Things to consider when emigrating to Australia
Should I stay or should I go? Things to consider when emigrating to Australia
Deciding to emigrate to Australia fills you with an enormous amount of exhilaration; I know – I have done it. And I can say with certainty that it was one of the best adventures of my life.
However, there are a ton of things to consider and a decision like this requires a lot research and discussion, especially when moving a family or starting a new career after emigrating as skilled migrant. Being organised, methodical and making a moving to Australia check list will make the whole process much clearer and smoother for you. And without doubt, lists are your best friends.
Keep a realistic timeline for emigrating
When looking at your timeline – it is beneficial to break down the run up to your emigration into medium term (4-6 month) and short-term (4-6 week) chunks. It is common to start putting things into action 18 months before your move.
What visa do you need to apply for?
The big question is what visa do you need to apply for? Will you be migrating to Australia with your family? Or will you be on a partner visa or going down the general skilled migration (GSM) route? There can be a number of deciding factors such as your personal situation, employment history and formal education, time restraints and financial commitments. A great place to start is by taking a free Australian visa assessment and by speaking with a MARA approved migration agent. Once you know if you can qualify for an Australian visa then you will be able to make a solid plan of attack on how and when to emigrate.
Finding the right Australian migration agents in the UK
The right migration agent will help you with your visas as well as ensuring that you are actually eligible to emigrate. They will guide you through the process and request the evidence and paperwork you will need for the process. Depending on where you’re located you’ll most likely want to search for a local Australian Migration Agent as they will be able to assist you in your time zone and it’s likely you will have a lot of questions during the application process. Overseas Emigration are located in Edinburgh, United Kingdom and have a local team with extensive experience in processing visa applications for Australia and New Zealand as well as other countries such as the USA and Canada.
You should always consider factors relating to your personal situation. Does the Migration Agent you want to use have expertise in the area of your application? For example, if you have had a criminal conviction in the past, you may be required to make a special application. Or do they have experience in family migration or skilled migration. Some independent migration agents may well be qualified but not have the expertise that some of the more established migration agents can offer so do ensure you run some checks.
It’s always a good idea to speak with Migration Agents before you move forward and always remember to ask questions before you agree to move forward and pay any fees in advance. A good migration agent should offer you a basic consultation free before they charge.
If possible, take a fact finding trip to Australia
First and foremost, a fact-finding trip is vital. You may know where you want to live, but it is always better to experience the reality of the place before you move.
Researching Neighbourhoods and suburbs in Australia
This gives you a chance to research potential neighbourhoods, house prices and find out the actual cost of living. It is also a good time to look at job opportunities if you haven’t already secured one.
Look for schools in Australia
Similarly, if you’re travelling with your family, looking at local schools is a useful exercise. If your move is being driven by your work – it is much nicer to have your family on side.
So much of where we live is coloured by our daily routine and our support network that it is important for everyone concerned (especially children) to see where they are moving to.
A good place to start your research is here on the Australian Governments Study Australia website.
Researching on expat websites and social media
There is a plethora of expat websites, which provide a wealth of information for your potential move; and choosing the right migration agent can make your planned relocation a much more straightforward prospect. Community facebook pages like @pomsinsydney or community websites like internations.org are also good place to speak with people who have done it all before.
Sorting out your domestic finances
Other areas to slot into your timeline include talking to current and prospective employers, sorting out your domestic finances and opening a bank account in the city of your choice. You also need to decide whether to sell or rent your house in the UK. Sometimes keeping your UK property feels like a good safety net, especially if you are not sure this move is a permanent one.
What are the finer details?
Once you have reached a certain stage in the visa application process, you will be required to undergo a medical examination and complete a police checks. At this time, it would be prudent to get quotes from international shipping companies and book flights with airlines that will allow the best baggage allowances and minimal stop offs. Booking things in advance and looking for companies who are there to help with your relocation to Australian will stand you in good stead and alleviate any stress that is inevitable to some degree in a big move like this. Don’t be fooled, six months flies by at lightning speed when you are wrapping up your old life and planning your new one.
One month before you arrive in Australia
With a month to go, procuring hand over files from doctors, dentists and schools is important, along with making sure you have up to date financial statements and credit and personal references. Hand your notice in if appropriate and make sure you have cancelled standing orders and direct debits you no longer require and make sure you have informed everyone of your change of address.
And if you are already living in Australia – you may find yourself considering coming back to the UK or Ireland, or making your emigration permanent. From personal experience, this comes down to two main factors – work prospects and family circumstances.
Sometimes a project or work role just runs its course and it is no longer beneficial career wise to stay in Australia. On the flip side, you might find that your current circumstances and the quality of life Down Under is the biggest pull for you now.
If you are close to your family back in the UK – being so distant can make permanent emigration a difficult decision. A lot of people also decide to come back to the UK when their children are at secondary/senior school age. This is not to say that one educational system is superior to the other – just sometimes we feel more comfortable with an educational system we are familiar with.
The reality is there are no right or wrong answers; it simply comes down to what suits you and your family best.
Words by Parry Ray