Moving to another city is a tiresome process. Similarly, moving to another country is more daunting and tedious process especially with family. New journey in a new country is filled with mixed feelings and many doubts. There are some things that you would not know until you really experience. If you are moving to Sydney from India or from another Australian city/state or a newcomer to Sydney from any other part of the world, this article provides some insight into the things that you would need to look for in your initial period in Sydney.
There are some suburbs in Sydney where Indian population is higher compared to locals or migrants from other countries.
Based on your priority – proximity to city, airport, shops, restaurants, schools, child care centres and your work place, availability of public transport, places of worship, vibrant community – choose your suburb. Do some basic research about the suburb and its surroundings before deciding to move in.
Finding an accommodation before arriving in Sydney is not recommended as it is always advisable to inspect the accommodation advertised in person prior signing an agreement.
Accommodation is not cheap. Some prefer to secure a shared accommodation as a temporary option before moving into separate units/house on their own.
Securing a rental house in Sydney needs some time and effort and majority of listings are advertised by house agents who allocate inspection times mostly on weekends. If you could inspect the property during the week, fix up an appointment with the agent before viewing the property. You might have to produce your income or bank statement and references in order for the agent/owner to ensure that you will be able to pay the rent and bills on time.
More details on accommodation can be found in the related links below.
Open a bank account as soon as you arrive. This is very important as holding cash in your wallet is not safe all the time. Opening bank account is an easy process; walk into any branch with your passport and the rest is taken care by bank.
This is the card issued by the Government agency ‘Centrelink’ for using the medical facilities within Australia. This card is very important if you have kids and babies. This is preferred to get it straight after you arrive here. This is not applicable to International students.
Register you and your family details in MyGov. You may be eligible for some benefits as a permanent resident of Australia. There are some wait times to access the benefits. The earlier you register, the earlier you receive the benefits. There are Centrelink offices in major towns, you can visit them to clarify your concerns regarding the eligibility of your benefits (eg Family tax benefits, job support payments etc). This is not applicable for international students.
This is similar to PAN number in India. This is required for your job search and tax purposes. You apply to this as soon as you can. This takes away some hassle while you are offered a job. Every employer requires TFN number to be provided, to pay salaries into your bank account. This number withheld tax from your salary and is called ‘Pay As You Go (PAYG) tax. You are paid net salary (Gross pay – tax) into your bank account. Delay in having TFN may delay your salary payments. You can apply for TFN here. At the end of the financial year (June), you are allowed to claim tax back depending on number of allowable deductions.
This is another important thing that you need to hold for travel. Having this card saves you lot of money on each trip. Travel costs in Sydney are expensive. So apply for this card for your entire family as soon as arrived. Remember there is no ticket fee for the kids under the age of 5. You can travel anywhere within Sydney for $2.50 with the family on Sundays. This helps you to explore Sydney at cheaper price. Check https://www.opal.com.au/ for more information.
The rents in Sydney are expensive. This may range from $350 to $800 per week (as per the market in 2019) depending on the suburb and number of bed rooms. Initially, sharing an accommodation with someone is preferable than renting on your own. You can find listings relating to accommodation on flatmates.com.au, gumtree.com.au, sharehouses.com.au, furnishedproperty.com.au, www.flatmatefinders.com.au and Facebook groups.
Sydney has one of the best public transport connected networks in Australia serviced through different modes of transport – trains, buses, light rails and ferries. Ensure you buy an opal card (www.opal.com.au) as soon as you arrive in Sydney. This is very important card to hold and it can be used in all the modes of public transport. Adult and Child/Youth Opal cards are available to purchase over the counter from thousands of Opal card retailers.
Intercity services connect the city with the greater Sydney surrounds and nearby major cities like Newcastle and the Hunter Valley region to the north, Wollongong to the south and the Blue Mountains to the west.
If you are coming by plane, there are public transport options to get to and from Sydney Airport.
If you are an interstate senior or pensioner, you may be eligible to apply for and use a Gold Opal card. Eligible ACT secondary students can travel with a Child/Youth Opal card or Child Youth Opal single ticket when carrying a valid proof of entitlement card.
Trains are one of the convenient modes of transport in Sydney. Train services run from 4am to around midnight on most lines. Night buses replace Sydney Trains services between midnight and 4am.
Buses travel through the city on major routes almost 24 hours a day. Most of the bus routes within the City of Sydney are Opal only to reduce delays, so you’ll need an Opal card before you get on board.
Ferry services across Sydney’s world-renowned harbour leave from the terminal at Circular Quay and travel to harbourside destinations including Taronga Zoo and suburbs such as Balmain, Balmain, Kirribilli, Manly and Parramatta.
Taxis in Sydney can be hailed from the kerb on the street or engaged at one of several designated taxi ranks throughout the city centre.
Taxis can also be booked directly with one of numerous private taxi companies operating across the city.
The NSW Taxi Council is the peak body for taxis, which has a contact listing of taxi companies across the state on its website.
The Transport Info website has information on fares and charges, feedback and complaints, and lost property.
Get an estimated taxi fare here https://www.taxifare.com.au/rates/australia/sydney/
It is a challenge to land a job immediately after arriving in Sydney if you already don’t have a job in hand. This may be due to reasons like lack of local experience, badly written resume, search methods and networking.
If you are a student or a migrant, ensure you have sufficient funds to cover yourself at least for three months.
List of useful website links for part-timers, students or experienced job seekers looking for job in supermarkets, clothing, electronic, hardware, petrol and fast food retailers can be found here.
Temperatures in Sydney range from the mid-forties to the lower fifties in winter, and from the upper sixties into the seventies in summer. Remember, summer months are December through February in the Southern Hemisphere. Winter is marked from June through August.
The summers are warmer and the temperatures range 32 degree Celsius to 42 Degree Celsius during the peak season. Winter temperatures minimum and maximum from 18 degree Celsius to -1 degree Celsius (in some suburbs of Sydney).
Summer – Nov to Feb
Winter – May – Aug
Spring – Sept and October
Autumn – Feb to April
If you’re visiting an area that’s notably hot in summer, consider packing lots of clothing made with natural fibres. Don’t forget sunglasses and a hat to help protect against the glare of the Australian sun.
Make sure you get enough clothing suitable to wear for summer and winter.
The cost of living in Sydney is expensive than other cities of Australia. Accommodation costs and transport comprise 50% of your income. A migrant on permanent visa takes about two years to settle down setting up the household, car and other expenses. Single income earners (in a family of 4) may not save much money in their first two years. Just be aware that you will be left with very less disposable income during this time.
Permanent Visa Holders are eligible for free medical services in Australia. There are public hospitals located in every major town. These hospitals are set with world class technology and with good amenities. The only disadvantage with public system is long waiting list for planned surgeries and specialists’ treatments. To avoid this, many take private health insurance for immediate help
International students should seek private health insurance as they are not covered under Public health system. This is strongly recommended to avoid any contingencies.
More details can be obtained below
Private health insurance – https://www.privatehealth.gov.au/dynamic/insurer
Australia is a multi-cultural country and it is a place for international cuisines. You find food pretty much from each country in the world; you can try Malaysian, Thai, Chinese, Singapore, Arabic, continental and many more to satisfy your taste buds. If you are a food lover, you never get bored with variety of food available.
If you like to try, there is a western suburb called Harris Park. You have entire row of restaurants spread across Wigram Street. This is also place for most Indian grocery shops.
Other suburbs to try Indian food are Parramatta, Wentworthville, Homebush, Surry Hills, Strathfield, and Darlinghust.
Public education in Australia for primary and high school is free. Every suburb has allocated a public school to accommodate children in that suburb. The standard of schools varies depending on the student’s performance in the tests held by the NSW Government. The school education starts from the age of 5. You can find more information about school ranking in here (http://www.schoolcatchment.com.au/?p=9150)
Apart from public schools, there are catholic schools and private schools. However, the education is provided with a fee from these schools.
University education is not free in Australia. Australian Universities are renowned for good education and has worldwide recognition. If you are a Permanent Resident, the government provides student loans for students who wants to attend university education.
If you have kids under 5 years old, there are number of child care facilities available in Sydney. These are called ‘creche’ in India. The child cares are in high demand in Australia. You may have to wait for at least 3 months to get admission for your child in these cares. The fees range from $95 to $150 a day. This takes most of your income. NSW government will refund part of the fee depending on your eligibility and family income.
Indian shopping and food malls are open until late night. To the contrary, Sydney shopping malls and centres are closed by 5 pm on weekdays except Thursdays. The shops are open until 9 pm on Thursdays. There is an inherent reason behind it, number of employers pay salaries on Wednesday or Thursdays. This makes everyone to have some disposable income to spend on this day. If you are a late night shopper, you may miss that fun in Australia.
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Sydney is the business capital of Australia. You have number of things to explore and experience. It is one of the busiest and crowded places in Australia. Similar to major cities in India, Sydneysiders are busy during the weekdays and relax over the weekends with family and friends.