Our Journey To Australia - Part 2

It has been 5 months and one day since we arrived (July 8, 2018) here in Brisbane. First few months was really an adjustment and a lot of things to settle and know. We were lucky to have a relative to show us around and tell us the things we need to do first. Shout out to Aren, Ailin and Iya!!
  1. Basics - upon arrival, we got a sim card then a go card (beepcard/ezlink card) for transportation. Transportation is expensive depending on the zone. 
  2. Bank Account Activation - we opened our account with NAB almost a month after the approval (April 2018). We made the application online and was approved within 5 days. When applying, you need to indicate where to pick up the cards and since we had no idea where we will be staying, we chose a branch in the city (Albert Street). You'll receive a welcome letter stating all the things you need to do and bring. We brought everything - passports, tickets, boarding passes (keep your boarding pass because I read somewhere that they will look for it when applying for citizenship), birth certificates, marriage certificate and most especially the visa grant letter.
  3. Medicare registration - we did this for the first week. We went to the nearest centrelink and medicare office. They assisted us with the medicare registration and so with the centrelink customer reference number (CRN), however, they only gave a CRN to my husband since he is the main applicant. (Wife and kids should have separate CRN too but they said, it will be generated upon the lodgement of claim. We were able to get my CRN and my son's CRN upon emailing them for the information. We emailed the customer service after a month from lodgement of claim and they called my husband for verification of all information before giving the data. When we tried calling the customer service for verification if the CRN is correct, they cannot see us in the system. Hence, we went to the nearest centrelink to verify our identities and also followed up for the claim, they said they will try to speed it up.) Medicare card will be posted to your registered address within 14 days.
  4. Tax File Number (TFN) - we did this online. You'll receive a letter from ATO containing your TFN within 28 days upon application.
  5. Register with mygov.au - when you already have some of the numbers like medicare, CRN, TFN, you need to register with mygov.au and link all your accounts. You need this to access all government online services and view the status of any claims, tax etc.
  6. Catch-up Immunisation - after obtaining our medicare card, we visited a clinic for a catch-up immunisation for our son to ensure that his vaccines our up-to-date. Until now, he has 6 vaccines more to go. (His immunisation record was updated after having 4 shots simultaneously last December 2018.)
  7. House Hunting - it took us awhile (more than one month) before we moved. We were really grateful for our relative for accomodating us. It is difficult finding a house especially if you are new. The common documents they ask aside from IDs are employment contract if any, bank statement and previous lease agreements. And usually, houses/apartment/units for rent come unfurnished and we were lucky we found one which was fully furnished. It was way above the budget but it was reasonable since it is near my husband's workplace, near the trainstation and  near a childcare. I think we viewed more than 10 units before we got our current place. Some applications were rejected.
  8. Job Hunting - this was the toughest. My husband had a handful of interviews before (skype interview) and after we arrived but were rejected. There was an offer in Townsville but we rejected it because we were really keen for Brisbane. We had regrets but we had to move on and keep the faith and with God's grace, he was able to find one after almost a month in Brisbane. It was a two-month contract actually and thank God, he was extended for another year due to they were able to get a client. For me, I also applied and were asked to go for an interview but declined it because nobody's going to take care of my son. I really wanted to try because I like the organization and the job responsibilities and I feel really sad about it but life must go on. Since my son is going to child care January 2019, hopefully, I will be able to find work within January because there are a lot of expenses to pay.
  9. Superannuation - you can either choose who will be your provider or you can use the company's provider. For my husband, we chose Australian Super as his provider since based on research, it is one of the top performing super with minimal fees. Hostplus is always on the top 2, however, the fees are high compared to other Super. (Make sure to always check the performance of your super to ensure that you'll have enough for retirement.)
  10. Child Care - we really wanted our son to attend child care for socialization and for him to get used with the language since he speaks Tagalog; however, it is very expensive. They charge around $100-$130 per day but with government subsidy depending on the family income. With that, we did not enrol him yet so that we can at least boost our savings a little bit and save up for the fees since our expectation is that the subsidy payment will be around end of FY2018/19 (June or July or later next year). Our son will be going to child care by January 7, 2019 with a fee of $130/day inclusive of food, sunblock, water, hat etc. This will be in preparation for his preparatory year come January 2020. Hence, we need to enrol him as early as next year so that we will not be in the waiting list. 
So far those were the things we needed to do. Below are optional but if you have the time and money, you can process it:
  • Driver's licence - go to the neares transport and motoring offices. Inquire for the requirements, fill up an application form and they will give you a customer reference number. Take the written examination (PrepL - online learning and assessment) and after passing, take the practical driving test to have a P licence. 
  • Private insurance* - upon registering to medicare, you'll receive a letter stating that there will be a loading premium if you don't get your hospital insurance within 1 year from registration if you are aged over 30. (*every year, there's a rebalancing with the premiums whether it will increase or not)

*All those in blue are linked to their respective websites. Click for more information.

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