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How do I go about moving overseas? Namely Oz/USA

(36 Posts)
MummyPig24 Mon 31-Dec-12 17:17:24

Dp and I have 2 children. We are utterly fed up for life in the UK and feel many other countries could offer us a better life. We filled out an Expression of Interest online for Australia, but the occupation we chose for dp (Electronics Engineer) was not in the list for an invitiation to apply for a visa. It only came up with this after completing the form.

How do we find out what jobs are on the list for a work related (independant) visa? How do we make ourselves more eligible? It also said because dp has not completed a skills test we would not be invited to apply for a visa. What is this skills test and how do we do it? How do we "get" more points? The only points we seem to be able to get are for our age and the fact that English is our first language.

Does anyone regret their decision to move abroad? How was it for you?

kodokan Sat 05-Jan-13 23:16:11

Switzerland's wonderful; we lived there for 3.5 years, then moved to the US just over a year ago. Four proper seasons, excellent public transport, good systems for things like pensions and unemployment benefit, a couple of hours from the UK, easy travel around Europe, etc etc etc.

The main thing that made us move to the US was needing to get our oldest back into English-language schooling. He was 8 when we went to Switzerland, and although became fluent in French, it was becoming clear that he was never going to reach his full potential doing his schooling in a foreign language. Our Swiss canton streamed on performance in French, German and Maths, so as a science-y, engineering-y, techie sort of kid operating outside his native tongue, he was unlikely to make the cut for the university stream. It would've been unfair to him to stay in Switzerland, and international schools financially weren't an option for us, hence the US move. I can't see you'd have the same issue with your kids, though; my youngest would've been fine doing her schooling in French (4 when we moved, 7 when we left).

We're very happy here too - it's been an especially good move academically and socially for the kids - but I think I'm a European at heart, and miss old architecture, foreign languages, and going everywhere by bike/bus/train.

MummyPig24 Fri 04-Jan-13 16:27:20

I've been doing a lot of looking and reading the last few days and I think Switzerland could be the country for us. Great wages (higher living costs), snowy winters for skiing but the country can actually deal with snow, beautiful countryside, good schools. Dp is off to Soliturn with work next month so he will be able to refresh his memory of what its like.

However we would need to save for at least a year. We are getting married April, rhen hoping for another dc so we are looking at 2014/15 before we make a final decision. Thanks everyone for your input.

whiteflame Fri 04-Jan-13 10:16:16

hi Mummypig. I've lived in UK, Switzerland, USA and NZ. NZ (home country) was by far top of my list, then Switzerland. I found the USA to be difficult in terms of accepting outsiders (big city, not small town).

I agree with other posters that you need to want to move to your destination, rather than just not liking the UK. This doesn't mean you shouldn't move, but use the dissatisfaction to spur your search for a country you're excited about. Actively wanting to be in a place helps so much.

SquinkiesRule Wed 02-Jan-13 19:07:30

echt you are right.
Maybe make a list of what it is you both want/need out of life and then travel the UK to see if you can't find it in another area there.
Moving countries is a hugely expensive and stressful thing to do and even then you have no guarantees of life being any better, same shit different pot.
For many people they are no happier in other countries as it's them who are unhappy and not life making them that way

nooka Wed 02-Jan-13 05:49:48

If you are both under 30 then I'd check out BUNAC for short term working visas to the USA, Canada and Australia. I'm not sure if that would work for with your children, but certainly worth a look.

I'm in Canada and there are certainly parts of the economy (esp like Australia in mining, gas and oil) that are looking for workers, but unless your dh's skills are in demand then even if you could get a visa he'd not be able to get a job, and then you'd have a pretty miserable time.

Also bear in mind that emigrating is generally quite expensive (I seem to recall the US britishexpats site suggesting $10,000 as an average cost) so if you have no savings I'd start by getting some before you think seriously about emigration.

We moved to Canada and love it. My sister moved to Australia and hates it. It is a big risk to take, so you need to be very sure it's the right thing for your family. Also think very hard about your reasons, especially regarding your children as I think that people talk a lot about emigrating being great for children, and I'm not at all sure it's true. Certainly my two found it hard. Life in Canada is pretty cool, we have lovely hot summers and really cold winters and lots of outdoor stuff to do, but basically life here is really pretty similar to life in England. If anything I think it might have narrowed their horizons as travel is very expensive so they have really only been exposed to North America - in the UK we'd have probably holidayed in Europe much more.

echt Wed 02-Jan-13 05:27:05

Not piss on your chips or anything, but the upthread thoughts about why you want to move are very important. Thinking things will be better than in the UK may prove to be true, but that can be balanced by those who don't find what they seek and then blame the country they went to.

Research, research, research is vital, but more importantly, knowing what you want and why you want it.

And when you get there, don't compare, forget the exchange rate.grin

SquinkiesRule Wed 02-Jan-13 04:31:02


SquinkiesRule Wed 02-Jan-13 04:30:46

For US you usually need a degree or specialty skills with years of experience.
This may give you more idea of requirements.

Mosman Wed 02-Jan-13 00:11:44

Plenty of jobs available. He needs to phone and ask if they'd sponsor on a 457, it's very straight forward.

squifflybobs Tue 01-Jan-13 20:35:03

I'm in Nz, so slightly different - here you apply for and get a job offer in one of the jobs on the "list" and then apply for your visa. Workplaces will usually help with your application- employers with jobs on the skills shortage list are used to it and have a vested interest in your application being processed quickly once they've made you an offer. It took us 5 months from starting to look ( just for one job initially) to getting on the plane.

i would agree that you need to really want to go somewhere rather than be driven by a need to get away from the uk. We've been here 2 years and found it pretty tough in terms of making friends/ feeling settled. we are getting there but seem to have hooked up with lots of expats rather than kiwis. However, We arrived with 2 year old Ds and pregnant with DS2- having a toddler and non-sleeping newborn would have been hard in uk as our families have never been local. grin

We love the lifestyle here ( compared to centralish London). We live in a fairly urban area, but easy access ( by car or the limited public transport) to the CBD and to get out of the city on the weekend. It only takes me 10 minutes to get to work, and we can be at a range of excellent beaches, walking places etc within 45 minutes. schools are generally good ( don't know about oz) - although again I'm comparing to London and the primary school lottery there.

we came out to "give it a go" for a couple of years, and in general the good points definitely outweigh the bad . We've just applied for permanent residency and bought a house. We miss family and friends, but life is just so much easier here- we both have quite stressful jobs and find work /life balance easier to achieve. It is quite expensive to live ( relative to earnings) - we have a modest 3 bed house in a recently gentrified area despite reasonably well paid jobs ( DP is a GP and I earn similar in IT). However we'd probably have had the same in London. At least we have a big garden here and room to extend the house if we decide to stay permanently- planning regulations are a lot more relaxed ( this is not always positive- there are some really badly built houses!)

Good luck with your decision- better get off to the beachwink

MummyPig24 Tue 01-Jan-13 19:28:52

Well right now dp is a calibration technician, and is doing a HNC in electronics. We chose electronic engineer as it seemed the closest thing to the path he is on.

Arana Tue 01-Jan-13 09:53:44

I'm not going to weigh in too heavily here, but people saying the cost of living is astronomical in Australia aren't always correct. Some things are more expensive, but also salaries are generally much higher (about 2.2x). You can't use the exchange rate as a modifier unless you will only be living on UK earnings, and not earning in AUD$.

We spend less per week on our food shopping ($150) than we did in the UK (£100). It cost me $29 after my medicare rebate to go to the GP, $200 for books etc at school (prep admittedly) and $120 for a full year's school uniform. A tank of petrol is $70, annual passes to the Gold Coast theme parks are $99, and the parks are awesome and free smile We live in Brisbane btw, and both me and DH are very indirectly employed by the gas and mining industries. I'm an environmental consultant, and DH is an IT manager. Our combined salary is $155k a year, and we pay $440 a week in rent.

Feel free to ask any more questions.

SavoyCabbage Tue 01-Jan-13 09:40:21

My dh got a job here and then we moved here. He is has an Australian passport and so do our dc so no problems there.

We paid for the move ourselves. Dh got a company car which I use and we rent ($600 a week) near a train station so we don't need two cars. He pays $170 a month for his train pass. The trains are highly unreliable and crowded but even though he has a space in the city, it's still cheaper than running two cars.

You have to pay for a lot of things yourself here.$120 to go to the doctor, $220 to go to the occupational therapist, $700 for books/grounds maintenance for school, (state school) our school dress is $60. Not £4 from asda <sob>.

On the other hand....this week we drove into the mountains, less than an hour away and camped for $7 a night in the most beautiful place. My girls played in the river and saw kangaroos.

SanityClause Tue 01-Jan-13 09:22:46

Is your DH an engineer or a technician?

In the UK, all sorts of people are called "an engineer", for example, the person that comes to fix your telephone or dishwasher. In Australia, an engineer is a person with a degree in engineering, eg a civil engineer or that sort of thing.

Maybe the website is assuming the former, but if your DH is the latter, then his skills may well be more desirable in Australia. I'm not sure how you could clear up that misunderstanding, but there must be a way of doing it?

saffronwblue Tue 01-Jan-13 09:15:55

Both Australia and the US are very car dependent societies and with some exceptions public transport is not great. Huge generalisation but worth thinking about.

MummyPig24 Tue 01-Jan-13 09:13:02

Did you move because of your husbands job? Was it a transfer or a completely new job? Is it possible to rent? We don't earn our own home and have no savings as we are paying for our wedding which is in 4 months. I also can't drive, what is public transport like?

LarkinSky Tue 01-Jan-13 07:59:51

Yes and I do like it. We have the best living standards and quality of life I can imagine we would find anywhere in the world (we've lived/done postings on 4 continents so I've a little experience of different countries). The only thing that would improve life is to have grandparents closer, but as it is they are only a 90 minute Easyjet flight away so we see them every 8 weeks anyway.

It haa been great for DH and my careers (I went from being a SAHM to starting an exciting and well paid new career here which I love). Childcare is doable (we can afford a nanny here) and there are many options for schools from good, free Swiss State system to an array of international schools, the fees for which are often paid for by employers. Switzerland seems to have been immune to the global recession really. After 4 years here we're trying to put firm roots down now.

However FWIW I would never live in Australia as its simply too far away from family and friends in the UK. Now I have kids Europe is as far as I'd go, excepting a temporary 12 month posting to Africa perhaps.

TheSloppelganger Tue 01-Jan-13 07:49:01

Have you spent much time in these countries you fancy OP? If you have then clearly you know what you are getting into. But if you haven't spent much (or any) time in them then I really wouldn't recommend uprooting to somewhere you can't be completely sure you will like living.

I spent 6 months in Aus - went off merrily thinking it would be great - and honestly I was glad to get back to the UK. I know a lot of people love it there, but it just didn't suit me at all.

I now live in a Southern state in the US, I spent 3 months 'visiting' here as a sort of trial before I actually moved because I was cautious after my experience with Aus, but I felt at home in the US pretty quickly, and have been here 2.5 years now and am very happy and have no intention of returning to the UK.

I personally wouldn't fancy it - bit too cold for me I think - but a couple of my cousins have emigrated to Canada (Independently of each other, one to Vancouver and one to Toronto) and both like it very much there. So that might be one to consider too? might be a place to visit if you haven't already, you might find some answers there.

Mosman Tue 01-Jan-13 07:37:19

I'm a recruiter in Australia, not in his area but my advice is get those qualifications under his belt. Save like demons, you'll need £10,000 to start a life in Australia as well as flights.
Make sure DH has a solid work history, without a degree he needs 5 years industry experience for a 457 visa.

MummyPig24 Tue 01-Jan-13 07:31:20

I wouldn't call dp's cv outstanding. We are only 25 so not many years of work behind us but a lot ahead! He is in his 2nd year of a HNC qualification. So he is working hard to better his qualifications.

Nobody here gives a toss about us unless they want something. We have no one to rely on, I am used to coping alone. I'm sure it would be different abroad but who knows until it happens.

Mosman Tue 01-Jan-13 07:28:47

The other thing to consider is what will your DH earn in Australia, check seek out for that too because we are earning $200,000 and struggling.
We pay $650 a week in rent - nowhere near top end - to live 20 mins from the CBD, childcare is $1000 a week and then $1000 a month for bills and on average I think a weekly shop of $400 followed by top ups throughout the week of between $150 and $250, depending on what we have in the cupboards.
I am importing a lot of things like trainers, school stationary from M&S, John Lewis etc because we just couldn't afford to buy that sort of thing locally.
BUT we do both have jobs here which is more than we had in the UK and for that I am grateful.

Mosman Tue 01-Jan-13 07:23:52

You could get company sponsorship on a 457 visa, not impossible at all. Check out, all the ads will say must have the right to work in Australia but truthfully that's never going to happen with every role that they need to fill. Perth alone needs an additional 120,000 in the next 3 years.
That said you'll be competing with highly educated Asians for the roles and there are some amazing candidates around. Is his CV outstanding ?

SavoyCabbage Tue 01-Jan-13 07:22:29

The jobs list for Australia changes all the time depending on the demand.

I don't like living here at all but many people do of course. (My husband pushed me into coming here.) The cost of living is astronomical. I have struggled to find work as people would hire an Australian over anyone else any day of the week, which I quite like as it goes, but it doesn't help me.

You are not going to live the life from "wanted down under" where the houses are an hour and a half away from the outskirts of the town but I know lots of immigrants here who are really happy. I think being a first generation immigrant is always going to be hard. It's hard being a nuclear family without anyone else to help toy or give a toss about you.

MummyPig24 Tue 01-Jan-13 07:21:04

Well really Boer we need a fresh start. There is nothing keeping us here. I'm very keen on Australia, but dp would move to Switzerland in a flash. I suppose we could move town or to a different county. But I want to give the children the opportunity to experience a different lifestyle too.

Larkinsky do you like living in Switzerland?

LarkinSky Tue 01-Jan-13 07:16:31

Argh bloody phone: pops room = population

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