Though moving to any country is not a rocket science, it is definitely as nerve breaking as a rocket launch. Much of that stress is a fear of unknown, but more often than not, you are just scared that your preparations aren’t good enough, that you missed something important. That’s where this post will help you – to give you a checklist of things to do because I believe that if your preparations are solid enough, you can sail through anything.
Moving to Australia is a mammoth step. It takes a lot of time to plan and prepare for the move. Below is the checklist of things that you should do before moving to Australia. Some of these steps may not apply to you, but most of them do. This is not an exclusive list, but I have kept it as accommodating as possible. To make it easy for you, a PDF version of this checklist is available in the downloads section. Please check it out!
After You Get PR
Now that it is officially confirmed that you can move to Australia, it’s good time to start preparing. Assuming you still have nearly 9-12 months to go, you can start working on the below tasks. Please Remember that the things that you do now will lay a solid foundation for your smooth and successful career in Australia. So stop procrastinating and get going!
- Create professional looking email address, if you don’t have one. Don’t use funny email address like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Cryptic looking emails also don’t look professional such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Stick to the simple name.surname format such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Use this email address only for Australia related services such as job search, banking, rental search etc. That will reduce the clutter in your mailbox.
- Complete certifications/professional degree in your skill set. Technically, it’s late if you are waiting to finish certifications till you get PR. But still if you didn’t do it yet, do it ASAP. Certifications/degrees won’t make sure you get the job but it will at least make you look like a guy who is serious about his career.
- Improve your LinkedIn profile. If you haven’t created LinkedIn profile yet (yes, I know few people who haven’t), do it as early as possible. If you have a profile already, make sure to keep it updated and keyword rich. How to create a solid LinkedIn profile is a topic in itself, but suffice it to say that you can start increasing your connections, ask people for recommendations, add your certifications to the profile and so on.
- Make a list of things you wish to ship to Australia. This will help you later when you plan to rent or sell your house.
- Polish your resume. Similar to LinkedIn profile, you may need to totally revamp your resume to make yourself more sellable. Now will be the good time to write about your latest projects in details as they will be fresh in your mind.
- Register on Australian job portals and upload your latest resume. This will save a lot of time later when you land in Australia. Additionally, if you are lucky, recruiter might even call you and schedule an interview from overseas.
- Make sure that the passports for all your family members travelling to Australia, are valid for at least next 2 years. That way you wont be stressed about renewing passports and updating passport details in your visa.
6 Months To Go
When you have barely six months to go before travel, you must focus all your energies on completing big chunk of tasks. Most of these tasks are time consuming and requires a lot of planning, so prioritise them accordingly.
- Book flight tickets. This is one of the most important and time-critical task which should be done as early as possible. In fact, I would suggest to decide a tentative travel date and book flight as early as 9 months before travel. This will commit you to a day against which you can plan everything. Secondly, you may find some good deal or save a lot of bucks, if you book early. While booking the flight, in addition to low airfare, find the the airlines that has good baggage allowance. Usually, when you buy one-way air ticket, you get more baggage allowance. I got 45kg on first trip with Qantas while all the other airlines allowed 40kg only.
- Rent/Sell your house. This task may take a month or more depending on the demand in your area. I preferred the rent option as I was still unsure how I would cope with Australian life, but you may choose to cut the ropes and move to Australia wholeheartedly. It’s personal choice but the one which you will have to make anyway.
- Get necessary documents from your kid’s school that might be required for school enrolment in Australia.
- Sell or give away the furniture, electronic goods and other stuff which you won’t be shipping to Australia.
- Finish any minor medical treatments such as dental work, eye check-up and full health check-up. If any minor surgeries are required, do it now. Also, don’t forget to buy an extra pair of glasses/contact lenses.
- Get the driving license extract letter from RTO. You may require it later to get an Australian driving license.
- Connect with Australian recruiters as well as other people in your industry on LinkedIn who are working in Australia. Introduce yourself and politely ask them if they can share their experience of finding the first job in Australia. If they ignore your request, that’s fine but if approach 10 people with that request, you can expect at least 2 people to reply back. That is still good first-hand insight into the job market.
- Close minor debts such as personal loan, car loan etc. if you can. This will reduce stress on your finances back home.
- Arrange enough finances to cover all the expenses back home for at least next one years
3 Months To Go
This will be the most productive period and can be most stressful too. You need to do a lot of tasks, so prioritising is very important. Basic rule which I followed was to do those tasks first which are dependent on third parties such as buying Forex or getting immunisation certificate from the doctor. Depending on your situation, you may have different priorities and that’s fine as long as you know what to do.
- Buy Forex. As per RBI rules, you can’t buy Forex exchange 60 days before the travel date. So once you are eligible, keep an eye on currency movements and buy when it is right time. As for how much to buy, please refer to my article on how much money you should carry to Australia.
- Advertise and sell Car/Bike. You may need to close associated loan or insurance too.
- Get immunisation certificate from your GP for your kid(s). This will be required when you enrol your kid to the day care or school in Australia. Depending on if you are moving with or without family, this may be required right away or later on.
- Resign from the job. Depending on your company’s HR policies, you may have to resign 3 months before or later. Whatever may be the case, keep at least 2 weeks of gap between your last day at job and your travel date. This will help you finish any last minute tasks later.
- Close unwanted bank accounts, insurance policies, investment accounts etc.
- Book AirBnb or budget hotel for initial few weeks in Australia
- Cancel subscriptions for utilities such as electricity, gas connection, broadband, Cable TV, newspaper etc.
- Open account with any Australian bank of your choice. Top banks in Australia, also termed “Big 4” allow you to open the account from overseas. It’s straight-forward and quick process but will save a lot of hassle later.
- Buy travel insurance. This is not a must, but good to have as an additional layer of financial cover. Get quote from 3-4 insurance providers, compare and then decide.
- Create a shopping list and update it as and when required. You can use this comprehensive travel checklist as a reference.
- Consult a lawyer and create a power of attorney in the name of close relative/parents. This will help them to tackle common issues such as property maintenance, submitting documents on your behalf, deal with legal matters, if any, in your absence etc.
- Enable international roaming on your mobile. This will keep your Indian number active and secondly, you can still receive the One Time Password(OTP) SMS for various transactions in India such as credit card payment. You may need to keep a minimum deposit or just convert your plan to prepaid one, depending on the provider. Find out the cheapest option and go with it.
- Scan all the important documents such as passports, visa, degree and professional certificates, academic transcripts, birth certificate, employment related documents, tax records etc. Keep them organised on a cloud storage. Keep one copy on a USB drive which you will carry with yourself.
- Get prescriptions for any medicines which are not over-the-counter. Also carry the prescription for your glasses when travelling.
1 Month To Go
Time is quickly slipping away. Now that you have got just one month to go, you should already be finished with all the major tasks. Take your time, check if you have ticked all the boxes in the previous section of the checklist. If yes, it’s time to go ahead and finish the last few bits.
- Buy the items as per the shopping list you created. While doing the shopping, keep mental track of the weight of the items you are buying.
- While packing, group items according to the luggage bag. This will make finding items easier later on.
- Inform the Australian bank by email about your tentative arrival date and location. This way they will keep your kit ready to collect at the nearest branch saving you a lot of time when you activate your account.
- Cancel all credit cards except one or two which you may want to keep for emergency purpose.
1 Week To Go
Almost there. It feels like you are sitting on a time bomb now. Make the most of these last few days by spending them with you dearest and nearest. You won’t be seeing them for next few months or may be even years. Enjoy while you can.
- Activate travel card and make sure the PIN is working by testing it at local ATM. This will surely spare you a lot of headache and hours on phone with bank’s helpline staff. I am burnt by this, so take my word for it.
- Book a cab for the travel date.
- Ship the items to Australia, if any. Make sure that you will get sufficient time before they arrive in Australia.
- Spend as much time as possible with your family and friends. Arrange a family get together if possible and celebrate.
- Do a web check-in before the day of travel. This will save you the pain of waiting in a long queue.
Finally, it’s a goodbye time. Stay relaxed and stay focused. Take good amount of sleep and keep your cool. Nothing much you can do on the last day except to recheck your baggage, do a last-minute check and keep your documents handy
- Weigh the luggage and keep some room for adjustments if required at the airport. Ask your friends/relatives to accompany you to the airport First of all, this will keep in good mood. Secondly, in case you need to take some stuff out of luggage due to weight limitations, you don’t have to throw it away.
- Carry small notebook and pen. This will be handy to fill the custom form in the flight.
- Carry light snacks/meal with you. I hate airport food. Usually its overpriced and of trash quality. You don’t want to spoil your mood just because of bad food.
- If you suffer from the motion sickness, it’s better to carry medication to counter it. Also, it’s a good idea to carry some first-aid with you in the cabin luggage.
Whoops! That’s quite a long checklist, so start working on it as early as possible. Prioritising tasks is vital and will help you finish crucial tasks first. Also, doing multiple tasks in parallel can save time. For example, while you have advertised your home for rent or sell, you can sell or give away unwanted furniture, electronic items.
Most importantly, remember to live in a moment. What you have achieved this far is commendable. So don’t forget to celebrate your achievement and enjoy a bit. In the next instalment, we will see all about things to do after you land in Australia. Till then, stay awesome, be Aussian!