So a lot of people have been asking me what it is like to migrate and live in Australia. Of the various questions I got, I have consolidated them into the following. These are my views of the current situations I have gone through and experienced in Australia and others may have completely different views and opinions about it.
Is it a good idea to get a PR?
It is always a good thing to get out when you still have time and get the PR. The PR gets converted to Citizenship after 4 years of continuous stay in Australia, which is up to you to take or remain a Citizen of your own country.
There are no additional benefits of PR, except you can buy a property here, and with Citizenship, you get to vote.
I get good money in India, will be it worthwhile to shift?
There is no relation with the in-hand you get in India to what you will get in Australia; it all depends on your negotiation skills and if your skill is in demand in the location you select to settle in.
Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are the 3 major cities which have good jobs and prospects of jobs. Sydney is the most expensive to stay in and the Salary is also relative to it. Adelaide and Darwin are growing in popularity and jobs. Those might be a good place to go to also, with good schooling and cheaper to stay and enjoy life.
How is the Work Culture in Australia?
Don't expect the culture to be any different from other European companies, they are not like the US companies; except if you work for one (which is rare for development jobs here). Exposure is something which you need to create yourself, and will not be handed to you on a platter anywhere :-) [In fact, I believe I had greater exposure in India, than I currently have in Australia or earlier in US]. Likewise for new cultures and travel, it is also totally dependent on you; if you take up a higher paying job, they do not spare you and want you to work for it...
How is the IT industry there? Do I need to start afresh there? What kind of salary can I expect?
As I have said earlier, here it does not depend on your years of experience like in India. If you have the relevant skills, then you will be absorbed in relatively quickly and can demand a higher salary, if not, then it all depends on your negotiation with the company. You might not start as a fresher, but yes, you might not get something like a Lead/Manager job. Like I said the work culture is in more tune to the European standards and based on Services industry (Telecom, Banks, Financial, and Govt.) rather than like US where the IT industry is more research and product driven.
Should I go for state sponsored visa or normal one? If state sponsored, which state is good for IT guys? - NSW, Victoria?
I cannot advice on this, it is your perspective and if you are getting the guarantee of a job in any or not. Sydney is the best for jobs and has a good climate too, but is expensive and you might need to travel a lot. Melbourne climate is cold and there are not many general IT jobs there, but is a more specialized niche. Brisbane is good, the climate is tropical, and there are jobs there, but you might not get a high salary. In the end it all works out to how much you save, and I think in all the cities the saving to salary ratio is the same. I would advise going through a migration agent for all such details, he will be able to advice you properly. I know a good one, through whom I came: http://www.visaspring.com, who specializes in IT people; feel free to drop them a mail and ask. :-)
How long will it take to get the visa?
It all depends, I cannot comment on this. Ask an agent or go to the http://www.australia.gov. This site has a lot of information pertaining to Australia in general and migration.
And finally how is the life there? Are we welcome there?
Life is as it was in India, except it is a bit more peaceful and clean :-)
Overall, I don't think I am the right person to provide a relevant answer, as I am more biased towards the US.
As for being welcome, there is no issue with that over here as far as I know.
Overall, it is a good experience, but only if you want to come and enjoy yourself. If you plan to come here because of the extra savings or the exchange rate, then I would say, try for the US or Europe.
Finally, my own views on general topics and some suggestions!
I know, it is always apprehensive to leave a steady/stable job and go elsewhere.
The thing with getting a PR is multi-fold. You need to understand that although life for you might be in a cleaner environment here, it might not be so easy for you both in terms of household management, where in India you are able to procure maids and other servants for things, here all those have to be done by self. People do say that there are gadgets here, but still it is a painful transition for a couple. You will be able to enjoy life, but it totally depends on you and if both of you are working and then get time for enjoyment :-)
You can try out http://www.seek.com.au, but the recruiters usually do not entertain you if you are not in Australia (except some coveted fields, where the reverse may be the norm). I am not too aware of these areas and you can do some research on the sites I have mentioned in the earlier mail (visaspring.com, australia.gov.au, seek.com.au).
Contractual jobs are as easy/difficult to get as permanent ones. A good site to view contractual jobs is http://www.skillsapien.com. Contractual ones may look lucrative overall, but have a higher risk factor and require you to manage your money and time or hire someone to manage it. Permanent ones also are good, but have their own drawbacks, if your employer is a task master.
Sometimes I have seen people get a job as soon as they land (within a week), and at other times they might need to wait more than 2-3 months to get a desirable job with the salary they wish to get out of it. As I said, it is a dynamic market and things keep changing and you need to make the changes accordingly. Some companies are technical and they do ask technical questions in-depth pertaining to your knowledge, while others are not much interested in technical qualifications, but soft skills and may just hire you based on how you present yourself and how good a communicator you are. Communication is a key factor, if you want to grow in Australia.