Australia is a fantastic place to migrate. Good quality of life (low pollution levels, fresh air), job opportunities (good career prospects for residents and citizens, economic resiliency amid global slowdown) and social welfare (education, healthcare) are among the attractions Australia has to offer.
No wonder this is one of the most coveted destinations among Filipinos who wish to begin life overseas.
Obviously, one has to possess certain qualifications such as educational attainment, career matching and other requirements before moving forward to migration. But once an application has been approved and entry to Australia has been formalized, there are other things to do besides booking a one-way ticket and finding accommodations in the Land Down Under.
1. Attend the Pre-departure Orientation Seminar
This seminar, organized by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, is similar to the one given to overseas Filipino workers before they start their jobs outside the Philippines.
This seminar is required for Filipino emigrants aged 20 to 59 years old to help them acclimatize as they start new life abroad. Topics include immigration procedures, cultural information, settlement concerns, employment and benefits as well as rights and obligations as foreign migrants.
The seminar is held at the CFO office in Manila. Schedule for Australia-bound migrants is every Tuesdays and Fridays at 2-4pm. Each session can accommodate 60 participants.
In addition to the PDOS, peer counselling for younger emigrants aged 13-19 years old is also held from Monday to Friday on morning and afternoon sessions.
For more details visit the CFO website.
2. Prepare important documents.
Sooner or later you’ll be needing these documents as you enroll your child in school, apply for home lease, driver’s license and other activities relating to your settlement in Australia.
- Birth certificates and passports for all family members
- Marriage certificate (or divorce/separation papers)
- Health records (immunization records, dental, X-ray, etc)
- School records, diplomas, transcript of records, etc.
- Reference letters for employment purposes
- Driver’s license or international driver’s license.
- Car insurance papers which may help get better premium when applying for car insurance in Australia.
- Financial records indicating credit rating which may help you get expedited or better deals when applying for credit cards, loans, etc.
- Documents relating to foreign income, assets and investments.
- Receipts of items you will bring to Australia, if available.
- Medical prescriptions and copies of medications.
- Resume which may be modified to suit the Australian work landscape.
3. Identify which personal items to bring
Permanent residents are entitled to bring along any personal / household items you owned for 12 months before arriving in Australia without import duty and taxes. The question now is: is it worth bringing them over (if cheaper) and pay for moving companies or buy them in Australia (which saves freight costs) but may be more expensive or with fewer available choices.
Allowed items without import fees/taxes include:
- Musical instruments
- Antiques/family heirlooms
- Stamp and coin collections
- Power tools
- Sporting equipment
4. Open Australian bank account online
To help finance your settlement in Australia, getting a bank account based in the country is the best option. Afterall, you are migrating there.
There are banks that open accounts to foreigners up to three months before they arrive in Australia. Do a Google search and compare them as you consider transaction fees, maintaining balance requirement, number of available ATM machines or branches within your location upon arrival in Australia.
5. Arrange for international shipping agents
If you are planning to bring a number of bulky items to Australia (furniture, painting, antiques, etc), do research for companies that serve your location and cover Australia within its scope of service.
It helps to get recommendation and referrals from friends and family who are already settled in Australia since they most likely have the idea which ones to use or give practical advice such as whether you need to bring an item or just buy them in Australia.
Understand that household items are expensive to buy in Australia so it might still save you precious settlement expenses if you bring over your things from the Philippines.