Well, you don’t need fortune teller with a magic crystal ball to tell you when is the good time to move to Australia. Any time is good time when you are thoroughly committed to succeed. However, there are few things which deserves a little thought to make transition smoother. Let’s take a look at few of them and see why they are important.
Almost 99% of the people who move to Australia plan their move for either of the time period – January – March or July – September. Why do they do it? It’s common belief that these two time periods are the best to search for jobs.
In case of January to March, Christmas holidays are just over and most people are back to work by the end of January. Also, many companies who work according to calendar year might be more willing to fill in the open positions at the start of a new year. As a result, more job are listed during this time and this creates kind of optimistic air for the new migrants who are looking for job.
Similarly, July to September triggers the start of new financial year in Australia. As a result, new team budgets or projects are finalised during this period, which in turn, creates more open positions for job seekers. I have also observed a surge in job listings from the early-September to late-November. I believe it is because companies want to fill the positions before the start of Christmas holidays.
Having said that, it is entirely possible to get a job offer throughout the year. In fact, by avoiding those popular months, you may avoid the competition from fellow migrants to a certain extent. Take my case as an example. I landed in Melbourne by the end of June to target favourable time of new financial year to look for job. However, July and August were in fact the driest months for me in terms of number of interviews scheduled. It took mid-September to start getting regular interview calls and October . Even after getting the job, I was getting interview calls during the November. You get the idea.
Airfare is another factor you just can’t ignore. Depending on when you are planning to fly and how early you book the ticket, it may cost you more or less. You can safely assume that Christmas holidays and first couple of weeks of January is the worst period to fly, for obvious reasons. First, it will cost you a fortune and second, you will find yourself among the mad holiday rush. Instead, you may find a good deal on airfare during the off-peak time which can be significantly cheaper than other deals. If you study the airfare trends, you will get some idea on which time works best for you to travel.
None of the other things matter if you don’t give yourself enough time to prepare for the move. Moving to Australia, or for that matter to any country, is a big deal and takes a lot of planning and efforts to make it happen successfully. Ideally, you should keep a distance of at least 8 months to 1 year between your visa grant date and travel date. This will help you to complete time-consuming tasks such as selling or renting your house as well as to arrange the finances to cover expenses back home and in Australia.
It will also give you some much needed time to study about Australian job market and lifestyle in detail, which will be eventually useful to successfully integrate in the Australian culture. This doesn’t mean you should read all the volumes of Australian Encyclopaedia, but you can learn a thing or two if you read Down Under (also known as In a Sunburned Country) by Bill Bryson. Plus, it’s fun to read.
If you have school going children, this is the deciding factor on time to move to Australia. Schools in Australia usually open towards the end of January or by early February. If you have school going kids, you might want to travel at least 2-3 months prior to help them settle in a new lifestyle and finish enrolment formalities. Please remember that before enrolling to school, you have to update their immunisation details in Australian records. Keeping all this mind and the fact that you may need some time to find house in a good school zone, it’s better to keep sufficient time as a buffer.
Your PR grant letter contains a date called “Must Make First Entry to Australia Before” or “Initial Entry Date“. As evident by it’s name, you must make your first entry to Australia before this date. The date is usually less than a year from the actual grant date, depending on how early you did your medical or PCC. In any case, this is a hard deadline you must meet to keep your visa valid for the next 5 years. If you are unsure about moving to Australia or didn’t have enough time to make the preparations, make a short visa validation trip and decide later about moving permanently.
Though it’s not a major deal-breaker, weather can impact your travel plans. Different states in Australia have different weather conditions. If you are travelling with a family to a city like Melbourne, June to September might not be very ideal time to move. Not only will you experience the winter in all it’s glory, it will also dampen your spirit with a gloomy weather. Secondly, the kids will be worse affected and you may have to make more trips to your GP than to a recruiter. So be well aware of the weather conditions of the city you are moving to and decide the appropriate time accordingly, to avoid harsh weather.
As I said earlier, January to March and June to August is the peak season for recruiters. Sadly, it is also the most competitive period for most of the immigrants. Due to extremely skewed ratio of demand and supply of skill, your chances of getting on recruiter’s radar reduce drastically.
As per Department of Employment’s research data, there were approximately 29 applicants per vacancy for ICT(Information and Communications Technology) related occupations in 2015. Remember that this figure is the average number of applicants throughout the year. Now based on the trend that migrants commonly prefer January-February or June-July to make the move, we can safely assume that during those periods, number of applicants per vacancy would have further gone upto 35 to 40. Also, keep in mind that this was a national average which means the situation was even worse in highly competitive cities like Sydney and Melbourne. Now, this may sound contradictory to the point number 1 about job search. However, you should know both sides of the coin and be able to make an informed decision.
Hopefully, that made some sense and gave you some perspective. However, I would like to know what are/were the factors that you considered while planning a move to Australia. So, let me know about that in comments below.
One more thing, I have created a poll for you to vote for your favourite month to move to Australia. I will update this post with the poll results soon. So hurry, vote your favourite month NOW!
UPDATE: So far, all the options have almost same number of votes with only March to May having slight edge. Let more votes pour in!