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What Singaporeans Must Consider Before Migrating to Australia

ZUU Online SG logo ZUU Online SG 21/1/2019 Racheal Muriithi
a large air plane flying in the sky © Pixabay

Australia is among the most popular countries where majority of Singaporeans look for a new home. They claim that elusive work-life balance, high property prices and poor education in Singapore are among the factors that contribute to their migration. But why are Singaporeans not discouraged by the high cost of living in Australia?

Australia continually faces a shortage in skilled labour in areas such as Accounting, Medical, Mechanics, and Engineering fields. Thus, it becomes easy for Singaporeans with qualifications in these areas to migrate and take up the positions. Despite the high cost of living in Australia, the salaries offered are also high.

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Nevertheless, migrating to Australia can be very difficult and challenging as it comes with new experiences. Therefore, if you are moving to Australia, here are the most critical things to consider.

1. Accommodation

The fear that might grip you is whether you can afford to lease a house near your place of work.  To avoid a lot of confusion and uneasiness, you should consider where you will stay. Firstly, don’t expect to get a decent job the first year. Thus, you might need to adapt to living in ancient houses if not in Airbnb properties. Some of these old houses are as old as 100 years, so their interiors are quite worn out.

A view of their kitchens and bathrooms might get you discouraged as you might mistake them for being unhygienic. Such houses aren’t unworthy for a living, only that they are pretty worn-out and surfaces damaged. Moreover, it won’t be a permanent home but a temporary abode. You should also consider if your house of choice is in a location suitable for your lifestyle.

It should be a location near a train station or a major bus stop. It requires compromising with some things which should not include living in a high crime area.  It will be a transition of a whole lot of things thus be ready. In Singapore, you may be used to living in a big flat but if you relocate, expect to first live in a room. Later, you can move to an apartment then to an own-purchased house.

2. Work

If you are moving to Australia without a job lined-up, think twice. Earlier we highlighted that work shortage in this country is only in some fields. Do thorough research to establish if you have an opportunity in your area of expertise. Despite some labor shortages, unemployment is significantly higher in Australia than in Singapore according to Country Economy. The report shows that whereas the unemployment rate for Singapore is at 3%, that of Australia is 5%.

You might think you are well-equipped by your wealth of experience from Singapore. But wisely note that your experience in Singapore might be null and void in Australia. For your prior qualifications to gain relevance, you might need to do an additional course in the new country. You would then need to start from an internship. It can be quite discouraging if already you were in the mid of your career or even a specialist.

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Also, when you are a new migrant in Australia, you don’t qualify for government unemployment benefits: the pension. For this reason, even the charitable institutions will turn you down and neither are you eligible for utilities’ discounts. Moreover, you will find that moving from one company to another will require local job references. Without which, you can only turn to casual jobs, something Singaporeans don’t like even in their own country.

3. Commuting

Public transport in Australia is not as affordable as in Singapore. Whereas transport cost in Singapore starts from S$1.40 to S$2.50, in Australia, it starts from $2.10 to $4.50. Considering that the two currencies have almost the same value, the Australian cost is significantly higher. By having your workplace closer to where you live, you can save a lot. You can also offset these costs by buying a second-hand bicycle or even walking if not very far.

It is after earning for longer that then you can buy a vehicle as old as 15 years. It is quite a strange phenomenon when compared to Singapore. In Singapore, we have a system that promotes sales of older vehicles for newer ones. So it’s uncommon to find such old vehicles. Therefore, as a new Australian migrant, you need to minimize your commuting costs.  You must live as close as possible to the place of work and shops.

Later, you can consider applying for a commuting card, or buying a bicycle before you can afford a car.

4. Food

Another aspect for significant consideration is the meals available in Australia. You won’t find one-stop shopping for Asian food. The quality and prices of various food commodities vary from suburb to suburb. Thus, you need to find out the best place to shop. You must figure out the smart tips to help you save on food cost. For instance, you can opt to be making purchases during the closing time.

Supermarkets and groceries usually mark down their food price at the close of business to clear the food. Marking this closing time will help you spend less on food. Some people take advantage of the expiry date of food items in the supermarkets. They usually will extend the shelf life of the food by freezing them and end up saving about 50% cost.

It is cheaper to prepare your meal than taking from Australian eateries. You only need to identify your survival food, know where to shop and make your meal. Since you have nobody to rely on for food preparation, you can visit several available Singaporean food recipe websites. Just google the food you expect to prepare and everything is set before you.

Time to consider the above factors is time to review the struggle associated with migrating. If you are ready to undertake the plunge, then, be well prepared. If you feel your grass-is-greener syndrome might end in tears, then don’t take living in Singapore for granted. Singapore has a conducive tax regime, low crime and clean. And as the precept goes, “East or West, home is the best.”

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