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Arriving in Australia

arrival in Australia

Touch Down!


So the years, months and weeks of waiting finally came to an end. The plane touched down and you are lock, stock and barrel in Australia (or almost). The furniture is still on it's way but in the meantime you need a place to stay, a car, a school for the kids and many more.

We know that "lost" feeling very well. That's why we provide a full back-up service at an affordable price, to get you through those uncertain days.

If you need something NOW and you cant' find the answer, ASA will help for a small fee. Click here complete the form and we will sort it out for you in no time.

Australian Buddy system

In order to make your transition to Australia a little bit easier, it is recommended that you use the "Buddy System." You may read about and research life in Australia forever, but knowing someone in Australia is probably your best bet to understanding "the way things work."  If you can, get a Buddy.

He or she could be a foreign worker with prior experience in Australia , or perhaps a friend or family member who got here before you. It could be your recruiter, area manager, or another Australian  professional interested in helping you get off to a good start. Whoever it may be, be sure that it's a person who you can trust and are comfortable with.

While your Buddy may make every effort he or she can to facilitate your adaptation to living and working in Australia, it is important that you understand that you hold all of the primary responsibilities associated with your relocation. Most foreign professionals find Australia a welcoming and pleasant place to work, and adapt quickly to the new changes in culture and lifestyle. While we can encourage you to get involved with community activities and establish relationships with colleagues and peers within your community, it is ultimately up to you. Successful foreign professionals in Australia consistently agree that the key for adaptation is through enthusiastic immersion in Australian culture. We encourage you to do so and believe you will succeed if you follow our advice.

What your buddy can help you with:

  • Advising you regarding housing, neighborhood safety, location of shopping centers, etc.
  • Provide general guidance to your new work environment and responsibilities. Serve as a sounding board for questions and problems which may arise during the first few months of your transfer.
  • Introduce you to other foreign workers who have successfully adapted to life in Australia.
  • Show you around town
  • Help you with schools, banking, social security aspects etc.
  • Introduce you to friends, and contacts.

Remember: in Australia, never be afraid to ask questions. Australians are usually very hospitable people and are willing to take their time and help you when they can. The success to your Australian transfer lies in your independence and in your establishment of strong relationships with Australian. and foreign colleagues. Your Buddy may help you as best he or she can, but the net result will depend upon you.

ARRIVAL TIPS

Arriving in Australia
The following documents are required for entry clearance to Australia. These documents will be returned to you after immigration processing. You may then collect your luggage and proceed to the baggage examination area. For travellers arriving by sea, immigration processing may be completed on board the vessel. A Customs officer will then direct you for further clearance.

  • Passport
  • Incoming Passenger Card.

Banking
People in Australia usually keep their money in a bank, building society or credit union. Australians use bank cards and credit cards for many purposes. If you open a bank account within six weeks of your arrival, you usually only need your passport as identification. After six weeks, you will need additional identification to open an account, for example, a driver's licence and Tax File Number.

Currency Exchange
Australian currency is decimal. Notes come in $100, $50, $20, $10 and $5 denominations. Coins come in 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 denominations. Exchange facilities are available for all incoming and outgoing flights at all international airports in Australia. Foreign currency or traveller's cheques can be changed at most banks. To calculate your funds in Australian dollars, see the
Currency Converter.

Customs Procedures 
Goods brought into Australia may require the payment of Customs duty and sales tax*, however travellers are allowed to bring into Australia the following goods duty and sales tax* free when the goods accompany the passenger:

  • $A400 worth of goods not including alcohol or tobacco ($A200 for travellers under 18 years of age). For example, cameras, electronic equipment, perfume concentrate, leather goods, jewellery, watches, sporting goods, etc.
  • 1125 ml alcoholic liquor (including wine, beer or spirits) for travellers aged 18 years and over. 
    Tobacco: 250 cigarettes, or 250 grams of cigars or tobacco products other than cigarettes, for travellers aged 18 years and over;
  •  Most personal items such as new clothing, footwear, articles for personal hygiene/ grooming.
  • Personal goods owned and used for at least 12 months can also be brought into Australia without payment of duty and sales tax* (proof of date of purchase may be required).
  • Goods bought overseas, or bought duty/sales tax* free before leaving Australia, are included when determining a duty-free allowance.
  • Members of the same family who are travelling together may combine their individual duty-free allowances. Note: Gifts (given to you or intended for others) are counted as part of the $A400 duty-free allowance. If you have anything in excess of your duty-free goods allowance, declare the goods and provide proof of purchase to Customs for calculation of any duty and sales tax* to be paid.
  • Unaccompanied baggage does not receive the same duty/sales tax* concessions as goods you bring with you. These goods may be subject to duty/tax unless you have both owned and used them for 12 months or more. This also applies to articles posted to Australia. Sales tax applied to the purchase of goods until 30 June 2000. It was replaced by a 10% tax on goods and services (GST) from 1 July 2000.

Please see the Australian Customs Service website for further information.

Driving Laws 
Australians drive on the left side of the road. Strict drink-driving laws apply. Seat belts must be worn by drivers and passengers. In all States and Territories except Queensland, if you have a driver's license from another country, in English or with an official translation, you are allowed to drive for your first three months after becoming an Australian resident. After that, if you want to drive, you will need to have the appropriate Australian driver's license. To get one, you usually need to pass a knowledge test, a practical test and an eyesight test.

Emergency
 Calls to Ambulance, Fire and Police, dial 000 (Digital mobiles, call 000 or 112).

Health Insurance
For Australian residents, the costs of essential medical and hospital care are automatically covered by Medicare. Medicare pays for most of the costs of visits to the doctor, X-rays, blood tests, public hospital care and certain other services. But, Medicare does not pay towards ambulance costs, dental services, physiotherapy, spectacles, podiatry, chiropractic services or private hospital accommodation.

Visitors and temporary residents to Australia generally do not have access to Medicare (Australia's national public health care system). Medical care in Australia is expensive. It is highly recommended that all overseas visitors to Australia take out a health insurance policy tailored for overseas visitors.

While Australia holds reciprocal health care agreements with the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Italy, Malta, New Zealand and Ireland, these agreements do not cover all health services, and time restrictions apply in some cases. Visitors from these countries are therefore advised to take out some form of health insurance cover.

Many Australians belong to private health insurance funds. They cover you for treatment as a private patient in private or public hospitals and can include some services that Medicare does not cover, such as dental and optical services. The costs and types of cover vary widely, so if you decide to get private health insurance, it is important to check the details carefully before you take out the policy.

The Government has introduced financial incentives aimed at encouraging people to take out private health insurance. There is a Commonwealth Government 30% rebate on private health insurance premiums, and a 1% tax levy on high income earners who don't take out private health insurance.

There is also a new system called Lifetime Health Cover under which private health insurance funds charge different premiums depending on the age at which people first take out hospital cover. People who take out hospital cover at or before the age of 30 and maintain their membership will pay lower premiums throughout their lifetime relative to people who take out hospital cover when they are older. If you delay taking out hospital cover, you will pay an extra 2% loading for each year you delay joining after the age of 30 up to a maximum loading of 70% that will apply to someone who first takes out hospital cover at age 65.

More information about private health insurance can be obtained by calling 1800 675 185 or by visiting  www.health.gov.au.

If you need Medical Attention
Emergency treatment can be obtained through some medical centres or the emergency departments of hospitals. Public and private hospitals are listed under 'Hospitals' in the White Pages telephone directory. When you go to hospital, remember to take any medicines you are taking and your Medicare card or private health insurance membership card with you.

If it is not an emergency, you should go first to a family doctor (also called a "general practitioner" or "GP") or a medical centre. You can choose which doctor you attend. If you need an interpreter, the doctor can arrange for one for your appointment at no cost to you.

Your doctor may "bulk bill". This means you will be asked to sign a Medicare form and the doctor sends this form to Medicare which then pays the doctor. Otherwise, the doctor will charge you and you will need to claim the cost back from Medicare or your private health insurance fund. The doctor may refer you to a medical or other specialist for further treatment. You cannot visit a medical specialist without seeing a GP first. If your doctor believes you need medication, you may be given a prescription to take to a chemist shop (or pharmacy). 

Housing
Please contact Passport to Australia for straightforward and unbiased advice on housing options appropriate to your intended situation in Perth, Australia. 

Illicit Drugs
Do not carry illicit drugs. Penalties for drug offences in Australia are severe and could result in a jail term. Medicinal products brought into Australia are subject to strict controls and should be declared on arrival by using the red channel exits from baggage halls. An import permit may be required for products containing prohibited substances such as narcotics, amphetamines, barbiturates, tranquillisers, hallucinogens, growth hormones, anabolic and androgenic steroids and erythropoietin (EPO). Some medicinal products may also require quarantine clearance. 

Medicinal products brought in by visitors but not used should be taken out of Australia on departure. As a general rule, visitors may bring medications required for personal use. The maximum amount allowable is three months' supply. Medications should be kept in the containers in which they were dispensed or supplied. Visitors needing to bring prohibited substances should check about import permit requirements, and also bring a letter from their doctor or practitioner. Visitors must not send medications in advance through the post or as unaccompanied goods. Agricultural and veterinary products and chemicals are also subject to strict controls.

Quarantine Procedures
You must declare all food, plant and animal items on your Incoming Passenger Card, and you will be directed to the red channel exits in the baggage halls. A Quarantine officer will arrange to have your items inspected to ensure they will not harm Australia's environment and plant, animal and human health.

Goods may be returned to you (some items may need treatment before they are returned); however, some may be confiscated. Amnesty quarantine bins are available in the arrival area, or on the way to collect your baggage. f you declare prohibited items, you may be given the option of re-exporting them. If you do not declare items of quarantine concern, an on-the-spot fine of up to $A110 could be imposed or you could be prosecuted.

Trade in endangered and threatened (animal and plant) wildlife and native Australian wildlife is strictly regulated. It may be illegal to take them out of, or into, Australia.

For information and permits to bring in endangered wildlife or products/souvenirs made from them, please also see the AQIS website regarding quarantine procedures. 

Schooling and Childcare

Child Care
There are many types of full-time and part-time child care services available for children too young to go to school and for outside of school hours. You will find a range of child care options in the Yellow Pages telephone directory, including preschools or kindergartens, which prepare children for school, child care or day care centres, which look after younger children and family day-care, where children are looked after by another parent along with their own family. 

Schools
Under Australian law, children must attend school. You should enrol your children in a school as soon as possible. It is compulsory for children between 6 and 15 years old to go to school. Children usually start school when they are five and often continue until 17 or 18 years old in preparation for university or other further education. Children under 12 or 13 years old attend primary school and older children go to high school (or 'secondary school'). Some colleges (senior secondary schools) take only the oldest students, who are generally preparing for final examinations.

 You can send your children to either a government or a non-government school. 

Government Schools provide free education though they might ask for a voluntary contribution. The principal of the local Government school can provide you with more information, for example, about the school's starting and finishing times, their policies on homework, discipline and school uniforms, the curriculum and the methods of teaching and learning, and term dates. If necessary, they will also arrange to have an interpreter present.

Non-Government Schools charge fees and they may have a religious affiliation or a particular educational philosophy. Parents who want to find out about private education schools can make an appointment with the relevant Non-Government educational authority or contact the selected school directly.

Some schools incorporate intensive English programs designed especially for children whose English is not good. If your child would benefit from such a program, ask for information through your local school.

To enrol your children in a school, contact the school by telephone or in person. You will need to take your visa or entry to Australia documents, proof of their date of birth and any papers including school reports relating to their previous education. You may also need to show immunisation documents.

Please contact Passport to Australia for assistance with school selection in your area.

Vocational Education
TAFE (Technical and Further Education) courses are designed for students who want vocational, technical or trade skills. Numerous courses cover vocational training areas such as information technology, business services, arts and media, tourism and hospitality, construction and transport, rural and mining manufacturing and engineering. TAFE Colleges charge fees and students usually need to buy their own books. Students must complete high school to qualify for some courses.

Universities
Australian universities are among the best in the world. A normal degree course lasts three years but there are also double-degrees which take longer, graduate diplomas which may take a year, and so on. Some courses have distance learning and part-time options.

Youth Allowance (for people aged 16-24 years) and Austudy payments (for those 25 years and over) provide financial assistance for full-time students undertaking approved study. Both payments depend on income and assets being within certain limits. A two year waiting period for newly arrived residents generally applies. 

Taxation
Since 1 July 2000, a 10% tax on the purchase of goods and services (GST) has been applied in Australia. Since 1 July 2000, you may be able to get a refund of the GST on the goods you have bought in Australia and are taking out with you. Conditions apply. Please ask ASA for further information.

Everyone who receives any income in Australia needs a Tax File Number. Income includes wages or salary from a job, money earned from investments and government payments. Application forms are available from the Australian Taxation Office which is listed in the White Pages Telephone Directory. You can telephone 13 28 61 and ask for an application form to be sent to you. 

ASA Business & Management Services offers full Tax and business establishment services for new migrants
 

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