So we’ve been in Australia for a week now, in that week we have both our bank accounts, supers, tax file numbers and jobs set up!! Sound pretty good right? And it is, the only thing that could have made this easier would have been having a step by step guide on how to do these things in the quickest way possible. So do you know what I’m going to do for you? Yep thats right… give you that guide… YOU’RE WELCOME!!
This is in order of what should be done, both prior to arrival and whilst you’re there!
1. Banking – Apply online for a bank account. We did this using commonwealth bank when we were in Bali, it took us about 10 minutes start to finish and by the time we arrived in Australia it was all done. The only thing you can’t do online, banking wise, is open a super account. I was confused by this but the nice lady in the bank described it as a pension account that is a legal requirement when working in Australia, But anything paid into it can be withdrawn once you leave Australia… Think of it like an involuntary savings account! Banking in Australia isn’t free like in the UK, however, if you have $2000 going into your account every month, which, by working you should, then they will not charge you the monthly $4 fee. Another thing to remember, and one of the reasons we chose the commonwealth bank, Cash withdrawals from an ATM are only free if you are using an ATM machine from the same bank, with the most ATM’s in Australia it seemed like a no brainer… I hate paying to get my own money!! When setting up online it will ask you where you want to pick your new debit cards from, dependant on where you are staying, you can either pick them up near your hostel or towards the centre of town. If you’re arriving in Brisbane like us, I would advise to get them from one of the Brisbane CBD branches. This is close to where we are staying but at the same time it is central to a lot of shops, bars and restaurants… Makes it a great base to apply for jobs!!
2. Your CV/Resume – If you google “Do i need to make an Australian style resume” you will find hundreds of debates about this. The simple answer is, NO! We didn’t do it and i know of loads of travellers that didn’t do it also but all have jobs! Most employers, because you’re a traveller, will only look at previous work experience, they don’t care about anything else. So as long as your CV is up to date, accurate and honest you don’t need to wast your time in making an Australian one!!
3. Applying for jobs – Now this always brings up a debate amongst travellers… No one hands CV’s out anymore, you just apply online and wait to hear back! This is fine if you can afford that luxury!! Both the jobs Cassie and i got however were done by handing CVs out! This isn’t to say that we didn’t apply online for jobs… because my God did we apply online too! If you can apply online before you arrive in Australia then i would advise you to do so… use websites such as Seek, The Just Group, Gumtree, MyCareer and so many more… The benefit of applying online before you get to Australia is that you may well land with 4 or 5 interviews ready to go! Now for the other side of the coin, handing CVs out. If you have a trade behind you, like I do then this may be your saving grace. I am a mechanic back home and have been for ten years, and working at some of the best dealerships back in London definitely helps. When I went in I was told they don’t employ backpackers but 3 days later I had an e mail with a job offer! If you have a background in retail, like cassie, it will help you massively getting a job! She handed her CV out to several high street shops and because of her retail background she was offered an interview 2 minutes after walking into one shop!
Just a side note, if you want to work in a bar, pub, restaurant or any establishment that serves alcohol you will need to obtain an RSA licence. Do this online, it takes a few hours and only costs 19-45 dollars, depending which website you use. It is against the law to work in any place with alcohol unless you have this, and if it’s not attached to your cv when you hand it in they will not give you a second look!!
Up until this point, except for handing your CVs out personally and opening your super account, can all be done online and before you even have to think about getting on a plane. The following items can only be done once you’re in Australia. There is no way around it!!
4. Tax file number (TFN) – As soon as you pass through passport control in Australia you can apply for this, and i heavily suggest this being one of the first things you do. The tax rate for working holiday makers is around the 30% mark, without your tax file number it could go to 50%! You apply online on the official website. It takes a few minutes to set up but you do need a contactable Australian phone number, so make sure you have a mobile number set up.
5. Hotel, Hostel or House? – This is more about where to stay and what would give you more money at the end of the week to enjoy the Australian culture… Beer and AFL. Hotels are going to be the comfiest, but also the most expensive. So I would advise using a hostel in the Brisbane CBD area, this is a great location and a great way to meet people. The hostel we stayed with was Base Brisbane Central, they have a bar underneath with great offers on food and drink, free daily exercises (Yoga, Water aerobics and volleyball), movie nights and free walking tours in the city! Whilst they are cheap they are not the cheapest option available. The cheapest place to stay in Brisbane is by renting a room from someone in their home. You can find rooms at nearly half the price of a hostel and you’re not sharing with 8 other people!! Sounds good right? The only catch is you have to have a deposit up front, normally on 2 weeks rent but this changes room to room. If you have the money up front, then head over to gumtree to search the options!!
I hope this has helped those in the process of heading over to Australia or those thinking about it. If you have any other questions or think I missed anything let me know in the comments below!!