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Discussion Starter #1
I thought I'd share my experience with everyone here; hopefully it's helpful to someone at some point. I arrived in Melbourne a few days ago.

I should mention that my wife and 4 year old son are back in Romania; they will join me when I'm settled here (i.e. I have an apartment rented that is suitable for a 4 year-old and I also have a job). No rush on that.

I had been very busy with work prior to moving (and travelled quite a bit), which left me very little time to prepare. My weight limit being 30kg, I packed what I considered necessary (mostly clothing) and not easily replaceable in 2 suitcases (I wanted to avoid stuffing everything in one suitcase). I weighed everything before leaving and the 2 stuicases were exactly 30.0kg - sure enough, at the airport they weighed 30.3, which was acceptable, but it's best to leave room for a small margin or error.

I did not leave work earlier because I have plenty of vacation days left (close to 80) and technically I am on vacation now. This vacation is a buffer for me (if things go wrong here, I go back to my job) so I wanted to start my vacation as late as possible. (Too little time to get ready, but you can't have everything.)

I did not look for a job before leaving becuase I wanted to be here first and have a local phone number on my CV.

I did arrange accommodation via AirBNB for 26 nights. I rented a room, though I really intended to have a place all to myslef and misread the AirBNB post. Still - a private bedroom with my own bathroom and access to kitchen (in South Yarra). I'm ok with this. The guy I'm renting from is very nice and helpful. Having someone to occasionally interact with and ask questions is very helpful. In the end it's been working out ok. I think I prefer this to living by myself and nobody to ask anything.

(continued in the next post)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Part 2

I got in on a Tuesday night. I was a bit nervous about the border crossing (I'm used to traveling to the US). On the plane you get a card that you fill out. On that card there is a question about the reason for travelling to Australia and the first choice is "immigrate to Australia". When I got to the border crossing, I handed my passport + that card that and I was ready to pull out all sorts of paperwork and have a lenghy discussion. It went like this:
Officer: "So you're immigrating to Australia?"
Me: "Yes."
<STAMP>
Office: "Welcome!" - and hands me the passport.

It took less than 10 seconds.

I took a taxi to the place I had rented (it was late, I was very tired after the long trip and with 2 suitcases in tow I didn't even want to hear about public transport.) $70 later I arrived to the place, showered and went to sleep.

The next day is what I consider DAY 1 in Australia. I applied for a TFN number online. I provided the address of the AirBNB place where I'm staying. I found online the closest Medicare place (Centrelink) and went there in person. They asked for the stamped passport and the visa grant notice (which I had printed and brought with me). Similarly, I gave them the AirBNB address. I got a temporary piece of paper that is in lieu of the Medicare card which will eventually arrive in the mail.

(continued in the next post)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Part 3

Day 2 in Oz: I went to the bank to actvate my account. I had opened an account with ANZ just days prior to leaving Romania. I had received an email with the account details and branch. So I went to that branch (in CBD). Someone I know had some issues due to the address - they asked for an address but his Australian girlfriend was with him and vouched for him, so it went ok in the end. Fortunately, I did not have to justify my address (the same AirBNB address - the only one I could possibly provide); they just accepted it. The lady helping me was very nice - she was from New Zeeland herself and knew what it was like to move to Oz. I asked for a statement and I got a bank statement with my address on it.

Next I went to VicRoads and made an appointment to change my driver's license. They proposed a date 3 weeks away, and I politely asked the lady if there was anything available sooner, perhaps at another VicRoads location and I was able to get an appointment in Werribee in a week. It's far away but I'll take the train. That's for next week.

I walked into a realestate agency and aksed the receptionist about finding an apartment and she gave me a long list of apartments. When I mentioned that (a) I don't have any local references and (b) I don't have a job yet her face turned green and could not get me out of there sooner. I'll just wait until I have my driver's license for the 100 ID points (passport + license should cover it) and do take it from there.

Meanwhile, I'm job hunting. Hopefully something turns out soon enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for sharing this. Why do you register for Centrelink/medical first? it seems that is your priority
I thought that I would need the [temporary] Medicare card at the bank - I had no way to justify my address and I thought that if the Medicare office was comfortable mailing me the card to the address I had given them, perhaps the bank would feel comfortable with that as well.

Secondly, the Medicare card is needed at VicRoads (as a secondary piece of ID).

Thirdly, why wait? My goal is to get all the pakerwork done ASAP.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
A few more details: my AirBNB host mailed me a SIM card and I got it while still in Romania. He even activated it for me. Alternatively, there is an OPTUS in the airport and you can get a SIM card there. It's helpful to have a working phone number right away and more importantly, data access.

Having a smart phone has been extremely helpful. I was able to map thigns and walk to where I needed to go, look up public transport, etc on the go. It's instrumental to moving around quickly (especially when you're in a completely new place).
 

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Nice informative post. Thank you. Please let us know what skill are you into?
 

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great stuff phlojo, thanks for sharing your experience, it really helps.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Following advice from my AirBNB host, I've started checking out neighborhoods. My goal is to use my time as efficiently as possible (i.e. waste no time!) A good way to do this is to find a neighborhood on the map and just go there and walk around: check out houses, parks, stores, the general area. I went to Clifton Hill and Fitzroy North today on a scouting mission. (Perssonally, I liked Clifton Hill more than Fitzroy North.) I don't know if this is for everyone, but I found it a good experience to go in person and simply check out things. Sure, it takes time, but one such trip can take at most 3-4 hours in one day (it depends if you want to mod more walking/scouting or if you just want to take public transport to/from there). Weekends are great for that (I don't expect to get any calls about interviews or anything).
 

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How to get house through Real estate Agents

Hi Phlojo,
You mentioned that the REAL ESTATE AGENT was not comfortable with you not having a job. Any idea how to overcome that hurdle? The thing is that i plan on moving the Melbourne first and have my family move in withing 1-2 months during which I would want to close down on a house for rent. This I intend on doing with or without a job in hand.

Any suggestions?

Amit
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You mentioned that the REAL ESTATE AGENT was not comfortable with you not having a job. Any idea how to overcome that hurdle? The thing is that i plan on moving the Melbourne first and have my family move in withing 1-2 months during which I would want to close down on a house for rent. This I intend on doing with or without a job in hand.
I don't have an answer to that. I'm going through this myself. Here's what I do know: you need 100 points of ID, so before you can be considered for anything, my plan is to work on those 100 points. I have a bank statement, a temporary Medicare card and I should have a driver's license soon. With all that I plat to start going to viewings. I'll let you know how things turn out.

I don't know if this is the best approach, but it's the best I could come up with. I'm open to suggestions.

As for not having a job, another possibility (I think) is to have enough money in the bank to cover rent for a while (and show a statement) . I don't know how much is enough to make someone comfortable with that idea... I am hoping that if I can show that I have enough money to pay rent for a few months, I just might get accepted.:fingerscrossed:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
2 quick updates: I got my TFN in the mail (about a week after I applied) and I also got my driver's license. It was easy-peasy - I just showed up at my appointment with all the documents and it was done in a few minutes. I got a piece of paper which serves as my termporary license, and they said the license should arrive in the mail in 5-10 business days. You can get a license for 3 years or 10 years; I opted for the 3 year version and the cost is $74.

Still hunting for jobs... lock and load!
 

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2 quick updates: I got my TFN in the mail (about a week after I applied) and I also got my driver's license. It was easy-peasy - I just showed up at my appointment with all the documents and it was done in a few minutes. I got a piece of paper which serves as my termporary license, and they said the license should arrive in the mail in 5-10 business days. You can get a license for 3 years or 10 years; I opted for the 3 year version and the cost is $74.

Still hunting for jobs... lock and load!
HI Phlojo ,
Didn't they take a driving test, I thought it would happen ... Or you just showed up with your national driving license?

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #17
HI Phlojo ,
Didn't they take a driving test, I thought it would happen ... Or you just showed up with your national driving license?

Thanks
It really depends on the country. Check the VicRoads website. In my case, with a Romanian license, since I'm over 25 and have had the license for over 5 years they just changed it (no tests).
 

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I got a piece of paper which serves as my termporary license, and they said the license should arrive in the mail in 5-10 business days. You can get a license for 3 years or 10 years; I opted for the 3 year version and the cost is $74.

Still hunting for jobs... lock and load!
Vic seems to be having much lower fees for driving licence. I guess 3 yrs licence in SA doesn't cost any less than $170.
 

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Hi phlojo. Great initial experience so far! Wishing you all the very best in what ever you do!
Keenly awaiting more updates as you progress. Our prayers for your job hunt!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Some updates:
- The driver's license came in the mail in exactly 1 week (5 business days)
- The debit card had not arrived after 2 weeks and I had to call the bank to have one sent. I got it, but am still waiting for the PIN.
- I got a job! I have a spreadsheet with some 30 jobs I have applied for (via seek.com.au) - none of those have played out. Of those 30 applications sent I got exactly 1 call from a recruiter with some [silly] questions. The one I was able to get was because a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend referred me and that got me to the interview. After 2 more interviews I was hired. I start a week from today.
- I had to fill up some paperwork for my job. They asked for some documents that needed to be signed in front of an official witness. I thought to myself "that's just great... I have to go to a notary public". But when I asked about that I was told I could get that done at any pharmacy. And I did. Who knew? I love how some things here can be extremely easy and convenient.
- After getting the job I started focusing on finding a place to live. I had to buy a printer to have all the documents set up (scanned, signed, printed, etc.) Having a job makes it easier to find a place.
- I gathered all the documents (employment contract, bank statements, ID documentation - passport, driver's license, medicare card), scanned them and applied to one place the day before the inspection. Some agents accept 1Form - an online application that you fill out and you also upload your scanned documents. 1Form is great because it's all electronic and you can use that to apply to several places. Unfortunately, not all agents accept that.
- I showed up at the inspection. They had 2 units available (in a set of 4 or 5 two bedroom townhouses) and I was the only one who showed up. That was yesterday at 1pm. I got a call this morning around 10 saying that the landlord had accepted my application. I'm going in tomorrow to sign some paperwork and then I pick up the keys on Saturday.

The next step: get furniture (at the very least a bed, a fridge and some kitchen utensils).
 
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