Moving To Australia? | What You Need To Set Yourself Up | Sydney Diaries

It has been a while since I’ve done an advice blog for those planning on moving to Australia. My previous blog on the same topic was on finding accommodation. Ironically, I've recently found myself a new apartment and this time solely for myself. If you do have any questions regarding this process I will try my best to answer your queries. Please note this blog will be heavily directed towards New Zealand citizens as I moved to Sydney as a New Zealand citizen. However what needs to be done is for anyone and everyone moving to this country to work.

Prior to finding yourself a job you need to sort out a TFN number. Kiwis this is the equivalent of an IRD number. You cannot set this up before moving to Australia as you need to provide a local address. This is a rather simple process and can be complete online here.

Keeping on the same topic of earnings, you also need to sort out a Superannuation Fund. This is a bit time consuming, as you need research on what is available and what works best for your situation. There are some comparison websites  that you can use to aid your decision. It’s definitely better to do the hard work in the beginning and sort out the best superannuation fund for you, rather than sign up with any provider and then overtime do your research and change providers. You can always ask your friends which providers they use, as long as they are happy to provide that answer. However do remember that they are with a certain provider because that’s the best for them in their situation. Your TFN number and your superannuation fund need to be sorted as soon as possible prior to you starting work.

The next thing that you must absolutely sort out is your Medicare card. As the name suggests it has to do with medical services. This is not to be confused with other services with similar names such as Medibank. This is a more complex process. You have two options:

  • Option 1: You go into the nearest Medicare office to you.
  • Option 2: You send in your certified and signed documents via post.

In the case of option 2, you do need to send in writing, the reason as to why you weren’t able to physically go into their office. In my case, my reason was that I work full time and I wouldn’t be able to make it in to their office. Furthermore, if you do decide to go in to their office, it is a ticketed service and there’s no guarantee how long the process will take, which is also the reason I wasn’t able to go in to their office, as I didn’t have a set answer to give in regards to how long I’d be out of office.

As a New Zealand citizen who has relocated to Australia you require the following to apply for a Medicare card:

  • Two documents to prove that you’ve left New Zealand. Examples of this could include:
    • Closure of bank account(s)
    • Sale of Property papers
    • Acceptance of your resignation letter
    • And more!
  • Two documents to prove that you are living in Australia. Examples of this could include:
    • Opening an Australia bank account
    • Pay slip
    • New job contract
    • Utilities bill
    • And more!
  • In the case of New Zealand citizens you need a photocopy of the photo page on your passport. Where as for those in Australia on a work visa (or similar) you need a photocopy of the passport photo page as well as the visa page.
  • Last but not least a signed declaration form that states that you’ve moved to Australia (on such and such date) and will be living in Australia for the foreseeable future (and/or indefinitely).

The passport (and visa) page needs to be certified. Whilst the other documents will suffice with a signature. To certify and/or to get a signature you can either go to a Justice of Peace, a police officer and some others. As I had sent my documents in rather than physically going to their office, I received my card 6-weeks later. I am unsure if this is the case for someone who goes into the office to sort this out.

The last thing on this list is your driving licence. Each state in Australia has their own licence. Similar to the concept in the United States. Your driving licence is often used as proof of address in Australia. This is especially true in the state of New South Wales. More on that a little further down the blog.

This section is going to be specific to Sydney (New South Wales). If you’re in Sydney, I recommend you go to the RTA just outside of Wynyard station. Kiwis an RTA is the same as an AA. When you get here, there are staff members who can assist you. In Sydney you do not have to make an appointment before going to the RTA. At least I didn’t when I went to this specific RTA.

If I remember correct the staff member that helped us first asked us to print out a proof of address copy, which he helped us do so by allowing me to login to my net bank account. After this we were given the appropriate forms and were asked to take a ticket, which had a number, displayed on it i.e. our number in line.

Whilst we waited for our number to be called we filled in the forms. Once you do get called the staff member fills in your details and asks you some questions regarding your driving and/or licence. They will check things such as when was your first driving test as that determines which licence you get. The different licence stages in Australia are Learners, P1, P2 and Full. I’m not completely sure what the rules for these different stages are. I’m a bit hazy on this particular fact, but if your first driving test was less than 4 years ago you qualify for the P2 licence where as if it was more than 4 years ago you qualify for the full.

I mentioned earlier about your licence being a proof of your address. Hence when you to get your licence sorted you’re asked for a proof of address that they can print on your licence. If and when your addresss changes, you go on to this section of the website (link) to update your personal details. Within a week’s time you will receive stickers that you can place at the back of your licence where it says ‘Change of Address’. This can be done multiple time. In fact it should be done immediately after you’ve moved into a new address.

To recap this blog, I’ve shared information on TFN, Superannuation Fund, Medicare and driving licence here. As I’ve previously said what I share here isn’t official information unless stated otherwise, hence I try and link to the appropriate pages where I can, to save you some time. I’ve shared my experiences and what I’ve had to do to sort all of this out and if you have questions feel free to ask and I’ll respond to the best of my abilities.

Until next time,