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From Canada to Brisbane?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
So, I'm adding another "possibly moving to Aus" post but do appreciate how open everyone has been with giving info to others (through which I've read )

We're homeschooling our two little ones and would love to do some traveling as a family. A friend of mine will be moving to Perth in 2010 for further Grad school and through poking around online we discovered that my husband's profession is on the list in QLD of serious work shortages so we're in our very very early stages of investigation surrounding the possibility of a move.

Brisbane has a lot of jobs posted in his field so I'd love to know more about that city from a "Mothering.com"-type Mama. We live in Victoria British Columbia right now and the cost of living here is definitely one of the highest in Canada so I'm accustomed to that bit, but I'd love to know more about child-friendly neighbourhoods, the tone and vibe of the city, what kind of (if any) homeschooling community we'd find... And any tips from people who have moved from Canada to QLD / Australia would be so appreciated.

Thanks again for sharing your ideas and opinions with those of us interested in your beautiful country
post #2 of 7
there's several home ed groups in brissie, all with slightly different focusses/ flavours.
I'll PM you with a link to get more info. there's also the aussie home ed network and a few other websites.
post #3 of 7
I am currently in USA (expat) but will be going back to Canada (dh & kids are Canadian too) soon for a week and then move to Australia. So we're kinda indirectly doing a Canada to Australia move. Fortunately my kids and I are Aussies and my dh has a permanent resident visa, so we can enter easily. That's going to be your biggest hurdle, valid entry, if you don't have Aussie passports. Have you looked into doing this yet? It cost us roughly $2000 about 5 years ago to do all the paperwork, medical check etc for dh - not sure if it's the same visa today, but that was good for 5 years. I'm not sure how successful people are getting this visa without having "strong-ties" to Australia (ie. family).

Have you done the flight yet? Lucky for you, you are closer, so it won't be as brutal as our Toronto-Brisbane flights. You might even get a decent one that goes all the way without stops. Good luck.
post #4 of 7
Originally Posted by Ava_&_Leiths_Mama View Post
And any tips from people who have moved from Canada to QLD / Australia would be so appreciated.
We moved from Toronto to Sydney a couple of years ago. We came under an employer-sponsored 457 work visa for professional and skilled workers. It is a temporary long stay visa (4 years, but renewable). We are entitled to a "living away from home allowance" that gives us various tax breaks - it is very beneficial, so make sure you get more information about it and negotiate it into your total remuneration package.

Some things to consider under the 457 plan (and to negotiate with the employer):

Education - you are homeschooling, so it doesn't apply, but if you do decide to use the school system, you will have to pay even to use state schools. Also, I don't know about Brissie, but in Sydney, about 60 to 80% (depending on the suburb you live in) of all children attend private schools, at a cost of $10,000 to $30,000 per year. Schooling is very different to Canada, and I'm happy to discuss further if you like. We negotiated some assistance with education costs.

Health Care - negotiate private insurance coverage with your employer. There is a medicare system in Australia, but like the education system, many people use private. I don't think we are entitled to medicare anyway.

Moving expenses - the company agreed to pay our moving costs. Make sure your contract includes ALL costs to move back to Canada if the employer terminates employment. The govt. requires payment of "travel" costs - some companies interpret this to mean flights only, not shipping furniture etc.

Under the 457 visa, if the company terminates employment, the worker has 28days to leave Australia. Make sure your contract includes a "working notice" period - if the company is going to let you go, insist on a 90 or 120 day notice period (however long you are comfortable with and think you would need to pack up and go), before they notify Australian immigration. If you find another job in that time, you can get your new employer to assume sponsorship of the visa.

Generally speaking, the Australian economy is much better right now than North America, but it is stalling now. Some industries are suffering.

It's been a fairly easy move, as international re-settlements go. You don't have to get used to a different language. For the most part, the values are similar to Canada, although I am a little gobsmacked that they are still debating about things I consider fundamental to a civilized society - paid maternity leave and a constitutional Charter of Rights. Aussies are much more relaxed about everything, which makes life here very pleasant (unless you NEED something done, or if you are starting up a business). Driving on the left is a bit of a challenge, at least in Sydney where the roads are just a mess of spaghetti. We love living here, it's beautiful, the people are wonderful, there is always something fun and interesting to do.

Good luck!
post #5 of 7
We're in the process of moving from Canada to Perth.

We applied back in 2007, under the skilled migration program (175 independent). The whole visa process took about one year from start to finish (we might have received it a bit earlier but had to wait for the new baby to arrive so he could be put on the application). It cost (vague estimate) about $3500 Cdn (and that's with no agent!), once you take into account the visa fees, fees to have skills assessed, fees to get transcripts, documents notarized, dozens of sets of passport photos (to attach to every form--lol), medicals (x4), labwork, xrays, police checks, postage (sending documents by expresspost--$40 a time)...

Our visa was granted in July 2008. We flew to Perth to validate it this past December. Right now we're back home, getting the house ready to sell and hoping to make the big move by July-August. We're not shipping any furniture, just some boxes (whew! I called one moving company and their containers start at $12,000). But we're nervously watching the economic situation there. We will not move without a job offer and we've heard there is now a freeze on certain occupations under the migration program. I'm wondering if an official/unofficial "hire Australian first" policy is close behind. So, we'll play it by ear.

Good luck with your move...
post #6 of 7
Originally Posted by japonica View Post
I'm wondering if an official/unofficial "hire Australian first" policy is close behind. So, we'll play it by ear.
Not really close behind - it's already here. Unfortunately, this is an expected reaction to the tightening job market. "They" (economic forecasters, govt., media) are predicting a marked increase in unemployment in Australia for the first time in decades. This week, the Opposition and the unions have jumped on this issue. The Labor govt. has agreed to cut the number of foreign worker visas that are granted under the 457 scheme. Businesses are being pressured to cut foreign workers before Australians are let go.

As I wrote above, it places the foreign workers in a very difficult position. It's ridiculous to think you can organize an overseas move (get out of lease, sell cars and electrical appliances, pull the kids out of school) in less than a month. Unfortunately, you won't find anyone in power who will advocate on behalf of the foreign workers - they don't vote!

Here's a sample of stories from yesterday's media reports:




Generally, the economy in Australia is better than most other places, and there are still jobs out there. It's well worth searching for a job, and making the move, but try to get as many protections as possible in your contract (reimbursed moving expenses both coming and going, working notice periods etc.), in case things don't work out.

BTW, re: shipping furniture - we were lucky in that our sponsoring employer paid these costs. We've found that furniture here is pretty expensive, even second-hand. Depending on what you have, and what your needs are, shipping may be less expensive than having to buy everything when you get here.
post #7 of 7
Ms Apricot: thanks for all the info and links...yeah we were just meeting with our realtor tonight and this puts us in an awkward spot...what if we list the house and DH doesn't find a job before the proposed move...the realtor asked, so are you still going then? the house will be listed and on the market...sheesh.

As for shipping furniture...we have very, very simple and inexpensive tastes (read: old IKEA). Nothing we own is worth the $12,000 plus to ship it. And there's an IKEA in Perth, so why ship our old crappy stuff when we can buy a few essentials once there. My SIL has offered to give us her dining room set and so, we're not worried about living in empty rooms...
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