Living in Australia
Do you hesitate when thinking of moving to new country, or even when thinking of moving to a new apartment from one suburb to another? I do, and I think everyone hesitates when thinking of moving! All the hassle of moving, the fear of losing their family and close friends, missing local food and nice restaurants – all of these things will come to mind when you’re thinking of relocating.
Despite these fears, I decided to come to Australia from Nepal when I was 19, leaving all my family and friends. Wow! That’s a pretty young age, I don’t know how I did that back then, and how I got the courage!
Well I must say, I have made the best decision my life by moving to Australia as an International student and I am proud of myself. Australia is such a beautiful country with a great education system, diverse culture and religion, beautiful beaches, yummy food, and awesome people. Due to the beauty and opportunity here in Australia, the rate of international students are increasing every day. And I really wonder if our international students are familiar with our Australian culture, systems and are ready to live here? Therefore, I would like to state few important things international students should look into when thinking to move here and or are living here.
1. Organise your TFN
Living in Australia is not cheap at all. A majority of students, including local and international students, do some part-time jobs while studying. For that, do you have your TFN ready?
A Tax File Number is a unique identifier issued by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to each taxpaying entity – an individual. Your TFN is an important part of your tax and super records, as well as your official identity, so keep it secure. Please check this Australian Taxation Office website for information around the TFN and how to get one for you! Apply for your TFN during your first week entering Australia and get yourself ready to do some jobs and earn Australian dollars!
2. National Minimum wage
Even though Australia is a country with strict policies and system in place, there is still some workplaces where our students are either being exploited or underpaid. I myself was underpaid when I moved to Australia for the first time – I was paid $10/hr in the retail industry. I really wish I knew this sort of information back then.
Therefore, please familiarise yourself with the Australian Fair Work Act and know the minimum wage of Australia. In Australia, it is illegal to underpay staff. Please remember the national minimum wage in Australia is $19.49/hr for part-time and full-time workers, and $24.36/hr for casual. This will usually increase every year in early July. So it is very essential to keep yourself updated with the Australian national minimum wage.
3. Understand your working rights: hours
It is clearly stated in your visa and in the Fair Work Act that international students are not allowed to work more than 40hrs fortnightly during their study period, and can work more during their vacation time. Make sure to read your visa conditions properly and take this rule seriously. Any international student disobeying this rule will be guilty and punished with heavy fines and could even face deportation from Australia.
4. Familiarise yourself with some popular sites
Australia is a place where mostly everything can be done at home – from paying bills to paying fines!
It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with popular sites for things like housing (UTS Housing, Domain, realestate.com.au) and finding a job (CareerHub, Seek, Indeed). These are the two important things you will need to continuously search when living here in Australia. You could explore these sites and apply for jobs or make appointments for house inspections while staying at home. We are a developed country with advanced technology and having some digital knowledge would be advantageous for you living in Australia.
5. Health Insurance
Australians believe health is the biggest asset of their living. We spend a lot of money on fitness and being in good health. Therefore, anyone arriving in Australia must meet this Australian Health requirement to ensure you are safe for this environment.
On top of that, healthcare in Australia is superb but can be expensive, so private health insurance is a good idea while you are staying in Australia.
6. Migration consultants
The most important thing to consider when living as an international student is your migration consultant/agent. Please do some research before you trust anyone and handover your documents. Always, check their reviews and ask with your friends/families about their service if they have used those consultants in the past. Lots of people have been ripped off and suffered due to their wrong decision, also spending a lot of unnecessary money on bad agents. So, choosing a good consultant is vital when living in Australia as an international student.
I also highly recommend you research visas on the Australian Immigration website directly rather than only relying on your consultants. The rules and regulations are changing all the time, hence keeping up to date with the visa and Australian immigration rules would be beneficial to you.
There is an exciting event coming up in August called Navigating your visa options after graduation that lets you ask questions about the visa process, and speak to an authorised migration agent. Register today to have your questions answered!
As a former international student, I love sharing my experience and knowledge with new students, and hope that you get the best experience and exposure here in Australia. I highly recommend you to do bit or research beforehand and keep yourself up-to-date with the policies and systems in Australia. Living in Australia could be your most valuable life experience!
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
By Chandani Tuladhar
Chandani Tuladhar is a motivated Recruitment Administrator at UTS Careers since October 2016. Her previous experience of 3.5 years as an Internship Consultant, in the Education Industry and engaging in internship placements allows her to bring considerable recruitment and customer service experience to UTS. She now ensures UTS connects with quality employers and our students get the right internships and opportunities. She is an individual who understands the duty of care owed towards her job and stakeholders, as well as the level of professionalism required, and has years’ experience in recruitment. She enjoys engaging with students, being involved in recruitment activities, finding the right skill set for employers, and seeing her students’ success.