This was possibly the expression I made when I checked my inbox this morning. There, unread, was an email from the Australian Immigration to advice that they had granted us the Permanent Visa!!!
When we moved here, we had been granted a work visa sponsored by hubbie´s employer, which was valid for 4 years. It was always our intention to get the Permanent Visa that would allow us to live and work indefinitely in Australia without being tied down to one specific employer. Today we have accomplished this very important step in our Aussie adventure 😀
We are stoked to see that our investment is paying off. We are relieved to know that we no longer have an expiry date ahead of us. We can hardly wait for whatever else this country has in store for us…
When you come to Australia with a temporary visa, regardless of the length of your stay, you are required to have private medical insurance. You will not be entitled to Medicare, which is the health service provided by the Australian Government, unless you are a Citizen or Permanent Resident. Some countries, however, such as the United Kingdom, do have mutual agreements with Medicare and therefore you might have the right to these benefits.
When we came to Australia, we arranged for private medical insurance as this was one of the requirements for our visa. When it came time to complete our first tax return we applied for the Medicare Levy Exemption, as we had not have had any benefits, and this was denied. Very surprised we asked for an explanation and were advised that because as we had lived in the UK for two and half years prior to moving here (despite not having British nationality) we were entitled to Medicare. We found that quite bizarre and visited a Medicare office where we were actually given a Medicare card with the expiry date being the one in our visa!
On the immigration website it did not say anything to this effect, stating that only citizens of countries with the mutual agreement would be entitled to Medicare benefits. We then called immigration advising that we had been given the card and asking if we could cancel the private health insurance that we had been paying for over a year. They were happy for us to cancel the insurance policy but we felt that the information was not clear and that we had poured money down the drain. After all, the insurance just covered the same services that our Medicare card covers now.
I do hope that by posting this, some other people new to Australia might avoid falling prey to this misinformation like we have. I love my green Medicare card as it makes me feel more of a local, lol, but I would have loved it even more if I had been given the correct information by immigration from the start 😉
Please note that Medicare does not cover your health expenses completely and there are a few services, such as orthodontics for example, which are not covered. Most people will have a private health insurance policy to complement their basic Medicare benefits. However, this is a choice and not a legal requirement for foreigners with permanent residency or other Medicare entitlements due to their country of origin’s mutual agreements.
Photo from Ikea´s website
Undoubtedly, Ikea has made decorating a house easier, and more accessible. The products do not have a great durability but that gives you the freedom to change them more often and try different styles.
I have shopped at Ikea many times before and when we moved to Australia we tried a different approach. However, we still needed a couple of things, and after searching vintage and charity shops for used items that we could perhaps recycle we ended up empty handed. So last weekend, eager to get our place looking like a home at last, we headed to Ikea in Logan. We arranged for a same day delivery which was a pleasant surprise and got some bookcases, a lovely chair for the study and a few little bits.
Today, it has been raining non-stop so it is the perfect day for hubbie to assemble the bookcases and for me to unpack the rest of my books and organise them 🙂 It promises to be a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon!
Before the move we decided to sell our furniture. That way we would not feel conditioned by it when looking for a new place and would not worry whether or not our stuff would fit, as we have in the past.
When we rented our current place we bought the essentials: bedroom, sofa, tv stand, and little else. In January, the stuff that we decided to ship to Australia finally arrived: books, clothes, small appliances, decorations, paintings, etc. Ever since then our guest room has been full of cardboard boxes!
Now the time to buy some more furniture and unpack is here 🙂
We have time and want to buy some fine pieces that reflect our personality, and so this afternoon we went to Hawthorne, to visit the Side Street Vintage shop. The couple is so nice and they renovate old pieces really well! We fell in love with a gorgeous desk that had unfortunately been sold already but Roy is going to try to find us one just as perfect. I will definitely be bringing some of their lovely things home!
Also, they have sewing workshops and other activities worth checking out.
View of Brisbane´s CBD from Mount Coot-tha
It is exactly 4 months today since we arrived in Australia! Time has definitely flown by!
It seems like yesterday that we were walking through the CBD with a map in our hands and now I find myself knowing the name of the streets by heart. So much has happened in such a short time but it is still overwhelming to think of the long journey still ahead of us until we can call this city home.
We have been able to sort out all of the bureaucracy involved in just a big move which will now allows us to focus on the fun stuff. Now, we need to focus on the social aspect of life, meeting new people, new places, and doing the many activities that bring us joy! It is the start of an exciting time for us ;-p
I must confess that I truly miss my old life, house, friends, and work colleagues back in the UK. And of course, my family and dear friends in Portugal! But we have no regrets and we are very happy to be staring a new life down under!!!
Last Monday, I started my new job. The first one in Australia 🙂
Job searching is always stressful, and when you come to a new country things tend to take a bit longer. So far, I have been very blessed and have achieved most of my goals so every time I applied for a vacancy and got the standard email, thank you for your interest but you have been unsuccessful, my confidence took a hit. And believe me, there were quite a few of those until I got the first calls, and subsequent interviews.
Going on interviews is both exciting and nerve wrecking. And the worst part of all is when you´re waiting for an answer. You try not to create any expectations and have to fight yourself not to check your phone and email every 5 minutes. I have to admit that I did not miss this emotional roll-a-coaster at all and I am glad it is over!
Getting a job does not only mean getting a salary. More importantly, it means that you have a purpose, are occupied and keep intellectually challenged, and you get to meet new people and interact with them on a daily basis. I cannot stress how important this is when you live in a new country! It is an amazing milestone on your integration process!
The first week was quite intense, as there is so much to learn, but it was also very positive. The people are very nice and were very welcoming. The next two weeks will still consist mostly of training so I still have a long journey ahead of me before I feel like a fish in the water again.
It is inevitable to compare the new job with my previous one and so I do miss my colleagues and friends in the UK. However, I feel ready to take on this new challenge 😀
I haven’t posted for a while, not for lack of news but because the days have been quite intense and filled with new discoveries. Slowly we are getting used to life down under but I am aware that we still have a long road ahead of us ;-p
We have managed to solve the imminent boring stuff such as the tax file number, the bank account, the internet contract, the mobile number, etc. There is still plenty to do around the house in order for us to feel at home but that is still a work in progress 😉 Mind you that a lot of our stuff is still in a ship in the middle of the ocean!
Now things have slowed down and I aim to start to enjoy life here and to slowly become a local as opposed to a tourist with a map and a travel guide in my backpack 🙂