Frequently Asked Questions.
(Background - Me (dad) and Jolie on the beach at Victor Harbour trying to look intense and intelligent! The whales stop here for winter and are a popular tourist attraction. Victor Harbour is about 80KM south of Adelaide.)
Why did you come to Australia?
We thought that Australia would offer a better lifestyle than England. We weren't wrong.
Climate. North of a line from Perth to Sydney we think would be too hot and humid. Sydney was removed due to cost of living and congestion: "London in the sun" I reckon. Melbourne and Tasmania were ruled out due to poor climate: too similar to England's weather. That left Perth and Adelaide. Our very good friends (Kath & Dave) went to Perth and love it. We felt it was too remote, too isolated. By-the-way, if anybody is thinking of going to Perth, drop me a line and I'll get Kath & Dave to get in contact.
Do you miss England?
We miss our friends and relatives. To start with we missed the familiarity: everything from people and shops to place names. If you're driving from London to Liverpool, you know you're in the right direction if you see a sign for Birmingham, but driving from Adelaide to Sydney, doe the sign for Hey help? It doesn't take long to build up enough familiarity to feel reasonably comfortable. I miss a decent pint of real ale: Old Peculiar, Speckled Hen, Flowers, etc. (Hasn't stopped me drinking mind!)
Are vegetarians catered for?
(I had to ask around for this as I am an omnivor.) Apparently Australia has got a lot better over recent years and the vegetarian movement is gaining weight and are being recognised as a particular market. Barbies are still a bit of a problem as the normal fare is meat and you may not want your carefully prepared veggie-burger cooked in the meat fats already on the barbie. So you either get the veggie food cooked in the kitchen (largely defeating the object of the barbie) or you eat salad, which is usually in plentiful supply. Eateries are at the basic end of the scale (there will be differences of course) but at least its better than meat and two veg - minus the meat.
How long did it take to get your visa?
As an accountant I did not have to have my skills assessed (my qualification is already recognised in Australia). This cut out a major section of the process. It therefore took just under 4 months. But be prepared for a delay of anything up to two years. When your application is acknowledged you will be advised of the average processing time for your particular visa class (i.e. skilled independant, balance of family etc) (Check out my page on The Application - Execution).
What's the Police and medical thing?
First of all, do not do anything about these things until you are asked by Immigration. They will send you specific details of what, where and when after you have sent in your application. Admittedly this is ambiguous. (Check out my page on The Application - Execution for further details.) The medical is fairly basic and does not involve rubber gloves! Essentially they want to make sure that you're healthy enough to earn your keep in Australia and not be a burden nor contaminate the rest of the population with something exotic. The police check is done under the Data Protection Act and shows anything (not parking or other traffic infringements) that the police have on you.
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