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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all!

I posted a few weeks ago to introduce myself and inquire as to the difficulty of moving from the U.S. to Australia. Since my original posts, I booked tickets and my wife and we visited Australia for a week. I interviewed with the prospective employer, was offered a job, and accepted it!

So... Now we're back in the States making plans. First things first, get 457 visa. I hope it's fast, but my employer started the first two steps of the eVisa process (apply for sponsorship, nominate me for position). I'm waiting on the results of that so far, then I'll begin my visa application paperwork. I decided to do it myself, and then I'm hoping to apply for a PR visa as soon as I get there. I just can't wait the 6-12 months that it takes to process any PR visa.

We are now in the process of selling all of our worldly belongings (I'm using Craigslist.org and Ebay for a lot of it), and packing up the stuff that we're bringing. I have a container lined up with 8ft x 12ft of floor space leftover that I can use to ship my goods to Sydney. Probably just bringing clothes and some small furniture, decorations... nick-nack stuff, and the household basics. Since the U.S. appears to be the only country in the world that runs on 110V, we are selling ALL of our electronics, which sucks... Oh well. I'm sure a lot of you can relate. Oh, and we have to sell and/or rent our house (minor detail...)

We have a furnished appt lined up for us in Port Stephens that we will be renting for 6 months, and we will be looking for more permanent housing in the Newcastle area. We really liked that town, and it will be perfect for my work situation (outside sales rep for industrial products--construction equipment).

The only unknown at this point is the dog... I really hate that Australia makes it so difficult. She's a purebred Boston Terrier who we've had since birth. She's 8 years old. She's going to hate the quarantine period, so I don't know what we're going to do. Maybe just take her out back and give her the Old Yeller treatment. Kidding...

Anyway, I look forward to any advice, insight, or direction I may not have considered. I also hope to MEET SOME AMERICANS, so maybe when I get there, I'd be glad to take any other expats out for a XXXX Gold ;) We're looking forward to starting our new life down unda.

Cheers... Good on you, mate... and all the other customary Aussie greetings!

Chris
 

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Congrats! It sounds like you have it worked out for the most part.

I'm in the process of figuring out what kind of jobs in which I would be considered "skilled." Seems like a daunting process to move to Australia, but I'm hopeful.
 

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Hi Crwolf:

Good to hear on the job front, you've already gone through what is the major hurdle for most people. Also Employer Sponsored is at the top of the visa processing list so it should go fast.

Nothing to be done about the dog, it's quarantine for all.

You can bring in some electronics if you get a voltage convertor (they're heavy but since you're getting a shipping container the weight shouldn't be an issue). I have two (1 1000watt one, and 1 500 watt one). Plug that into the wall and then one of the 6 plug USA blocks into it and then plug in your various devices. I'd bring at least a Blu-ray player (if you have that) since AU is a different BR region and your US BR discs won't play on the BR players here.



Hello all!

I posted a few weeks ago to introduce myself and inquire as to the difficulty of moving from the U.S. to Australia. Since my original posts, I booked tickets and my wife and we visited Australia for a week. I interviewed with the prospective employer, was offered a job, and accepted it!

So... Now we're back in the States making plans. First things first, get 457 visa. I hope it's fast, but my employer started the first two steps of the eVisa process (apply for sponsorship, nominate me for position). I'm waiting on the results of that so far, then I'll begin my visa application paperwork. I decided to do it myself, and then I'm hoping to apply for a PR visa as soon as I get there. I just can't wait the 6-12 months that it takes to process any PR visa.

We are now in the process of selling all of our worldly belongings (I'm using Craigslist.org and Ebay for a lot of it), and packing up the stuff that we're bringing. I have a container lined up with 8ft x 12ft of floor space leftover that I can use to ship my goods to Sydney. Probably just bringing clothes and some small furniture, decorations... nick-nack stuff, and the household basics. Since the U.S. appears to be the only country in the world that runs on 110V, we are selling ALL of our electronics, which sucks... Oh well. I'm sure a lot of you can relate. Oh, and we have to sell and/or rent our house (minor detail...)

We have a furnished appt lined up for us in Port Stephens that we will be renting for 6 months, and we will be looking for more permanent housing in the Newcastle area. We really liked that town, and it will be perfect for my work situation (outside sales rep for industrial products--construction equipment).

The only unknown at this point is the dog... I really hate that Australia makes it so difficult. She's a purebred Boston Terrier who we've had since birth. She's 8 years old. She's going to hate the quarantine period, so I don't know what we're going to do. Maybe just take her out back and give her the Old Yeller treatment. Kidding...

Anyway, I look forward to any advice, insight, or direction I may not have considered. I also hope to MEET SOME AMERICANS, so maybe when I get there, I'd be glad to take any other expats out for a XXXX Gold ;) We're looking forward to starting our new life down unda.

Cheers... Good on you, mate... and all the other customary Aussie greetings!

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi Crwolf:

Plug that into the wall and then one of the 6 plug USA blocks into it and then plug in your various devices. I'd bring at least a Blu-ray player (if you have that) since AU is a different BR region and your US BR discs won't play on the BR players here.
Good to know... So you run a DVD player through the converter? A TV would be overkill I'm assuming, so that wouldn't work... Now an XBOX 360 and a PS3 would work fine I'm assuming, right?

I was planning on selling my 360, and buying an Aussie PS3, but if I can get away with an American PS3, it has a built in BluRay player... Australian electronics are RIDICULOUSLY priced compared to US.

Do you guys get Netflix over there? And if so, I'm assuming they use the Aussie encoding for DVD and BR? Hmmm... decisions.
 

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You should bring over your PS3 and XBox360, the same machines are pricier here (games and movies), so it's still more cost-effective to buy from the US and get shipped over here (as many Aussies do). As for DVD, most of the players sold here (even the cheapies) are region free (the same is not true for Blu-ray, which is still region encoded, US is Region A, and AU is region B (same as Europe and most of Asia)).

Don't get Netflix in AU, but I think there is something similar here (Bigpond Movies? and also VideoEzy has something like it).

I run my Xbox, Wii through a voltage convertor. Your TV would work here if your voltage is OK (look at the power spec for 100-240V/50~60Hz). All you would need is a set top box bought here to pick up TV from the airwaves ($100).

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So for you I would recommend:
1. Bring over PS3, Xbox360, and possibly the TV (check voltage).
2. Buy a voltage converter (500w should be sufficient for the PS3 and XB360).
3. Buy a DVD player here separately, in case you start buying DVDs here they'll play fine on the AU DVD players, it will continue to play your US DVDs.
4. Don't buy any AU BR discs, they won't play on your US PS3. Also they are almost always more expensive than the US ones.

Good to know... So you run a DVD player through the converter? A TV would be overkill I'm assuming, so that wouldn't work... Now an XBOX 360 and a PS3 would work fine I'm assuming, right?

I was planning on selling my 360, and buying an Aussie PS3, but if I can get away with an American PS3, it has a built in BluRay player... Australian electronics are RIDICULOUSLY priced compared to US.

Do you guys get Netflix over there? And if so, I'm assuming they use the Aussie encoding for DVD and BR? Hmmm... decisions.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Good advice amaslam...

I can't imagine any TV working. Everything over in the US is made for 110v-120v tops, and with the exception of small electronics, like cell-phones, shavers, electric toothbrushes, electronics aren't built to handle both voltages, and don't include an adapter. All of my "small stuff" referenced above, reads 110-240v 50-60 Hz, meaning, they have built in adapters in the charger. I just looked at the "power adapter" for my xbox 360, and it says it is onlcy good for AC input of 100-127v at 5A and 47-63 Hz... In other words, it's VERY picky about it's power input. 220V won't work, and unless you have a VERY good converter, I'd imagine you'd run the risk of smoking the thing. But, it outputs at 200W, so I'd guess as long as you get a quality 1000W one, it might be OK...

If you don't mind the endorsement, can you please list the brand and model converters you use? I heard that converters are risky for sensitive electronics. They fail, the electronics does too. I sure as heck wouldn't trust an large HDTV to one.

Regarding PS3 and US BluRay, I don't buy ANY movies. Strictly rent. I wonder if the rental stores there rent US or AU BR format. Also, do games have region codes too?
 

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Actually, you'd be surprised. Depends on manufacturer of the TV.

For example many Korean brands (Samsung, LG) do work in the whole range of voltage, so it's always worth checking out the sticker on the back. I have an Xbox and have been using it for years with the converter. Also have my new Wii plugged into the converter. TBH I don't even remember the brand, I just looked and I have a Simran 1000w model. You could also put a surge protector between the voltage converter and the device as well for some additional protection. So far none of my electronics have ever burned out.

The rental shops in AU will only rent AU movies and BR discs (why would they even cater for other regions, such a small market)

Games do have regions as well (usually USA, EUR (which is also AU), Japan, and sometimes Korea), depends on the game console:

1. Nintendo DS: No
2. Nintendo Wii: Yes
3. Xbox360: Yes
4. PS3: Yes

Good advice amaslam...

I can't imagine any TV working. Everything over in the US is made for 110v-120v tops, and with the exception of small electronics, like cell-phones, shavers, electric toothbrushes, electronics aren't built to handle both voltages, and don't include an adapter. All of my "small stuff" referenced above, reads 110-240v 50-60 Hz, meaning, they have built in adapters in the charger. I just looked at the "power adapter" for my xbox 360, and it says it is onlcy good for AC input of 100-127v at 5A and 47-63 Hz... In other words, it's VERY picky about it's power input. 220V won't work, and unless you have a VERY good converter, I'd imagine you'd run the risk of smoking the thing. But, it outputs at 200W, so I'd guess as long as you get a quality 1000W one, it might be OK...

If you don't mind the endorsement, can you please list the brand and model converters you use? I heard that converters are risky for sensitive electronics. They fail, the electronics does too. I sure as heck wouldn't trust an large HDTV to one.

Regarding PS3 and US BluRay, I don't buy ANY movies. Strictly rent. I wonder if the rental stores there rent US or AU BR format. Also, do games have region codes too?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The rental shops in AU will only rent AU movies and BR discs (why would they even cater for other regions, such a small market)
It sucks that companies didn't standardize on DVD, BR, and Game formats... AU is a small market indeed... I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I'm moving to a country the size of the US, with a population less than the state of TX. :D

I'm quickly learning that the world outside of the US marches to a different drum.
 

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Actually they didn't standardize on purpose. They can then charge different amounts depending on the market. So AU tends to get stuck with European pricing in most cases (or worse). You'll find that out once you move here.

For example a US PS3 game goes for: US $53/AU$61
Same PS3 game in AU (PAL region): US $105/AU$120

Welcome to AGP (Australian Gouge Pricing)

Is it any wonder Ozzies like to mail order from the US (it still comes out cheaper with the shipping). It's only the heavy stuff you have to get here (TVs, appliances, furniture).

It sucks that companies didn't standardize on DVD, BR, and Game formats... AU is a small market indeed... I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I'm moving to a country the size of the US, with a population less than the state of TX. :D

I'm quickly learning that the world outside of the US marches to a different drum.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
For example a US PS3 game goes for: US $53/AU$61
Same PS3 game in AU (PAL region): US $105/AU$120

Welcome to AGP (Australian Gouge Pricing)
I figured that out pretty quick. I figure on average, Aussie prices are a good 40-50% higher than the US. It's NUTS! I priced a PS3 at Gamestop in Newcastle at $496 AU ($431 USD)... compared to $299 in the US!!!

And cars! Holy crap are they a ripoff there. $55K for a Toyota Prado. In the States I'd get a comparable Toyota SUV (4Runner) for $35K.

I have major sticker shock. I was freaking when I accepted the job, because I can assure you, it wasn't 40-50% more than I made in the US... Oh well. We will live a block from the beach!

Please tell me that you eventually get used to the pricing, and that I didn't make a mistake!
 

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You learn to live by buying less stuff and you stock up when you make your US trips (or Hong Kong or Singapore). You do have to buy some AGP stuff (mainly a TV) but eventually you just get on with it.

Living a block from the beach does mean you'll be out more and watching much less TV anyway (from personal experience you can wear shorts everyday from November till May).

Because new stuff is pricey, the used goods market in AU is much stronger than in most places (i.e. Ebay, Trading Post, Gumtree, Freecycle).

I figured that out pretty quick. I figure on average, Aussie prices are a good 40-50% higher than the US. It's NUTS! I priced a PS3 at Gamestop in Newcastle at $496 AU ($431 USD)... compared to $299 in the US!!!

And cars! Holy crap are they a ripoff there. $55K for a Toyota Prado. In the States I'd get a comparable Toyota SUV (4Runner) for $35K.

I have major sticker shock. I was freaking when I accepted the job, because I can assure you, it wasn't 40-50% more than I made in the US... Oh well. We will live a block from the beach!

Please tell me that you eventually get used to the pricing, and that I didn't make a mistake!
 

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OK, I have another recent issue that I have to vent about...

Can anyone explain why one way airfare costs more than round trip airfare from the US to Sydney? The cheapest flight I could find one way in mid-November from IND to SYD was $1650. If I book a week long round trip, back to the States, that fare drops to $1250.

So, question... If I book a round trip and just skip the return portion (as it will save me $400 to book round trip tickets for our one way trip to move), will I be in hot water with the "US Passport Police"? Will I be black listed as a possible terrorist and subject to TSA colonoscopy when I return to the US to visit family next year?

It's no wonder that the US airlines are all going out of business. Blatent disregard for common sense. Grrrrrr...

Anyone have a similar experience?
 

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TSA cares about the countries you visited and mainly they like to have a long chat (as I've had one in LAX) about where you went and why.

You could get the return airfare and 'forget' to come back on the return trip. One ways always cost more than returns (don't know why, ask the airlines who have rooms full of accountants working on this to make the most money).

An alternative, how about a Round the World Ticket (they cost a bit more), but they usually have 1 yr validity and you can make a few 'vacation' stops if you want.

Plan you vacation and Australia for the next 1 yr, work out a routing and try it with a Round the World Ticket. It might work out a bit better than the two round trip tickets you'd buy if you went to AU and a vacation spot in the next 12 months.

OK, I have another recent issue that I have to vent about...

Can anyone explain why one way airfare costs more than round trip airfare from the US to Sydney? The cheapest flight I could find one way in mid-November from IND to SYD was $1650. If I book a week long round trip, back to the States, that fare drops to $1250.

So, question... If I book a round trip and just skip the return portion (as it will save me $400 to book round trip tickets for our one way trip to move), will I be in hot water with the "US Passport Police"? Will I be black listed as a possible terrorist and subject to TSA colonoscopy when I return to the US to visit family next year?

It's no wonder that the US airlines are all going out of business. Blatent disregard for common sense. Grrrrrr...

Anyone have a similar experience?
 

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crwolf79k,

I will be moving to Newcastle in about 9 days. The 15th. From New York myself. I, unlike you though, am moving because of my fiancee, who's Australian. I have been to Port Stephens. It is a beautiful area, and is about 30 minute drive to Newcastle itself. Do not think of Newcastle as a city like Melbourne or Sydney. But it is still a lovely city. And yes, it is awfully close to beaches in either Newcastle or Port Stephens.

I'll be there about a month before you depart, so if you want to know anything between now and then, PM me and I'll give you all the details of the area. Plus, my fiancee knows the area like the back of her hand.

Also, check out VAustralia. They have One way fares that are very cheap. Though, they don't have any migrant fares or luggage options. Its like 600$ from LA to SYD. So if you can get a cheap flight to LA, then it might be good for you

I also heard the IOM can get migrants pretty good rates on fares and decent migrant luggage options. I bought my plane fare before I received my Prospective spouse visa, so I have not used them.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
crwolf79k,

I will be moving to Newcastle in about 9 days. The 15th. From New York myself. I, unlike you though, am moving because of my fiancee, who's Australian. I have been to Port Stephens. It is a beautiful area, and is about 30 minute drive to Newcastle itself. Do not think of Newcastle as a city like Melbourne or Sydney. But it is still a lovely city. And yes, it is awfully close to beaches in either Newcastle or Port Stephens.

I'll be there about a month before you depart, so if you want to know anything between now and then, PM me and I'll give you all the details of the area. Plus, my fiancee knows the area like the back of her hand.

Also, check out VAustralia. They have One way fares that are very cheap. Though, they don't have any migrant fares or luggage options. Its like 600$ from LA to SYD. So if you can get a cheap flight to LA, then it might be good for you

I also heard the IOM can get migrants pretty good rates on fares and decent migrant luggage options. I bought my plane fare before I received my Prospective spouse visa, so I have not used them.
Fretbrnr...

Thanks for the introduction. We'll have to get together when we arrive. Yes, we spent some time in Newcastle and Port Stephens while we were considering the offer. I'm looking forward to living in both places, but Newcastle was a little more our speed (more to do). My wife and I are 30, and the atmosphere in Port Stephens seemed a bit like a retirement area. Beautiful beaches in both places though.

We just sold almost all of our stuff on Craigslist yesterday, so it's starting to feel a little more real. We're looking forward to it. Good luck with your move.

Chris
 

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Fretbrnr...

Thanks for the introduction. We'll have to get together when we arrive. Yes, we spent some time in Newcastle and Port Stephens while we were considering the offer. I'm looking forward to living in both places, but Newcastle was a little more our speed (more to do). My wife and I are 30, and the atmosphere in Port Stephens seemed a bit like a retirement area. Beautiful beaches in both places though.

We just sold almost all of our stuff on Craigslist yesterday, so it's starting to feel a little more real. We're looking forward to it. Good luck with your move.

Chris
I like Newcastle as well. Although, I was recently asked "Why?" by a young Aussie bartender when I mentioned I was moving to Newcastle. Maybe it doesn't have the same nightlife of Sydney or Melbourne, but its very relaxed place, and everyone was super friendly. Even with me being a Yank and all. I am passed that point of needing a huge nightlife, and a night out once a month is plenty for me. Though, I have been out quite a bit the last couple of months with my brothers, as I will not be seeing them much anymore :(

You have alot going on around that area. And the beaches are beautiful, and never really crowded, at least whenever I have been there. I won't actually be living in the city of Newcastle itself, but in a town on the outskirts. Only a 30 minute walk or a 5 minute drive. I think people get down on newcastle as its not built up like sydney or melbourne. though, I have never been to melbourne, but I did love sydney whenever I was there. Anyway, I am pretty happy where I am moving and why I am moving.
 

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Anyway, I am pretty happy where I am moving and why I am moving.
And those two things are so important!
Good luck with your move.

Regards,
Karen
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Amaslam--Thanks for the advice on checking TV's for voltage compatibility. You were right! I pulled a 22" Zenith LCD TV that I had mounted in my bathroom (Yes... my bathroom :D ). It is actually made by LG, and guess what... it's 110-240V! So that's coming with me. Upon further research, every LG and Samsung LCD HDTV that I've come across works on both 110V and 220V (and 50-60hz), so they will work fine in US and AUS. I'm going to buy a larger one here before I move, so I don't get subject to the Australian Gouge Tax! I also learned that PS3's are built for both voltages as well, so I should be good there. Xbox, no love, so I'm getting a 1000W converter.

Fretbrner... I agree with your assessment of "Newie" from the little we saw of it. Might I ask where you're moving? My boss grew up in Newcastle (area), and from what I gather, Newcastle has a bit of a "blue collar" reputation, like Detroit. It was a steel town for most of the 20th century, and the plant closed in the 90's. As such, it experienced a decline in the local economy in the late 90's, and I'm sure the area (and reputation) suffered. It remains a very industrial area, and I think I remember reading that it was the largest coal export port in the world. The Wikipedia entry on it was pretty interesting.

After some exploration and advice from natives, I think we're looking at the following areas: The Hill, Cooks Hill, The Junction, Newcastle East, Bar Beach, or maybe Honeysuckle. We checked it out, and those areas had a good "feel." I agree with you. The beaches were awesome there, and the people were very friendly. We don't by any means do the "nightlife party scene" like we did in college, but we still like to have a good time. Newcastle seems like a place that will accomodate our needs just fine, and it's only a 2 hour train ride to Sydney. Sydney might be a little overwhelming for us to start, I have a feeling, so this will be a nice balance of "big enough" and "not to crowded"... I mean, I'll be driving a big truck on a fairly regular basis for a living... I want to learn without the crazy traffic!

We should definitely get together for a pint or a few when I get there.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Though, I have been out quite a bit the last couple of months with my brothers, as I will not be seeing them much anymore :(
You probably already have the communication bit figured out, but I figured I'd pass it on. I just got hooked up with Skype, and all of my relatives are getting webcams for an early Christmas present. Amazon has some nice ones for under $30 right now. Also, I bought myself a MagicJack that comes with whatever US area code phone number you want. It's a VoIP internet phone, but it allows free calls from Australia back to the US.

IMO, the internet age is making it easier to be away from family. I Facebook chat with my mom more than I talk to her now!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Anybody know why I'm getting a message at the end of the eVisa 457 application indicating: "This service is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.?... I was on the last step. That's not very reassuring.
 
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