Australia Travel Tips

TRAVEL TIPS / Working in Australia: what you need to do

11 June 2017

Are you planning on traveling and working in Australia soon? There are a few things you have to arrange at the moment you arrive before you can start with work. No worries, it won’t take you more than a couple of hours and as soon as you know what to do, it’s a piece of cake. The more time you’ll have after to enjoy the country. 

Australia is a fantastic country when it comes to earning money and traveling around to explore the country. Are you looking for this kind of adventure? Make sure you apply for a Working Holiday Visa first. With this visa your dream can come true for a whole year. In this article I explain you everything how applying for such a visa works. At the moment your Working Holiday Visa has been granted, the adventure can start. Book your plane ticket and prepare yourself for the journey of your life and for working in Australia!

Buying a Australia package or not?

At the moment you arrive there a few things you have to arrange before you can start working in Australia. In this case you have to think about things like a postal address, Tax File Number and bank account. There are a lot of companies around that offer you a special ‘Australia package’ so you don’t have to think about any of this when you arrive. Of course this can be very useful and easy, but also a waist of money in my opinion. Arranging everything you need to do will just take you a couple of hours, but it can save you over hundreds of dollars. I think you rather spend that on the fun things in Australia.

A lot of those packages comes with help for job search and some kind of program to meet other travelers and the city where you arrive. When you prefer to have it all settled when you arrive, an Australia package can be a very good solution. Especially when it’s your first journey it can be a relieve to not have to deal with all this stuff. My personal experience is that working in Australia is fairly easy so is finding a job, depending on your location and the season. You also meet people really fast in hostels. So if you want to go for the cheapest option to go to Australia, arrange it yourself. I will explain what you need to do.

Postal Address

The first thing you need to get is a postal address. A postal address is a mandatory and for example needed to get a Tax File Number for when you start working in Australia. We applied for a postal address at UltimateOz in Sydney. You need to go to their office to get one and it will cost you around $ 75,- AUS per year. At the moment we got our postal address (Sep ’16) it was one of the cheapest options we could find. There are some hostels that offer you this service as well, however be sure you check out the hostel first. In the hostel we stayed in all the letters were literally dropped everywhere.

This is the address of UltimateOz:
UltimateOz
2 Lee Street
Sydney, NSW 2000

Tax File Number (TFN)

You can apply easily for a Tax File Number online but at UltimateOz they could arrange it straight away for us as well. A TFN doesn’t cost you anything and it can take up to 28 days before you get your number digital. There are a lot of websites and companies around that can help you with your TFN but ask money for it. This is unnecessary and don’t fall for this. I am pretty sure you will get your number but needless to say it will also cost you too much money. A TFN is needed to – yes, the less fun part of it – pay taxes while working in Australia.

Werken in Australië

Bank account

After applying for your postal address and TFN you can directly go to the bank to open up a bank account. We decided to go to the Commonwealth Bank simply for the reason that this bank can be found around the whole country. In Australia you pay a fee when you withdraw money at another bank. Australia does have a lot of banking companies, but a big part of them are banks that cover just a certain region in the country. Commonwealth is one of the few banks you can find in small towns in the outback as well for example. We have never been anywhere without seeing a Commonwealth Bank somewhere close by.

Obviously you need your bank account to get your pay that is often payed weekly in Australia. It’s also much cheaper to pay and withdraw money with your Australian bank account than with a foreign bank account. The Commonwealth Bank where we opened our bank account is situated really close to UltimateOz, so it didn’t take us much time. To open a bank account is free, however you pay a monthly fee of $ 4,-, unless you get over $ 2000,- per month on your bank account. That sounds like a lot of money but when you find a reasonable job, you can definitely earn this.

The address of the bank we went to:
Commonwealth Bank
Shop Rg 18, Ground Level, Central Shopping Centre
1 Central Park Avenue
Chippendale, NSW 2008

SIM card

Not mandatory but really easy to have: an Australian phone number. In Australia a lot of things are arranged by phone and email is less common used than in other countries. You’re really going to need one if you’re planning on working in Australia. One of the things I didn’t like about having an Australian number is that it doesn’t matter what provider you use, your call credits will expire extremely fast. Most prepaid packages you have to recharge every month in order to keep your number, in rare cases every two/three months at least. That can cost you a lot of money, although it really depends on what kind of package you want as well. If you prefer to have mobile data, it will cost you a lot more each month.

I decided to use prepaid with Telstra simply because they cover the most places in Australia (having reception is not something you will have in a lot of places!) and with them I can make use of Wifi Hotspots as well to have free Wifi. That’s also something that is not always that common in Australia. A lot of hostels can give you free SIM cards, so there is no need to buy a package in a store.

Werken in Australië

Medicare

The final thing you might need to take care of is applying for Medicare. Medicare is a sort of basic health insurance you can apply for for free. However, not every person is eligible to get Medicare and it depends on what country you’re from if you will get it or not. If your country is under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia, you can apply for it. It’s not a mandatory thing to do, but nevertheless important for your health. You can check it here if you are allowed to apply for Medicare and what you need to do to get it.

We went to a Medicare office in Sydney to apply for it but to be honest, that was not the best decision. My tip: don’t try to arrange it in the big city. We had to wait for a couple of hours and then had to fill in forms with some other backpackers at the same time. It would take about five week to get our cards, but after two months we still didn’t receive anything. When we called them, the system didn’t recognize us. We had to apply again but this time we applied for it in a small town. It took us ten minutes and within two weeks we received our cards. So much better.

If you want to apply for Medicare you can find the nearest Medicare office here. There are also Centrelink offices with a Medicare department where you can apply for it.

We have been to this address:
137-153 Crown Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010

Traveling and working in Australia

To make it even easier you can use the Google Maps card below this article to find the places where we applied for our postal address, TFN, bank account and Medicare in Sydney. I wouldn’t really recommend to apply for Medicare in the city centre, unless there is no other option. And maybe we were just unlucky. Try being there in the morning. Hopefully it’s less busy then!

Also planning on traveling and working in Australia? Read everything about what you need to do to make this dream come true here. This article is based on our own choices and experiences and is not sponsored by any company I mentioned in here.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Kate 29 June 2017 at 21:46

    Wish I had known that before my arrival to Australia. It would save me some time (just like right now, when I’m stuck in Cairns, waiting for my bank card to arrive, and it turned out I could have done it still from Europe).
    Very useful post for those who are still packing their bags ?

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