You have your visa and flights booked to Australia, now here are a few things that will help with a smooth transition to moving and living Down Under.
Set up a bank account before you arrive. I set mine up with Commonwealth Bank which was really easy to do online. Once I had arrived in Melbourne I went to the branch I had specified when setting up my account. Before you can transfer any money into your account or have a bank card I needed to show my passport, national insurance number and a copy of my visa approval letter. Once I had confirmed my identity my bank card arrived within 5 working days.
It’s worth being aware that international transfers can take a while to be processed. You may also be charged by both your UK (home country bank) and your Australian bank.
I started by having a Revolut card and having pre-exchanged £ into AU$ when the exchange rate was at its best before I moved out. They have a system called vaulting which is effectively like a savings account you don’t get interest but it stays there without you spending it. In addition I used my UK bank cards (it is worth checking what the charges are on foreign spending).
Get a SIM card pronto- if you are getting a prepaid (pay as you go) SIM you don’t need to have an Australian bank card. I went for an Aldi SIM as it seemed to have pretty good prepaid packages. It also runs on Telstra’s network which has the best coverage within Australia.
The main providers I came across were Optus, Telstra, Aldi Mobile, Amaysim and Vodafone. It is easy to pick up a SIM in most newsagents or supermarkets. You can also get SIMs on contract different providers have different lengths you are tied in for. For contract SIMs you will need an Australian bank card.
Medicare- print the forms off beforehand and fill out all the details you can. I had my forms completed asides from my bank details and phone number. It was very easy to set up Medicare I took all the documentation it asked me for to my local Medicare office. You are issued with a temporary Medicare card and then receive your plastic one in the post 2-3 weeks later. You can find the medicare website here.
Australian Tax Code (TFN) can be applied for here. Although not essential, having a tax code can mean you are less likely to be taxed higher than you should be on your earnings in Australia. You will need to complete the application once you have arrived in Australia. It can take 28 days for your tax code to arrive.
Accommodation in a flatshare’s rent is usually charged on a weekly basis. This is worth knowing when you are budgeting and looking at prices of rooms. It is also worth checking whether the room is furnished or not. There are three main options of furnishing I have come across: unfurnished (no furniture in the room), Furnished (furniture there), furnished but with no bed (well thats pretty self explanatory!).
If you are moving to Melbourne you are going to want to get yourself a Myki card which is the equivalent to an Oyster card. They can easily be picked up at train stations or 7 Eleven. There is a free tram zone in the CBD.
Jetlag is not fun. There are a load of tips you can get on how to help it but ultimately it’s down to how your body adjusts. Be kind to yourself in your first week or two.
The international code for Australia is +61 and as with any international code you remove the first 0 of the number.
The emergency number is 000 the equivalent to 999.