Finally, after two years of waiting, working hard, hoping for the best, you are now a permanent residence of Australia. You can now travel outside the country on unlimited basis, bring in your parents and children, and pursue any career you want.
This is the end of your waiting and the start of a new life and new opportunities. So it is best that you take care of the important things that you are now entitled to. Get your notepad and put these items on your priority list.
Securing health insurance is one of the most vital things you should do upon getting your PR visa. This will cover your expenses in case of sickness or accidents. Australia’s health care system is divided into two: the public and private system.
Medicare, a universal health scheme provided by the Government, handles the public sector, allowing people to have access to general practitioners (or GPs, as they are called here) and hospital services at low or sometimes no costs at all. However, it has its limitations. You cannot opt to be treated by your own physician and you have no control when and where you will be granted medical care. Also, waiting times for elective surgeries (those that are not urgent) can be long.
The private system, on the other hand, covers these limitations in addition to providing physiotherapy, chiropractic, optical, dental, other specific health care requirements. But before you can take advantage of these, you need to have health insurance. You may choose from the many privately-owned health funds in the country. Please note that each health fund have different structures and offer different policies. Also having a private insurance will not exclude you from the public system.
If you have been drudging with housemates whose company you don’t really enjoy or an apartment you don’t fancy, you should be delighted to know that as a permanent resident, you are now entitled to the First Home Owner's Grant, a one-time grant given to applicants to purchase their first home. Upon securing this, you can acquire a mortgage. Please be advised however, that the mortgage will depend on various factors such as the lender, the financial climate of the time, your income, and your credit rating, among others.
Choosing your home will depend largely on the location of your workplace or, if you are planning to switch employers, the city and the climate of your preference (find out here which Australian city is perfect for you). You may buy a property either from a house auction or a private seller. Either way, it is best to ask for a trusted agent’s help to guide you the way.
Also, remember that buying a property is not for everyone, since it involves a huge financial responsibility. How do you know if you are ready to get your dream home? Find out here.
Of the things in this list, getting a car is perhaps the most optional, as you could always go around via bus or train. However, Australia is large and teeming with places both gorgeous and unique, and owning a set of wheels allows you to visit these beautiful spots.
Once you have decided, you may start searching for the best deals online. Drive, Carsales, and Car City are some of the most trusted sites to look at. You may buy either from a dealer or a private seller, but there are pros and cons. You will pay more with a dealer, but they will handle the warranties, documentations, and insurances for you, as well as the road-worthiness of the vehicle. You may save a lot by buying from a private seller, but with none of the benefits mentioned.
Cars in Australia are pricier compared to those in United States and Canada but less expensive than in United Kingdom and New Zealand. Car prices in the bigger cities like Sydney and Melbourne are lower due to the supply. Be sure to negotiate and haggle for the price want. When negotiating, take consideration if your employment package includes a novated lease benefit. This agreement between you, your employer, and a financing company allows the employer to settle the cost and operation of a vehicle prior to tax (via salary deductions), lowering your taxable income in the process.
If you are employed, saving for the future, or wanting to manage your expenses, then you definitely need a bank account. And the steps are surprisingly simple.
Australia has four main banks, the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, NAB, and WestPac. There are also international banks like HSBC and Citibank. Just go to any branch closest to you and provide a proof of identity (like your passport, driver’s licence or a company ID). You also need to provide your home’s physical address so they can send you your debit card. Also, be advised that banks apply a service charge of three to five dollars per month.
Family won’t be complete without your kids. And now that you are a permanent resident, you can bring them in. When the right age comes, they would have to go to school. However, the rules, requirements, and fees of enrolling kids at school vary depending on which state you are in.
In the Australian Capital Territory, they prioritise the children living within the Priority Enrolment Area (PEA). This means that only after accepting children from PEA will they start offering enrollment students outside the area. You may apply for enrollment via this form.
In New South Wales, the Temporary Residents Program permits eligible students with temporary resident visas to enroll in a New South Wales Government School from Kindergarten to Year 12. However, since you are a permanent resident already, there will be fee exemption schemes available for you.
If you live in the Northern Territory, you also need to know that public schools follow a priority enrollment scheme in your state. Enrollment forms can be found here.
Queensland, meanwhile, requires that your child is five years old by the 30th of June to be able to enroll. Starting next year, it is making compulsory for children to commence Prep prior to Year 1. In primary schools, Prep is a full-time program which your children attend Mondays to Fridays, from 9am-3pm. Enrollment form here.
Schooling periods in South Australia are divided into four terms. This coming 2017, Term 1 is from 30 January to 13 April, Term 2 is from 1 May to 7 July, Term 3 is from 24 July to 29 September, and term 4 is 16 October to 15 December. You must first contact an educational agent to have your kids enrolled and then submit a student education form.
In Victoria, tuition fees are all the same for Government schools. You may enroll your kids anytime of the year. You would need to provide evidence of your child’s date of birth, your contact details, doctor and dentist’s names and phone numbers, Immunisation Status Certificate, and any other documents the school may request.
As a permanent resident in Tasmania, you are required to enroll your kid(s) once they turn five (or four in case of Prep schooling) as of 1 January in any year. You may approach any educational institution nearest to you to inquire about the process.
If you live in Western Australia and your child turns four on or before 30 June 2017, you can enroll him/her to Kindergarten. Pre-primary or the first year of compulsory school starts at age five on or before 30 June 2017. This period is compulsory. To enroll your children, you may approach the nearest school in your area.