So you’ve finally received your Australian visa. It’s no longer a mere plan to emigrate; you’ve been given approval and now there is nothing stopping you. How do you feel? Excited? Anxious? Terrified? Well, buckle up for the ride of your life on the Immigration-Settlement Roller Coaster.
What do you know about Australia? How have your opinions been formed? You’ve already been here on a reconnaissance mission, perhaps. You liked the cities, the beaches and the massive sky. Where are all the people you asked yourself? Maybe you have friends already here.
The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (Wow! ‘Border Protection’ – that sounds a bit heavy) has informed you that we have a ‘skills shortage’ and you are needed to help build the nation? Maybe you’ve heard otherwise, that it can be difficult to find work as an accountant, engineer, IT professional or scientist. Do you have enough money to sustain you if you are unemployed for longer than you expected? You are regularly checking economic forecasts to see what your chances of success are in your industry. You’ve heard that manufacturing is all but dead. That word ‘recession’ keeps bobbing up and down. Is there a Plan B? Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty person? Your 12 years’ experience should land you a job straight away, right?
Are you coming out first while your wife and children wait for you to get established? How much can you rely on your relatives and friends already in Australia? Are you coming willingly, or is your other half dragging you, kicking and screaming? It’s hard to leave family, friends, an established career and the comfort of your own culture.
You have an IELTS score of 7, but how will you cope with the Australian accent and working in a professional environment where expectations are high? Your job is a client facing role where you’ll be expected to crack jokes and be charming in a second language. Easy, right?
OK, I’ll stop trying to scare you. It’s good to think about the difficult aspects of settlement and be realistic, because it forces you to prepare for the journey and what lies ahead. It won’t all be smooth sailing, but you are brave, otherwise you wouldn’t have made the decision to emigrate. Your courage will see you through. Having interviewed and advised over 3,000 overseas born professionals over the past decade, I have seen way too many success stories to be pessimistic. You are making a great contribution to the development of this nation – something of which you can be proud. When things aren’t going as planned, just remember why you chose to come in the first place.
There is a lot you can do in preparation before you come. To start with…
- Understand your visa restrictions (if any)
- Make sure all your documents are in order (translated & recognised)
- Research the areas in which you are likely to be living/working
- Research your industry and employers. Don’t expect a recruiter, or anyone for that matter, to ‘find you a job’.
- Bring as much money as you can. It is likely to be more expensive than you expect and you may be unemployed for longer than you expect.
- Get advice and support from someone who is well connected and has experience
- Learn about footy – that’s Australian football, because that’s what everyone will be talking about at work
- It is exciting (and scary), so enjoy the ride.
Hope to see you when you get here, if not before!