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Relocation to Australia – The Leading Edge guide


  • pg 1
									    Relocation to Australia –
    The Leading Edge guide
:: Visa                                                           :: Preparation
    For overseas residents the Visa process is as follows:           The following is designed to help you prepare for your
                                                                     move. It will assist in making the relocation to
    1. The Leading Edge apply for sponsorship to the
                                                                     Australia an organised and smooth endeavor with as
       Australian Department of Immigration and
                                                                     few “surprises” as possible.
       Multicultural Affairs, providing your information
       such as cv, job description and letter of offer. This         §   Arrange for a power of attorney for your affairs during
       process tends to take up to 4 weeks for approval.                 your absence

    2. We then receive information that sponsorship is               §   Be sure your will, and that of your spouse (if
       approved. You must then complete Forms 1066                       appropriate), is up-to-date
       and 160, which we’ll send out to you. A medical               §   Make copies of all valuable and legal documents you
       examination including chest X-Ray is required                     are taking with you - birth and marriage certificates,
       with Form 160 (this includes, where relevant, your                bank details, social security records, tax records
       partner/children also coming to Australia).                   §   Keep a record of all insurance policies - life, accident,
                                                                         medical, house insurance, fire, theft, car - with your
    This process tends to take 6 – 8 weeks in total.
                                                                         other documents
    The visa is for a period of 4 years and are granted for          §   Vaccinations: International certificates of vaccination
    the individual working with The Leading Edge.                        booklet –School records of your children (if
    Individuals are not permitted to change employment                   appropriate)
    or employer without prior approval of the Department
                                                                     §   Driver’s Licence: Obtain an International Driving
    of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs. A visa covers              Licence if possible.
    the individual’s partner – ie. sponsorship through The
    Leading Edge allows an individual’s partner the right            §   Marriage certificates: May be required for visa
                                                                         extensions, etc
    to work in Australia as well.
                                                                     §   Birth Certificates: May be required for visa etc
    For more information on this visit the web site of the
    Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs at

:: Currency
    The Australian currency (AUD) has a floating
    exchange rate. For details of the latest exchange rate
    refer to www.bloomberg.com, follow the links to
    currency calculator.

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:: To Do’s                                                           :: Health Services
    8 weeks prior to moving:                                            Australian residents whose income exceeds a certain limit -
    Notify the following about your move:                               this means just about everyone - must contribute to a
                                                                        national health scheme (“Medicare”), regardless of whether
    §   Financial/Legal (notify in writing)                             they access the services – currently 1.5% of salary.
        Bank/ Building Society/ Credit Union/ (Loan and                 For temporary residents, access to medical services under
        Savings accounts)                                               Medicare is limited to emergency needs only. That is,
        Life Assurance Companies (Quote Policy No.)                     general practitioner consultation fee and emergency hospital
        Credit Cards                                                    cover in the case of an accident. It does not cover elective
                                                                        surgery and dentistry costs.
    §   Property Insurance Company (Contents - Quote Policy
        No.)                                                            Private health coverage is recommended to bridge the gap
        Car Insurance Company (Quote Policy No.)                        between Medicare and access to non-emergency health
                                                                        services (including dental care, which is expensive in
        Any other insurance
                                                                        comparison to the UK). Australian Private Health insurance
        Health Insurance (ie. National Insurance)                       can be expensive for overseas visitors (who even with
        Health Fund – arrange overseas cover                            health coverage receive access to limited services). An
    §   Motor Registry - a. car registration b. driver's licence        additional levy is payable in Australia if you do NOT have
        (get an international licence)                                  private health cover, which makes private health cover even
                                                                        more viable.
    §   Solicitor
                                                                        To get a better idea about Australian Health Cover, visit the
        Accountant                                                      site of one of Australia’s largest Health Insurance providers
    §   Doctor - Get records and prescriptions                          at www.medibank.com.au, which will give you the exact cost
                                                                        of health coverage. The Essential Residence Cover, has
    §   Dentist - Get records and prescriptions                         an excess of $150 and is approved by the Australian Tax
    §   Organise health insurance to cover you in Australia             Office. Alternatively, Medical Benefits Fund Australia, have
                                                                        a good Corporate Overseas Cover www.mbf.com.au/main.
    Approx. 5 Weeks Before Moving                                       Another option is to check with your current health
                                                                        insurance provider to see what the cost would be for taking
    §   Make a list of everything to be moved/ get estimates
                                                                        out international insurance. Check what is covered and what
        from several moving companies and select your mover
                                                                        isn’t. Then compare this to the cost of Australian health
        (if appropriate)                                                insurance and work out what’s best for you in terms of cost
    §   Start packing                                                   and coverage.
    §   Cancel deliveries: Milk/ Newsagent (with date of last           More information can be found at Medicare at
        delivery required)                                              www.immi.gov.au.
    §   Electricity Dept (with dates of "off" at old address)           When you arrive in Australia you need to apply for a
                                                                        Medicare card. This can be done by going to any Medicare
    §   Gas Company (with dates of "off" at old address)                branch with your passport (containing visa information). You
    §   Telephone Company (with dates of "off" at old address           need to renew your Medicare card every year. The nearest
        including mobile phones)                                        Medicare office to TLE is in the 39 Martin Place, Sydney.
    §   Post Office (pay monthly fee for redirection of mail –          When choosing a doctor, make sure that you go to a doctor
        mail can be directed to The Leading Edge until a                that Bulk Bills – this means you just show your Medicare
        permanent address is organised)                                 card & you are not charged for the consultation (if you go to
                                                                        a non bulk billing doctor, you will have to pay & claim it
    §   Subscription Services (magazine, journal)
Dive: Etc                                                        Projectback)
                                                                          Name                                                   2
:: Taxation
    Income tax is levied exclusively from the Federal            Note that these definitions apply to residency “for tax
    Government (as opposed to the State Governments              purposes” – on the 4 year sponsorship visa you are
    in each State or Territory of Australia). The financial      considered a Temporary Resident (Long Stay). N.B.
    year is from the 1st July until the 30th of June.            The implications of this are that you cannot vote, do
                                                                 not get full Medicare (as above), and have to pay
    §   When you arrive in Australia, you need to obtain a
                                                                 overseas student’s fees on any further education
        Tax File Number. This can be done at your
                                                                 courses that you might want to take.
        nearest tax office. Closest one to The Leading
        Edge is in the Centre Point Tower – about 20             A self assessment system applies to all taxpayers
        minutes walk from the office. Addresses are listed       which mean that taxpayers’ returns are not generally
        in on www.whitepages.com.au (or call the                 scrutinised by the ATO. The Taxation office relies on
        Australian Taxation Office on 13 2861) and are           selective auditing of past returns and taxpayers’ affairs
        typically in major shopping centres. You will need       to monitor compliance with the tax laws. For further
        your passport & visa with you and it is good to          taxation queries, visit www.ato.gov.au.
        take any other documentation with you such as
        Birth Certificates/ Marriage Certificates etc. If you
        have a partner then you should also obtain a TFN
        for them irrespective of whether they intend to
        work or not.                                            :: Trading Hours
    Income tax will be levied at progressive rates on your
                                                                  Generally offices are open from 9am to 5pm Monday
    taxable income for the year, which is calculated by
                                                                  to Friday.
    subtracting from your assessable income all allowable
    deductions. Income tax is directly deducted from your         Retail stores in Sydney are generally open all day
    salary                                                        Saturdays and Sunday. Within the suburbs, stores
    If you become a resident of Australia you will be taxed       are generally open until 9pm on Thursdays.
    on your income from worldwide sources.                        The vast majority of restaurants in the low – mid price
    You may be entitled to a credit for foreign income            range are BYO – you supply your own alcohol. An
    taxes paid.                                                   excellent idea – just check if the restaurant is BYO &
                                                                  if it is, to take along your own wine.
    Spouses are not taxed jointly; each individual is
    treated as a separate taxpayer.
    Each resident must complete a tax return at the end
    of the financial year. It must be lodged with the
    Australian Taxation Office (ATO) by 31 October. For
    assistance see “Tips for Preparing your Tax Return”.
    If you are working temporarily in Australia for a period
    of six months or more you are likely to be regarded as
    resident; if less than six months you are likely to be
Dive: Etc
    regarded as a non resident.                              Project Name                                              3
:: Banking                                                        :: The Rental Market
    Banking hours are normally 9.30am to 4pm Monday                 As you will need to find somewhere to live in a short
    to Thursday and 9.30am to 5pm on Friday. Most                   space of time, we have put together a summary of
    banks have Automatic Teller Machines, which enable              things you might need to know when looking for your
    24 hour fund access. Debit cards can also be used in            new home. It is quite easy to find suitable
    stores displaying an EFTPOS symbol.                             accommodation within a week to ten days of arrival.
    The Leading Edge pays all salary into accounts by               A good web site           for   rental   properties   is
    direct debit each fortnight. Online banking is highly           www.domain.com.au
    recommended. Check what service fees may be
    applicable (i.e. getting a cheque book may incur                Share Accommodation
    fees).                                                          Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday is the best for
    You will need to organise a bank account once you               share accommodation, although experience at The
    arrive in Australia. For information on services                Leading         Edge        has        also     found
    provided by the major banks, visit the following web            www.flatmatefinders.com.au to be pretty good. The
    sites:                                                          process is that individuals complete a form about
                                                                    themselves & the kind of place sought, and they match
    www.commbank.com.au                                             individuals to people looking for tenants.
                                                                    How it works with the paper – get up early on Saturday
    www.stgeorge.com.au                                             & go through the listings for the areas you are
    www.anz.com.au                                                  interested in. (Spend a weekend exploring some
                                                                    different areas first to get an idea where you’d like to
    To open a bank account you will need to take along              be – The Leading Edge will provide you with all the
    your passport and your tax file number. You will also           advice you need to help this process).
    need proof of the date of your arrival in Australia (if
    this is not contained in your passport.) If you leave           Call all the ones you want to see & make
    this for longer than 6 weeks after your arrival, the            appointments. Be prepared to be quizzed quite
    process becomes more complex with further ID                    thoroughly…and prepare some questions for them too!
    required - so do it when you arrive.                            Some make up their minds on the spot, usually you
    Also note that it may be difficult to get a credit card         leave your name & number & they get back to you
    during the first 6 months, and the credit limit is              when they have made a decision.
    generally low.                                                  Get as much info on the phone & don’t bother going &
    Make sure you still have overseas cards & the means             seeing if it doesn’t sound any good – it’s very time
    to pay for them…this is really important if you need to         consuming getting between the different places, so
    buy furniture etc.                                              best to keep the list as short as possible.
                                                                     Sharing with others tends to be more simple than
                                                                     renting by yourself with regard to the documents you
                                                                     need to provide – less requirement for all sorts of
Dive: Etc                                                     Projectreferences etc. You will still be expected to pay a
                                                                      Name                                            4
:: The Rental Market (continued)
    Rental of Houses / Units                                      Once you’ve filled in the form, you wait & see if you
                                                                  get chosen. Can be a good idea to apply for more than
    The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday has a good              one property as you don’t know if your application will
    listing of rental properties.                                 be successful.
    The following real estate agent sites are quite good –        Once the application process is successful you will
    http://www.prd.com.au/search/sydney_rent.asp?fc=na            need to sign a contract with the real estate agent.
    tionwide                                                      Rental agreements are generally six or twelve months
                                                                  You will be required to provide one month’s rent as
    http://www.century21.com.au/newsite/c21propreg.cfm            bond, and one month’s rent in advance. For a
    ?propertytype=L&state=nsw                                     furnished apartment, the bond will probably be 6
    http://www.mcgrath.com.au/renting/residentialsearch.          weeks rent (it will be lodged with a third party Bond
    cfm                                                           Agency). Check as to whether they accept cash or not
                                                                  – you have to get a bank cheque or building society
    Best bet is to use the Internet sites listed and the          money order.
                                                                  Very few rental properties are furnished. If you move
    Properties are generally open for inspection on               into share accommodation, then it is likely that the
    Saturdays for 15 – 30 minute timeslots. Those with no         other people will have all the electrical goods/
    open time will have contact phone numbers, so you             kitchenware that you need. However, you may well
    ring the agent to arrange a time to view.                     find that your room needs a bed, wardrobe etc.
    Once you have found a property that you are                   If you are moving to a unit or house, then you may
    interested in, you will need to fill in an application form   need to rent or buy everything including the fridge!
    (from the Real Estate Agent). You may be asked for            (cookers usually provided)
    some or all of the following in the application form:         A tip from a The Leading Edge’er: “My personal
    §   Reference from work – with length of contract,            recommendation – if you’re by yourself, share with
        salary etc                                                others for the first 6 months & then review after that.
                                                                  Moving into a place by yourself can be stressful, not to
    §   Personal reference – from within Australia                mention costly & you have enough to worry about
        preferably                                                when you first arrive without that as well!”
    §   Copy of visa / passport                                   Suburbs close to The Leading Edge are The Rocks,
    § You may be asked for utility bills / bank                   Pyrmont, Glebe and Surry Hills, (areas with loads of
        statements – which can be difficult if you have           cafes and restaurants). As The Leading Edge is near
        just arrived. Best thing is to get The Leading Edge       Circular Key and Wynyard stations, we can be
        to write a letter explaining all this…                    reached quite easily by most inner city suburbs
                                                                  (including suburbs across the harbour Bridge known
                                                                  as the north shore).
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:: Sydney Suburbs up Close
    Eastern Suburbs                                                North Shore/ Upper North Shire & Lower North
                                                                   Shore/ Northern Beaches
    Bondi/ Paddington/ Darlinghurst/ Coogee/ Vaucluse/
    Rose Bay/ Double Bay/ Dover Heights                            North Sydney/ Mosman/ Kirribilli/ Crows Nest/
                                                                   Chatswood/ Roseville/ Lindfield/ Killara/ Gordon/
    The eastern suburbs has much to offer ~ coastline,             Pymble/ St Ives
    beaches,       cosmopolitan   shopping,     wonderful
    restaurants and cafes as well as local markets.                North of the harbour can provide more spacious
    Another plus, the eastern suburbs is well looked after         accommodation and a more family oriented
    by a mixture of public transport (buses/ ferry/seacat/         surrounding (i.e. good range of quality private and
    trains/ taxis). The Leading Edge can be reached by             public schools). Commuting from the north shore may
    all of the above.                                              more time consuming than the inner city however.
                                                                   Make sure you choose properties located close to a
    Inner West                                                     ferry / train stations.
    Annandale/ Balmain/ Glebe/ Stanmore/ Newtown/                  Closer to the harbour you will get a much greater mix
    Pyrmont                                                        of people and culture and some shopping and
                                                                   nightlife. Chatswood has a major shopping centre and
    Close to lots of good things including the city and one
                                                                   cinemas. North Sydney is the areas secondary CBD -
    gets to enjoy plenty of restaurants/ cafes. Great
                                                                   where many of the advertising and media + telecoms
    access to the city and other suburbs.
                                                                   HQ’s are located.
    Western Suburbs
                                                                   Southern Suburbs
    Parramatta/ Bankstown/ Penrith/ Blue Mountains                 The shire offers down to earth good Aussie living with
    The Western Suburbs can be reached by a mixture of             a sense of community spirit including wonderful surf
    public transport modes. The west has much to offer             beaches, National Park bush areas and this is very
    lots of trees, parks, large shopping malls, open               much suited to those whom enjoy the outdoors. The
    spaces, fun parks, green trees and if you keep                 shire is serviced by a rail system and driving to the city
    travelling out west one can reach the Blue Mountains,          ranges from forty to sixty minutes in peak hour.
    Penrith is the gateway to the Blue Mountains. To
    commute it can however be long (45 mins – 1 hour
    each way).
    The west is also home to Parramatta and can be
    reached by ferry a scenic trip down the Parramatta
    River, while in the West one can also access
    Bankstown Airport/ Eastern Creek Raceway/
    Flemington Markets/ Olympic City @ Homebush/
    Sporting Events and the Neapean River.

Dive: Etc                                                     Project Name                                               6
:: Driving
    If you do not intend to stay in NSW and do not hold a       It costs about $18 for the inspection. Registration
    permanent visa, you will be regarded as a visiting          costs are an additional cost ($250+) and can only be
    driver. On a temporary visa, you can continue to use        taken out at the Roads and Traffic Authority after you
    your home country’s drivers’ licence until you leave        have a Green slip (and Pink slip if required.)
    Australia. If you incur any traffic infringements, you      Average price for a small car is about A $8,000 to
    will be required to prove your non-resident status to       A$15,000.
    the traffic authorities.
                                                                The motoring association for NSW is the N.R.M.A.
    If your current licence is not written in English, an       (www.nrma.com.au).
    International Driving Permit, or an English translation
    must also be carried with the licence when driving.         It is wise to have a mechanical inspection on any
                                                                second-hand car purchased. This costs $125 for
                                                                N.R.M.A members or $145 for non members.
                                                                Membership costs from $46 (not including GST)
                                                                annually with a $86 (not including GST) joining fee in
                                                                the first year. Membership entitles you to free roadside
:: The Used Car Market                                          assistance. See the above web site for details on how
    Motor Vehicles can be purchased either from a dealer        to organise an inspection.
    or privately. Both dealers and individuals advertise in     If buying a vehicle privately it may be worthwhile
    either the Sydney Morning Herald or the Trading             getting a certificate from REVs (Register of
    Post.                                                       Encumbered Vehicles) which guarantees the vehicle
    Comprehensive insurance (covers you and your                has no financing on it and will therefore not be
    property in an accident in which you were at fault) is      repossessed. The telephone number is (02) 9600
    not compulsory but is highly recommended.                   0022.
    If you have a relatively accident free record and wish
    this to be taken into account – it can reduce the
    premium paid and is known as a ‘no claim bonus’ -
    you will need to bring a letter from your current         :: Utilities
    insurance agency to give to your Australian insurer
    detailing your driving history and any insurance
    claims you have made. (A similar letter can be               Electricity is privatised so there are range of
    obtained on your departure, from Australia.)                 providers.
    Third Party insurance is compulsory, and is referred   Electricity in Sydney is 240 volt. Electrical appliances
    to as a Green Slip. This must be taken out before you  which do not conform may require voltage adaptors /
    register a vehicle. It costs about $400 for the year,  transformers plus outlets to accommodate 3 pin
    and is available from the main insurance companies     plugs. You may be required to lodge a refundable
    such as NRMA or GIO etc. If your car is over 3 years   bond ($100) when establishing an electricity account
    old you will also need a Pink Slip (roadworthy Project for the first time. Electricity bills are sent quarterly. 7
Dive: Etc                                                  Name
    certificate) which is obtained from a service station. You can avoid the deposit by paying by direct debit.
:: Utilities (continued)                                           :: Salary Packaging
    Telephone                                                        Under Australian taxation legislation, there are a
                                                                     number of tax benefits that individuals on a temporary
    The telephone connection is provided by the semi-
                                                                     visa are entitled to through the Living Away from
    government provider, Telstra. Handsets (usually
                                                                     Home Allowance (LAFHA) process.
    supplied in rented accommodations) can be
    purchased from Telstra or from Telecommunications                To qualify for these benefits The Leading Edge
    stores. Customers have the choice a number of                    structures individual salaries to account for those
    service providers for STD and ISD (international) call           elements which are classified as Concessional Tax
    services. Opening a phone account for the first time             Treatments. What this is that the following amounts
    may involve the payment of a bond which is                       can be incorporated into your current salary package
    refundable.                                                      at a tax free rate.
    It is well worth exploring the alternative service               These include:
    providers for overseas & long distance calls. Whilst             Accommodation The cost of your rent (assuming that your
    Telstra provides the line (& you pay rental for that to          housing is to a similar level to that in your home country ie.
    them) you can choose to have some or all of your                 you haven’t moved from a studio flat in your home country
    services through another provider.                               to a 10 bedroom mansion in Sydney) can be packaged
                                                                     within your salary so that it is deducted pre-tax.
                                                                     Food Allowance Preset by the Australian Taxation
    The quality of Sydney Water is very good and is                  Authority can also be packaged and deducted pre-tax.
    supplied by the Water Board. Fluoride is added at the
                                                                     Utilities connection fees If you are required to pay for
    source. Water accounts are paid by the owner of
                                                                     having the telephone, gas or electricity connected to your
    rented accommodation. However, excess water                      apartment/house – this can also be treated as a pre-tax
    charges may be passed on by the owner, to the                    salary deduction. Just bring your bill into HR at The Leading
    tenant. Sydney currently has a range of water                    Edge and we’ll make sure that you get it deducted pre-tax
    restrictions which govern car washing, garden                    from your next pay period.
    irrigation and other outdoor water usages. It is a good          Home Leave       50% of the cost of one return flight
    idea to check to see what water restrictions are in              (Economy Class) for you and your family (spouse/children)
    force once you have moved in to your property.                   per year can be packaged pre-tax.
    Postal Services                                                  Education Packaging of children’s education expenses
                                                                     including tuition fees.
    The Australian postal service “Australia Post” is a
    government run, highly efficient postal service. Postal       Shipping Costs Also the initial costs of moving to Australia
                                                                  can be covered. So if you ship any personal items (clothing,
    deliveries are made daily Monday to Friday for
                                                                  furniture etc) over here – you can claim this. Again just bring
    ordinary mail. Large parcels can be collected and             in your bill into HR and we’ll arrange this to be deducted
    sent from the Post Offices in most suburbs. The               pre-tax.
    current cost of local mail is 45 cents. Mail to Europe
    and North American Countries cost from $1 to $2               A declaration must be signed by you each year to confirm
                                                                  that the permanent home residence is overseas and not
Dive: Etc                                                   Project Name                                                     8
:: Tips for Preparing your Tax Return
    First Steps
    1. Obtain your Tax Pack from any Newsagent which                  If your income falls below the minimum for tax in
    will explain how you should complete your return. It is           the UK, then you simply add any additional
    also useful to complete your first return using the               income into your Australian return using the
    ATO’s e-tax facility which can be found on their                  current exchange rate. If you are liable for any
    website at www.ato.gov.au. This has a handy                       income in the UK you need to check whether it is
    calculator which enables you to see what the                      better for you to be taxed in the UK, rather than
    approximate rebate will be. You can also print out                Australia.
    your entry to use as a guideline for your actual return.      3. MEDICARE LEVY – for your first year you will not
    Unfortunately you cannot submit a first tax return via           have to pay the levy for Medicare benefit unless
    e-tax.                                                           your total income for that tax year is over
    Your return                                                      $100,000. The levy only applies if you do not
                                                                     have any Private Medical Health Insurance and is
    1. Complete your return as soon as possible, after               equivalent to an additional 1.5% on your tax.
       you get your Group Certificate (The Group
       Certificate lists your earnings for the financial          4. ADJUSTMENTS – if you have any dependent
       year). The sooner it is processed the sooner you              children then you are liable for Family Tax
       will get your return. The return must be filed by             Assistance for the period between entering the
       October 30th for you to receive any rebate for the            country and the end of the tax year (June 30th).
       relevant tax year. You can elect to have your                 Similarly you can claim for a spouse over the
       rebate transferred electronically to your bank                same period which gives you a maximum
       account. Australia Post operates an Express                   additional allowance against tax of $1452.
       service for $21 which is worthwhile as it
       guarantees a return within 14 days. Envelopes
       are available from any Post Office.                        The onus is on the individual to claim back what the
                                                                  government has taxed, rather than a system that tries
    2. Section 1 on Income is relatively straightforward,
                                                                  to get it right and then amends via adjustments to a
        as all the details relating to your salary are
                                                                  tax code the following year.
        included on your Group Certificate. The Group
        certificate must be lodged with your income tax            The important thing is to act quickly and if you have
        return. PLEASE NOTE that you have to provide               any circumstances you are not sure about ask -
        details of your Global Income which means                  someone at TLE will be able to help you.
        declaring any income from overseas in terms of             You can hire an accountant to do your tax return for
        interest, profit from rental income, investments           you. Most will provide an initial consultation free and
        which generate an income dividend etc. These               then you can decide whether you need them to
        are all liable to tax in Australia for the period of       complete the return or you feel confident to do it
        your stay, however you should check whether you            yourself – it depends on the level of complexity
        are liable to declare these amounts in the UK.             involved in your own personal tax situation.
Dive: Etc                                                    Project Name                                              9

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