To migrate or NOT to migrate, that is the question.

Being something of an expert on migrant life in Aussieland, I have between 3 and 10 people broach the matter with me every month. These couple of months I’ve had more. As in, more people want to know how to migrate, whether it is worth migrating, how will they fare after migrating here…

These are all subjective questions and their answers depend on factors too random to discuss in one post. However, I have developed a list of questions that might help you decide, wherever you are in the process of migrating:

  • Why do YOU want to migrate?

    This one seems rather obvious. Many people moan about the political situation where they are, the lack of personal safety, the escalating price of goods and services…Okay. Alright. But why do YOU want to migrate? You are not your country any more than I am Aussieland.

    People will say, “Oh, I want to migrate for my children’s education.”

    I would say to them, “Aussie education is not better, just different. Asian education places an emphasis on knowing lots. Aussie education places an emphasis on doing lots with what you know.”

    That aside, we have good schools and bad schools, just like you do in Asia. Private education costs anywhere between AUD15k and AUD30k p.a. As for higher education, Permanent Residents are only entitled to reduced fees, not the government grant scheme that allows deferred payment.

  • When you say you want a better life, what exactly do you have in mind?

    Answers to this range from, “Oh you know, less stress, shorter working hours,” to “Equal rights. Being able to speak my mind in public” to “Government will support me in old age – financial security.”

    For the most part, everyone is correct, except to say that working hours and stress levels are dependent on what you do for a living. HRH works very long hours I can assure you.

    You can speak your mind in public and while no one might arrest you, no one might listen to you either.

    As for the age pension, if you’re my age, you won’t be entitled to it until you are 70. Even then there is a means test AND presuming you do get it, won’t be enough to live on comfortably unless you own your own home outright; otherwise all your money will be swallowed up by rent or mortgage repayments. This also presumes you are in good health because not all medications are covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (there is a co-payment with that) and there is a long waiting list for elective surgery in most states. Tasmania doesn’t have a waiting list altogether because the state’s health system is broke!

  • Are you handy and adaptable?

    Trust me. Handy and adaptable are 2 very important qualities for successful migration. If you pick up the phone to call a tradie as soon as anything goes wrong in your house, you’ll be dining on grass before the month is out. For instance, an electrician charges AUD150 per hour, in cash, per call out. So does the average plumber. If you don’t know how to check to see if you have a faulty appliance or faulty wiring before ringing anyone, you might be paying AUD150 for nothing.

    Shadow your maid for a day, preferably a week. Can you do whatever she’s doing for yourself?

    This is where adaptability comes in. Forget you ever were a prince or princess or a mini tycoon in your circle of friends. Part of the charm of Aussieland is that everyone is equal. And by that, they don’t just mean those of your social standing. They mean everyone. So you have to be courteous to the people you hire, be it grass cutter or cleaner. You’ve got to abandon any thoughts of being intellectually/morally/financially/racially etc superior. They are there to do a job and you are only paying them by the hour. Save your attitude.

  • Where is your life?

    This is perhaps the most essential question: people say they want to live happily ever after in Aussieland but find themselves missing family, friends, social activities, their job, their house, their previous social standing, what-have-you, once they get here.

    Before you have kids, it will be easy for you to take time off to go home for Chinese New Year, Malay New Year, Indian New Year etc…You can hop on a plane any time you need to attend a wedding or a birthday or a funeral. But after you have kids, you will have to firstly budget for their travel expenses too (cost of ticket multiplied by number of family members), then you’ll have to time it for school holidays (unless you want your kid to miss school), at which rate you will be paying through your nose for seats because that’s the time when every other family will be travelling too. If you live outside of the major city centres, you’ll need to factor in increased time and cost of getting to the airport.

    Are you prepared for this? Are you prepared for life back home to go on without you? Because that’s what it amounts to: for you make a new life for yourself here, you’ve got to be prepared to let go of the old one. Anything short of this and you are just looking at an extended working holiday. So tell me: are you really ready to migrate to Australia?