Moving To Australia: Visa, Jobs, Accommodation

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Firstly, I’d like to apologise for this long absence I’ve had from writing on here. As you can probably imagine I’ve been a little preoccupied with setting up a completely new life here in Sydney and i’m so pleased to say that after three weeks we are both now sorted with jobs, an apartment and settling into our new Sydney rhythm.

Lots of my friends have asked me about the move and how we found the experience and it’s a question I found myself searching youtube and blogs for before I came out here. How easy is it to find a job? What’s it like actually living day to day in a new city? How much does transport cost? etc. etc.

With so many questions and all the things I worried about myself before moving to Sydney, what better than to document all the answers here so that they can hopefully help you if you’re planning on making the move yourself!


Getting A Visa

As i’m under 30, I came out to Australia on a working holiday visa (417). On a working holiday visa you can come to Australia to live and work for one year; however there are some restrictions i.e. you can only stay with one employer for 6 months unless they decide to sponsor you.

Getting sponsored seems to be everyone’s goal out here and with the uncertainty about visa conditions since the Australian Government’s announcement in March that it was making changes to the 457 (employer sponsored visa) . Basically as soon as you arrive and realise that moving to Australia was the best decision you ever made, you’re anxious to figure out a way to be able to stay. Depending on where your skillset lies, you may be able to get sponsored by your employer.

The 417 visa took 20 minutes to be granted and cost A$440 (around £280 at time of writing).

Here’s the link: https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa/Fees

If you are over 30, you could trying finding a job that offers 457 employment, but to be honest from my experience it’s far easier to get a job/employer/recruiter to take you seriously if you’re actually out in Australia. Therefore it may be worth booking a trip and having some face to face meetings with people here before you commit to a move.

Everyone i’ve spoken to since arriving has found a way to get a visa, whatever their circumstances are. You might even fancy studying out here and coming on a student visa.


Getting A Job

As I said just before, the ease of being able to find a job when you’re moving to Australia depends on your skillset. Check the skills list for what skill shortages there are and where these shortages are. For example if you’re an accountant, a nurse or a teacher there’s loads of opportunities for you out here and you might even be able to score a job before you come out.

If like me you don’t have a job sorted before you get here, then don’t worry. That’s quite the norm for everyone arriving in Sydney and shouldn’t put you off making the move. Just make sure you have enough savings to support yourself when you arrive and you can always do casual work in a bar/restaurant while you’re looking for something more permanent.

When you do start your job hunt, use sites like Indeed.com.au and Seek.com.au to browse vacancies. Send your CV off to recruiters in your sector and be sure to edit your CV so it fits the Australian criteria. Out here, they prefer you to list your achievements in every role as the main points and then briefly describe your responsibilities. I would also get some references sorted before you come here, even if it’s just an agreement with a referee to provide one when needed.

Depending on your visa, you may find it easier to look for contract jobs rather than permanent ones at first. These are generally easier to find, well paid and give you some time to settle before you look for a permanent role.

sydney brunch bellagio


Getting An Apartment

Most people who are moving to Australia either stay in hostels or air bnb rentals at first. As a 27 year old couple, we didn’t feel like the hostel life would really be for us and luckily had a family connection who offered us a room to crash in while we found our feet!

I’d definitely recommend asking around your network to see if you have any friends/family friends you could stay with when you first arrive as having someone to gently guide you is so comforting when you don’t have a clue what you’re supposed to be doing.

Again, if you don’t – nothing to worry about! That’s exactly what i’m writing this blog for.

If you’re planning to live with other people, find yourself a room on flatmates.com.au or flatmatefinder. You can also try Gumtree if you’re looking for flatmates and if you’re planning on staying in Bondi there’s a great Facebook group called Bondi Local Loop where loads of people are looking for rooms.

Word of warning: nice rooms go very quickly and it can be a bit of an effort trying to find somewhere to live when you’re competing with 10 other people for the same room!

Second word of warning: flats/rooms come UNFURNISHED as a pretty standard procedure. That means you’ll have to buy your own mattress, bed, bedding etc. etc. so make sure you’ve got some budget aside for that as they don’t always come cheap!

(our bed and mattress from Ikea was $500 and we had to pay delivery of $89 to get it to Bondi)

Also, when I say places come unfurnished I mean literally bare. So bare, that you will have to buy your own washing machine and microwave and such. As I type this, I do not own a washing machine and am having to use the local launderette lol.

James and I got our own private apartment and it was a right effort. I will write a separate blog post on that soon as it’s a whole other story that could dominate this post a bit too much.

As a side note, rent is charged weekly and you’ll need at least 4 weeks rent as a deposit when you do find a place. So again, make sure you’ve budgeted for it on top of everything else you’ll need to buy.

apartment bondi


Transport In Sydney

I can’t speak for all the cities in Australia, so apologies if your move is taking you to Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth. In Sydney, the easiest way to get around is by bus and train.
From the eastern suburbs there are plenty of them heading to and from the CBD and out west, which makes it very easy to get around the city. You can also commute by boat, which is a real novelty but slightly more expensive than the bus option! To get around, you use an Opal card which is a lot like the Oyster card in London. You buy this from any newsagent and top it up through the app or online. After you’ve taken 10 journeys in a week, your transport becomes half price for the rest of the week – a discovery I made this week and LOVE!

If you do need a car, you can easily hire one from companies like No Birds or Go Get, but to be honest the public transport is pretty great and I’ve not found I’ve needed a car while i’ve been here much.


Life In Australia

There’s a reason rent is so high and rooms are so hard to find here in Sydney and that’s because it’s so darn amazing that literally thousands of like-minded positive people all come out here to live and work. I’m sure there’s some miserable ones here too, but everyone I’ve met has been welcoming, friendly and so interesting to get to know. On top of that, when you go out for food and drinks, it all looks and tastes amazing (more on the Sydney brunches later!) and I have to say that Aussies are honestly such foodies.

Also, whether you’re coming out here alone or with a boyfriend/friend/wife then trust me, it’s normal to have off days where you feel ratty and pissed. You’ll probably end up having a heated argument or two, but don’t despair! Your relationship/friendship/sanity is totally normal, it’s just kind of a stressful experience moving to the other side of the world so give yourself a break and let me tell you, it will all settle down and you’ll find your feet sooner than you know it.

It is a big move and I’ve had to leave a lot behind, which can be a daunting thought. But when I think of all the things I’ve gained from moving to Australia and the incredible outdoors lifestyle I have now, I know it’s worth it.

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