Moving to Australia – Part Three.

Let’s recap on what we have so far. First you have the idea. It’s a simple idea which that says “I want to live in the paradise known as Australia”. Then you decide on the basis of your application having looked at the various Visa options. Now you need to start the application process. The dreaded paperwork.

Before we go any further, let me tell you what you need to know immediately.

How much does it cost to move to Australia?

The process is not cheap, you will need deep pockets. May as well get used to that now and learn to smile as you write out cheques. Please do also note that our costs were incurred way back in November 2007 or before. Prices of everything have certainly changed a lot since then, upwards, of course. I can’t tell you exactly what it will cost you now, but I can tell you what it cost us back then for me, my wife and our three-year-old daughter.

Here they are in order of ouchiness:

Have Plenty of Money
  • Shipping a container load of furniture £6,000
  • Bringing your dog, (you’ll be so glad you have a dog), £3,000
  • One way flight tickets for the family £1,400
  • MARA migration agent professional fees £1,200
  • Fees to the Australian government £1,000
  • Medical fees (including two x-rays) £800
  • Skills assessment fee (if you need it) roughly £675
  • Admin fees, certifications, criminal record fee, postage £150

So far that’s about £14,225.

With the exchange rate of the dollar to the pound at the time, it cost us something like $35,000 AUD.

What will it cost you?

It’s probably best if you ignore my costs and use my list is to get quotes for yourself for each of the major expenses mentioned above. For everyone the total cost will be different. What I can tell you though is that many of these expenses have risen in price quite substantially since 2007.

Most notably, the government fees for the applications. Ours, for example, have more than trebled. We paid $1990 back then; right now (March 2014) it would cost us over $6000! See my page about Visas for more information.

Flights have certainly gone up and I’m sure shipping a container is more expensive now than it was in 2007.

I also want to make it clear that the expense of a MARA approved migration agent is just a small percentage of the overall costs and for most people will now be below the fee payable to the Australian government. As MARA fees come early in the decision and cheque writing process, you may be tempted to try and do it yourself. I say don’t.

Remember, you will lose the fee paid to the government if your application is unsuccessful and there’s no better way of ensuring your application has the best possible chance of success than by using a MARA registered migration agent. The bottom line is though that it’s an expensive process, it’s worth doing your maths to see what you are going to be in for.

By the time you get to the end of this process you will be numb from writing out cheques, you will be past caring. What I am suggesting is to start this process from a position of numbness and carry on from there.

Choosing Your MARA Migration Expert

This is how I think it works. The migration experts are registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) and must adhere to a strict code of professional conduct. They do not work for the Australian government, they get paid direct by you as their customer.

But the Australian government do not want to have to wade through thousands and thousands of poor quality applications. So they expect these agents to filter out applications that do not meet the standard required.

So, for a MARA registered migration expert to put forward your case, they have to believe your application will succeed. Because if they put through too many failures, I believe they will lose their licence. So these agents won’t just take you on to earn a fee, they will only take you on if they think you have a good chance. On that basis I believe it is best to use these people. Most will do a preliminary assessment for a small fee. I think it’s the way to go.

Our agent

We made a mistake when we selected our agent. We were given the name of someone who was supposed to be very good. So we contacted her and asked if she would represent us. To cut a long story down to a medium story, things moved slowly.

She would ask for more information which we would send. But she wouldn’t respond so we would chase. She would make various excuses and apologies and promises to get on our case “next week”. Before we knew it, three months had passed and she still hadn’t actually agreed to represent us, let alone get the application underway.

We had seen this coming and my wife and I had agreed that if we did hit the three-month stage without any concrete action we would ditch her. We did and we did. We didn’t write to her formerly to tell her, we just stopped communicating. She never chased us or contacted us again either. It was a silent mutual ditching.

Don’t make our mistake

It’s easy to say this particular agent was unprofessional, but looking back the mistake was ours.

We are the clients; we should not have allowed ourselves to be treated so shoddily. Who knows what our agent was thinking, maybe her personal life was in turmoil? Maybe she didn’t believe in our case? Maybe she really wasn’t any good? Maybe she was being visited by extraterrestrials at night and found it hard to concentrate on her day job.

It doesn’t matter, we should have moved on after a couple of weeks when we realised communication between us wasn’t good. In truth, we were a little bit in awe; this was a “MARA registered migration agent” we were dealing with. They are busy people? They are important people? Surely we must be patient?

The answer to all three questions is “No!”

They are professionals, yes, but as such should treat you professionally. If they don’t, find another agent and move on.

The worst of it all was during this time we convinced ourselves that our agent didn’t believe in our application. When we began to think like that it was a shattering blow to our confidence. Here was an expert who didn’t even think our application was even worth starting. Living in Australia now seemed further away than ever.

But we didn’t give up, we got another agent. She did a great job. Well, we’re here!

My recommended agent

Many people have asked who my agent was, the good one that is, with a view to using her for themselves.

I did try to contact my old MARA agent to see if she could work with my readers who might need help with the visa process. I could not track her down; she had left the company she used to work for and has maybe now even retired. But I do now have an Australian-based migration agent who is MARA registered and I highly recommend him and my Visa Assessment service.

You can read more about it on this page…

Visit: Visa Assessment

If you want to know more, read Moving to Australia Part 4

For a full chronological list and brief description of all the posts in this series about how I moved to Australia, please visit my page How to Move to Australia.

Visa Assessment Service
{ 94 comments… add one }
  • Dan April 10, 2017, 11:56 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    My partner and I are considering making the move from Canada and believe we would qualify as he is an architect and I am a financial planner / adviser. We are strongly thinking about using your MARA agent to perform the visa assessment service.

    Our time frame, if eligible for immigration would be 1-3 years from now. My question is, after the visa assessment has been completed, and we wish to pursue a full application with Simon, is there a timeframe in which this needs to be completed?

    Thanks! Your blog has been a huge help in our research!

    • BobinOz April 11, 2017, 9:08 pm |

      Hi Dan

      Yes, there is some kind of timeframe in which it needs to be completed, but it is quite a long one. Firstly, the process to actually be granted the visa usually takes about a year, it can be a lot quicker and it can be a lot slower, that’s assuming you do qualify.

      Once you have been granted your visa, the usual process is that you are given a certain amount of time in which to validate it, which you do by entering Australia. Popular opinion on that is that the deadline is 12 months after your medical or police check, whichever is the sooner.

      Once you have validated it, you then have, usually, up to 5 years in which to actually move here. Most people probably validate it and move here at the same time, but if you’re not ready to come to Australia straightaway, you don’t have to.

      That’s my understanding, but my MARA agent will be able to clarify that in full if you have an assessment done with him. Once he knows exact kind of visa you will be going for, he will know the exact rules that apply to that one, as not all visas work in this manner.

      My belief is that it’s best to get it done while you do qualify, because any skill on any list can be removed at any time by the government, and they almost always make changes to these lists on 1 July each year. For me it doesn’t seem to make sense to wait until the list has changed if your skill is on the list now, because there is always a risk it won’t be in the future.

      Hope that has cleared it up, cheers, Bob

    • Tina June 13, 2017, 3:11 am |


      I’m looking to apply for Canada as well. How far along the process are you? Have you found using a MARA agent benefivial. It would be great to compare notes with a fellow Canadian as most board posters are not from out continent or country!

      • Dan June 16, 2017, 2:16 am |

        Hi Tina, We did the Visa assessment service within the last month with Simon. It is something I would highly recommend. It was a very in depth look at what options were available to us and it was provides in a summary e-mail. We also skyped with Simon afterwards with follow up questions. He again was very friendly, helpful and made sure we understood our options and the costs associated. He provided what our next steps should be going forward, overall I think we were talking for almost an hour! This is something I highly suggest paying the $106 approx. CDN for!

        My partner has been and studied in Australia and our next step is to plan a trip this winter for me to visit. If I love it as much as everyone else I talk to does we will proceed from there!

  • Claire Bailey February 26, 2017, 4:13 am |

    I wonder if some can give me some advise we are looking at relocating to OZ in Sept but we will need furnished accommodation for a 8 / 12 weeks until we know which town we want to be based when know more regards work commitments etc. Can anyone advise where i can look for 3 month lets with furnished accommodation for when we first arrive? Everything i have found to date is ridiculously expensive charging a night rate!

    • Mark February 26, 2017, 8:56 am |

      You dint say where you are heading to which would help Melbourne Sydney Perth etc etc….There are things in airbnb you may find, many prices will be coming down know as we head towards winter it may help. There are some places that will find you accommodation furnished as well as unfurnished but depends on area..I know of one in Melbourne area …Dont rule out unfurnished if its cheap enough..

  • Razmy October 29, 2016, 11:21 am |

    Hi there…

    I’m not trying to be funny here. Can I leave Malaysia and migrate to Australi because of can’t stand of my Government treated us here?

    Is there any other way of becoming Oz residents or whatever way since I don’t have any skills and just an Army Offr Retired. So don’t think i would have skills outside there. Just some Site Safetey Offr (construction)


    (Kinda laughing when i typed this because of the Government)

    • BobinOz October 30, 2016, 7:15 pm |

      You must apply for and be granted a visa if you want to come to Australia to live. I couldn’t possibly tell you whether you would qualify or not, for more information see Would I Qualify?

      Not liking the government of your current country is not usually a pathway to moving to Australia. Good luck though, Bob

  • Hariharan Krishnamurthy September 21, 2016, 4:07 pm |

    Do I have to go with a MARA agent ? Cant I apply as an individual ?

    • BobinOz September 21, 2016, 7:48 pm |

      No, you don’t need to use a MARA agent at all, you can complete the application yourself. The only problem is if your application is declined, you will lose the visa and application fee, it’s not refundable.

      When you use an agent the likelihood of that happening is massively reduced. If you are confident of getting your application right though, then there is nothing to stop you doing it yourself. Good luck, Bob

  • Richard August 30, 2016, 5:01 am |

    Good day! I am Filipino nurse currently working in Singapore! how much the cost if I will undergo bridging program in Australia? Does it needs IELTS? how many months would it take the bridging program? How much the rent monthly while undergoing the bridging program? Am I allowed to work part time??thank you.

    • BobinOz August 30, 2016, 8:21 pm |

      You would need to speak to a MARA agent about the costs and how it all works, I am not able to answer those kinds of questions. See Would I Qualify?

  • Rams August 1, 2016, 3:47 am |

    Dear Bob,

    Please let me know how can i get 457 work visa. whom should i contact? – Thanks

  • Imad July 31, 2016, 8:09 pm |

    I am imad from lebanon , i am looking for australia woman can help me for spouse visa, i am ready to pay we can discus about money, how you can help me?

    • BobinOz August 2, 2016, 12:15 am |

      Sold out at the moment, when I get more stock in, I’ll let you know.

  • Rama May 28, 2016, 8:49 pm |

    Dear Bob.

    I am from India. I have 10 years of experience in IT( server Administrator) I egarly want to travel Australia. Please let me know how can i move and whom i can contact in Bangalore in india. Please give your contact number. -Thanks

    • BobinOz May 30, 2016, 3:24 pm |

      I don’t know anybody in Bangalore, but please visit my page about Migration agents. to help you choose a MARA registered agent to assist you.

    • Johnson June 15, 2016, 7:49 pm |

      I have read about you so much that I could not hold my joy to say that one day I must be in Australia . Is a country I love so much that I have passion for knowing fully that is too far from Africa.
      I wold like to be communicating with you always as we proceed I will tell you my interest .
      Thank you .

  • Axel March 9, 2016, 6:56 am |

    Hi bob,,thAnk for these helpful site,between many blog you are the only one who catch my attention,im from mauritius island and i just want to move from these corruption political system to work and live in Aus,im 27 my wife 23 and my little girl 9months.can you give me the best wAy to achieve this goal please.

    • BobinOz March 9, 2016, 5:49 pm |

      Thank you for your kind words, but I cannot guide you on how to get here, all I can tell you is that you will need a visa. See Visas.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Gaetan February 2, 2016, 8:25 pm |

    Hey, thanks for this helpful site! I am at the very beggining of process, i am at the stage of “i wanna immigrate” but wondering which documents i have to provide as i am not in my home country but expatriated to South Korea with my wife… Are e-documents such as work certification allowed and being granted by certified translator? All of my original documents are back in France and so far the (probably) only way is to contact my temporary agency to send me by email the proper documents…. I do not want to proceed thru a Mara Agent yet if situation would get worsened about documents…..

    • BobinOz February 3, 2016, 8:24 pm |

      Most applications are completed online these days using certified documents, so you will probably be okay. But to be sure, you should ask your MARA migration agent to clarify the situation when you first talk to them. They will know if there are any documents that need to be originals.

  • Claudia November 1, 2015, 1:40 pm |

    I’m so thankful I came across your blog.
    My husband is Australian born but has lived all his life in Canada (father Canadian, mother Australian). I’m a Canadian citizen. We would like to make the move to Brisbane. Few questions if you can guide us.
    1) do we have to hire a MARA for me to get accepted with the proper documentation?
    2) would my husband have a hard time finding a job even though he is Australian born? (He holds dual citizenship)
    3)Would all the fees you mention be roughly the same for us to do all the paperwork?
    4)how willing are employers to hire overseas? By that I mean ideally it would be best if my husband locks in a job before the big move. This way he moves ahead of me and I can deal with selling/renting our place before meeting him in Brisbane.

    He does have relatives in Australia but they’re all scattered throughout plus he doesn’t want to bother them ;-(

    Your guidance will be greatly appreciated.

    • BobinOz November 2, 2015, 5:40 pm |

      Well, I can help as best as I can. Firstly, no, you do not have to hire a MARA agent, you can do it all yourself. It’s all a matter of choice and whether you feel confident of getting all the paperwork right.

      I view using a MARA agent as a bit of an insurance policy, the cost of visas these days are much higher than they used to be, and if you put in an application that is refused you do lose that fee. So sometimes it makes sense to pay a MARA agent something like $3k when, say, the total cost of your visas for the family might come to $6000 or much more.

      This sort of answers your third question as well, the fees today are much higher, you can find out exactly how much it will cost you if you watch the video on my page called Visas and then use the government’s website to drill down on your visas to find out the cost.

      I really can’t help assess your husband’s chances of finding a job though, that’s impossible to do, although I can confirm that it is generally much harder to secure a job whilst you are still overseas. My page Getting a Job or a Sponsorship might help you with that.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Lodson August 11, 2015, 4:27 am |

    Hii…very nice videos, But i wanted to know about the comparison between sydney and melbourne with respect to Expenses & what would be the rents in sydney as compared to melbourne..?as i’m a student pls recommend me a good city to go, where i can find part time job easily and a average living cost…
    Also help me to choose any of these two universitys 1.Deakin-Melbourne or 2. CQU-Sydney….thanks

    • BobinOz August 11, 2015, 9:14 pm |

      You need to look at my pages about both of those cities, you’ll find links under the main navigation menu to Australian Cities. Have a good read of the comments and you’ll see people talking about the costs of living and getting jobs in both of them.

      Can’t help you with choosing the University though, I have no idea what they are like.

  • Lorie August 9, 2015, 10:26 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    I am thankful I was read this blog. I and my friend have plan to study in Gold Coast and get a student visa. I just want to find out if Envirotech International College is a good school. And I also want to know if the place there has cheaper cost of living. Can you please quote us a cost (food, rentals, transportation means) for our stay at least 1.5 years.

    Thanks in advance and hope you help me with this.


    • BobinOz August 10, 2015, 9:07 pm |

      That would be quite impossible for me to answer for you Lorie, you haven’t told me exactly what you’re going to be eating, where you wish to travel to and from or the kind of accommodation you want for the duration of your stay.

      If you could make a full list of everything, every meal, every snack, every journey you intend have in those 18 months…

      Just kidding of course.

      I can’t help you out with that college either, I have no idea what it’s like, I suggest you search for some kind of college review site to see what you can find out. As for the costs of everything, try my page The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Tracy July 18, 2015, 9:43 pm |

    Hi Bob
    Thanks for fab information on your site. My Sister married an Ozzie and moved back to Brisbane 3 years ago. We have been out and are now thinking of moving out there – even if it is for 3-5yrs, the experience itself would be wonderful. On our return, we attended an ‘immigration to Oz’ event and a MARA agent there advised it would be easy for me to get into Australia (I am a Psychologist) but did mention the tricky application process and Govt. fees etc… and he did a free assessment (as they all tend to do!) but now – 1 year later, we have twin babies so I understand it would be more expensive.

    My questions are 2 fold
    (1) is with regards to MARA fees – Ive been sent a list of costs and the first thing is an ‘engagement fee’ of £250+VAT then a fixed fee for all stages of the Skilled – Independent (Subclass 189) visa application of £1,850.00 plus VAT payable in instalments.
    However, what confuses me is the ‘additional costs’

     English language test fee (approximately) £105 – £155 (Depending on the test provider)
     Assessment Authority Fee (approximately) $954.55
    Visa application stage
     DIBP – Skilled – Independent (Subclass 189) visa Visa Application fee (initial)*A$ 3,520.00
    additional visa application costs will be levied for secondary applicants
     partner & children over the age of 18 A$ 1,760.00;and
     for applicants under the age of 18. A$ 880.00/per person
     Medical examination (approximately) £250 – £350/per person
     Security checking costs (per person over 16) £45 (in the UK)/ per person
     Courier fee (if applicable) Disbursement will be invoiced accordingly.

    I do understand the medical fees as per your site and the partner and children fees but when I went on the Oz govt site to check the actual Visa cost it was A$3915 for that type of Visa but including partner and 2 children under 18yrs. I have tried to ask for clairfication with the MARA but I need to complete the ‘engagement’ form and fee first?

    Can you shed any light on the above – I’m not a particularly organised person when it comes to my personal life but know I need to get organised for this but we’re still at the ‘Part One’ of your blog with the ‘idea’ and the whole process is confusing and a tad off putting.

    (2) Timeline
    last question(s) is with regards a timeline from engaging with MARA to actually receiving your visa, how long is it? Also, I was planning to try and find a job prior to going do you think this too difficult to do – is their an expiration date on the visa and how can you organise accomodation if you are waiting on a visa?

    Thanks so much in advance I am so pleased we found your site! Any advice/guidance you can offer is very much appreciated
    Kindest regards

    • BobinOz July 20, 2015, 12:24 am |

      Hi Tracy

      Let me tell you straight away that I am hugely sceptical when it comes to ‘free assessments’. Typically these things take about 10 minutes, you are asked a handful of questions and then told you have a very good chance.

      To take things further though, you need to pay money, in your example you have been asked to pay £250 as an ‘engagement fee’. I suspect it’s at this stage that you will need to supply some solid information and the agent will then properly look at your options on your behalf.

      I’m pretty sure it is possible, in some cases, for the agent to actually then not fancy your chances and decide not to represent you, but you won’t get that £250 back.

      Now, on to your questions about fees and other things. These are questions I can’t answer because I’m not a MARA registered migration agent, but if you were to go through my Visa Assessment Service which is conducted by my MARA registered agent who works with me on this website, you will get a written report detailing your options and, in my agent’s opinion, the best option for you.

      He will then also quote you the full costs for that, including government fees and fees that would apply if you were to choose him to represent you in your application.

      My agent won’t give you all this for free, we don’t do ‘free assessments’, but he will not ask you for an ‘engagement fee’. He’ll just tell you how much it costs for him to do the work on your behalf and how that needs to be paid.

      So, if you want a second opinion, then I suggest you click the link included in my comment here and read more about what my MARA agent can offer you. Worst way, you pay $100 and you find out for yourself whether the prices you have been quoted are reasonable or whether you can get it done by my agent for a better price.

      My suspicion is that you will save money by using my MARA agent as I know his prices are extremely competitive.

      As for timescale, there isn’t one, my agent might be able to give you an indication, but usually it varies wildly from person to person and application to application.

      Good luck, Bob

      • Tracy August 10, 2015, 3:49 pm |

        Hi Bob,
        HUGE thanks for getting back to me -I had my suspicions about the ‘free’ assessment and you’ve confirmed that for me now.
        I’ll check out your MARA and thanks for clarifying the process very much appreciated!
        Wonderful blog
        All the best!

        • BobinOz August 10, 2015, 10:57 pm |

          Okay, thanks Tracy, and good luck. Bob

  • ali July 6, 2015, 11:10 pm |

    Hi, I’m champ of power lifting in asia, I’m also coach here, I’m44 years there anyway for me to apply for immigrate to australia?

    • BobinOz July 7, 2015, 7:13 pm |

      There may be, but only a MARA migration agent could accurately answer that question after finding out much more about you, see my page Would I Qualify?

  • Kayla July 2, 2015, 8:13 pm |

    All the costs that you have put on here is that individual costs or is that what you paid for your family??

    • BobinOz July 2, 2015, 8:59 pm |

      These are costs for the whole family, two adults and a child Kayla.

  • victoria May 13, 2015, 7:19 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    I am 42, teaching mathematics for the past 8 years. I am romanian/ british citizen and hold both passports. I know Aussie needs maths teachers but not sure how to start applying for residency. I tried an agency which quoted me appx £8000 with indefinite viza.

    What would you suggest? Also is it better if i apply through the Aussie Gov? With which passport?

    Thank you for your advice.


    • BobinOz May 14, 2015, 6:26 pm |

      Every application goes through the Australian government Victoria, only they issued the visas, nobody else. You can use a MARA registered migration agent to act on your behalf, but they still send your application through to the government here.

      I’m not sure what you meant by ‘indefinite” visa, but if you need professional assistance with your application I highly recommend my agent, please see my Visa Assessment Service.

  • Henri March 28, 2015, 4:22 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    Me and my fiance have decided to move or at least try to move to Australia.We are 26 years old from Finland. We are coming to Australia next week on a working holiday visa and try to take it from there. Is our best option to try to live and work for two years and then apply for the permanent residency or do we have other choices? I would love to have a discussion via e mail with you about the choices we have and the money it would cost.
    I would really appreciate any help, thank you very much.

    • BobinOz March 29, 2015, 9:36 pm |

      I’m afraid there would be no point in talking to me about your best approach to moving to Australia, only MARA registered migration agents are able to give that kind of advice and I’m not one.

      Getting PR in Australia is quite complicated and depends on many things, I strongly advise that you talk to a MARA registered migration agent about your situation, preferably before you come on your WHV.

      Do make sure the person you talk to is MARA registered, or, if you prefer, use my agent through my Visa Assessment Service.

      Good luck, Bob

      • Henri March 30, 2015, 10:22 am |

        Hi Bob,
        Thank you for the quick reply.
        We are going tomorrow to actually to Australia so talking to a MARA agent before might be a problem. Could you tell me what kind of paper work or information do i need for the visa assessment service to know about my chances? Being on the road complicates things slightly. After the visa assessment your agent witch i will use, tells me if i have a chance of getting a visa, right? How much money after that will it take to get the ball rolling? An educated ques would be enough. I have papers and a couple of years of work experience as a Carpenter from my country Finland, witch is on the skilled occupation list. Thanks again, your page is great!

        • BobinOz March 30, 2015, 5:18 pm |

          Well, there are around six pages of information requested in the questionnaire, usual things, your work experience, details of relatives, your age, address, countries you’ve visited, that sort of thing and my agent would need a copy of your up-to-date CV.

          It’s really impossible for me to say how much after that it will take to get the ball rolling, it really depends on what kind of visa you need to go for. As a very rough guide my agent usually charges around $3500, although it could be less or more depending on what you need done.

          You can find out the costs applicable to the Australian government for the different visa types by checking my page called Visas, the video will show you how to do that.

          Hope you have fun when you get here. Cheers, Bob

  • katie lewis February 1, 2015, 2:13 am |

    Hi Bob 🙂
    Love youre blog!
    im 23 and i have decided this year im going to austrailia preferably the beginning of december i keep putting it off due to priorities but if i dont go this year i wont go!
    in youre best opinion which is the best place to go for my age group?
    i want fun new friends beaches, sun, shops restaurant clubs an experiences! i know thats all of Australia haha but im torn of which place to go ! :/ id obviously in the end would like to get a stable job and a place to live because once i go i know i wont want to come back ever 🙂
    Any help i would so much appreciate because i would love to start making plans booking flights etc!
    Hopefully speak soon

    • BobinOz February 2, 2015, 3:15 pm |

      Hi Katie

      I love that you love my blog 🙂

      Firstly, I’d check out my page called A Quick Guide to Choosing a City in Australia and all the comments there, it should help you narrow down your search.

      My advice would be to choose between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane has I certainly think you would want to locate yourself in a major city because there is simply much more going on in them. Brisbane is not the greatest choice for the beaches, you would need to travel about an hour or so to get to either the Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast to go to a decent beach. So maybe that narrows it down to Sydney or Melbourne.

      Hope that helps in good luck, Bob

  • kunal January 12, 2015, 11:34 pm |

    hi bob,
    Myself Kunal Sawant an indian national looking for an opportunity to work and settle down in Australia. I have done 3 years diploma in hotel management and having 10 years of experience as a butcher. I had worked with 5 star hotel and cruiseliners . currently I am residing in Dubai working for a Catering company.
    If you find any sponsor for me , kindly contact me on below mention number.

  • Christine November 8, 2014, 1:05 pm |

    Hi,I’m a college student that studies miscommunication in Taiwan, 21years old, going to graduate next year June, I want to apply self 457 visa for moving to australia, I’ll be in sydney at11/17-12/12 my phone is0470411404, hope you can find a agent that can speak mandering for me thanks@@ and I was wondering if I can pay 20000first? Others for installment? i can pay all of the fees before probably next years February @@my budget probably is 30000, hope that can be lower XP thanks

    • BobinOz November 9, 2014, 9:05 pm |

      Yes, I can see that your miscommunication skills are very good, I have no idea what you are talking about 🙂

  • dan June 27, 2014, 9:17 am |

    hi bob,
    I have read some of the content on your website and I think its good, certainly inspiring. im 21 and I would like to move to Australia in the future, Its my dream. as it was your dream one day and you were at one point so far away from it but you got there in the end. anyway I want to be in a professional scientific job, does Australia have opportunities for people like me? and could I even go to university in Australia? please get back to me I am young and there’s so much for me to know and question.

    • BobinOz June 29, 2014, 12:37 am |

      It’s not easy to get a visa to allow you to live permanently in Australia, but those with good professional qualifications and work experience do get priority. But it sounds to me as though you would like to come here to study, that’s possible as well, although I think you’ll find you would need to pay for that education.

      So you will either need to get your qualifications and education in your current country and hopefully get a degree and some work experience in a skill that is in demand here, or you can come here and pay to study, but that doesn’t guarantee you can stay. You would still need to apply for a more permanent visa when you have finished your studies.

      Check out my page All About Visas for more information.

  • Mohamed musthafa May 17, 2014, 12:28 am |

    How to get pr in Australia? Am in Indian Am 27yr old guy I married my qualification in bachelor degree an diploma in business mgt from London ,I have experience in supervising in London around 1.5 yr ..please replay me Asps Thanks….

  • 5672 May 2, 2014, 11:12 pm |

    Hi bob,
    Im a 21 year old jordanian and want to work in australia, what is the best way to enter live and work there ?

    • BobinOz May 5, 2014, 5:52 pm |

      There is no best way that fits all, see my page about Visas.

  • Lizzy April 30, 2014, 5:08 am |

    Hi bob looking for some answers hope you can help . We are wanting to move to Melbourne me my husband and our 2 kids my husband is a plaster and would be looking for that kind of work however we don’t no we’re to start ?? We are moving from Scotland

    • BobinOz April 30, 2014, 9:00 pm |

      I’m not sure either Lizzy, other than through the links you will find on my page called Getting a Job or a Sponsorship.

      I have no idea what the work situation down in Melbourne would be for plasterers, so I can’t even give you any ideas at all.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Rosanne February 10, 2014, 2:54 am |

    Hi Bob,
    Just wanted to add our experience into the melting pot;it’s almost the exact opposite of yours!!! We started putting the wheels in motion with an Irish/UK based migration consultant and to cut a long tedious, frustrating and ultimately futile story short, we had to sack him as he was completely inefficient. Communication was always an huge issue despite being on same time zone, and he could never give us straight answers without having to consult his “legal department”. We wasted almost 2 yrs trying to get everything together for 457 visa application and fell at the last hurdle as our sponsor didn’t meet training benchmark requirements. And we did most of the work. He was rude and arrogant. So, we had to make a decision, kiss goodbye to our money and our oppertunity or do some research and take another gamble!!! Friends of our who are in Perth recommended migration consultants they had used who are based in Melbourne. We made contact and we are now almost on step 2 out of 3 of 186 pr visa process.We have achieved more with this crowd in 6 months, than we did with the other joker in 2 years. Communication is not an issue. Infact, it has huge advantages. All we have to do is send an email before going to bed and we have response in am. They have been polite, efficient and understanding, no amount of questions are too much!!!
    But it is true what you say. It is a hugely stressful process as with every piece of paperwork or every milestone, be it references, medicals, police clearances, there is always that nagging doubt at the back of your mind, will, it all be ok????
    And, yes you need very deep pockets, probably not as much as you have mentioned. Although the visa we are applying for now is def more expensive than previous one, it has lots more benefits attached to it than 457 Visa, namely medicare, school fees etc.
    So the moral of the story is, make sure you get really good Migration Consultant as it is the biggest move you will probably ever make, you need an experienced consultant behind you.
    Hope this is of some help to somebody who is thinking of making the move!!!!
    Keep up the good work Bob.

    • BobinOz February 10, 2014, 4:01 pm |

      Hi Rosanne

      Sounds like you had a nightmare with your first agent and wasted a lot of time. Thanks for taking the time to detail your experiences here, I think the lesson anyone looking to use an agent should take from this is…

      Make sure you feel very happy and comfortable with your selected agent (MARA registered, of course) and if you are not, cut your losses early. Good communication is essential, so if it’s not happening, change agents. There are plenty of MARA registered migration agents to choose from.

      I’m pleased to hear you found someone up to the job in the end. Some people get a little concerned about dealing with a MARA agent based in Australia when they, themselves, are based thousands and thousands of miles away in say America or Europe. As you have found out though, communication can actually be easier.

      Shame you didn’t find my website earlier, I would have put you on to my migration agent, things would, I guarantee, have gone much smoother from the start.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Tariq January 10, 2014, 11:52 am |

    Dear Mr. Bob

    I am not well qualified but I have good working experience and didn’t have same job degree, I am base from PAKISTAN and now working in JEDDAH SAUDI ARABIA
    I don’t have any source who can sponsor me from Australia.
    is there any chance or possible that I can complete my dream to live and work in Australia.
    Can you help me and give me good guide line how can or It will just dream in my life.

    • BobinOz January 10, 2014, 2:44 pm |

      Yes, already answered you above Tariq, you really do only need to ask your question once 🙂

  • Sarah January 10, 2014, 11:42 am |


    I am having a real nightmare over choosing visas and calculating the money I need… arrrgggg !!! this website is great, I have taken one step in contacting golden arrow in regards to my four legged pooch , they are great and I am very impressed with them, so thanks for there mention ( seen it somewhere on this website )

    However my mums cousin in Aus has asked whether she can sponsor, what commitment is involved ? Not being able to stretch to having an agent, so where do we start ? If a paint and decorator by trade and have been for 9 years, which visa should i be looking at in your opinion ?!?

    I appreciate any help ….


    • BobinOz January 10, 2014, 2:43 pm |

      Hi Sarah

      Glad to hear my website has been some help, unfortunately I can’t advise you on which visa you should be looking at, I’m not qualified to do so. Only MARA registered migration agents are allowed to make those kinds of suggestions.

      May I suggest you visit my page Visas as I think that may help you.

      Good luck, Bob

  • janie March 23, 2013, 12:05 am |

    Thanks for your time and advice Bob, I’ve had a look at the visa assessment service (have I now taken you upto the $17.59 for the number of people you’ve told this to :)!) and would happily use Miki, although I’m just wondering that as I won’t qualify until September and as far as i know cannot apply until September, should wait until then to contact Miki (also pending any changes on July 1st) or would you advise I contact him now to start taking the steps towards the process? (assuming that I wouldnt’ have to pay again in September?)
    Thank you 🙂

    • MARA Miki March 26, 2013, 9:37 am |

      Hi Janine,

      I’ll be short and sweet if ok, because Bob’s system keep thinking that i am not a human and doesn’t let me answer.
      You should not have any problem obtaining a visitor visa (remember, it is now SC600!) you may need to leave the country in every 3 or 6 months (day trip to NZ, Fiji)
      I can do the assessment now, all i need is a reasonable explanation. I have had a few complex cases where we’ve been emailing back and forth for about 2 weeks trying to work out a few details; so no, i wont double charge you in September:)

      • BobinOz March 26, 2013, 9:44 pm |

        Maybe next time we meet up for a glass of beer Miki, I’ll bring my “system” with me so that it can prod you and stuff. That should put an end to it 🙂

        I’ve made some tweaks, hopefully it won’t happen again.

        Anyway, thanks for answering this for Janine, I wasn’t sure of the answer myself.


        • Tariq January 9, 2014, 4:21 am |

          hi bob
          i want to move to Australia how i can chat with u

          • BobinOz January 9, 2014, 7:43 pm |

            Here, through these comments.

            Any questions you have, please ask them on a relevant page and I’ll do my best to help you. If I can’t help, somebody else might.

            • Tariq January 9, 2014, 8:52 pm |

              thx bob
              but i don’t know how can i do this all
              i click their sites but didnt understand
              and how i can reach u pvt. so can tell u and discuss wd u
              its my dream wish to move Australia
              i need ur help to take me out

              • BobinOz January 10, 2014, 2:10 pm |

                Australia is not an easy country to get into Tariq, this country is looking for young and skilled people in certain professions who have good command of the English language. If you are having trouble understanding the information you are looking at, if you do not have specific skills, qualifications, or even a degree, it will probably be quite difficult for you to move here.

                I suggest you take a look at my Points Calculator and try to work out how many points you might have. If you don’t get enough points to qualify, it’s going to be really difficult for you.

                You could always consult a MARA registered migration agent, but I would not advise that at this stage, you need to do some basic research first.

                Good luck, Bob

  • janie March 22, 2013, 7:45 pm |

    Hi Bob

    Thank you for your fab website & for sharing your experiences. It certanly gives me a bit more hope than the immigration agent I spoke to this week.

    I 40 this year (yikes) & am hoping to move to Oz with my little girl when I graduate from uni in September. I’ll be a newly qualified physio then & I thought I’d be okay as physio’s are on the Oz skills shortage list. i was hoping to get a 12month tourist visa and then look for a job a few months down the line. However after speaking to the grim reaper of immigration this week my hopes were dashed as he was so negative & said chances of a 12month visa were as likely as a lottery win – even tho I can support myself financially when there & he wasn’t positive about me migrating either (so much for me being happy to be on the skilled list).

    I then spoke to another agent who was more positive and said I have 50 points and if i could get sponsored by a state and live and work in that state for 3years (sadly not nsw as it’s too popular apparently) that I would stand a chance. She was going to mail me some options but i’ve not heard back (I fear it’s a repeat of your experience with aussies not wanting to say no).

    However after reading your story, I feel a little more hopeful. Any advice welcome but mainly to say thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • BobinOz March 22, 2013, 10:13 pm |

      Maybe you should check out my MARA agent, it could be a case of third time lucky. I have been working with Miki for well over a year now and I know enough about him to be able to tell you that he prides himself on “finding a way in”.

      The service isn’t free because he does spend a good deal of his time poring through all of your information before making his recommendations, and I’m not suggesting that he will easily find a solution for you. One of the problems you face is your age, sorry 🙂 and that you probably don’t have any actual work experience being as you are still in the process of qualifying. Employers here like to see three or four years work experience.

      That said, whatever the best pathway is for you to take, my man will find it. Check out my Visa Assessment Service.

      Good luck!


  • Soraya March 1, 2013, 6:47 am |

    Hi bob..hope you are fine ..first I should say thank you
    For your useful information ..I’m planning to move
    To Australia skill select..I’m a pre school teacher
    And I need the lists of schools there to sponser me…
    So I could get a permanent visa ..I need your help..

    • BobinOz March 1, 2013, 8:43 pm |

      Sorry Soraya, I don’t have such a list, helping people get job sponsorships is not something that I currently do. Good luck though!


  • ASK September 24, 2012, 10:04 pm |

    Hi BobinOz,

    First I would like to thank for the wonderful service you are doing via this website. Please like me only can understand the importance. Whatever I search in Google, it throws a link of your website. Your website is very useful for people who want to migrate. I should not fail to mention about the book “20 reasons to live in Australia” as it hold information like a dictionary. No words can match your websites information. Thanks for your excellent service.

    I read about the charges for migration. I am planning to migrate from India. Trying to get PR for me an my family (wife and 2year old child). As you suggested I tried calculating the total amount. I am not going to ship anything nor I don’t have a dog. I didn’t include the flight tickets. I got the total of $1600. Is that all I have to spend for a MARA agent or is there anything else. I am really sorry to bother you on this as I don’t know anyone in Australia. If you were in a position that you couldn’t answer for this question please give me some reference email ID. So that I can ask them.

    After reading your website, the blog information’s, for the past 3 days I consider you as one of my family members. As I said earlier I don’t know what words to put here to show my happiness in reading your website. In Tamil there is a saying, “Thonda Thoda Poodhayal” means “Dig more deeper, you get more Treasure”. It best matches your website.


    • BobinOz September 25, 2012, 7:35 pm |

      Hi Ask

      Or shall I call you uncle? Just kidding 🙂 I really appreciate your kind words about my website and I am very pleased that you have found it useful.

      As to your question and those fees, it looks like you have only counted the fee payable to the MARA migration agent for his services, on top of that you will need to pay the Australian government a fee when applying for the visa.

      How much that fee is depends on which visa you are applying for, and you need to search Google for ‘booklet 990i visa fees’ and download the booklet then look at the fee that would apply to your situation. But I’d sit down first and pour yourself a drink of whatever your favourite drink is before opening the booklet; some of these PR visas are quite expensive. On top of that, you will have some medical examination fees to pay along with a police records check, fees for these vary in each country.

      I’m afraid I think it’s going to get a fair bit more expensive than is $1600.

      Good luck


  • Mike September 18, 2012, 11:08 am |

    Hello, my 2 friends and I are 19 years old. We are wanting to move to Australia for at least a year or more. I have completed a semester at University, but my 2 friends have not. I have experience working at Budweiser Standard Sales here in Texas, and my 2 friends work in the oilfield. We were wondering what kind of Visa’s we should get and we really need your help.

    Mike, Dylan, Brandon

    • BobinOz September 18, 2012, 1:17 pm |

      I would be checking out the Work and Holiday Visa if I were you. It’s for people from certain countries, including the USA, aged 18 to 30, lasts for 12 months and allows you to work while you are here. It’s what backpackers come over on, it allows them to have a long holiday but also top up their spending money by doing casual work.

      It’s a great way to see Australia and these visas aren’t so difficult to get. Good luck!

  • Alannah May 13, 2012, 11:15 pm |

    Is a migration expert nessecary if I want to get into Australia with a student visa for roughly four years? Also do you know if there are any extra things I need to do in order to live in Australia as a student

    P.S I love your blog, it has helped so much

    • BobinOz May 14, 2012, 8:54 pm |

      Hi Alannah

      No, a migration agent isn’t necessary, you can do it yourself. But a migration agent would know if there are any extra things you need to do in order to live in Australia as a student, so perhaps that’s why people use them 🙂 Unfortunately, I don’t, so I can’t help you with that one.

      Glad you love my blog!

  • hirday March 25, 2012, 9:55 am |


    • BobinOz March 26, 2012, 11:50 pm |

      Hi hirday, sorry, but that’s not what I do here.

  • hirday March 25, 2012, 9:54 am |

    hi sir i am hirday singh , i have been working with starwood company in asia pacific {westin hotel in india} right now i would like to say that i want to go to australia, i am working as a chef for 6 year in indian curry nd tandoor. would you like to help me out.
    so ,i will be grateful to you for my great kindness help.
    thanking you very very much.
    best regards
    hirday singh

  • Arnab March 17, 2012, 1:19 pm |

    Bobin, I have a 457 visa sponsored by my employer but it is taking ages for the project to get approved by the client and I am waiting for the last 5 months. Is it possible to find an Australian employer from my home country who will transfer my visa?

    • BobinOz March 19, 2012, 5:54 pm |

      Sorry Arnab, I don’t really understand the situation you are in, so I can’t help I’m afraid.

  • abc February 9, 2012, 8:58 pm |


    i am a qualified chartered accountant form india,planning to migrate to australia.can anyone please tell me what are the prospects of my CA there in australia.will i be able to find out jobs relating to my profile there.How is the living environment there and how much package will i be able to get as a start in australia.pls help me for my query.

  • Ben June 17, 2011, 9:07 am |

    I’m curious as to which agent you used. We’ve looked into it with one agent and been quoted around £2,800- somewhat more than it was back when you went through the process- but am wary to just pay that given these stories of agents doing nothing for the money.

    • BobinOz June 17, 2011, 8:19 pm |

      Hi Ben

      You can read about the agent I used over at my page about migration agents. There is also a guide to costs on that page.

      Last I heard, the person we used was no longer there, but I will call the company next week to see if they have a replacement and find out about their current services. If I get anywhere, I’ll update here.

  • BobinOz February 3, 2010, 7:56 pm |

    Well, you are right, you don’t need a migration agent. Certainly, if you are confident enough to fill in all the paperwork, then you can do it yourself. But in some ways I think it does depend on your situation.

    If you have a definite skill that Australia definitely wants and you are the right age, then you may be better doing it yourself. But if you are a borderline case, as we were, then it may be worthwhile using an agent.

    After one false start, which actually un-nerved us because the migration agent didn’t really seem to think we would get in, we were lucky to find a really good migration agent. We were very happy with the work she did. On the other hand, it sounds like you were very unlucky.

    But your story is good encouragement for all those fancy going it alone. See, it’s not that hard.

  • David February 3, 2010, 11:35 am |

    You don’t need a migration agent!

    We had 2, one we appointed ourselves though a “live in Australia” show in London. She seemed a nice woman, pleasant. A year, and $1000 later, she did b*gger all for us. We eventually complained to the MARA, and about another year later we got a letter off them saying she’d had a bit of a talking to. No refund, no apology, no nothing.

    The second was appointed by a company I’d got a job with – just as useless, no clue about how to bring my step-daughter over.

    We eventually went solo, did our temporary visa ourselves, then our permanent residency papers. They’re not that hard, just lots, and lots of them. Double check all the paperwork required, and just take your time filling it all in. Took time, but it’s not like trying to generate a legal document, and at least we had control over our own destiny. (Oh, and they did give us the visa, after asking for more paperwork first!)

  • BobinOz March 30, 2009, 8:53 pm |

    @Rodney & Vicki Williams
    Hi Vicki

    Thanks for your comments. I love it here in Oz, my life is so different. I thought it’d be good here but it’s way better than that. I’m not surprised you came back.

    Having children the right age does help you to get to know people. Our five year old daughter is always finding us new friends. But there are so many more ways of meeting people, Australia has lots of community events.

    Even having a dog will get friends, because of the dog parks. Each year they have a dogs party at Christmas! Wine and biscuits for humans. Yes, it’s great here.

    Speak later


    • karam singh August 31, 2015, 5:59 pm |

      Hi sr
      in australia people use to call me k man
      I spend more then 5 years in Melbourne
      I need your big help. I studied five year .
      But my college didnt gave me my study certificates. Head of the collage is indian guy. I been requesting and they just dont want to give me
      Plese advise me what i can do
      Or i just lost my full future
      Because my future depands on my study
      And i dont have my study proof
      Pls help

      • BobinOz September 1, 2015, 3:22 pm |

        This isn’t something I can help with.

  • Rodney & Vicki Williams March 30, 2009, 9:45 am |

    I love your blogsite, nice fresh and informative.
    How are you enjoying life in OZ? We are Kiwi’s living in OZ, we have lived in OZ twice. When we went back to NZ we couldn’t wait to come back and now that we are here again there is no way we are going anywhere else.

    It is amazing the skills and qualities that are drawn out of you when you move country, or even states for that matter. I believe it is easier if you have children because it forces you to meet new people and get out there and join groups. I know this because when we moved here the first time our children were 18 months and 6 weeks old and we didn’t know anyone, we had never been to OZ and were totally lost so to speak but having young children was what kept me sane. I had to get out there and meet people.

    When we moved back to OZ our children were 13 and 11, and I noticed that because the kids were older it was harder to meet new people like it was when they were younger.

    Anyway I can share lots of experiences about moving to OZ.
    Talk again soon.

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