Should you move to Sydney?
I think it is safe to assume that you are visiting SMG because you are either planning a move to Sydney or are at least thinking about it. We’re happy to have you either way!
When we moved to Australia in 2008, I remember searching endlessly online for information from international moving companies to Australian Visas. What made it even harder was that we were pretty much on our own.
We didn’t know anyone living in Australia at the time or had ever been to Sydney.
Most of our friends thought we were crazy. In fact, a few of our friends tried to talk us out of moving altogether. Something we thought was very strange, as we would never turn down the opportunity to live overseas. (Ok so they were probably legit in thinking we were a little bit crazy but now we don’t want to leave!)
When the recruiter at Intersystems first contacted my husband about an opportunity to work in Sydney we weren’t sure what to think. All I really knew about Sydney was it had an opera house, a bridge, and a harbour. Oh and Bondi Beach was there.
I have to admit, Sydney was not even on my top ten list of cities I wanted to travel to. Strange now when I think about it.
So what made us decide to up and move to Sydney?
Moving to Sydney: Should You Stay Or Should You Go?
Obviously before you start packing you need to commit to your move to Sydney because once you’ve packed up and ship everything overseas, changing your mind and moving back might not be an option.
Give it some serious thought and take the time to consider your move from many different angles.
I like to think of worse case scenarios like what happens if you are on a 457 Temporary Business Visa and you hate your job in Australia?
Can you afford to move your household back?
Or is your occupation in high demand? So high that finding another employer to sponsor your visa won’t be a problem?
For us, the main determining factor was the job offer from Intersystems.
My husband had to decide if taking the job would be a good career move. To determine this he just focused on what the position was and what experience would he gain, not just focus on the fact that it was in Sydney.
Of course we quickly researched online what his base pay rate would need to be so that we could still have all the same comforts we had in Seattle. There was no reason to pack up and move all the way to Australia to live in some horribly small apartment and be miserable.
Plus we didn’t know if I could find a job.
Even after researching the cost of living in Sydney we were still financially strapped until I got a job. But once I did, we were fine, even able to save.
Property Back Home and Moving with Kids
For us the decision was easier than for many others. We didn’t own a house (no mortgage payments to worry about keeping on top of while paying rent in Sydney) or have kids so uprooting and moving to Australia was far less complicated for us than it is for others.
I do know several expats from the States and the UK that still own a house back in their home countries. They usually find someone to rent it out while they are in Sydney.
Even with collecting rent on their house back home, a couple of our friends still owe on top of the rent they are collecting. Yet another expense to be aware of before you move.
Moving to Sydney with kids does complicate things and it will cost more because, as a temporary business visa holder you will have to pay tuition before your children can attend any of Sydney’s public (government) schools. (If you have or are applying for a PR Visa, you do not have to pay for public schools.)
You will also need to consider what time of year you move as that can affect what grade your children will end up in. Remember the seasons are opposite to that of the Northern Hemisphere as a result the school year and school holidays are also switched.
Australia is So Far Away
That’s one thing that we heard over and over again.
The distance is hard especially for those with very close families or for those who have elderly parents. When our departure date started to get closer, saying goodbye to our family and friends started feeling more final. I still remember my mother-in-law asking if we could just move to California instead.
The truth is you might not go back home for a while mainly because of the cost (fly to Australia is often cheaper than flying from Australia to, well…really just about anywhere) but also saving up enough time to visit everyone can be difficult especially when there is all of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific to explore.
Living so far from home really is not that bad now days. There is Skype for instant messaging or video chatting, an excellent way for grandparents to stay in touch with growing grandkids though not equal to being there in person but better than a long distance phone call. And of course Facebook, though it can feel a bit superficial, it’s also great for staying in touch with everyone back home and for them to see what you’re up to. We often post pictures of just day-to-day living in Sydney and get a huge response.
Once my husband took a series of photos of his daily commute from Sydney’s Lower North Shore by ferry. It was a great idea, not just to share with friends but also for us to have years from now.
Don’t Want to Move to Sydney Without Your Pets
Australian Quarantine is very strict about the importation of animals into Australia. If you cannot even imagine life without your pets then you need to start researching moving to Australia with your pets now.
It is a lengthy process and will take minimum of 6 months (180 days) before you even pack your bags.
The chance of your pets spending time in quarantine in Australia is very likely plus it will be costly. Not to mention emotionally difficult for your beloved pet and yourself too. You will not have any access to your pets while in quarantine. Be sure to talk with a pet moving company that is familiar with all of the restriction in Australia.
We had two cats that we chose not to bring with us to Sydney mainly because our cats were very outdoors-y, slight feral still, and we thought the extend quarantine period of 2008, back then it was 30 days now it’s down to a minimum of 10 days, after a very long flight would be more than they could take.
We also didn’t plan far enough ahead for moving the cats to Sydney. Something you will definitely need to think about if you want to move your pets to Australia.
Ok, you’ve read through the list above and have made up your mind that you definitely want to move to Australia. Now what? Before you start packing take a look at what you can and cannot take into Australia.
I know moving to Australia seems overwhelming right now but if we can do I know you can too!