Should we move to Victoria (Oz)?

(106 Posts)
kerloch Thu 12-Dec-13 09:30:15

To go or not to go......

We have had a visa (skilled migrant) for a while but decided Australia was too expensive and we would be downgrading not upgrading if we left the UK fsmile. But DH is fed up with his job and needs a change and so we are now thinking of it seriously again.

Friends who went out there a few years ago have just come back though saying the skilled migrant visa has changed and now they have to pay more taxes, school fees etc. They said it was totally unaffordable. I wondered if anyone was in that situation over in Oz and could share their words of wisdom!

kerloch Sat 14-Dec-13 20:52:56

...does this mean everyone has left? fconfused

chloeb2002 Sun 15-Dec-13 09:30:19

Not in Vic. We are in sunny qld. It seems at the moment mumsnet has become a bit if a lets slate living in aus. So less traffic I suspect.we love it. Will not ever move back to the uk. Skilled migrant, as pr I guess. So the same taxes and school fees etc as any one else here. Not higher no difference. The differences lie with temp res. sponsored visas. Just cant claim some stuff. The upshot is what do you want to gain by moving. Some stuff is more expensive. Some stuff is cheaper some is more expensive. I think our family gain in many ways living here. Close to Brisbane but on 5 acres. 10 mins to white beaches. Loads of sports all achievable not stupidly expensive. Lots of special needs support for number 2 child. Great friends and we are very settled. Yes I miss my uk friends but they keep in touch although there's no doubt that planes fly one way phones work one way.. Quite often!
If you want a change... Aus is not the UK. If you accept things are different.. If your flexible and willing to change .. If where you are looking at going is going to provide what you need and want.. All the questions to ask. I'm sure the anti aus crew will be along soon! Good luck either way! grin

I used to live in Melbourne and I loved it. But the property prices have shot up so much that I'm not sure we would have as good standard of living over there as we do now.

differentnameforthis Mon 16-Dec-13 00:20:47

Everyone in Australia pays schools fees, state schools aren't free here, so that isn't exclusive to skilled visa holders. Some schools even ask you to purchase exercise books etc.

It depends where you go. We are better off here. We have a (rented) property with LOTS of outdoor space.

It isn't totally unaffordable, otherwise there would be a huge rate of poverty. Lots of things vary by state, like Sydney, Melbourne etc are more expensive for housing, etc.

But I know that we would not have the life we have in the UK if we moved back (am currently a SAHM), so in that respect WE are better off here. At least for now.

CadleCrap Mon 16-Dec-13 09:13:22

I have been in Vic for nearly 2 years on a skilled migrant visa and I pay the same taxes etc as a citizenT the school "fees" were about $300 for DS in yr 1. BUT I get $405 school grant. We also get the equivalent of child support - to the tune of a few hundred a month.

We do not live in Melbourne and have a higher standard of living that in UK and about the same disposable income, despite DH not working as he did in UK (SAHD)

We won't be returning to UK grin

kerloch Mon 16-Dec-13 18:09:02

Oh nice to hear some positive things. Melbourne seems very expensive though and we are sponsored so have no choice but to settle there. Do you find the health service expensive compared to UK?

CadleCrap Mon 16-Dec-13 21:10:18

What do you do? Do you have to be in the city?There is A LOT more to Vic than Melbourne!

We are entitled to medicare and if you find a who bulk bills, it costs nothing. We do not have private. Dentists are expensive though. If the doctor doesn't bulk bill, it costs about $30 (if including medicare)$70 iif you don't get medicare.

BonzaBlue Tue 17-Dec-13 00:24:21

We haven't paid school fees for the primary school I send my son too. We pay a once off $100 or so for high school that my daughter goes to, plus her school books. So I guess we are lucky.
We are in NSW and won't be returning to the UK. Just went for a walk on the beach as I needed a pause in the festive period madness.

arfishy Tue 17-Dec-13 00:53:05

Cadlecrap - how are you getting the grant?

Kerloch - will you be coming over on a 457 visa? If your employer offers salary sacrifice or FBT you can recover 50% of the costs of education, flights, laptops, professional memberships, phones, internet, somewhat randomly airline lounge plan memberships and some others which escape me at the moment. That helps and it's something that people don't know about.

What may have changed since you last looked at migration is the LAFHA, living away from home allowance which would have let you recover 50% of your rent and living costs. It really hurt when that was abolished!

If you are from the UK then there is a reciprocal health care agreement which means you are eligible for medicare and so you can access free health care. You will have to pay for prescriptions/dental/optical etc though. I have private health cover too as there is a tax if you don't have it which is greater than the cost of the cover IYKWIM.

I'm in Sydney and have found things getting increasingly expensive, especially with the loss of the LAFHA. I've adjusted by being more careful really, I've cut out things that are wasteful - for example my weekly grocery bill is around $150 and I don't really buy much processed or out of season food. I don't really buy "stuff" and I often find it's cheaper to shop in the UK and ship - M&S for example has free shipping to Australia and the book depository also ships free to Australia and can save about 50%.

You can take a look at house prices on www.domain.com.au to get an idea of costs. There's also another thread in Living Overseas where people in Australia outlined their monthly expenses.

Car ownership is expensive if you are here on a visa, your payments have to be structured within the visa term, so can be high. I managed without one for the first few years but then had to get one for the school run. Leasing used to be quite tax efficient but they've clamped down on that one too.

In considering whether to return to the UK I decided that we do have a better quality of life here. DD's school is amazing (albeit cripplingly expensive) and she has a great outdoor lifestyle (she sails twice a week, swims daily, has swim sqad training and diving lessons). We'll spend New Years Eve watching the fireworks on the beach and Christmas Day eating in the garden.

hazchem Tue 17-Dec-13 03:11:30

Just wanted to say add my two cents.

Do you mean Melbourne or would you consider regional/rural Victoria? I ask because they can be pretty amazing places to live and might have a lower cost of living. For example not most peoples first choice but I have a real love of Mildura. It's vastly different to England. It's hot and remote and flat with a giant river coursing though it which means there is some of the most amazing food and wine in Australia. It has flights daily to Melbourne but it's only 6 or 7 hours drive Mildura It has a great art gallery and good arts festival which has good quality local, national and international recognized acts. It has lots of schools, including private but also has a Turkish school and a Koori school. I've found the community welcoming, engaging, and supportive. It's on the edge of some of the most interesting and important landscapes in Australia.

I'm not saying you have to move to Mildura but if your visa is for Victoria I would really look at some of the towns and cities. Bendigo, Ballarat, Portland, Warnambool, Geelong, Daylesford, or Wadonga.

Australia is so much more the it's capital cities.

CadleCrap Tue 17-Dec-13 08:48:41

arfishy how are you getting the grant? - I filled in a form, they gave me the grant! grin

chloeb2002 Tue 17-Dec-13 09:22:50

The education grant is the means tested one for school expenses.. Books, uniforms, etc However.. I just got a nice $700 bonus called the conveyance allowance. Not means tested.. It's for driving the kids to school! Lovely! Next year it will be $1600 as the school they go to next year is further away. In addition we get the special needs independent schools transport assistance. It will be another $1500 for the year. ThAts private fees for one child paid for.., thanks!

chloeb2002 Tue 17-Dec-13 09:22:55

The education grant is the means tested one for school expenses.. Books, uniforms, etc However.. I just got a nice $700 bonus called the conveyance allowance. Not means tested.. It's for driving the kids to school! Lovely! Next year it will be $1600 as the school they go to next year is further away. In addition we get the special needs independent schools transport assistance. It will be another $1500 for the year. ThAts private fees for one child paid for.., thanks!

arfishy Tue 17-Dec-13 09:31:49

Cadlecrap - I wasn't sure which visa you were on as 457 visa holders don't get any benefits at all and skilled migration visa seemed to be the 457. I don't get anything at all, just seem to pay out!

ChloeB you have PR don't you? Conveyance allowance sounds great. I only have a car for the school run - costs a fortune.

CadleCrap Tue 17-Dec-13 09:35:54

arfishy I'm on a 176 which gives me PR and so the benfits of PR

chloeb2002 Tue 17-Dec-13 22:14:47

Yes.. We have pr. Conveyance allowance pays you to take the kids to school! By your own car.. Public transport.. Which ever you choose combination of all! Great find. There is nothing I can find in the blurb about needing pr however. Just live more than 4.5 km from school.

arfishy Tue 17-Dec-13 22:17:19

Aha, that makes sense. I was wondering if somehow I'd missed a trick and could have been claiming something. Sadly not.

CadleCrap Wed 18-Dec-13 01:48:20

OP - from all of this I can gather that it makes a REAL difference what visa you have. Things seem to be harder (soory Arfishy sad) for 457 visa.

arfishy Wed 18-Dec-13 03:03:58

Yes, it's annoying being on a 457 (although I'm grateful to be here), little things like having to pay international fees for DD's school and my MBA and the constant insinuations that 457 visa holders are somehow rorting the system (how???)

I'm going to do such a happy dance if we ever get PR. Everything will change massively for us.

CrystalDeCanter Wed 18-Dec-13 03:50:20

Arfishy haven't you been here years? How long do you need to be here before you can get PR? I thought it was 4 - is it longer??

arfishy Wed 18-Dec-13 04:15:51

HaHa yes, coming up to 9 years. We had 3 attempts at PR through employers, each taking 2 years and each time the company folded before the time was up. We're on another 2 year wait with another sponsoring company after we tried to go for independent PR but I was classified under a skill which was only needed in Regional Austraila - but 6 months ago it was all of Australia grrr.

If this latest one fails then we'll have to take the regional route.

I'm also talking about sponsorship with employers. We'll get there in the end and if we don't then we'll settle somewhere in Europe.

In the meantime I am becoming an expert of 457 visas grin

glastocat Wed 18-Dec-13 04:23:35

Wow arfishy that makes me feel very guilty and grateful to have got PR before I got here, as my husband was born in Oz ( before his folks ping ponged back to Ireland). I have just had a heartbroken friend go back to Blighty due to visa issues, so I do know how lucky I am, PR definitely brings great benefits. I don't know anything about Melbourne as I am in Perth, but we love it here, so good luck if you do decide to make the move.

CadleCrap Wed 18-Dec-13 06:26:56

arfishy you have probably already looked at this but do you know that the points system has changed for skilled migration (with pr). It is now 60 instead of 120 points and seems more weighted towards experience, English speaking and age.

Good luck!

arfishy Wed 18-Dec-13 07:44:30

Yes I did, sadly my age is starting to lose me points but I just make the 60. The main problem is the skills assessment - I went to be assessed on one of the skills in the consolidated list but it came back with a different one which was only possible in Victoria I think. I'm trying to avoid relocating but obviously if my current attempt at PR through employer sponsorship then I would move state if necessary.

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