we ended up amending our list a lot after talking to him. Haven’t got it yet but its docking next week ahead of schedule so fingers crossed.

The non material stuff you need to consider how & when to close stuff down, it’s a bit of a pain but phoned them all a couple of months in advance and asked for the relevant contacts so they were at hand when the final month came. Cuts down on the last minute panics.
As to your utilities in Oz, if you rent through one of the biggies (LJ Hooker, Barry Plant etc) once you agree a rental a sub agency that they use will call you up and arrange all your utilities on your behalf – power, gas, phone, and internet. That seems to run really well. Hassle free!

Banking – Open an Oz account from the UK, Commonwealth, ANZ, Westpac all have an office in London that you can contact online and set the account up. We looked at them all & they all offer more or less the same service as they are bound by Aussie law. That law being you can send in as much money as you want but cannot remove any until you show up in person to activate your account. That was an experience; we used ANZ and trotted along to the desk in the main ANZ branch in Melbourne the day after we landed (looks like a church inside). Told them what we wanted and a guy took forty minutes aside with us to arrange our accounts, pin numbers etc (they can open a higher interest account for you when you’re here and then he sat us down in front of a PC until we both understood their internet and phone banking system. Good customer service).

We were lucky enough to have a friend (of a friend actually) who was kind enough to let us use their home address as our postal address until we rented. This is very useful if you can do it at all. We didn’t really want ATM cards etc being posted in the communal box of the holiday accommodation unit. You will also need a residential address to register a car to (certainly in Victoria – or so we were told). We owe these friends a night out.

BIG TIP! You cannot get a credit card in Oz until you are in employment so DO NOT give up your credit cards (in fact, if they are anywhere near expiry get new issues) and keep your UK bank accounts open. We told the bank that we were coming here on a suck it and see basis which seemed to keep them happy. Credit cards are just too useful over here – bonds on rental accommodation, car hire, even pay as you go mobile services – some only allow remote top up via credit (not debit) cards.

Moving money out here. We used HIFX and cannot say a bad thing about them (although they can be a bit pessimistic – they tend to phone you to warn of an impending drop in the exchange rate but I must have missed they’re call when there was 2.53 to the pound a while ago). Keep an eye on the rate yourself, every day. This is a great link
http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/f...5/intraday.stm
The UK bank will love you and lavish you with attention when you sell your home (better luck than us there by the way, comedian tried to drop the price at the last minute when he found out our plans – now that was stressful) and load up your UK account. We’d never been so popular. We opened an account (Nat West) with the specific intention of moving money about electronically, I told the guy who opened it where we were going and that I would at some point be needing to move large amounts of money abroad. No problem he lied!

Here’s the pinch as best I understand it. Amounts over £10K they will not move on an electronic instruction – they asked me to call in at the branch! Obviously not a runner. HIFX Australia (which we now use – once you are out here a UK based company cannot ship your money over to you as you are now an Australian resident) informed us that a UK bank must act on a written and signed letter from a customer, so off that went (you can get special international express envelopes over here that get back to the UK in two or three days allegedly – unfortunately there is no such thing for getting stuff back this way). Then the bank manager and/or the banks security service will call you up on the number you have given them in the UK. The moral of this story is keep you UK mobile handy while this process is going on.
The movement of money was the only hassle that we have had but in reality, its better set up that way to prevent someone else moving your money, so bear with it.



Right, rambled a bit there, sorry about that.

So you know what you’re sending and what your not. Time to prioritise what you will need to do once landed.

You need to live somewhere for a while – we used a holiday rental in St Kilda, booked it for a month. The up side was that it’s a great place and very near Melbourne city centre, the downside is that it is an expensive area to stay and despite the guide books telling you that it once was a red light area – it still is. And they are the probably the same Hookers that were there when the guide book was written. They all look like Suzi Quatros mam. Don’t let that put you off St Kilda though, it doesn’t have the dangerous edge that you associate with red light areas in the UK. It’s well policed and you just use a bit of common sense, and the Hookers did actually used to wish us Merry Christmas on the way home at nights, really!

Couple of pointers when renting initial accommodation from the UK, make sure that you can connect to the internet (get to that later) from your digs, a wall safe would have given us more peace of mind and it’s an advantage to find one that lets you let you pay in weeks at a time. This is important as we had found a rental within two weeks and you don’t want to have to fork out for two weeks you’re not going to use. We used a chain called easy stay and despite us actually paying in advance, when we wanted to quit early they refunded the last two weeks no problem. All they ask for is 48 hours notice your moving out. Holiday accommodation in high season is expensive; if you do not get stung a little here you are doing well.

In Oz

We started working through our ‘to do’ list the day after we got here (stayed in an airport hotel first night as we landed at daft’ o’clock in the morning, then hired a car from Avis at the airport – slightly cheaper to hire once here. No panic as there’s loads of offices at all major airports and they all tend to be next to each other. We shopped up and down the street and chose one. Get one with a big boot!) Then it went something like –

• Bought Aussie mobiles (pay as you go do some great deals – but you have to ask what offers are on, they don’t always advertise them!!!! ask for a pre-paid capped offer), you’ll need contact numbers for all the following stuff.

• Activated our bank accounts

• Registered with Medicare (Aussie NHS find their nearest office on the web)

• Took out Medibank insurance (private medical insurance) to cover dental and ambulance bills. The saying here is that if the accident doesn’t kill you the ambulance bill will! I blanched at the thought of the cost of private medi cover when I thought about what it costs in the UK, it costs us $26 (£11’ish) per month for a couple (again, find their offices on the web, they are everywhere)!

• Got on line. THIS HAS TO BE MY TOP TIP, absolutely invaluable. If your not computer literate no worries because I’m no genius and we managed, but before you leave the UK get to know how to search the web and send e mails that’s all you need (the fact that your reading this I imagine you are already there) or get a friend or a relative to give you a crash course. I closed my Virgin mail account before I left the UK as they don’t service Oz and opened an AOL account, can’t recommend them as they are not cheap and are in decline everywhere outside America apparently but it bridged a gap until I got sorted here. A yahoo mail account would have done the same and cost me nothing. Try not to rely on internet cafes as you will be surprised just how much time you will need to spend online (@$5 an hour or free for two hours in local libaries)

• I bought a Dell laptop (Dell’s warranty extends to Oz, apparently!) to travel with and it’s been worth its weight in gold, doesn’t have to be special just the basics will do.

• Once we got here we bought one months unlimited internet access for a dial up connection from Dodo. What? Easier than it sounds, go into a Tandy or any electrical store and you buy what looks like a DVD case, take it home and find no DVD, take it back to the store where they point out a little sticker with a phone number and a reference number, go back to your digs and call the number and then they call you back on your mobile (UK providers take note) and talk you through the set up (if you need to dial a number to get an outside line from your place let the technician know). Then your on line, the cost to use the line from our accommodation was 37c an hour. Peanuts. You can also use it to phone home if you down load Skype, computer to computer is free, we bought £20 of credit with them on Pay Pal so we could phone landlines and it was costing us .012£ per minute to UK. http://www.skype.com/helloagain.html , send and receive e mails and let the kids Yahoo their mates back home hence proving to them you are not actually abducting them to another planet.

• Register with all the estate/rental agencies in your area for daily updates, there are loads of them everywhere. Then you spend the morning scouring the net and the afternoons doing drive by’s (but not like the ones in downtown Los Angeles) and viewing properties.

• There is quite a bit of paperwork when you apply against a property to rent, no easy way around it. We bought a cheap printer/scanner here so once we had filled applications out in the evening we scanned them and sent them as an e mail to the estate agents overnight so the paperwork was in front of them the next day.

• We have been very lucky as in we have managed to rent fully furnished which I’m told is rare (good for us as we sold all our furniture before we came). We had always owned our own home in the UK and only rented for a month before we came, so we were short on the landlord references that were asked for. What we did do was write a covering letter with each application explaining who we were, what we did in the UK and explained why we had no income (ie. Only just arrived – but employable), we offered character references (called back to folk in the UK and they agreed to stand for us), we offered to show the agent our bank account bottom line & we were prepared to pay a number of months in advance to seal the deal (never had to go that last mile in the end). Certainly in Melbourne there is no shortage of rentals, I can’t speak for the other states but bear in mind that renting is much more common in Oz than in the UK.

• Buying a second hand car :scared: – the same world over. Be careful, we ended up going to a Ford dealership and spending a little more than intended (helped as we don’t need to buy furniture for a while!) as I think you get a better warranty. Also, don’t be freaked out by high mileage too much – they all have it, everywhere is so far apart! I found the dog end of the market, the bangers expensive but the new or nearly new considerably less so. RACV (RAC) cover is cheap and worth having if you’re planning on travelling any distance in a second hand car, the most expensive cover is $170 per year and that covers everything, they even send Kylie out in the tow truck …….well maybe.

• Last and by no means least, when you rent/buy go and meet your neighbours, they’ll be as curious about you as you are them. You don’t have to be an extravert just say hello you have moved into the area and could you tell me what day are the bins collected! Questions are great ice breakers. We done this and again have fallen lucky, we have been out to two sets of neighbours (every body needs good neighbours…..sorry) for drinks already and another offer pending. All Aussies, so don’t huddle under the expat thing too much…..go for it.

Right, that about it. I’m reading this back and it wanders about a bit but I hope some of it helps. Can’t say for certain that all the details are 100% accurate but I’m telling it like it’s been told to us from the people who we have dealt with.

Sounds like a big job doesn’t it? It is, but it gets a hell of a lot easier if you do the ground work up front, make a plan for arrival and share the work between you. Mind you I’ve got to be honest, our dog didn’t pull his weight much, you would sit him in front of the internet an he would make out like he just didn’t understand!

Has it been worth it so far? Love to tell you but I’m off to light the Barbie (no, not one of the dolls! The one we got in Bunnings for $400 in the sale).


Wish you all the very best of luck, it’ll be fine.

Mike & Jayne
Thanks Guys,

No matter how many times you read tips, you always have to refer back to them again and agin and again.

This was great reading and I shall learn it off by heart. Carry on with the good work.

Carol
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Old Jan 5th 2007, 2:47 pm   #10
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Default Re: For those about to leave Pt 2 (Top tips)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike H View Post
I’ve had a few e mails on the back of a posting I made last week with regards to our initial settling in over here. I’m no great authority on this subject I just know what worked for us, so to save me sending lots of repetitive posts here’s the summary of the stuff we done that we think certainly helped our transition and the first month a lot less stressful than it could have been.

As we don’t have children (brought the dog though – he’s doing well) there may be glaring omissions here which I’m sure someone is better positioned to make a more informed post about.

We like most of you done a lot of research and reading before we came and to be honest, I never found a concise (or idiots!) guide to the things to do, it’s all there in different books and websites but the key things are often buried amongst a lot of nice to know stuff, so here goes – (if I’m telling you how to suck eggs my apologies)

Before you go (a few months before?)–

Make a (another) list. A big one. Put on it everything that you currently own, use, rely on and do. Everything from the hard stuff (your car, tools, furniture, push bikes, garden equipment), your utilities (electric, gas, water, internet providers) and the boring stuff (bank accounts, insurance policies, motor insurance and no claims certs, wills, mortgages). Your bank accounts/standing orders and direct debits are a good place to start to prompt you here.

Now, two things to consider, what do we need to do about all these things before we go and how will we go about acquiring these things in Oz?

With the material things it’s easy – what’s essential and what’s nice to have versus the shipping costs – we used Allied Pickfords as they seemed to be the only ones willing to send a rep to the wilds of Cumbria to come and make an assessment in our home. The guy was a mine of info and we ended up amending our list a lot after talking to him. Haven’t got it yet but its docking next week ahead of schedule so fingers crossed.

The non material stuff you need to consider how & when to close stuff down, it’s a bit of a pain but phoned them all a couple of months in advance and asked for the relevant contacts so they were at hand when the final month came. Cuts down on the last minute panics.
As to your utilities in Oz, if you rent through one of the biggies (LJ Hooker, Barry Plant etc) once you agree a rental a sub agency that they use will call you up and arrange all your utilities on your behalf – power, gas, phone, and internet. That seems to run really well. Hassle free!

Banking – Open an Oz account from the UK, Commonwealth, ANZ, Westpac all have an office in London that you can contact online and set the account up. We looked at them all & they all offer more or less the same service as they are bound by Aussie law. That law being you can send in as much money as you want but cannot remove any until you show up in person to activate your account. That was an experience; we used ANZ and trotted along to the desk in the main ANZ branch in Melbourne the day after we landed (looks like a church inside). Told them what we wanted and a guy took forty minutes aside with us to arrange our accounts, pin numbers etc (they can open a higher interest account for you when you’re here and then he sat us down in front of a PC until we both understood their internet and phone banking system. Good customer service).

We were lucky enough to have a friend (of a friend actually) who was kind enough to let us use their home address as our postal address until we rented. This is very useful if you can do it at all. We didn’t really want ATM cards etc being posted in the communal box of the holiday accommodation unit. You will also need a residential address to register a car to (certainly in Victoria – or so we were told). We owe these friends a night out.

BIG TIP! You cannot get a credit card in Oz until you are in employment so DO NOT give up your credit cards (in fact, if they are anywhere near expiry get new issues) and keep your UK bank accounts open. We told the bank that we were coming here on a suck it and see basis which seemed to keep them happy. Credit cards are just too useful over here – bonds on rental accommodation, car hire, even pay as you go mobile services – some only allow remote top up via credit (not debit) cards.

Moving money out here. We used HIFX and cannot say a bad thing about them (although they can be a bit pessimistic – they tend to phone you to warn of an impending drop in the exchange rate but I must have missed they’re call when there was 2.53 to the pound a while ago). Keep an eye on the rate yourself, every day. This is a great link
http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/f...5/intraday.stm
The UK bank will love you and lavish you with attention when you sell your home (better luck than us there by the way, comedian tried to drop the price at the last minute when he found out our plans – now that was stressful) and load up your UK account. We’d never been so popular. We opened an account (Nat West) with the specific intention of moving money about electronically, I told the guy who opened it where we were going and that I would at some point be needing to move large amounts of money abroad. No problem he lied!

Here’s the pinch as best I understand it. Amounts over £10K they will not move on an electronic instruction – they asked me to call in at the branch! Obviously not a runner. HIFX Australia (which we now use – once you are out here a UK based company cannot ship your money over to you as you are now an Australian resident) informed us that a UK bank must act on a written and signed letter from a customer, so off that went (you can get special international express envelopes over here that get back to the UK in two or three days allegedly – unfortunately there is no such thing for getting stuff back this way). Then the bank manager and/or the banks security service will call you up on the number you have given them in the UK. The moral of this story is keep you UK mobile handy while this process is going on.
The movement of money was the only hassle that we have had but in reality, its better set up that way to prevent someone else moving your money, so bear with it.



Right, rambled a bit there, sorry about that.

So you know what you’re sending and what your not. Time to prioritise what you will need to do once landed.

You need to live somewhere for a while – we used a holiday rental in St Kilda, booked it for a month. The up side was that it’s a great place and very near Melbourne city centre, the downside is that it is an expensive area to stay and despite the guide books telling you that it once was a red light area – it still is. And they are the probably the same Hookers that were there when the guide book was written. They all look like Suzi Quatros mam. Don’t let that put you off St Kilda though, it doesn’t have the dangerous edge that you associate with red light areas in the UK. It’s well policed and you just use a bit of common sense, and the Hookers did actually used to wish us Merry Christmas on the way home at nights, really!

Couple of pointers when renting initial accommodation from the UK, make sure that you can connect to the internet (get to that later) from your digs, a wall safe would have given us more peace of mind and it’s an advantage to find one that lets you let you pay in weeks at a time. This is important as we had found a rental within two weeks and you don’t want to have to fork out for two weeks you’re not going to use. We used a chain called easy stay and despite us actually paying in advance, when we wanted to quit early they refunded the last two weeks no problem. All they ask for is 48 hours notice your moving out. Holiday accommodation in high season is expensive; if you do not get stung a little here you are doing well.

In Oz

We started working through our ‘to do’ list the day after we got here (stayed in an airport hotel first night as we landed at daft’ o’clock in the morning, then hired a car from Avis at the airport – slightly cheaper to hire once here. No panic as there’s loads of offices at all major airports and they all tend to be next to each other. We shopped up and down the street and chose one. Get one with a big boot!) Then it went something like –

• Bought Aussie mobiles (pay as you go do some great deals – but you have to ask what offers are on, they don’t always advertise them!!!! ask for a pre-paid capped offer), you’ll need contact numbers for all the following stuff.

• Activated our bank accounts

• Registered with Medicare (Aussie NHS find their nearest office on the web)

• Took out Medibank insurance (private medical insurance) to cover dental and ambulance bills. The saying here is that if the accident doesn’t kill you the ambulance bill will! I blanched at the thought of the cost of private medi cover when I thought about what it costs in the UK, it costs us $26 (£11’ish) per month for a couple (again, find their offices on the web, they are everywhere)!

• Got on line. THIS HAS TO BE MY TOP TIP, absolutely invaluable. If your not computer literate no worries because I’m no genius and we managed, but before you leave the UK get to know how to search the web and send e mails that’s all you need (the fact that your reading this I imagine you are already there) or get a friend or a relative to give you a crash course. I closed my Virgin mail account before I left the UK as they don’t service Oz and opened an AOL account, can’t recommend them as they are not cheap and are in decline everywhere outside America apparently but it bridged a gap until I got sorted here. A yahoo mail account would have done the same and cost me nothing. Try not to rely on internet cafes as you will be surprised just how much time you will need to spend online (@$5 an hour or free for two hours in local libaries)

• I bought a Dell laptop (Dell’s warranty extends to Oz, apparently!) to travel with and it’s been worth its weight in gold, doesn’t have to be special just the basics will do.

• Once we got here we bought one months unlimited internet access for a dial up connection from Dodo. What? Easier than it sounds, go into a Tandy or any electrical store and you buy what looks like a DVD case, take it home and find no DVD, take it back to the store where they point out a little sticker with a phone number and a reference number, go back to your digs and call the number and then they call you back on your mobile (UK providers take note) and talk you through the set up (if you need to dial a number to get an outside line from your place let the technician know). Then your on line, the cost to use the line from our accommodation was 37c an hour. Peanuts. You can also use it to phone home if you down load Skype, computer to computer is free, we bought £20 of credit with them on Pay Pal so we could phone landlines and it was costing us .012£ per minute to UK. http://www.skype.com/helloagain.html , send and receive e mails and let the kids Yahoo their mates back home hence proving to them you are not actually abducting them to another planet.

• Register with all the estate/rental agencies in your area for daily updates, there are loads of them everywhere. Then you spend the morning scouring the net and the afternoons doing drive by’s (but not like the ones in downtown Los Angeles) and viewing properties.

• There is quite a bit of paperwork when you apply against a property to rent, no easy way around it. We bought a cheap printer/scanner here so once we had filled applications out in the evening we scanned them and sent them as an e mail to the estate agents overnight so the paperwork was in front of them the next day.

• We have been very lucky as in we have managed to rent fully furnished which I’m told is rare (good for us as we sold all our furniture before we came). We had always owned our own home in the UK and only rented for a month before we came, so we were short on the landlord references that were asked for. What we did do was write a covering letter with each application explaining who we were, what we did in the UK and explained why we had no income (ie. Only just arrived – but employable), we offered character references (called back to folk in the UK and they agreed to stand for us), we offered to show the agent our bank account bottom line & we were prepared to pay a number of months in advance to seal the deal (never had to go that last mile in the end). Certainly in Melbourne there is no shortage of rentals, I can’t speak for the other states but bear in mind that renting is much more common in Oz than in the UK.

• Buying a second hand car :scared: – the same world over. Be careful, we ended up going to a Ford dealership and spending a little more than intended (helped as we don’t need to buy furniture for a while!) as I think you get a better warranty. Also, don’t be freaked out by high mileage too much – they all have it, everywhere is so far apart! I found the dog end of the market, the bangers expensive but the new or nearly new considerably less so. RACV (RAC) cover is cheap and worth having if you’re planning on travelling any distance in a second hand car, the most expensive cover is $170 per year and that covers everything, they even send Kylie out in the tow truck …….well maybe.

• Last and by no means least, when you rent/buy go and meet your neighbours, they’ll be as curious about you as you are them. You don’t have to be an extravert just say hello you have moved into the area and could you tell me what day are the bins collected! Questions are great ice breakers. We done this and again have fallen lucky, we have been out to two sets of neighbours (every body needs good neighbours…..sorry) for drinks already and another offer pending. All Aussies, so don’t huddle under the expat thing too much…..go for it.

Right, that about it. I’m reading this back and it wanders about a bit but I hope some of it helps. Can’t say for certain that all the details are 100% accurate but I’m telling it like it’s been told to us from the people who we have dealt with.

Sounds like a big job doesn’t it? It is, but it gets a hell of a lot easier if you do the ground work up front, make a plan for arrival and share the work between you. Mind you I’ve got to be honest, our dog didn’t pull his weight much, you would sit him in front of the internet an he would make out like he just didn’t understand!

Has it been worth it so far? Love to tell you but I’m off to light the Barbie (no, not one of the dolls! The one we got in Bunnings for $400 in the sale).


Wish you all the very best of luck, it’ll be fine.

Mike & Jayne
Thanks so much for spending the time to do this. A great help

Denise
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Old Jan 5th 2007, 3:05 pm   #11
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Default Re: For those about to leave Pt 2 (Top tips)

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It is, but it gets a hell of a lot easier if you do the ground work up front, make a plan for arrival and share the work between you. Mind you I’ve got to be honest, our dog didn’t pull his weight much, you would sit him in front of the internet an he would make out like he just didn’t understand!

Mike & Jayne
Great post - loads of really good tips to add to my list!
... any my dog (Daisy) specifically asked if i could send your dog some Karma - she thinks that pretending to not understand is a great tip for avoiding work!!

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Old Jan 5th 2007, 3:43 pm   #12
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Cracking post........

D D
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Old Jan 6th 2007, 1:06 pm   #13
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Default Re: For those about to leave Pt 2 (Top tips)

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Cracking post........

D D
Great post, copied and pasted to My Oz file...thanks and enjoy
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Old Jan 6th 2007, 1:39 pm   #14
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Default Re: For those about to leave Pt 2 (Top tips)

Great post mate!!! Thanks for taking your time! Greatly appriciated!!

cheers,
Marina
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Old Jan 6th 2007, 5:17 pm   #15
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Default Re: For those about to leave Pt 2 (Top tips)

Fab post..... really informative !
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