A tax file number is like a Social Security Number (US) or a National Insurance Number (UK). It indicated to the government which tax bracket you will be in You can not apply for a TFN until you have entered the country.
As a foreigner, before you can apply to will need to meet the following criteria.
What you need to apply
You have a valid forign passport with a permanent migrant or temporary working visa
You are currently in Australia
Your visa is: a permanent migrant visa, a student visa, a visa with the right to work, or a visa that allows you to stay and work in Australia indefinitely (this includes NZ who are granted visas on arrival).
An address to send the TFN to
Visa classes included
How to apply?
online! You will need your passport info and visa.
You do not need an agency or a lawyer to apply for a TFN. There are companies that do it and submit it to the Australian Tax Office if you wish.
During the application process your information will be crosschecked with the Department of Immigration and Boarder Protection records which were taken when you entered the country.
It generally takes between 10 and 28 days.
The Australian Tax Office advises to make sure that you give your tax file number to your employer as soon as you get it otherwise you will be taxed at the highest rate (this is the same kind of system as used in the UK).
Within 28 days, we will send your TFN to the Australian address you give us on your application.
When you start work
Your employer will give you a Tax File Declaration Form complete this with your TFN.
You have 28 days to supply your employer with the TFN if you mark on the declaration that you have applied for a TFN.
If you already have one when you start you have 14 days to provide your employer with the information.
If you do not supply the TFN to your employer within the allotted time they will have to hold 47% as a foreign resident employee unless the ATO advises not to. This can happen if you have not received the TFN and your employer or you contact the ATO.
Australian Taxation Office (ATO) – https://www.ato.gov.au/Rates/Fortnightly-tax-table/?page=2
Global relocation can be a pain in the neck (and make you an angry expat!). It is worth considering how much you really want to take with you if you are moving to Australia as anything you move will obviously have to come via air or sea.
It is legal to send your household and personal items by air, sea cargo or international mail to Australia however, Australia does have very strict quarantine laws so be sure to double check what you pack including medication and any food along with natural goods, more on that later.
If it isn’t much additional, do consider adding an extra bag to your flight cargo this is almost always a cheaper option if you don’t have much extra stuff and it is much faster.
Before you ship there are a few things you should consider
How long shipment will take – sea freight can take several weeks, even months.
Insurance costs and documentation – make sure the company that you ship with has all of the correct information to deal with customs so that your belongings do not get held up.
Customs – does the company you are hiring deal with Australian Cutoms laws and prepare all carne’s and shipping documents
Insurance – check in on how much the insurance is to protect your belongings during shipping as this can all add up.
Read current reviews – this industry changes quickly so be sure to check for recent reviews and company recommendations
Get a range of quotes – global relocation shipping to Australia can be expensive because of the distance so it might be worth weighing up if it is work shipping or purchasing furniture, new or used when you arrive. You could also consider renting furniture or renting a furnish apartment or home. For more on moving shopping see our article here.
What you need before you ship
Pick up address
All information for international shipment
A list of all you are sending
Check that your company is a door to door service when you for global relocation companies and make sure you have that listed in the quote. Some deliver to a warehouse and then you have to organise the pick up separately which can become very expensive.
This one is important. Australia runs on 230V power (50Hz). Check that your country and electrical appliances run on the same . You may require transformers from home and you will need to purchase adaptors.
For several appliances, if you are travelling with a partner or a family try this (or a few if you are travelling with a lot of appliances).
BESTEK 4-Port USB Power Converter 220V to 110V Travel Voltage Converter 200W with International EU/UK/AU/US Adapter Plugs
If you need a transformer for your computer to step down voltage from 220V to 110V, this one is fantastic
This one is fantastic for singles moving or travelling if you only have one or two items and tend to do a lot of travel.
Purchase instead of ship
As a general rule it is probably going to be cheaper to purchase electrical goods such as toasters in Australia. Please find a list below of recommended stores to get you set up with the essentials when you arrive.
– online store
– home and electrical appliances
(higher end – nice quality)
(Mid to high end – nice quality)
(decent quality – cheaper prices)
Kmart (cheaper prices)
Make an extensive list of your belongings
Cashing in before you leave to move to Australia
If you decide to leave your belongings behind and start again, why not consider selling what you can before moving to Australia? This could help pay for the cost of making your move. eBay is a great place to get started.
If you are intending on moving for under two years you may want to consider storage in your home country. This can be a cost effective way of storing your stuff without having to sell.
Quarantine – what can’t I bring?
Australia has some tight quarantine laws, particularly around food, plant and animal material. There are also other restrictions on what you can bring into the country and in some cases permits may be required.
To be safe, it is best to check with customs before deciding what to bring with you when you move to Australia.
For more information about quarentine keep an eye on the government.
Shipping a vehicle
My advice for shipping a vehicle is that it is a headache and if you don’t absolutely have to do it, try to avoid it. However, some people can’t live without their car.
Australian law states that you can bring one car into Australian on a one time basis if you have owed it for more than six months.
You will need to provide registration and identification. Using a moving agent for this process is highly recommended.
There are strict laws about selling imported vehicles in Australia.
Vehicles over twenty five years old are not a problem and do not need much organization however, again we recommend using an agent for this. They also need to be converted to right hand drive vehicles which can be very costly and they must conform to Australian road standard laws. This process all together can cost upward of $25,000.00 and will be additionally taxed a 9% GST (goods and service tax) on the total value of the car.
Credits: Photo credit
Feature: Gary Lopater – https://unsplash.com/@glopater
Axel Ahoi – https://unsplash.com/@axelahoi
Your first step in getting your visa sorted
Make sure that you have the right visa, if you are of international heritage and are not a citizen of Australia or New Zealand you will need a work visa and often a work permit to live and work in Australia.
Which visa is right for you?
Are you a skilled worker? Are you a family member coming to join someone already working in Australia. The full breakdown is available here –
What you will need to apply
Proof or evidence of the following:
Where do you start?
Australia’s Department of Immigration website has a fantastic resource, the that helps you navigate which visa is best for you.
The most common visa categories are family migration, that is if you have family members living in Australia, skilled mirgation, if you have a particular skill that is needed within Australia to fulfill a demand or a study mirgation such as a student visa for an exchange student program or long-term tertiary study. There is also the working holiday program also known as the gap year.
What do I get with the Australian visa?
Depending on the visa you will have different abilities or restriction. For example, some visas that do not allow you to work have a restriction on which health care services are available to you.
The good news is that if you do successfully qualify for a working visa you will have access to the public healthcare system known as Medicare which subsidizes medical needs and pharmaceuticals.
Most companies bringing in new employees will most likely have a lawyer take a look at your case, depending on what you are applying for this may be useful however, most visas are built so that you do not need a lawyer to be involved. If you have family and children traveling with you this might be something work considering to make sure all visas are correct.
Do take a look at the border control in Australia, heavy protection laws are set in place to make sure nothing compromises the biodiversity.
If you are interested in becoming a citizen, some visas allow you to begin the process. For more information take a look at
We have plenty of useful links including information on when you get to Australia.
Photo: Iván Lojko – https://unsplash.com/@ilojko
We have all had that problem of how to avoid jet lag on a long haul flight, break it up, get there fast? Whatever your reason for travel, chances are you will have to fly a long haul at some point so how to you make the most of it?
I know the pain of a long haul flight, being an Aussie I have done the 22-hour flight from Sydney to London and it is LONG! I have now done it a few times and have learned a few valuable lessons along the way.
Before you fly
When you check in or manage your booking with your airline, take a look at your flight on before you lock in your seat. It allows you to see notes on that seat from previous travelers. Most travelers give advice on things like a position of the seat, noise and if the seat is damaged or the leg room is small. From there you can go onto manage your seat knowing you don’t have some hidden surprise waiting for you.
Get to the airport early
Take the stress out of it. Part of the pain of long-haul flights is the stress of actually getting everything through the airport.
If you are going to be dong a 12-hour flight, what’s another hour? Stress can cause mistakes due to having to make quick decisions, you can end up at the wrong terminal, park your car in the wrong place or get stuck in a very long security line which then has a domino effect. Really, the worst thing that can happen at an airport if you are early is that you have to wander around the stores for an hour… not the worst thing in the world.
Give yourself time. If you hate the stress of getting there and parking consider taking an Uber. If you don’t have Uber yet or don’t know how to use it, check out our
During the flight
Studies such as the report in the
are showing that sitting for long periods of time is one of the worst things as it can bring on heart disease, we are crushing our spines, organs and now helping the general flow of things… there have been scares of deep vein thrombosis and mini strokes due to the lack of blood flow. Don’t let this stress you out, just get up and walk around. Do ankle exercises they are easy and you can do them in your seat.
10 x ankle roles
10 x heal and toe raises (basically rocking back and forward while pressing into the ground
Most long haul flights have a card at the back of your seat with additional exercises and some even have in seat yoga and stretch videos that you can do.
Use your bathroom breaks to stretch out, roll down your spine and move your legs to keep the blood flowing.
What is Jet Lag?
The following are typical jet lag symptoms:
The National Sleep Foundation (USA) have an extensive study on things you can do to prevent jet lag. Here are a few tips to help you get adjusted.
Give yourself some options. The meals on the flight are generally well sized for what you should have in your belly when you are not doing much moving around.
I now tend to take a few healthy snacks on the plane in case there is a meal I don’t like. It gives me options and doesn’t leave me hungry. I have once been on a long haul flight where each meal was a bad ham and cheese sandwich three times over! I’ll generally take an apple, some nuts that I buy at the airport and a salad sandwich of some kind. If I don’t eat it, doesn’t matter but
and Health notes that timed meals can assist with resetting your body clock.
I know it is a major pain but the best thing you can do on a plane is drink water. Studies have shown that a major cause of jet lag is dehydration. This is always a difficult one as you don’t want to be that person on the plane that gets up all the time but really… who cares. I have never judged anyone for using the restroom on a flight.
Avoid alcohol. Stay away from the booze. I know this is hard when it’s free and you have twelve hours to kill but if you genuinely want to avoid a heavy version of jet lag stay away. Alcohol dehydrates you which means you will either have to drink a lot of water and need to use the restroom every five seconds. This mixed with the lack of oxygen from the pressurized cabin can have larger effects on the human body.
I now take a , or
to pop into a bottle of water during the flight. I have found the extra boost of Vitamin C has really helped with the prevention of catching a cold on the flight (perhaps it’s a placebo effect but it works). Take a multi vitamin leading up to the flight if I remember. My doctor says it can’t hurt.
If you are one of those lucky people who can sleep on a plane, congratulations… for the rest of us here’s a few things that can help you get some shut-eye on that red eye.
Take a few things to help you out.
A pillow of some kind – this really depends on your personal preference but something with neck support is always recommended.
An eye mask – you may laugh now but they genuinely do help.
Ear plugs – you can get small travel cases to take with you which have an eye masks, toothpaste, ear plugs etc but I have found those foam ear plugs don’t stay in my ears very well. I get the silicone ones from the pharmacy before I leave, they are here for around $4.00.
Socks – this might sound a little funny but I always travel with an extra pair of socks. Sometimes the air conditioning is ramped up during the night section of the flight and my feet always freeze.My feet tend to get cold and if you are a traveler who likes to travel in sandals your feet can freeze when the plane is cooled down for the ‘night’ period of the flight. I take an extra pair because inevitably one gets a bit gross and I want clean ones when I am at the other end.
Pashmina – this has been my latest addition as it is so versatile, use it as an extra pillow, extra blanket or just to keep your neck warm if you feel the beginnings of a cold coming on.
Some people are big fans of sleeping pills however, for me, I like to be in control when I am on a flight in case of an emergency. I once saw a girl who had taken too many sleeping pills and she was basically incoherent. You never quite know how your body is going to be affected by a flight. Instead, I asked my pharmacist about natural sleep remedies that were light and came across something like this … (I have an Aussie version) they are available in most pharmacies and health food stores. The beauty of this is you can take as little of it as you want. There is a calming agent and it’s all natural so you won’t go from one extreme to the other.
Some people swear by sleeping pills and if you know what’s right for you then go for it but if you are new to the sleeping pill world, don’t experiment on a flight.
Though Ambien is one of the more popular sleeping pill brands, I’ve had excellent results with . It knocks me out faster than a light on even half the suggested dosage. For a flight, I would suggest to take only a quarter of a pill. Personally, I’m not sure if I would try a sleeping aid for the first time on a flight without knowing how it affects me beforehand. (Its active ingredient is doxylamine succinate but clearly check with your doctor before trying it. It can also leave users slightly groggy.)
If you are one of those people who really struggle to sleep on a plane come prepared. Do you have some paperwork that you have been meaning to do for ages or want to get some writing done? Now is the perfect place to do it.
Buy a book or a few magazines at the airport. Keep yourself distracted with movies and entertainment.
Feature Image – Omar Prestwich –
Tanja Heffner –
Steven Coffey –
One of the best parts is that you not only learn the written but also the pronunciation. There are little visual aids to help you retain what you have learned so that it sticks.
For more information take a look at the
It is also available here on
There are some additional options if this is not the one for you.
– which has a similar structure but charges an $11.00 monthly fee.
– teaches us by memorizing words. They start off with the top 250 most common Spanish words. This is free
– for those traveling or moving to Japan. It uses a flash card system to help you memorize characters and words faster. Lessons are short, generally around one minute.
Ok, so you have the language sorted, do you need to think about transferring money. Take a look at our article on
Credits: Feature photo credit – Ellie Pritts – https://unsplash.com/@elliepritts
Your phone is going to be one of the most important parts of setting up your new life in Australia and guess what, you can get it sorted out at the airport if you want to! Most Australian international airports have cell phone carriers within the terminal but the big question is, what is best for you?
Start off with a pre-paid plan but get it with the provider that you would like to remain with as you can carry your number onto a plan more easily this way.
If you have a little more time and want to take a look around here at the recommended options for setting up a phone in Australia.
Do remember when you get off the plane to keep an eye on your international data roaming on your current phone as this can become very costly quickly. I would always recommend starting with a prepaid sim to get you started, most cost around $30.00 and can be used almost instantly. It will help when using Uber and maps when you first get in. It then gives you the luxury to work out exactly what you need.
CHOOSING A NETWORK
There are three major mobile (cell) networks in Australia. As a local, I would recommend that you don’t mess around with anything else, just go with one of these for the best coverage and basically the same price.
Before you do commit, find out the area you will be living in and check that the coverage is good in that area. If you are coming over with an employer it might be useful to check in with the company to make sure that you have coverage in all areas.
4G is a fairly normal standard in Australia particularly in the metropolitan areas.
MOBILE (CELL) NETWORK PROVIDERS
There are four stand-out options when considering networks in Australia.
– the leading network with package options for broadband, mobile, and home networks. They have the widest coverage across the country and are generally the best choice if you intend to do a lot of traveling
– they have a wide range of personal plan and prepaid options along with home internet and phone packages. Their coverage is similar to Telstra however the do not have as wide of a network
– the smallest of these, Vodafone operates best in Metro areas but have a great range of deals to chose from.
a cheaper option and generally the favorite choice for backpackers. They do use the Optus network to provide coverage so the choices here are really about how you use your phone.
Which package is best for you?
These providers offer a range of options and coverage, such as:
Plans – a contract where you pay a monthly fee for a fixed time. Most are around eighteen months to two years.
Pre-paid – pay as you go style. Best for people who don’t use their phones a lot or travelers who are not stopping in for a long period of time. Most phones allow you to top up on the go but you can also purchase top up cards in most grocery stores or convenience stores
Caps – the ability to set a certain amount of data and calls that you want
If you intend to bring your own phone from your home country there are a few things you need to know.
Is it compatible with Australian GSM technology – take a look at the frequency of your cell phone on your current carrier’s website. It will look a little something like this…. 7000MHz. Take a look at the chart below to see if your phone meets the requirements.
Make sure that your phone will fit a universal SIM card. Most smartphones these days will have a universal sim but it is worth checking.
Finally, make sure that you phone is unlocked from your currently, network. If you have bought your phone through a network it may be locked to that carrier so double check this as it can take a while to do internationally.
There are a few useful websites for comparing plans and packages
I have heard it over and over again from other expats before I moved, the first six months of your expat experience are going to be difficult at times and you need patience but eventually, you will get there. It is still really frustrating and one of the hardest parts is making new friends and missing the support of your old ones.
I remember being frustrated and a little bit introverted when I first moved to London. Everyone seemed to have clicks and close friends and I was on the outskirts. I missed great conversation and feeling like I was part of something.
Everyone says that this takes time and it does but here are some things you can do today to get the ball rolling.
Keep in touch with old friends
Keep in touch with your old friends. I have some really close friends who seem to think because of my move and new job and how busy I am that they don’t want to disturb me. It’s not the case.
Keep in touch with your friends and they will help you get through it.
Don’t dwell on what might happen. More often than not people are incredibly receptive.
Organize a dinner / lunch or afternoon drinks with work colleagues
If you are in your new home for work check around as to who is heading out. There is usually a social circle there somewhere and from there you can find other friends.
Most work places have a group who gather after work, particularly on Friday nights.
If they don’t plan something. Organize a Friday night drink after work. This has always been a great way of breaking the ice. Try to suggest your next outing during the event or over the next few days while it is still on people’s minds.
Gym – sign up for a gym or go to the same weekly workout classes.
Bootcamp/ training – there are boot camp programs in every city nowadays. The cool part is that you are working towards an achievement with other people meaning that you share a bond. It is much easier to form friendships with people who you have been through something with.
Take a class
If you are moving to an area that you are unfamiliar with the language think about a group class.
Every city offers a lot of try cources and lessons take a look at course horse or
for deals and classes in your area.
Some of the greatest friends I have made have been through living with them. If you are single, in a relationship or a couple this is always an option.
Take a look at our article on finding a place to live and .
There’s an app for that
There are a lot of other people move in and out of cities all the time and they are looking for friends and in places like London, New York etc. There are a range of apps you can use to find people in your area.
– is a fantastic website that you can meet people who have
– Another social app that has become successful in the market. I have not tried this one out myself but it does look like something I will try in the future.
– I didn’t have as much luck with this one but you may just. This is an app to find people in your area. I found as a female that I was targeted by a lot of guys that I didn’t have an interest in which as a female was why I liked girl crew so much but I have heard it is great for guys finding other guys to hang out with.
Be vocal on social media
– for the ladies. This one was my favorite sites to use where you can connect with other girls. It is free and you get to connect with other girls all over the city. It covers everything from girls nights out, movie dates to the best place to ger your hair done in town. Visit their website gives you a location guide so take a look.
If you make one friend, try and introduce them to someone else and grow the circle or plan an event and tell everyone to invite a friend that way you can expand your circle.
It took me to join a bunch of people from work and other places together and I was able to build a great group.
even when you want to go home and curl up in a ball. It is hard (and don’t feel bad if you do just go home) but try to make an effort.
You have just moved across the world. You are already a badass so don’t back down now. Take on opportunities when they come up.
Finally, know that this stuff takes time and you are not failing by any means … stay strong, it is worth it.
Credits: Zachary Nelson –