Saturday, August 18, 2012

Questions on Migrating to Australia!


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.

 

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Experience with VisaSpring - Australian Migration

If I can summarise my entire experience of my dealing with Mr. Ranvir Sethi in a phrase, then I will describe it as ‘Highly Satisfactory’. I heard about Mr. Ranvir Sethi and his company VisaSpring from a colleague of mine (former satisfied client of Visaspring.com) who advised me to pursue my PR for Australia through this Consultancy. I was a bit hesitant and apprehensive about his proposal due to some bottlenecks. Firstly I had never met Ranvir or his team in person and secondly I had a travelling job in IT which made me incapable of doing any follow ups. But my friend finally convinced me that Ranvir is a person on whom I could trust, without any doubts, and that he would engage me in a deal, only if he felt that I have a good enough chance of getting the PR Visa. It was very true, since the next day I gave my resume, I got a positive feedback from him and thereafter all the events in my PR journey were positive result-driven in the shortest time. It took just 5 months for me and my family to get a Skilled PR visa. We were so surprised of each stage getting the results so fast that sometimes we could not believe if it was true :).  Finally, at the end of the journey, when we got the Grant Letter, we were absolutely delighted. It was really a dream come true for me and my family. 

Ranvir was easily approachable and suggested ways of getting things done correctly and in a short time whenever I had any problems. Over phone, email, skype etc. there were many ways he was available to help us out. Even though we never met each other, due to his efficient and modern ways to deal with his clients, all went smooth and without any hassle. There was never any kind of rejection for me or my family at any stage of the application process. He made sure that all the input was correct and thoroughly reviewed by him and Neeraj Lama before sending it to the immigration department or the case officer. I must admit that the things went fast also because of this professional way of dealing of Mr Sethi. He always guided us to be ready with the checklist of all the things needed before the start of the next stage itself, so that if there was any shortcoming on our side, we had ample time to make up for the same. He even helped us intelligently save a big sum of money for my wife’s application by showing her English skills during her college studies. Whenever there was any paperwork, where I had no idea of what to fill-in, he provided us with enough samples to be confident in filling them. At the end, I must generously thank Ranvir and Neeraj for getting us the Australian PR and their professional dealing with us. He is up-to-date with the changing rules and regulations of the Australian immigration system and is proactive in suggesting ways to get things done in the favour of his clients.

He listens carefully and attentively to his clients for their particular needs and situations. Based on his past experience, he guides them in the right way to meet their desired goals. He has vast knowledge and expertise in his field and so you can always be assured with him. He is a very practical person and I learned a lot from dealing with him. He provided us support even after the grant of the visa also for a special need. Although, we had fully paid our contractual fees for all the stages, and he could have easily denied when we asked him for help, since there was no obligation from his side after that. But he believes in the principle that clients are not just for momentary business, they are contacts for a lifetime and it’s because of this principle, that he carries such goodwill. Being from the same educational background as him, I always revered Mr Sethi as my senior and he turned out to be so by being our true and sincere guide in the whole process. I am definitely going to recommend his services to my aspiring friends. I wish all the best to Ranvir, his family, entire team and his future clients, in their efforts.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Indian Driving License in Australia

There are different rules in each of the Australian States/Territories. But basically, if you are coming from Overseas, specially if you have an Indian drivers license, then you will need to follow through with the below:

1. Before you leave India, get a letter from your RTO validating and verifying the drivers license and all the details on it. It needs to be in a format where all the details of the license as well as your details need to be mentioned in a paper, which is certified by an official at the RTO.

2. You need to go on-line and make a booking for getting verification of the License done by the VFS Indian Consulate Offices, which are located, in Sydney, at: 64, Clarence Street, Sydney 2000 (very near to the Wynyard Station on the York St side). The Licensing Authority might provide you with a letter stating the Actual Embassy/Consulate address, but it is no use going there, as they will redirect you to the VFS address, and the VFS people will ask you to fill the form on-line. So, save yourself the trouble :-)

a) Main Site: http://www.vfs-in-au.net/
b) Offices in the various Territories: http://www.vfs-in-au.net/submityourapplication.html
c) Instructions to get your License Verified: http://www.vfs-in-au.net/indiadriverslicence.html
d) The Online Application: https://www.vfsglobalonline.com/IHCAUSOnline/

Once you have booked an appointment with them and submitted the required documents, they will "Again" provide you with "another" document which verifies that the document and license that you have is authentic and can be used by the Roads & Transport department to provide you with a Permanent Drivers License. (The VFS Site has a good step-by-step guide to take you through the process, given at the above link)

The caveat in the above is that your existing license should be more than 3 years old, else you are back to getting a Provisional or even a Learners License from the Roads Department.

3. Once you have this letter with you. Go ahead and book your initial Drivers Knowledge Test (or DKT) on the respective states transport site:

a) New South Wales: http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/licensing/tests/index.html (http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/)
b) Victoria: https://billing.vicroads.vic.gov.au/bookings# (http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/)
c) Queensland: http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Licensing/Getting-a-licence.aspx (http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/)

4. Most of the territories will have practice tests on their online sites and these should be given before going for the actual tests:

a) New South Wales: http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/licensing/tests/driverknowledgetest/demonstrationdriverknowledgetest/index.html
b) Victoria: http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/Licences/GetYourLs/PracticeLearnerandLicenceTests.htm
c) Queensland: http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Licensing/Getting-a-licence/Licence-tests/Practical-driving-test.aspx


Most of the time getting your Drivers License authenticated, may not be required, as the Agency already has your License registered with them; and they just check that the License is in the correct format and allow you to give the DKT. But, it is a good thing to do the above in advance before approaching the Licensing Authority to provide you with an Australian License.

So, once you have your letter from the Embassy, stating that the Indian License is authentic, book your DKT on-line (links given above) and at the designated time and date, be sure to arrive atleast 15 minutes earlier with the following documents:

1. Passport Original
2. Original License
3. Original Authenticity letter
4. Proof of your address in Australia (Gas bill or Lease agreement)
5. The Printout of the Test booked Online
6. The Printout (details filled) of the RTA form, which has your details for giving the DKT

You could also get a Photo ID card created, which will save you the time and effort to carry most of the above documents. But, usually if you are sure of passing the DKT, it amounts to spending that amount extra, as it gets cancelled once you get a Learners, Provisional or Full License. (usually within a day of your passing the Tests).


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Settling in Australia

I have been making plans to write something about my Australia venture for sometime now. Just the issue being that I can't make up my time to go about it :-) . The thought for writing something on this topic came up soon after I recieved the final go ahead for my Australian PR, which materialized last year. So, here are a few things which helped me in settling down here (these experiences are mostly related to Sydney and may differ vastly across the other Cities). This is going to be a series of blog posts.

The first thing to work on when you get your PR Visa is the essentials being provided by the Australian Government for Citizens and PR Holders. There is not an integrated site, which provides information on all the essential services being provided:
http://www.australia.gov.au/

Register yourself on this site (you need to just provide some essential details). The next step is to check the job sites (read the next article on Australia Jobs). Once you have uploaded and applied for numerous job opportunities which suit you. You might be called for a face-to-face. This is the appropriate time to make a quick short trip to Aussie Land. (if you have a PR Visa, you need to make atleast one trip in the first year of getting the same). Convert this trip to a pleasure and recursion trip, then you enjoy and complete what you came to do, without feeling the pinch of just having to visit for fulfilling your PR Visa requirement. Best would be if you shift over permenently, but as many would have other commitments, it might not be possible.

When you get to Australia, either you need to have friends and family to stay with or book yourself into a Hotel. A good place to go for this is http://www.hotels.com/, who have a good collection of Hotels for Australia. The other thing is to go around sites such as http://www.domain.com.au/ or http://www.realestate.com.au/ and search for a furnished appartment initially. There are many, which are available in and around Milson's Point and North Sydney. These places are near to the City, where the maximum jobs are available and they have some good restaurants and grocery shops for every need. I would recommend these for a short term lease (1-3 Months), and meanwhile look around for something more permanent and suitable for your needs. It is best to look for a furnished apartment for the initial 3-6 months, if you are planning to shift with Family, and then later get something much cheaper and/or nearer to your workplace. It is also a good idea to make the booking before you arrive, as then the burden of that money is reduced and you have a fair idea of exactly how much you have with you.

More on Jobs and Driving around in the next few blogs :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Beijing Subway vs. Mumbai Trains

During my recent trip to Beijing, China; I got to make good use of the extensively laid out Subway trains of the capital city. It was an experience unto itself, when I climbed one of the older lines and was instantaneously reminisced of the Mumbai trains...

The crowd in China is to be seen when you try and get onto the subway during the office hour rush (morning 9-10 and evening 6-8). It looks like a tin packed with sardines. You are not required to hold on to anything except what you brought on board with you, holding you up and pushing you either side is taken care of. It is a good reminder that China is still in competition with India on the population :-)

Anyways! that said, it really was a great experience, and very convenient too. We could visit maximum number of places due to the availability of the same subway nearby and stay on to enjoy the surroundings, without thinking of how we get back to our place of blissful sleep. I am mentioning some of the places and associated stations below:

Line 5: Tiantan Dongmen - for the Hong Qiao Market (good place to go for electronic goods and toys)
Line 1: Yong`anli - For the Silk Market (good place to shop for leather good - handbags, shoes, jackets. Also, good place for souvenirs and small trinkets. You need to be careful and bargain well... mostly bring down the price to 10% of the quoted price. More of this is given on a different blog).
Line 8: Olympic Green - For the Nest and Aquarium (Olympic Stadium and a good nice BIG ground to jog in the mornings)
Line 13: Wudaokou - Good eating joints around this place. Student community and you can find many IT companies also around. You can ask for references here, as people speak and understand english. I liked the Japanese restaurant and the disco/bar alongside it :-)
Line 4: Beijing Zoo - good to visit and see the Panda
Line 4: Beigongmen - For the Summer Palace. This place is good to see over (take the 50 Yuan ticket and a guide to go over the place). Serene and green, with the minimal of traffic noise and a lake to sit by :-)
Line 1: Tian`anmen East/West - For the Forbidden City and and the Tian'anmen square. Forbidden City is Ok, but would prefer going to the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace.
Line 5: Ciqikou - Temple of Heaven. Similar to Forbidden City and would recommend it over the other (60 Yuan vs. 30 Yuan) :-)