Moving to Australia Startup Kit – Everything you need to know.
Woo! Congratulations on obtaining your visa! Now for the nitty gritty!
The first thing you might want to do is get a sim card when you arrive. The two main companies are Telstra and Optus. But you do have a choice of using Vodafone, Amaysim and Lebara. If you will be living or travelling remotely it is best to opt for Telstra which generally gives you phone coverage in most regional areas. The other networks tend to cover cities only.
Plans range from $30 a month with data evening and weekend calls. Please be aware data allowances are not that generous. There is no unlimited Data usage option in Australia.
How to set up a bank account?
Certain providers are offering options of setting up a bank account before you head over. I believe ANZ and HSBC have this option. I however wouldn’t advise going with HSBC and I will explain further below.
Cash withdrawals from ATMs are free in the UK no matter who you bank with. This is not the case in Australia if you withdraw from an ATM that you don’t regularly bank with you will be charged a usage fee.
Most Common Banks in Australia
Least popular – HSBC 32 branches across the whole of Australia. To put this in perspective Australia is 31 times bigger than the UK. HSBC Australia and HSBC UK work as two separate entities and can’t help you with banking issues either side of the water.
Commonwealth and ANZ are generally found in regional areas of Australia too. But if you are travelling round Oz you will come across occasions where there is only one bank provider servicing the whole town. So sometimes fees are inevitable.
Many banks charge you for not putting cash in regularly. So if you are new to the country and settling in before finding work or you are travelling opt for ANZ where there is no bi weekly charge for lack of regular funds. You will need a mobile phone number for internet banking and they will push you into joining their superannuation fund.
In its simplest terms is a pension, if you plan on staying in Australia fantastic you have a little money pot for the future. If you decide to leave Australia you can claim back your superannuation once you have left the country. I believe there is a high taxation for withdrawals. Super contributions are paid on top of your weekly/ bi weekly salary by your employer ( 9.5%) and you can see your contribution honey pot rising generally every 3 months. It is compulsory for everyone to have a super fund. Different funds have different benefits. It is worth shopping around if you are migrating to OZ.
International Money Transfers
I would highly suggest using an international money transfer company over your bank. Banks charge a fee on both sides to transfer and receive international funds. Also the rate at which banks offer to exchange your money generally is not the best rate on the market.
The British Pound is stronger than the Australian Dollar which is great when you are flying from the UK to OZ. But if you ever plan on going home or visiting Europe then the rate is pretty lousy at the moment. Currently the banks rate is 0.48 $ to £. So with a transfer company we can get 0.47 at best so $1000 will become £311 with transfer fees. If you use the bank you will get even less!
To put this further into perspective $1000 feels like £1000 in Australia. So it is in your best interest to get as much as you can for your buck!
GBP to AUD currently stands at 2.07. Happy days!
The provider I would recommend is CurrencyFair because I have been using them for two years with no problems. There is even an option where you can trade currency and wait for the best rate.
Other companies on the market are Hifx, Moneycorp, and Transfer wise
Apply for your TFN – (Tax File Number)
This is a relatively straight forward process. Please don’t pay a company to do this for you. If you really need to give away your hard-earned cash donate it to me for this free advice!
You can only apply once you are in the country. You need a TFN to work and get paid. The process takes 4 weeks. You will need an address so that your number can be posted to you. My TFN was sent to my cousins address where I was staying. But you can have this sent to a hostel/ hotel or friends house. Just ensure that if you move on during that time that you leave a forwarding address. To apply click on to the Australian ATO website and follow the instructions.
Now you have a mobile number bank account and a TFN. You might want to apply for a medicare card. I know that with the UK there is a reciprocal agreement. I am not sure about other countries.
Again this can only be done in person. There are a number of medicare centres across Australia. You can fill out a form before hand and print it off but it is easier to walk into the centre and pick up a form. Here is the link to the Australian Medicare Department.
My advice would be to turn up early or after lunchtime. The waiting times in the medicare departments are like UK hospital waiting times.
Bring your passport and a visa grant letter. The medicare card will allow you to obtain free basic medical treatment. There are two types of doctors surgeries bulk billing and private. The bulk billing surgeries are free. Some bulk billing surgeries take a charge up front and reimburse and others just ask to see your medicare card and don’t charge at all.
Private doctors cost around $50-$70 . Dental procedures are not covered via the reciprocal agreement.
There are a number of Insurance providers. You might want to get insurance to cover ambulance call outs which are not covered by Medicare. Also you can get insurance to cover dental treatment. I had travel insurance so I can’t really give advice on the best providers in Australia. But they have Bupa Medibank and a whole heap of other providers.
I used Alpha Insurance which covers long-term travel. It also stipulated that I could have one trip home and still be covered which swung it for me. I used the insurance to claim back on a nasty tooth abscess that I had. The cost of treatment was $400 so paying £120 for the insurance was money well spent.
If you are in WA and look fairly young you will need to apply for a photo card. It costs about $20 but without one you will be turned away from licenced bars. They wont accept passports in WA especially Perth. Which is silly considering it was a good enough form of identification to be let into the country in the first place. But hey rules are rules!
With all of the above items you will have enough points to rent a unit or house. Australia work on a points system and you need so many forms of Identification. If you require more you can also get a letter of employment or change your licence over to an Australian licence.
If you have any questions or want me to cover a particular topic just drop a message below!