From Housing to Healthcare – Handling the First Steps of Residency in Australia

So, you’ve recently arrived in Australia, or are thinking of making the move? Congratulations, and welcome to the ‘land down under’! Moving to any new country is a stressful time. Fortunately, however, there is plenty of help out there to get you on your feet in your new home. Speaking with an Migration agent in Melbourne CBD, or one of your friendly new Australian neighbours, is a great way to ensure a smooth transition into the Australian lifestyle.

Here is a list of the most important things that you should do as soon as possible after arriving in Australia, to make your transition much easier!

1. Housing and Accommodation

If you can, it’s worthwhile arranging temporary accommodation in Australia before you arrive. Renting a serviced apartment enables you the comforts of home living, before your belongings arrive.

Renting or buying?

Generally, many new Australians prefer to rent as it is a much simpler process than buying a house. If you’re going to be renting a property in Australia, it’s a good idea to bring previous rental references along with copies of your passport, so you’ll be in a position to submit your application immediately when you find the ideal property. Renting also gives you a chance to get to know your new environment before making the commitment to purchase a house.

To get an idea of what’s available and the costs, a good place to start are real- estate websites such as:

www.realestate.com.au

www.domain.com.au

www.rent.com.au

When you have found the perfect property, be aware that common practice is for tenants to pay advance rent of 4-6 weeks as a security bond as well as 4 weeks rent in advance.

2. Open a Bank Account

In Australia, most income and government benefits are paid directly into a bank account. For this reason, it’s recommended that you open your bank account before arriving in Australia. If you have already arrived, you should open a bank account within six weeks of your arrival, and before you start pursuing employment options.

One of the first steps you should take is making sure that when you transfer your money to Australian currency that you get the best possible service and rate. Speaking to a member of your bank or a foreign currency broker are just some ways to ensure that you get the best conversion rate available.

3. Apply for a Tax File Number (TFN)

To receive an income in Australia, you first need a Tax File Number (TFN). To receive an application form, you can either telephone the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and have a TFN application form sent to you, or you can apply for a TFN over the internet.

4. Register for Medicare

The Australian Government provides residents help with basic medical expenses through a scheme called Medicare. Once you are a permanent resident or Australian citizen you are entitled to receive medicare benefits which includes free access to public hospital health care, help with the cost of out-of-hospital care, and subsidised medicines.

To register for Medicare, you should go into a Medicare office 7 to 10 days after your arrival with your passport and other identification documents, including a copy of your visa grant letter. You may also want to consider the many different private health insurance options available, as Medicare does not provide for all services.

5. Search for a Job

Knowing what employment opportunities are available is important to achieving job security. Fortunately, there are a wealth of employment opportunities available throughout Australia for job seekers. To hunt for your first Australian job, you can either contact private recruitment consultants and employment agencies, hand your resume out in person, or use one of the many online employment sites available, including Seek.com.

6. Increase your English fluency

If English is your second language, a language course may be key to your successful settlement. As a new resident, you may be entitled to receive free English language tuition from the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), of up to 510 hours.

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Migrating to another country is a big step to take, but thankfully you’re not alone. If you are a new arrival or are thinking of taking the plunge, we can’t wait to have you in the land down under!

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