Journey to Australia : Visa granted, now what?

Sep 2017
When I got the call from an excited agent informing that our Visa is granted, I was surprised. 10 months back we were enjoying our new jobs and doing what every other software engineer does in Bangalore. We hadn't thought about uprooting to any other place, we had no plans at all. The Visa grant opened a new door for us, and we had no idea what lied on the other side of the door.
Source : http://pagosafunzone.com

I'll be summarising a few decisions we had to plan to open the door effectively. I'll categorise it as follows

  • Where to go?
  • When to go?
  • How to go?
  • Do we go as a couple, or one after the other?
  • How much money would we need?
  • What's the strategy for job hunting? - I'll be putting this up for another post
Where to go?
So like all good software engineers, we resorted to Google for the next few days. The first thing to decide was where to go? I had no idea what the major cities in Australia were(except Sydney though - which I thought was the capital of Australia as well! Apologies my fellow Aussies). We started digging deeper and figured out Software Engineer opportunities was available mostly in two cities - Sydney and Melbourne. I had friends over at Sydney and Melbourne - both provided equally good feedback. Melbourne was all over the news for being the most liveable city for 7 years. Also Anitha wanted to get her MBA done and Melbourne Business School was on top of the list.So we decided Melbourne it is.

When to go?
When the Visa is granted, there is a clause which mentions that you have to make an entry to the country within a date mentioned. The entry date is usually one year after you take the Police Clearance Certificate(this is done through Passport office and the validity is for 1 year), My entry date was in Feb 2018, which gave me less than 5 months to go. We decided to go at a safe date before the last date and rounded up in Jan mid(avoided the December rush). This was a mistake though. We made an observation(thanks to Google flights) that the price of flight tickets were going down the later you book(yes, this was surprising). But for some reason the flight prices for Jan mid week did not go down. Later I figured out that it was Australian open time, and that time of the year is expensive to travel. But we had to travel anyway.

How to go?
Flight of course. But which route? Which flight? Of course cost was the major factor for us. Our home being in northern part of Kerala, we had to go to either Bangalore or Kochi to get to Melbourne. Flights from Bangalore was slightly expensive, so we chose Kochi. Air Asia was the most economical flight. Costed us around Rs. 60,000(inclusive of addition baggage allowances).

Do we go as a couple, or one after the other?
Our research on the job opportunities in Australia reflected that it was a bad market for an Embedded Software Engineer and an excellent market for Automation Test Engineer. Anitha being one, I was thinking of asking her to go first, get a job and then I would come over. But then we realised how hard it would be to live in a new country alone, with no friends and no idea of how things work out there. We believed that we could go through any hardship together. So we decided to quit and get on the boat(er flight) together.

How much money do you need?
This was the tough part. We were expecting to go jobless for a worst period of 6 months. Rent being a major expense, a rough research shows that the per month rent would be around AUD 1000(shared basis). It is atleast 2000 for an apartment near to the city if you choose that.That's almost Rs. 50,000 a month. So 6 months makes it around Rs. 3 lakh.  Assuming an additional AUD 1000 a month for all other expenses(phone, internet, grocery, travel, food etc.), a safe bet would be to have around AUD 10,000. And an extra AUD 1000 in hand as cash. You can open an account in any bank in Australia from India and transfer the money from any money exchange centres.

I hope you enjoyed the read, and the information. Let me know if you need any additional info to this. Leave a comment! Next post would be on the job hunt strategy.

Read all the posts related to my Journey to Australia -
  1. The Beginning
  2. Road to get a Visa
  3. Cracking PTE
  4. Visa granted, now what?
  5. Job Hunt Part -1 
  6. Time to Fly!
  7. Arrival
  8. Job Hunt Part - 2
  9. Job Hunt Part - 3