Friday, October 21, 2005

Advice for migrants

Now that we've been here
for 5 weeks, I feel qualified to dispense my hard-earned wisdom.

Firstly, visa choice. If you're coming to Australia, don't bother with
a temporary visa - go for permanent residency, if you can, it makes
things a lot easier. We're here on a Temporary Business Subclass 457
visa, sponsored by my wife's hospital. No problem, we thought, we can
apply for residency once we're sure we like it.

The problems are: you can't get finance for anything if you're on a
temporary visa, so make sure you've got a shitload of cash available to
you; you can't buy a home, you'll have to rent (well - you can buy a
home but first you have to apply for permission with the Foreign
Investment Bureau); you're unlikely to find someone who will give you a
permanent job, since they can't be sure you're going to be around in 12
months' time (this is a problem for me, not my wife - who can't change
jobs for 12 months anyway); you can't get childcare assistance on a 457
- so childcare costs are pretty high; it's tied to the job description
in the visa application - so my wife can't cut her hours and go
part-time, even though there are part-time jobs available at the
hospital.

The good things about the 457 are that it's quicker to get (you do need
an Australian employer to sponsor you though), there's no restrictions
on the number of times you can enter and leave the country, and it
doesn't cost much. That's about it, really.

So, now you're thinking well, maybe we don't want to go permanent just
yet - what if we don't like it there? Or we get homesick? Permanent
residency doesn't mean you have to stay, it's not like prison - you're
allowed to leave. Go on, grow a pair and go the whole hog it will make
things a lot simpler once you get to Australia, in exchange for more
money up front and potentially a long wait for the visa to be granted.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

We made it.

Do you know what is the scariest thing about moving to another country?
Everything. It's all new, and it's all scary. We've left behind family,
friends, jobs, decent chocolate, and marmite. If you let yourself think
about it for longer than a few seconds, you'd crap yourself. So, you
don't.

The people that do think it through carefully and thoroughly are the
ones who say "oh, we thought about doing that for years, but we never
went through with it". The vast majority of people who stay where they
are, and are quite happy about it. We, however, are the sort that would
always wonder "what if...", eventually becoming bitter and twisted,
bringing it up in arguments 30 years later. "Yeah, well, little Johnny
wouldn't even have been in the stolen car with the brazilian midget
prostitutes, the cocaine-snorting donkey and the nuns if we'd moved to
Australia, like I wanted to!"

So, we went for it. Crossed our fingers, closed our eyes and leapt off
the edge of the world and landed on the other side. We've been in
Australia for 5 weeks. So far, so good. The donkey just smokes a little
pot, you know - to relax, and we've kept Little Johnny away from the
red light district. Over the next few posts, I'll impart some useful
information we've gleaned while doing things completely wrong. We make
the mistakes, so you don't have to.