What to expect when moving your career to Australia

Published on: 23 May 2016

Moving from the UK to Australia for work is an attractive option for many; especially those looking to ‘shake things up’ and have an adventure as I was. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s more easily said than done.

In my case much of the battle was already won. I was moving with a role I was already in and as such had a company ready and waiting to sponsor me for the 457 Employer Sponsored visa. There are of course alternative methods to get into Australia, but this is by far the easiest, especially given that I had already used my Working Holiday Visa quota whist gallivanting around the world as a backpacker some years before.

The Asia Pacific arm of the business had requested my presence and I would be escaping the wet winter in England for the summer sun in Sydney. All that I needed was for my visa to be approved by the Department of Immigration, a process which seems simple enough on paper; or at least it would do if the words on the paper weren’t written in confusing legal jargon and the length of a short novel, requiring such information as every house lived in and every country travelled to in the previous 10 years (I was a backpacker for 3 of those so quite a few houses and countries!).

Eventually the application was complete and the waiting game began until it was processed. However, the work waits for no man. As I was now working for our Asia Pacific team, and would soon be based in Sydney, for which the time difference was nine or eleven hours ahead of the UK, depending on time of year, I still of course needed to get on with the job.

It doesn’t take a mathematician to work out that those hours are not the best for someone situated in London. Luckily I lived a short walk from my office so rising at three in the morning for a 4am start so that I could talk to the Australian teams on the phone wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility. Especially as it would only be for a short time until my visa was processed. This was early November. Christmas came and went. So did my birthday in the middle of January (but at least I got to spend it with my friends and not in a city with few people I knew). Eventually towards the end of January I received the call; my visa had come through, could I get on a plane? “Sure” I said, “when?” “The day after tomorrow?” was the reply.

It’s quite a call to receive when your flight is going to take you half way around the world. Needless to say, I started to pack. Fast.

A lack of organisation and quite possibly a bit of laziness had meant that everything was left until the last minute. Luckily I had already left my flat in London and ensconced myself in my ever-suffering parents’ spare room until the ‘go order’ finally arrived.

Unfortunately for my parents, my lack of planning meant that their suffering would continue, as it was to them I turned, to pack into boxes the piles of items I thought I could not be without in my new home. These would be boxed up and put into a shipping container to spend three months travelling by the convict route on the high seas.

One thing that becomes quite apparent after this is that anything you can do without for 3 months, you can basically do without. That being said, it is a nice surprise to rummage through the boxes of items you have largely forgotten about once they arrive. And who knows, they may even be unpacked properly one day.

Heading to Australia from the UK effectively takes two days by plane, thanks to the time difference. It’s a tiring journey, and stumbling through immigration, into a new country, jet lagged and half asleep, can be a daunting process.

Australia is a diverse and beautiful island nation, with incredible flora and fauna, and rather unsurprisingly, the Australians would like to keep it that way. As a result there are strict quarantine rules, and whilst you’re panicking trying to remember if your leather belt counts as an animal product, or if your supply of decent tea bags will get you in trouble, your senses are being assaulted by the dramatic temperature change from recently being in winter and the freezing air conditioning of the aircraft, to stepping into the scorching heat and blistering sun of Sydney in the summer.

However, despite all the stresses of travel and the moaning about the weather (I am a POM after all), I had successfully gotten over the border and officially arrived in ‘The Land Down Under’.

The moral of the story I think is that working abroad is an exciting thing to do, and even the journey to get there is an adventure. That being said, I think it’s best to always hope for the best, plan for the worst, and just take the one bag.

Owen Terry
Marketing Manager, REED

If you fancy making the move to Australia, or any of the other 14 countries we operate in, you can find jobs and information on our website.

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