Since my last post on Indians moving to Australia, I have received an overwhelming response and it is just an awesome feeling. Now I find my time invested in helping people get jobs, reviewing their resumes or LinkedIn profiles, having hour long conversations on tips and tricks which people should follow to get jobs. Can’t wait to share with you that first success story as soon as I get one. It also, made me start a meetup on Finding jobs in Australia and in 2 days, have more than 60 members and guess what the first event is on next Tuesday and I had capped it on 20, and already I have 6 on the waiting list. That is how desperate people are, to know how they can do some things differently to get that next job. Wow!
But then, in the process of talking to these people, I found that there are some who have got the jobs but they are not at all happy. People with 10 years, 15 years experience and end up doing jobs not related to their previous jobs or end up choosing a step below from where they were. Which means, the problem is not that you did not get a job here when you came, the problem is you did not plan ahead. Hence, I am compelled to write this one.
Things to do before taking a permanent residency
- First of all, do a research on the country you want to take permanent residency of. Talk to people there and understand the culture and lifestyle. Talk to the people there means, talk to Australians and not Indians in Australia. If you are interested, you will know where and how to find them. Go figure. But talk to a local to know about the life in their country. Most of the times, I see people calling other immigrants from their country (nothing wrong in this and one should get feedback from friends and family) but try to ask them about their local friends and see if they can spend some 15 minutes with you over the phone. Do not talk about jobs and salaries as that will really put them off. Just talk about, the life and the culture here. Tell me about your beautiful country and what should I expect if I come there, could be good questions to start a conversation.
- If possible, just do a small holiday tour to Australia and visit before you decide to take that step. It will really help in making your decision.
- Now, do a research on your job skill. Do you have a specific skill set or a general skill set? Do research on the job market for your skill set. LinkedIn is a powerful tool. Research your job profile on www.seek.com.au and see what kind of openings are there. A lot of people are very happy to see a lot of job openings for their roles on the seek website, but what they do not understand is, that it means, it is a generic skill set and there are a lot of people available for that skill set already. Try searching for some specific technology say “Blockchain” for example and see what do you find? If it is scarce, it is rare, easy to crack! By the way, this was also told to me by one of the recruiters recently at a meetup.
- It is very important to do your financial planning. I have seen people earning real good salaries back in their countries, leaving everything and come in search of a better life but, when they end up here with sub-standard jobs, they realize that in a short term, there is no financial advantage. Cost of living is high here. What, this means, is that one should be aware of the financial aspect and take the decision wisely. If you are having a generic skill set, it can take up to 6 months to get a decent job. It is a hard reality and there is no option but to suck it up and be prepared for it. To give you an idea of the cost involved on a monthly basis and this is pretty basic lifestyle and most people living lavishly back home may find difficulty in adjusting to this (If you are single (even if you have family, most of the people would come alone first, and I think it is a wise thing to do):
- Rent – $800 – $1200 (Decent private room with either shared or private bathroom). You can save some if you are ready to share the room with someone
- Utilities – $200 – $300 (Phone, gas, electricity, internet, etc.)
- Commute – $200 – $300 (Public Transport)
- Food – $300 – $400 (If cooking at home) or double if eating outside
- Entertainment and extras (miscellaneous) – Up to $500. This can vary for different people
- Ask yourself the question of why overseas? Why Australia and try to give at least 20 good reasons (the more the better) for you to move from your country (And I will move because Xyz moved there and is doing really good, is not a reason, by the way as everyone’s situation and the condition is different).
I am not discouraging anyone but just putting facts out there and asking people to be a bit prepared before taking the decision. But once you are convinced, there is no looking back. So once you decide,
- Talk to a registered MARA agent for your visa options and start the visa process. Most of the people do it on their own as it is a straight forward process and all the information is available on http://www.border.gov.au/
- Get your visa processed. Most of the people have told me that their agent back in India has charged up to Rs. 1 lac (About AUD $2100) for getting the visa processed. This does not include the visa fees and other costs that are associated with the visa like the English test, medical tests, etc.
- Start preparing yourself:
- Until the visa comes, work on your LinkedIn profile and create a network for you. You can see my profile here.
- Don’t ask for jobs on the network but start developing relationships
- Put genuine effort in understanding your industry in the country and how it works
- Ideal will be if you are able to develop relationship with some local recruiters from your industry
- Start doing some research on the life here. Be acquainted with the city you are moving to. Join Internations, an expat community and see if there are any Australians in your city. You can go to the event or network with them.
Now, we reach the stage, where after a lot of tests, documentation and going back and forward, finally the day arrives when you call me and tell me, Gaurav, I am coming to Australia, the visa has arrived! Great news, but before arriving, there are a few more steps to take care of (Couple of months before you are arriving, do this):
- Look and ask for good schools for your kids (if they go to school)
- Start looking for places to live nearby (Some sites, which I know of):-
- www.airbnb.com (You can book room for 2 weeks before coming to save you the headache of looking something instantly)
- Join meetups for your skill sets and engage with the organizer by writing them a message (again to know about the industry) and not asking for job
- Start making a list of necessary things you need. Be aware of the weather here, when you are traveling and be prepared accordingly.
- Most of the things you can buy here. There are a lot of Indian stores, Asian stores and hence you will get most of the things from your country here.
- This is important. Visit sites like www.gumtree.com.au and look for those odd jobs that you may be comfortable in doing when you land here, for the first few weeks. Why this? Not so much to help you earn the money, but more so to give you that local feel and help you get acquainted with the local culture. This will help a lot in your interviews, as most of the people are looking at cultural fit in addition to your skill set. This will also mentally prepare you to be ready for any challenge that comes across. We may never need this but no harm in knowing.
- Get your international driving license
- Book your flights well in advance to get good deals. I use www.skyscanner.com and it just gives me the best deals from all the sites.
- A week before coming, start applying to the jobs on www.seek.com.au and www.indeed.com.au and LinkedIn. If you do so, before that, they won’t look at it as they don’t know when you would come as you would write, that I will be there on this date. They would rather give a preference to someone who can do an interview in the near future. So, any application a week before is just useless, according to me.
- Look at the customs laws for Australia and bring only necessary things. A lot of things like plants, wooden items, spices, etc. are not allowed and hence be aware of it. As I said earlier, you will be able to buy most of the things here.
- If you use Uber, attach your debit or credit card to it as here, Uber does not allow cash and it could definitely come in handy for you at times.
- Have some Australian dollars on you when you travel. They will come handy as soon as you land.
Now you are all packed and take the flight. Have a good phone, so you can take enough selfies and photos. It is always exciting to travel so keep it that way and don’t be stressed. You are well prepared.
After you arrive, do the following things (Not necessary in this order):
- Take a local phone number (Lebara (Available in the arrivals hall at the airport) is bad in their service but gives you unlimited international calling to India for $50). The network is Vodafone dependent I guess and hence it works fine and the data is a bit limited too but most of the times, we end up using wifi. Optus has a very good network.
- Take Opal card. This is the card, one uses to travel on the local transport there (trains, buses, ferries, trams, etc.)
- Get a driver’s license – Information can be found here. If you hold your license in India for more than 3 years, you may be eligible for a full license and only an online test is required. However, check with the RMS when you reach here.
- Get a Medicare card (This is the medical security that the government gives you, so if you fall sick, then there are certain medical facilities that you can avail either free or at discounted prices)
- Open a local bank account (CBA, Westpac, NAB, ANZ are the big 4 banks) and I am with CBA, who I think are good enough but you can go to any.
- Meet those LinkedIn connections that you made, for coffee or lunch and now discuss the possible opportunities you are looking for
- Start attending meetups
- Start looking for a place to live now. Initially, shared apartments as people might not rent if you don’t have a job, but no harm in applying (Here, one has to apply for the rental). You can visit www.domain.com.au or www.realestate.com.au to find the rental place but highly unlikely to get something before getting the job
- Visit the city like a tourist and see places. Make yourself acquainted with this beautiful city
- If you are game for it, take some odd jobs by applying on www.gumtree.com.au
- Continue applying on seek and LinkedIn
Also, most important part. If you want to know which bus to take or which train to take and how to go from one place to another, the best way to do that is maps.google.com. I have not found any other site as good as Google Maps so I use it and recommend it.
I have written this in the context of Sydney but my friends from other cities can throw light on any specific points relevant to their city. Most of them are similar though.
Now, start enjoying this immigrant dream that this beautiful country is more than happy to provide for a better future, not only for you but also the next generations!
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me and if I don’t know, rest assured that I will put some effort in finding the answers for you. And if you are curious, about the featured image, it is the Sydney Town Hall, right at the center of the city. Until, next blog, Thank you!