|29 Sep 2011|
|We arrived safely 5 weeks ago, although it seems an age since left the UK. As this is my first blog it'll be a long one!|
RELOCATION & RENTING
The arrival was smooth, flight with Quantas good although we did upgrade to premium economy which helped. My husbands employer had put us in an apt on Mounts Bay Road for our initial 6 weeks but we knew we had 2.5 weeks before he started his FIFO job so we wanted to get sorted quickly. They had also arranged a relocation agent to help us settle and find accommodation. Personally, I had doubts about her before we arrived (mainly her sporadic emails and the fact she never once asked us what we would be seeking) and true to form, 2 days after arriving I ditched her and took over the house hunt process myself. Fortunately, we had spent months before arriving on realestate.com and peard.com checking out properties, areas, costs etc so I feel we had a good idea of what our money would rent us. We wanted a pool, why else move to a sunnier climate if you can't have a pool. She said we'd never get one but low and behold we got a great 4 x2 with a pool 8 mins drive from CBD in Yokine. The process was easy, estate agent swift and we had the keys 3 days after submitting our application. We had numerous written references from the UK, colleagues, employers etc testifying as to our character and how we kept our home - these certainly sped up the process. We rented some furniture to get by until our container arrives. It was great, brand new sofa and new TV, so no complaints.
As soon as we secured a rental my husband wanted to secure a car. We were offered a lease option with his employer but after doing the maths found it very costly. Yes in theory the lease cost takes care of RAC, Petrol, Servicing etc but the reality is that these things are relatively cheap here in Oz. We hunted and hunted and his budget kept going up and up as his heart desired a bigger and better 4x4 with each passing garage we visited. In the end, he came to his sense and we bought a very practical new car. The locals think it is the equivalent of buying a skoda in the UK, however we're happy with the car. For $25k we got a brand new Great Wall Jeep with extras (tinted windows, nudge barr, side steps, leather seats etc). Apparently to the locals Great Wall's are rubbish because they're Chinese made. For the price, we know we have soemthign new, which requires no major servicing or repair costs, has a good warranty and is a true 4x4. Many of the smaller versions say they're a 4x4 but in reality aren't. They may pull a car but trying pulling a jet ski out off the beach and you're stuffed. If you want a 4x4, do your homework, many of them don't really pull anything of any significance.
So my husband started his job 2.5 weeks after arrival. He had a week of training courses in Perth before flying out. I work in recruitment and had numerous offers of interviews but wasn't in a rush to start work until after he had gone. I went to a few just to gain an insight into the market here and was offered them pretty quickly. I have many years expereince in recruitment however and this is rare and in short supply here so I knew I wouldn't struggle to find work. I start in 10 days time - wanted to wait until our container arrived.
There is so much to do here thats its impossible to decide what to do. Don't get me wrong, I beleive that there is as much to do in any major city in the world, but if you're from the UK or a colder climate, the main difference is being able to plan and commit. The weather means that you can plan and BBQ and actually have it, or plan to spend a day at the beach and actually go. In the UK, the weather is so unpredictable we found it impossible to make any firm plans. I've googled lots since arriving, found the local council website very helpful and have managed to find my local parks with tennis courts, swimming pools (indoor and outdoors) as well as walking and cycling groups for women only. They have similar ones for men too.
Everyone is friendly and wants to talk to you, even the check out girls at the supermarket want to have a natter about what you're doing with your day.
PAPERWORK AND IMPORTANT STUFF
Things to be aware of is that you are entitled to a level of medicare when you get here. Australia has a reciprocal agreement with the UK so don't be fooled into thinking you need the highest level of private healthcare. Having had BUPA most of my life in the UK I thought we'd just opt for the best cover but in reality we only needed a good hospital sundries cover (eyecare, physio, dental). You will need to register to get a medicare card.
Driving Licence - we're on a 457 VISA and we can drive on our UK licence for 12 months. HOWEVER, be aware that if you don't convert your licence within 3 months of arriving here, you will be required to sit a written exam. If you wait 9 months then you will be require to take a full driving test again.
Tax file number - you apply for this online as soon as you arrive. Apparently it takes a month to arrive however mine came in 6 days and my husbands arrived in 7 days.
I wont deny, being a FIFO Widow as I like to call it, is a little lonely, especially as we don't have children so I am left alone, but I wouldn't swap Perth for the UK and am certainly not homesick, just a little love sick.
Enough for now. I'll update again in a few more weeks.