Moving to Australia: Will It All Work out?

Australia and New Zealand magazineIt would have been July of this year when I wrote the following article for Australia and New Zealand magazine. The article then appeared in their October edition. Today I’m reprinting the article here and it is now December, the end of the year. If ever any of my magazine articles summed up a whole year though, this article pretty much does that.

I’ve been writing about life in Australia on this website for seven years now, this year was the first year that I started warning people to do thorough research before coming over, especially those looking for full-time employment. Here’s the article:

Into the unknown

unknownIt’s a massive move. It’s a scary move. It’s a brave move. It can, absolutely, be a life changing move. To go through with it though, you will have to, as they say, ‘jump over the wall’. But what will be on the other side? Will you get a job? Will you make friends? Will you miss your old friends? Will you settle down and love your new life or will you be constantly pining to get back to your old one?

Yes, forget snakes, spiders and sharks. Probably (see how I covered myself there?) the scariest thing that can happen to you when you move to Australia is ‘it doesn’t work out’. Moving to Australia isn’t cheap, I can’t put an exact price on it, but ballpark we are talking ‘an arm and a leg’.

There are government fees, maybe MARA agent fees, perhaps skills assessment fees, medical fees, removal costs, flights and who knows what else. That’s just to get here, but your spending will continue when you arrive in Australia. You’ll need one or two little essentials, like a roof over your head and food. Very quickly, ‘will you get a job’ will become ‘I really need a job now!’

I mention this because I know these are the kinds of concerns many people are having at the moment. Eight years ago Australia probably was the land of milk and honey, if there is such a thing. Plenty of jobs, strong dollar, good economy and a bucketload of cash sloshing around in the government’s rainy day fund, which they called a surplus.

All that got spent following the global financial crisis in 2009 and fast forward to now. Unemployment is at its highest level since I arrived in 2007, 6% as at July 2015 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Now is not the time to arrive in Australia on a wing and a prayer.

So, should you come at all?

Yes, most definitely yes, Australia certainly has opportunities, a lot to offer and it’s a great place to bring up kids. What I am saying is that you should come prepared. Be sure you have plenty of savings behind you; enough cash to survive without work for 3 to 6 months would be a very good idea. It takes the pressure off.

Research the job market thoroughly for whatever it is that you do, make sure there will be opportunities available to you when you get here. Better still, try and line up a job before you arrive, if you can. That isn’t always easy though, some employers are only interested if you are here, they can meet you face-to-face and you are ready to start.

For those that have already made the move though, the comments I get are far more positive. Like the one I got recently; “It is totally worth moving out here. I moved from Cardiff to Geraldton two years ago and have never looked back. It can be a stressful process, but so worth it.

And I’ve never looked back either, and neither has anybody I know personally. We are all still here and loving it. So if you’re coming over, remember the Boy Scouts’ motto. No, not DYB DYB DYB, the other one.

Yes, be prepared.

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Francis Kim December 21, 2015, 3:27 pm |

    Is a high IELTS score (almost) mandatory to migrate here? I’m a citizen by the way but just curious.

    • djmcbell December 21, 2015, 10:23 pm |

      For me, IELTS was needed to get those last few points and that was it. I don’t think it’s mandatory, but I think quite a lot of people may well need a few extra points and IELTS is the way to go.

      • BobinOz December 22, 2015, 10:16 pm |

        This is actually quite a complicated question, because it depends on which visa type you are applying for and your country of origin. For some people the test is not mandatory, but for some people they do need to take it all the same just to get some extra points.

        That was the case for djmcbell. He didn’t have to take the test, but he would have got no extra points for not taking it, he would have been assumed to have been proficient. But he took the test because by proving he was better than proficient by scoring a higher mark, he got more points, which he needed.

        The only person who can accurately tell you what you need to do would be a MARA registered migration agent.

  • Meks December 21, 2015, 5:56 am |

    Hi Bob,
    Honestly I need advice. I currently live in Italy (alone) and wish to migrate to Australia next year by Gods grace. I studied Mechanical Engineering (Diploma) with no engineering working experience, just others like forklift operator, office assistance, etc. I have always wished to be in Australia, and considering the tussle in visa application and stuffs like that, do you think I should? Again, which visa do you think is appropriate for me owing to the fact that im not much “skilled” per se in my field of study? Lastly, I intend to work when I get there and later combine it with education, as I want also to further in my academics – is it possible?.

    Please your response is highly appreciated.


  • peter taylor December 18, 2015, 7:35 am |

    Hi Bob,
    To djmcbell If you have the perseverance to get yourself out to oz, you will do fine,
    I went to south africa stayed for 14 years then returned [thats another story ]
    I found that most people that didn’t stay long was due to one of the family members
    [husband or wife ] getting home sick for family in the UK
    Nice to see you back Bob. Even though I’m to old to come to oz, love your page

    • BobinOz December 22, 2015, 8:18 pm |

      Thanks, it’s nice to be back Peter 🙂

    • djmcbell January 27, 2016, 6:33 pm |

      Bit of a late one – only just noticed this. Thanks for the support Peter, and we hope to persevere. There are so many things we’re looking forward to in Australia, but it’s still a daunting prospect!

  • djmcbell December 17, 2015, 6:08 pm |

    This is what I’m scared of. It’s an expensive endeavour, even before the move. Just getting everything in order is a feat. Now we’ve got to sell the house, move over there and get a job. Fortunately we’ve got my family nearby when we get there for backup, and we’re moving near-ish to Melbourne (well, about an hour and a half commute) so there’ll be jobs there.

    Once the first few months are over, we imagine we’ll be quite happy and settled. However, it’s those first few months there (and the last few here) that are weighing on my mind.

    • BobinOz December 17, 2015, 9:26 pm |

      I know I’ve mentioned it elsewhere on this website, but for us the first four months were the toughest, but at the same time, they were the most exciting. It’s a strange situation, you need to settle and sort out so many things, yet at the same time everywhere you go it’s new, you’ve never seen it before, and add to that, generally speaking the weather is great as well.

      For us, the moment we realised we’d done the right thing was when we had a party for our daughter’s fourth birthday. We had literally just been here four months, and yet we had about 25 people in the house, a mix of kids and adults. That was the day we thought, you know what, this just might work out.

      And it did, and I’m sure it will for you as well. You’ve just got to get through those first few months and get settled.

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