When considering or planning a move abroad, preparation is key! However, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Luckily, our Know Before You Go blog series invites global Irish groups to share their location-specific expertise to get you started.
This post offers five tips for Irish citizens moving to Australia from our colleagues at the Irish Support Agency based in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW).
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH
Take time to research your planned destination. If you know someone there, use them as a source of information. Consider lifestyle, culture, and social connections. Some things to think about before leaving Ireland:
- Try and organise accommodation for the first few weeks after you arrive
- Check out the job market and email potential employers
- Find out about local culture and clubs and what Irish organisations might be there
- Learn a little about how local systems and institutions work
Be prepared that you might find it challenging after arriving in Australia. Connect with others – our list of Irish Community Groups in New South Wales is a good place to start if you are coming to NSW. Get in touch with social groups or organisations via social media. Contact people who work in your employment sector (e.g. recruitment firms or LinkedIn).
3. CHECK YOUR ESSENTIAL DOCUMENTS
Have paper and electronic copies of all important documents including important medical records.
We suggest uploading electronic versions to Dropbox / OneDrive. Important documents to have include:
- Current passport with at least six months validity
- Birth certificate
- Appropriate visa
- If you have not yet secured your visa, visit the Department of Immigration’s Visa Finder to find the visa most suitable for you.
- Evidence of qualifications and employment history from Ireland including academic transcript (subjects completed and results), Trades qualifications
- References from employers, drivers license, proof of Irish address, payslips / payment summaries, current CV
4. OBTAIN TRAVEL/MEDICAL INSURANCE
Although Irish citizens in Australia are entitled to free emergency health care in Australia, it is a good idea to get comprehensive travel insurance to cover all overseas medical costs, repatriation, legal and other costs. Check any exclusions and ensure that your policy covers you for the activities you want to take part in – like water or winter sports. Visa grant notices may state that you must maintain adequate health insurance while in Australia, so it is important to renew annually during your stay.
Residents of Northern Ireland are entitled to Medicare, Australia’s universal healthcare system. This covers some of the costs of your necessary health care needs however not all medical services are covered, including routine dental care / physio.
5. HAVE ADEQUATE FUNDS
- If you plan to use your Irish bank cards for the first few weeks in Australia, notify your bank of your travel plans before you travel. Do not rely on these cards for long-term use as the charges can be high
- Register for online banking. Bring a card reader if your bank account requires it
- Update your bank with your new mobile number if two factor authentication (2FA) is required
- Have sufficient funds to support yourself until you find employment. Factor in the weekly / fortnightly payment cycle. Do not assume that dream job will be secured in the first few weeks. Working Holiday Maker (WHM) Visa holders should make sure your prospective employer is registered to hire working holidaymakers
- Factor in set-up expenses (e.g.: accommodation bonds / deposits, furniture or additional training courses to validate your qualifications here)
- You do not have to be onshore in Australia to open up an Australian bank account
- Consider using a currency exchange platform (such as Currencyfair/Transferwise) when transferring money from €/£ to AUD
- Have an emergency fund, including enough money for a return ticket or flight home
ABOUT IRISH SUPPORT AGENCY
The Irish Support Agency NSW Inc. has been supporting the Irish Community in Sydney and New South Wales since 1995. Our mission is to provide front-line support to anyone in the Irish-Australian community who finds themselves in circumstances of vulnerability or distress. Our vision is to provide a safety net for all those of Irish heritage living or travelling through NSW, who find themselves in need of support. We also endeavour to promote mental health, wellbeing, and a sense of connection in our community.