Moving to Australia, Your First Day

> >What to do on arrival

Moving to Australia is not a dream any more. You received your permanent visa, booked your flight, hopped on the plane, had a stopover...or not and finally landed at your destination.

Tired and jet-lagged or maybe invigorated with the expectation of the adventure waiting for you, you're ready to take the bull by the horns.

Your new life in Australia starts today.

But where do YOU start?

What should you do now?

Don't wait till your jet-lag wanes.

Act immediately:

  • Register with Medicare Australia
  • Get a tax file number
  • Open a bank account
  • Go to Centrelink

Register with Medicare

As a permanent resident living in Australia you have access to Medicare.

Which means you have free access to public hospitals and can also benefit from free or lower cost health care with some family doctors or specialists.

It also means you pay less when you go to the chemist to purchase your prescribed medicine.

Find the nearest Medicare centre. They are often in the larger shopping centres or located in central spots of the bigger suburbs.

Have your documents ready. To see how to enrol and what documents you need, visit the Medicare website:

If you are eligible you will receive a Medicare card. Show it whenever you go to a doctor. Show it with your prescription, when you visit the pharmacist.

To get a health check go to a general practitioner - the GP. Preferably one close to you. You can choose your GP based on your own preference and criteria.

In case you need further specific treatment the GP will refer you to a specialist.

GPs, optometrists and some specialist doctors and health practitioners can either bulk bill or charge you for the visit.

  • If you go to a bulk billing practice your visit is free. Just present your Medicare card and sign a form. 
  • If the practice is not bulk billing and your doctor charges you, they will also give you an invoice describing the service provided and its cost. Pay and then go to a Medicare office, present your card, the invoice and claim a refund.
  • Not all doctors charge the same prices and you only receive a part of the amount you paid.

Get an Australian Tax File Number

You need a tax file number (TFN) to lodge your tax return at the end of each financial year. Click on the tax file image on the right to see more information about why you need a TFN and how to apply for it.

Moving to Australia - Open a Bank Account

Click here to see which are the major banks. Then check their websites to get an idea of the services and type of accounts they provide.
Or go to your local shopping area and visit a bank branch or several, if you want to compare. Go to their customer service desks and tell them what you want or ask for more information. They'll be happy to reply and get a new customer.

Centrelink is a government agency that can offer some support for eligible people, for example:

  • family assistance, if you have children,
  • support with job search,
  • assist you to enrol in English courses,
  • help with recognition of overseas skills. 

Talk to a Centrelink officer and get some information on what assistance (if any) is available to you.
There's a lot on you plate for day one but don't delay. Do it now.

Good luck with your new life in Australia.

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