Practical stuff that might help others:
Very useful: Booklet on beginning life in Australia, provided by the immigration office:
Check the quality of schools:
Most schools offer OSH (Outside School Hours) care. check the school website for more information.
Find child care:
We first stayed in a serviced apartment for 2 weeks, during which time I searched for a rental (in the area we were interested in buying a house). Signed up the rental for a year, and searched for a house to buy. After 9 months we found one. Still had to pay until the end of the 1-year lease, unless they find a new occupant. Make sure you do not pay too much for your rental, otherwise the incentive for the owner to find a new occupant is rather low. He will just make you pay for the remainder of the lease term.
Find a job (this is aimed towards IT, other more general job sites are available):
If you do not yet have a visa, look for employers willing to sponsor your visa application.
More on visas here:
If you do not have an employer willing to sponsor, there is a significant additional hassle in translating all your certificates/diploma’s into English (by a certified translator), and then evaluated by a skills authority which needs to assess what is the Australian equivalent of your diploma’s, etc..
An employer sponsoring your visa, means they register as a sponsor on your application: You apply, they back it up as an employer vouching you will work for them once here. (Sponsoring does not mean they pay for the visa application. That is, in theory, a separate matter. It means you will not become a burden to the state but will have a job.)
Skilled occupation list: the list of skills Australia is looking for and have a higher chance of visa approval:
If you think about your expenses as a pie-chart, that pie-chart will be different than it is in the Netherlands. Keep in mind:
housing is expensive
groceries are expensive.
More money will go towards that, than in NL.
Housing is already expensive in its own right in the major cities largely as a result of foreign investments in real estate.
Booklet on Australia to prepare for the Citizenship Test:
Get a Tax file Number online (you need an Australian address):
Children need a tax file number for registration at the ATO for the tax benefit. I think this only applies when you are a permanent resident.
Open a bank account.
In theory, you can only open a bank account when you have a Tax File Number. In practice, however, banks will open a bank account without one and you can notify them later.
In Australia there are just a few major banks:
The banks are also the main mortgage lenders. Interest is pretty high. Mortgage interest is NOT a tax-deductible; you pay all of it after taxes.
In NL get an international drivers license at ANWB. Is valid in Australia for several months. During that time, get an Australian one. No driving test required.
Use Broadband Mobile Internet for connecting to the internet after arrival. You can get this at the local mobile phone stores. Get your connection up and running asap. The internet is invaluable as a source of info after you first arrive. When you have a rental, set up cable/ADSL, or something.
2 kinds of hookups:
1. Free to air. This you can pick up using a simple roof antenna – free. The signal is digital and good. Only about 4 channels: channel 7, 9, 10 and ABC.
2. Pay tv, like Foxtel. Many channels available, put your own package together, you pay on a monthly basis. Check for packages here: http://www.foxtel.com.au
As a permanent resident, you are entitled to Medicare, which is a basic health care coverage.
On top of that, you need private health care (or pay a fine in the form of an additional income tax). Health care packages can be easily compared here: http://www.iselect.com.au/
Upon enrolling your kids into primary school, you will need their immunisation information. MAke sure you get their immunisation information (in some form of an English translation, explanation).
To evaluate your level of English proficiency, you may be required to take an IELTS test. More info here: