You are finally going to make that move. You are moving to Australia. Something you’ve been dreaming for a long time now.
I know you are excited to start this new life, but also overwhelmed with questions, concerns and things-to-do before you move.
I know how overwhelmed I was weeks before taking my flight to this wonderland.
I was totally unprepared before moving to Australia. I had no job, no place to stay, no bank account, and I didn’t even know anyone here.
I was even anxious about what will happen at the airport with this visa document that I have (hint: nothing happens at all. It’s smooth).
I remember getting in panic mode often times and frantically searching online for part-time jobs, full-time jobs, places to stay, and things to buy.
I tested it all. From Facebook groups to blogs to web forums.
From my experiences before coming to Australia, and then learning from the mistakes I made in the first month after coming to Australia, I’ve compiled a list of answers that might save you some (or a lot) of trouble.
In this, I answer these questions of yours:
- What should I take care of before moving to Australia?
- What should I do immediately after reaching Australia?
- How should I look for jobs after coming to Australia?
Let’s dive in!
What should I take care of before moving to Australia?
Rent a room for 1-3 months
1) Your best friend when it comes to renting a room is Facebook.
Use Facebook search bar to search groups of south asian communities.
Indians in Australia, Melbourne, Sydney, etc
Pakistanis in Australia, Melbourne, Sydney, etc
Bangladeshis in Australia, Melbourne, Sydney, etc
I totally understand if you do not want to stay within south asian community, and I strongly advocate multi-cultural multi-racial living, but you can change houses once you are in Australia and have made some friends.
Owners here looking for tenants are generally 10 times more receptive to renting rooms and houses to members of their own communities. So to save you time and effort, I’d advise first renting a room within your own community.
In the top Facebook groups, there are thousands of members. Everyday people are posting ‘rooms to rent’. You should be able to secure one within a week or two.
Owner will ask for 1-4 weeks of bond (you can either bank transfer or assure him that you will pay the moment you land).
For most houses, you can leave by giving 1-month notice in advance so there isn’t any long-term binding.
2) Your second best friend is Gumtree Australia. For everything.
Gumtree is Australia’s everything for peer-to-peer. Room rental, furniture, cars, you name it.
For room rentals, most people will require you to visit and inspect the house so they can know you and you can know them. So it’s generally a bit difficult to secure a room before entering Australia.
Nonetheless, you can use Gumtree to find a place to stay once you’ve landed.
3) Facebook Marketplace
Over the past few months, Facebook Marketplace feature has grown tremendously. It probably has almost as much listings as Gumtree.
Same rule applies as Gumtree. You will have to inspect house as owners will be less likely to commit until they have met you.
4) Lastly, if you do not need any commitment for a room before coming to Australia, just book a hotel or a hostel bed for a few days.
Best hotel comparison site: HotelsCombined.com.au
Best hostel booking site: Hostelworld.com
Prepare your documents and check legal limits
- Remember to print an extra copy of your visa and other documents (just to be on the safe side). I also like to keep a copy of everything (passport, visa, ID card, driving license, ticket) on my smartphone as well.
- Do a quick check on airport website to understand the quantity of cigarettes and liquor allowed.
What should I do immediately after reaching Australia?
- From the airport, buy a Public Transport Pass (depending on which state you are landing, it’s different), and recharge it for $50. That will be enough for 7-10 days. This pass will be valid for trains, trams, and busses.
- Make sure you have Uber downloaded on your smartphones. Uber is about 30-40% cheaper than conventional taxi.
- After putting your luggage at home, take a trip to Woolworths or Coles to stock up on groceries and toiletries.I didn’t bring anything from home. Everything one needs is conveniently available at these stores located around the country.
- I bought Lyca Mobile no-contract SIM first. It’s cheap and extremely popular with expats. It will give you local number and data plan that you will require for almost everything – from activating internet banking to reaching out to people.
- Once settled, you can choose a long-term contract plan from either of the 3 main telecom operators: Vodafone, Optus, and Telstra.Vodafone has best prices, especially for students. Telstra (local company) and Optus (Singaporean company) are similar in prices. All 3 of them have equally good coverage, especially in cities.
- CommBank is hands-down number 1 option. I opened an account in both Westpac and CommBank, two largest banks in Australia.Westpac’s customer service and professionalism is not at par with CommBank. Moreover, CommBank has ATMs and branches located at most number of places around the city.
- The difference in prices between eating out and cooking at home is mind-boggling in Australia. You can easily have 3 meals for about $10 a day if cooked at home, while eating outside would mean $10-15 per meal at a regular restaurant.But I understand you can’t start cooking from Day 1, so some hacks you can use:– Frozen pre-cooked meals from Woolworths or Coles ($3-5 each). Just microwave and eat.– Promo deals from McDonalds, Hungry Jack’s or Dominos – you can pretty much mix and match to make sure each meal is about $5-6
- To get cookware and utensils, KMart is your best friend.
- Never buy anything unless you’ve checked Groupon first for a deal on it. I’ve found Groupon to be crazy awesome in Australia, with discounts of 50-70% on tons of products and services.
How should I look for jobs after coming to Australia?
Consider it impossible to get a job offer (or even an interview) without first being in Australia. So I will strongly recommend bringing cash for first 2-3 months to sustain yourself.
For full-time jobs (in order of preference)
1) Network in a structured way.
Read my article: How I Got Multiple Job Offers in First 3 Months in Australia
2) Same Facebook Groups that you used to find your room
- Do not just say that you are looking for a job.Instead, tell about yourself: your skills and work experience. Go as specific as you can.Then ask for people who are in the similar field to message or comment on your post because you want to understand more about this industry in Australia.
- If you get a chance to talk to that person, ask him/her questions on:– How and to whom you should forward your CV?– Is there any lead that person can recommend?
- On finding suitable jobs, CALL.Things don’t work in Australia via email. Even if you have to buy premium membership for a month from some of these websites, invest. It’s worth it.Of course, if there is no way to source out number, then you can email but keep that as last resource.
- On call and email, first tell how you can add value in their company. Only after that, focus on pitching your profile and experience.Aim for quality not quantity. A well-structured, well-researched, and specifically tailored 10 job applications will generate better response than 100 cold emails.
For part-time jobs (in order of preference)
1) Same Facebook groups that you used to find your room
2) Gumtree Australia
3) Jobs related Facebook groups (e.g. Jobs in Melbourne, Jobs in Sydney, etc.)
Part-time jobs come and go very fast. You need to call and ask for a meet-up the same day.
Even for part-time jobs, you will only get best offers by asking people you know to recommend you in companies that they are working in.
So invest in reaching out to people and meeting them in your first 1-2 months. Again, my article on networking has tips for this.
For part-time, these jobs are available in abundance and usually do not require any certificates:
- Factory workers (packing and other labour jobs)
- Kitchen-hand in restaurants
- Retail jobs
- Warehouse workers
- Cleaning jobs
- Delivery jobs (most require you to have your own car)
P.S. If you haven’t gotten your Australian PR yet, in this FREE Ultimate Guide I’ve detailed Step-by-Step process in easy words that I did to apply and get my Australian PR