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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
This is just my attempt to pen down the preparation of the start of my adventure. As the First post I plan to give you a bit of a premise on my journey so far and then going ahead I’ll just pen down whenever I can what I am doing for the trip

The Beginning

The beginning was a question. The same question I ask myself every time. Am I giving my daughter the best I possibly can? Most times the answer is an almost convincing yes. Like a chair on 3 legs, it can stand on its own and look to the world like it is ok but when someone actually sits on it fails (I smile now when I think that that was almost convincing). But on the end of 2013 the question was supplemented by another thought/question “If you are not giving your daughter the best you can what is stopping you?”. I had no answer to this. I re-looked at my life. Both my wife and I were working in one of the best product companies in India. We were actually doing really well at work and our pay was pretty good. Then why was this question bothering me? What was missing?

During this time while catching up with a very old friend of mine, he said that he really regretted not applying for the UK HSMP visa when we had the chance (For those who don’t know, UK had launched a Highly Skilled Migrant Program similar to the Australian 189 visa. Then we had a lot of reasons why it was not right for us. At the core of it we were not confident of our existing skill set and our ability to learn. But now after 10 years and a few onsite trips between us, we understand now how naive and immature we were). That was a light-bulb moment. I got the reason why fate was posing this question to me again and again. The almighty was kind enough to give me the skills and the resources and the support to pursue life at a place that would improve my daughter’s life and I was not even trying for it.
This thought was running over and over in my head like a broken record when I went to office the next day. One of my colleagues was celebrating her PR to Australia. I just went to her and downloaded all the info she had on the Australian migration. After 2 hours I knew a great deal about the migration. I just felt in my mind that fate had lined things up so well for me that it may be something that was meant to be. So I decided I would try and go to Australia

Convincing the family

A premise, I had never discussed migration with myself before this, let alone my family. So I knew that they all would feel it was a bolt from the blue. I felt the best option to convince the family was to go from the easiest member to the toughest. So I thought ill first tell my wife and then my mom and then dad. And boy was I wrong.
It took a whole four hours of discussion cajoling and reasoning with my wife for her to agree to start the PR process. By the end of that battle I knew that it was a “discussion” that I had to take up part by part and eventually I could (hopefully) get her to buy into my dream. With my mom it only took the words “Mom we are planning to apply for a PR to Australia” to convince her. My dad overheard this and came out really excited. He told me he always wondered why I did not make this decision earlier.
This showed how little I knew my parents. They wanted me to settle abroad. Yet they waited for me to make the decision and choose what I wanted. They just watched me from a distance hoping I would mature in time to make that decision. To my parents, my complete RESPECT to you. If I could be half the parent to my daughter as you were to me I would have accomplished something in life.

The PR Process

Just making 2 points here:
1. I went through a MARA registered agent. It was a good decision for me. I am a fairly irresponsible person and will not complete things that are a bother and painstakingly dull (Like getting the experience letters, statutory declarations etc. etc.) and I knew that my process would get delayed if it was left to me. So I went with SK migration in Bangalore. There is a guy by name Mohit, he is an amazing person. I really would recommend them. If I had to do it all over again I would use this agent again.
2. During the ACS process I had applied for a 190 visa for Software tester in the ACS. While waiting for the State sponsorship for Victoria I went through the JD for Software engineer and since I had done a lot of Core Java development and production support work I felt that all my experience could work for Software engineer role and all the letters I got from my previous employers supported it. I spoke to the agent and he said that they had already applied for the state sponsorship, let us see after they reply. Fate intervened again and I was rejected the sponsorship (It was funny because I had 3 very close relatives living with family and kids in Australia. 2 of them are citizens. And now after I got the PR also Melbourne is my first choice for the city I would like to settle). So Applied for Software engineer in ACS and got the positive response. Long story short I got my PR in subclass 189.
The rest is all agonizing stories of waiting and getting passports and putting spouse’s name in the passport etc. etc. All are said many times here. If anyone has any questions I will be happy to answer.

The Job Hunt

It is during the PR process that I got to know about this forum and the wealth of information in this forum.
So once I got the Visa I was ready to quit my job and go to Australia with my family and start a new life. The big question kept popping up from all quarters “How can you leave a well-paying job and a settled life to go into the unknown? “The voice of reason (read un-adventurous practical people like wife, parents friends etc.) made a suggestion. Keep a time frame in mind to get a job. Calculate the cost you will need to survive a month frugally, multiply it by the number of months you plan to stay out of a job and save that much. When you have enough money then I alone can go. So I had to go there alone without wife and kid. My excitement halved. But the voice of reason is a powerful force and somehow everyone starts saying the same thing except for me.
Well I had other plans. I started looking for a job from India. The voice of reason encouraged me but was skeptical. We booked tickets for our initial visit in October and I was planning to travel in Jan.
I got a call from a very sweet lady. She said they had an opportunity for my skill set in Perth; it was a short term contract for 3 months. I was interested. We spoke for an hour and she seemed impressed. She also told me not to go with any other recruiters for this position. I wanted to tell her she was the first recruiter I spoke to who showed any interest in my profile and I didn’t think anyone else would call me :).
Then the wait started. Generally in India the interview would be scheduled in a week if the company was interested. If you don’t get a call in a week you know that they were not interested. I followed up a bit with her but did not get a call from her for about 2 months after I applied to the job. I had completely lost hope to get the job. But many of the forum members said that this was common in Australia. So long story short they scheduled an hour and a half interview after 2 months and I was ready for it. The actual interview lasted 30 mins. I felt I messed up the interview and lost this opportunity, I got a call from the recruiter saying they were impressed with the interview and would get back by next week.
Again, the agonizing wait. I was not able to concentrate on my day to day work and was always checking my mail. I followed up with the recruiter. She was very very patient and kept asking me to hold on and that my application was in progress. Finally on a Friday at 11:00 am I got a call from the recruiter with a confirmation from the employer. The hourly rate was also pretty decent. I was elated and was going to quit on Friday when the recruiter asked me to hold on and wait for the offer letter. Yes I remembered we needed these trivialities before we made an official comment. She was as excited as I was (if not more) on me getting the Job offer. She was the first person whom I interacted with in a professional manner in Australia. She was one of the sweetest human beings I have ever spoken to.
I finally got The offer letter And have put my papers in my company today.
Now all the voices of reason and I are on the same page and have started with making shopping lists and planning on the packing etc.etc.
In the future posts I will be detailing my travel plans and what all I am doing for the big Adventure.

Things to do before the Journey

Shopping cloths and essentials
Open A bank account
Visit Friends and relatives
Change the Dates of the tickets (Melbourne)
Book local tickets to Perth
Get License declaration from Karnataka RTO
Look for accommodation
Make the Phone pre-paid.
Give KT to wife :)
Do stuff I always wanted to do with daughter

This list is much shorter than I imagined. Please suggest anything I need to do and have missed out.
 

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Good on you mate, best of luck for your time ahead in Aussi land..
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Opening a Bank Account

Just an update on bank account. I had to open an account and give the account info the the contracting company. So opened the NAB account. Not sure whether this bank has good branches in Perth. I will mostly go there and see.

Just had a chat with the Manager, He was not willing to release me early :mad:. But my last date is still within the threshold and can join on time
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi All,
I had a question. I am planning to travel to Melbourne and then from there to Perth. I had already booked tickets to Melbourne in October and need to use them. So Planning to reschedule the tickets. Now my question is this. any recommended flights to Perth? any good time to reach Perth?

Also For start I am looking at Victoria Park area near Perth for my initial Booking Via AirBNB. Is that a good choice?
 

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Congratulations mate. Wish I'd knew about M'bourne and Perth. I am sure someone will come along and help you.
Beautifully written. Its a shame you scored only 7 in writing.
 

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Hi All,
I had a question. I am planning to travel to Melbourne and then from there to Perth. I had already booked tickets to Melbourne in October and need to use them. So Planning to reschedule the tickets. Now my question is this. any recommended flights to Perth? any good time to reach Perth?

Also For start I am looking at Victoria Park area near Perth for my initial Booking Via AirBNB. Is that a good choice?

From Blr to Perth, Malaysian or Cathay Pacific airlines will reach around 3-4PM.

For your above question, NAB has lot of branches in and around CBD in Perth, so no worries'.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Congratulations mate. Wish I'd knew about M'bourne and Perth. I am sure someone will come along and help you.
Beautifully written. Its a shame you scored only 7 in writing.
Thanks a lot Buddy
I feel I am lucky getting 7 overall. the reason I feel that is a long story. I am penning it down below.

When I applied for the PR the agent first said that I needed to get the IELTS score and without a 7 overall it may get tricky to get the required 60 points. I was very confident on getting an overall of 8. The reason was in 10 years of performance appraisals the one good point any managers always said about me was my communication skills (many times that was the only good point :D).
With this confidence I started my preparation with the section I was strongest in, writing (I thought). I wrote an essay and a letter. Reality kicked in. The following things happened
- I was so used to typing that my hands started aching after writing a paragraph. I could not hold the pencil properly. Towards the end of the essay the pencil started slipping out of my hand
- My typing speed was faster (way faster) than my writing speed so my thought train went way ahead of my writing and got muddled. I had to wait and gather my thoughts again. and could not present my thoughts in the right order.
These things made me slower and I could not make it in time. But that was fine. Practice would help me get there so I was not worried.
Then the I was faced with the brutal truth. My wife is a technical writer by profession and is really good in the English language. She corrected my essay and my letter just from a grammatical and sentence formation perspective. She put her comments in a separate paper. the comments were 3 pages long. The point she gave me was that I conveyed the ideas correctly.
I found it very hard to accept. I really felt she was yanking my chain.I got plain pissed off. She slowly (and very patiently) explained to me that most of the Business communication relies on conveying the Idea where we are all generally very good. Since (in India) most professionals use English for business communication we are able to convey our Idea very well. We unknowingly make many mistakes (grammatically) which we don't realize. It is really hard to change our writing and speaking style since we are so used to it and use the same style in daily communication.
I knew that practicing for a couple of hours a week would not help with this issue. Because after my practice session for the whole week I would be communicating and speaking in the way i am used to. Actually a person who does not use English for daily communication has a better chance of scoring higher in the writing and speaking sections if he practices diligently.
How I improved was i kept writing essays and letters and my wife wrote the grammatical and sentence formation mistakes i generally make. I kept that paper in front of me when I wrote the next essay and I did improve a lot. I guess that was the difference between a 6 and a 7 in writing.

After this ordeal with writing I was too exhausted to do the same in speaking. I just left it to fate and gave the exam. Luckily I got a 7 there and did not have to go through with it again.
Listening and reading is pure practice. The more you do it, the better you get at it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
From Blr to Perth, Malaysian or Cathay Pacific airlines will reach around 3-4PM.

For your above question, NAB has lot of branches in and around CBD in Perth, so no worries'.
Hi Vijay,
I had already booked my tickets to Melbourne for my travel in October. I was thinking of making changes to that flight to reach Melbourne and then fly to Perth from there.

Just wanted some suggestions for flights from Melbourne to Perth
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi All,

Any information on Melbourne to Perth flights will be of great help. The airlines that Operate in the sector, good websites to check the online flights. any information would help
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Money Transfer

Hi All,
I just did a research on the Money transferring options from Bangalore.
Now from what I understand there are 2 types Legal vendor options to transfer money
1. Banks
2. Exchange agents

Agents give a better exchange rate and you can bargain with them. But they have charges for transferring money and these rates vary. Also the exchange rate they give for wire transfer is more than preparing a foreign currency draft (this means that you get more bang for your buck if you take a draft). They will even give you better exchange rates if you transfer larger amounts. The issue is that they will not transfer money from your account directly. they need the money to come to their account and then they affect the transfer. This means that if you give them a check they will wait till it clears and then start affecting the wire transfer or the Draft. It is a risk you need to bear. If you take a draft from your bank then the benefit on the exchange rate you get will be nullified by the charges of the domestic draft. I did not want to take the risk with check so I did not go with them.

The exchange rates in banks are not as good as the rate an agent will give you. they will have a fixed rate for a day and you can transfer the money that way. The rates most banks give is available online but it may be a day old. These banks also charge for transfers. the charges for banks vary from 1000 - 2500 INR.

I checked with Standard Chartered, Citibank and ICICI bank personally. I checked the Rates of HDFC bank online.

from what I observed Citibank gives you the best exchange rate but charges you 2000+ for the swift transaction. The day i checked they gave me a benefit of 60 paise. I will illustrate the benefit of each case (lower txn fee Vs Lower exchange rate) with an example.

For ease of calculation Ill consider another bank giving me 50 INR per AUD and Citibank giving me 49.4 INR per AUD. I am taking the example of transferring 2000 AUD and 3000 AUD.
If I transfer 2000 AUD from Citibank I need to pay 98800+2500=101300 INR for getting the money into my Aussie account.
From Another Account I need to Pay 100000+1000= 101000 INR. This makes other Banks cheaper.
Now If I need to transfer 3000 AUD. I need to pay 148200+2500=150700 INR from Citibank and 150000+1000=151000 INR from other banks. Which makes Citibank a better Option.

The base Idea is if banks have a lower service charge it may be more profitable to send money through them for smaller amounts. If the amount of money you needs to send exceeds that threshold it is better to pay lower exchange rate and Higher service charge. In the above example, if you want to send more than 3000 AUD (1.5L INR) then you will save 6000 INR per Lakh that you send.
If you plan to send 10 lakhs in total if I go with citibank I would save 54K in total. That is a lot of money. :cool:

It took me the whole weekend to figure out. Just thought I would share it as an indicative for anyone transferring money :).
 

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Thanks for sharing this information Jim. And what documents do they require for a swift transfer?

Cheers,
Jai
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for sharing this information Jim. And what documents do they require for a swift transfer?

Cheers,
Jai
I have not done the transfer yet. but according to the banker, if the account in Australia and the account in India is in your own name, and you are having a PR all you need is the passport. I think we also need the grant letter to prove the PR.
I have heard somewhere that you need the flight tickets as well.
I will be transferring the money early next month. I will carry all these documents and post here back on the exact document you require.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Bad experience with Makemytrip

I just wanted to share a terrible experience I had with Make my trip.

I had booked my tickets to Melbourne for October via Makemytrip. Now that I got the job I had to change the date of my booking. I called them and asked them to change the date to August 14th. The call center executive agreed and told me it would cost me 5200 INR to make that change. He said that I had to be in front of a laptop to make the changes. I agreed and asked him if he could make the booking and I could call later and close the payment. He agreed to this as well.
I had some work so I called them after 2 hours. Now they say that to change the date to it would cost me 200K extra to book change the dates. The reason was economy seats were not available. I checked on the Make my trip site and I could see that it was available. But according the the call center agent the airline does not allow them to make select those tickets. The airline will not handle my booking since I have booked from make my trip.
I asked her to check if any other dates have availability. They did not have availability for any date in economy. I had not asked them to check for availability in that week. I just asked them to check for availability for any day where can get an economy class flight. I find it hard to believe that they did not have availability for a single day in economy to change my ticket.
I had to take a hit of 40K and cancel the airline ticket and I went directly to the website of Singapore airlines and booked a one way ticket with Singapore Airlines for 42K (the same ticket was 43K in MMT). So my total flight cost was 80K for a one way trip. I still saved 120K.
I don't know whether I am happy or sad now. I just know that I would never use MMT again.
 
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Hi All,
I just did a research on the Money transferring options from Bangalore.
Now from what I understand there are 2 types Legal vendor options to transfer money
1. Banks
2. Exchange agents

Agents give a better exchange rate and you can bargain with them. But they have charges for transferring money and these rates vary. Also the exchange rate they give for wire transfer is more than preparing a foreign currency draft (this means that you get more bang for your buck if you take a draft). They will even give you better exchange rates if you transfer larger amounts. The issue is that they will not transfer money from your account directly. they need the money to come to their account and then they affect the transfer. This means that if you give them a check they will wait till it clears and then start affecting the wire transfer or the Draft. It is a risk you need to bear. If you take a draft from your bank then the benefit on the exchange rate you get will be nullified by the charges of the domestic draft. I did not want to take the risk with check so I did not go with them.

The exchange rates in banks are not as good as the rate an agent will give you. they will have a fixed rate for a day and you can transfer the money that way. The rates most banks give is available online but it may be a day old. These banks also charge for transfers. the charges for banks vary from 1000 - 2500 INR.

I checked with Standard Chartered, Citibank and ICICI bank personally. I checked the Rates of HDFC bank online.

from what I observed Citibank gives you the best exchange rate but charges you 2000+ for the swift transaction. The day i checked they gave me a benefit of 60 paise. I will illustrate the benefit of each case (lower txn fee Vs Lower exchange rate) with an example.

For ease of calculation Ill consider another bank giving me 50 INR per AUD and Citibank giving me 49.4 INR per AUD. I am taking the example of transferring 2000 AUD and 3000 AUD.
If I transfer 2000 AUD from Citibank I need to pay 98800+2500=101300 INR for getting the money into my Aussie account.
From Another Account I need to Pay 100000+1000= 101000 INR. This makes other Banks cheaper.
Now If I need to transfer 3000 AUD. I need to pay 148200+2500=150700 INR from Citibank and 150000+1000=151000 INR from other banks. Which makes Citibank a better Option.

The base Idea is if banks have a lower service charge it may be more profitable to send money through them for smaller amounts. If the amount of money you needs to send exceeds that threshold it is better to pay lower exchange rate and Higher service charge. In the above example, if you want to send more than 3000 AUD (1.5L INR) then you will save 6000 INR per Lakh that you send.
If you plan to send 10 lakhs in total if I go with citibank I would save 54K in total. That is a lot of money. :cool:

It took me the whole weekend to figure out. Just thought I would share it as an indicative for anyone transferring money :).
Have a look at bookmyforex.com. I've used their services numerous times, hassle free process and they generally provide the best exchange rate, better than banks and local agents with reasonable service charges. Bank rates are generally a rupee above the XE rate, whereas these guys charge somewhere between 30-40 paise above the XE rate.

Forex cards are the cheapest to buy and as ATM's are easily available at airports, so they make a lot of sense. Rest the preference is yours.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Have a look at bookmyforex.com. I've used their services numerous times, hassle free process and they generally provide the best exchange rate, better than banks and local agents with reasonable service charges. Bank rates are generally a rupee above the XE rate, whereas these guys charge somewhere between 30-40 paise above the XE rate.

Forex cards are the cheapest to buy and as ATM's are easily available at airports, so they make a lot of sense. Rest the preference is yours.

Cheers
Hi Hamster

Citi is giving me 80P more than XE rates while bookmyforex gives me 40paise. I will definitely check them out. Thanks a lot buddy.

The exchange rates are good for forex card (30 Paise more than today's XE rate). But I have heard that they charge for withdrawal from the ATM. and there is a limit for withdrawal. If they charge 10AUD per withdrawal and I need to draw 3 times then I lose 30 AUD. Would that not be the same as wire transfer from Banks?
 

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Hi Hamster

Citi is giving me 80P more than XE rates while bookmyforex gives me 40paise. I will definitely check them out. Thanks a lot buddy.

The exchange rates are good for forex card (30 Paise more than today's XE rate). But I have heard that they charge for withdrawal from the ATM. and there is a limit for withdrawal. If they charge 10AUD per withdrawal and I need to draw 3 times then I lose 30 AUD. Would that not be the same as wire transfer from Banks?
Hey, looks like you are head first into this. While at it, it would help to know whose the best for sending AUD to India.
It will help me for sure :p :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hey, looks like you are head first into this. While at it, it would help to know whose the best for sending AUD to India.
It will help me for sure :p :D
Hey Buddy,

Sending money out of India is strictly controlled by RBI. I remember reading in one of the websites that the only legal way is through banks. But the banks themselves told me that the money exchanges are also legal. So here we re looking at a legal and safe option as well as something that gives us the best rates.

Sending AUD to India will have many local players offering you competitive rates and different schemes. The Australian government taxation and other details would be different from India. So the options we select may not be the best option to send AUD to India
 
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Have a look at bookmyforex.com. I've used their services numerous times, hassle free process and they generally provide the best exchange rate, better than banks and local agents with reasonable service charges. Bank rates are generally a rupee above the XE rate, whereas these guys charge somewhere between 30-40 paise above the XE rate.

Forex cards are the cheapest to buy and as ATM's are easily available at airports, so they make a lot of sense. Rest the preference is yours.

Cheers
Thank you for sharing this information Hamster. Seems they are tied up with Axis bank and look legit.

Thanks,
Jai
 

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Hi Hamster

Citi is giving me 80P more than XE rates while bookmyforex gives me 40paise. I will definitely check them out. Thanks a lot buddy.

The exchange rates are good for forex card (30 Paise more than today's XE rate). But I have heard that they charge for withdrawal from the ATM. and there is a limit for withdrawal. If they charge 10AUD per withdrawal and I need to draw 3 times then I lose 30 AUD. Would that not be the same as wire transfer from Banks?
Hi,

First 3 transactions on Forex cards are free and then on the charge is 2AUD per withdrawal. There is no withdrawal limit on the card, it depends on the ATM withdrawal limit, like in India one can not withdraw more than 10k in one transaction. Plus there is no charge on swiping the card.

If you are comfortable with wire transfer, go for it, there is not that big a difference in price. You will have to take some cash along, until you get the activated card from bank. Or you can split between forex card and wire transfer. There are numerous options see what works for you.

Cheers
 
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