Once you’ve gotten your visa approved, now is the time to make other life changing decisions. I’m sure you have plans already laid out, even before you applied for a visa, but now it’s time for everything to take shape. Time is crucial.
The moment we received notice of our approved visa, my partner, Boo, had less than one month to prepare. I had around two and a half months to pack, prep and fly as well. Every day of the week since then, we had to accomplish something. And so should you.
It’s time to drill it in your head that you’re moving to Australia. Building your life there can be both difficult and exciting, but before you can get to that part, you have to fix your priorities first. So, settle your affairs one at a time and remember to do the following:
1. Make a calendar and set the date.
You may or may not have an employer waiting for you, but it is important that you get things in motion so you can properly prepare yourself or your family for the move. This way, you can have as much time as you want or you can easily allocate what little time you have and spend it with your friends and family.
Prepare your calendar so you can make the most out of your everyday. Planning ahead means you’ll save yourself plenty of head ache, and of course, money. That means, you also have to book and pay for you flight as soon as you can. The early birds get to pay a cheaper fare than the others.
2. Money is crucial.
Count what’s in your piggy bank because you won’t be able to go far without it. Ask yourself, how many months can your savings afford you or your family housing and living expenses? One month may not be enough, even if you have a job waiting for you. You just can’t risk it, especially if you don’t know firsthand how expensive it is to live in Australia.
3. Gather all the documents you need and identification that you can.
There are so many reasons why you need them that I don’t know if I still need to emphasize it. Still, you need them because: You need doctor’s prescriptions for certain medications that you are bringing with you. You need skill certifications for your profession. You need to produce employment history when you are job hunting. You may need police clearances when applying for another visa. You need school transcripts for you or your children. You need medical records and birth certificates and so on and so forth.
PS. Photocopy everything and have important documents validated or notarized.
4. Print your Visa Approval Notice or Letter
Yes, the Australian Embassy in the Philippines no longer stamps your passport. Your visa is attached electronically, but for some reason, the immigration officers in Philippine airports still want you to present proof that you have an Australian visa. Don’t ask me why, it’s just the way it is. Been there, done that.
5. Update your resume and your references
You need to update your resume and make different versions of it. Why do you ask? Well, if you are making a career change or applying for different positions, your resume should reflect the requirements of your potential employers.
Also, you need to secure the telephone numbers and email addresses of your references. They have to be up-to-date so employers can easily communicate with them.
6. Secure your bank accounts, forward your mail, and cancel subscriptions.
You can easily do some of these transactions online, but since it’s the Philippines, sometimes it’s more reliable to just transact over the counter. I easily activated Cirrus on my BPI ATM card at a bank branch and had them forward any bank statements to another address. Also, you may want to ask BPI to approve a local account, such as your mother’s or your wife’s account number, so you can make online deposits to it even when you’re overseas.
Face-to-face transactions are more reliable. One time, I encountered a bill collector for a local cable subscription company who was more than keen to cancel my subscription for me. He also asked that I provide him with some monetary assistance as cancelling cable subscriptions can be tricky. I smelled something fishy. So, I went directly to the cable provider’s office and cancelled my subscription without paying anything. So, beware of your bill collectors. Some are liars! They can be devious.
7. Research and shop for a new neighborhood
Nobody will do it for you, so you have to look hard where you and your family may live. Think about neighborhoods with proximity to the things you need, like school for the children, your commute to work, the nearest grocery, and the post office among others. Walkscore is useful if you want to know where or how near things are.
Another site which helped me a lot is www.realestate.com.au. I really recommend it.
8. Go to POEA and get your Exit Clearance. And for emigrants, secure your CFO sticker and attend your PDOS or peer counseling seminar. You can check the following website for more information: www.poea.gov.ph and www.cfo.gov.ph.
9. Secure your dollars.
You can withdraw and access your money from any ATM in Australia, but it also helps to have a few dollars on hand. So far, I have seen only one foreign exchange accepting Philippine Pesos and that is at the airport. At the time, they are selling Australian dollars for Php47. Yipes!
You can bring in as much as $10,000 Australian dollars, but more than that, you have to declare it. But, if you can access your money through your ATM, why would you even hold on to that much cash?
10. Build your network
Filipinos can be found all over the globe, so I am sure you can find a friend or a relative somewhere, somehow. They’ll be more than glad to help. At least that’s what the reception I have had so far. Anyway, to help you set your expectations and get your hands on some real and friendly advice, you can interact with lot of Australian residents and Filipinos on www.pinoyau.info and
You may also want to read:
10 Tips on Moving to Australia: To Buy or Not to Buy
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