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Monday April 2nd 2018

7 steps to a successful emigration transition to Australia

Young Singaporeans aspiring to build a life in Oz should note the following, assuming you do not have a Oz spouse, direct relations in Oz or A$5 million to spare:

1) Understand the Skills Occupation List (SOL) for skill-based migration, which is reviewed annually. No surprises for which skills are perennially in demand – the STEM skills, discipline and professions. Fortunately, unlike the U.S., specialized blue collar skills are also in demand in Oz, especially those working in tough and demanding environments, like oil, mining and gas. (Hint: you do not work in a nice comfy office). But Aussie tradesmen in these sectors earn A LOT. Therefore, do channel your passions to study specialized disciplines that lead you into these in-demand professions. Sorry, business and arts grads need not apply as Oz has plenty.

2) Brush up on your English. You will be required to take the IELTS test and doing well will score you more immigration points. In addition, certain professions have higher IELTS score requirements before its Skills Assessing Authority is willing to certify your skills for migration. No skills assessment, no migration. Most immigrants flop at the writing and speaking (oral) sections of the IELTS test. For the latter, start listening a LOT to BBC radio, watch Jamie Oliver, whatever. Learn how native English speakers speak, drop that Singlish! You don’t have to pick up the Queen’s English, but you do need to speak well enough to be understood by the oral tester. A 0.5 points difference here could mean the difference between a re-test or 10 additional immigration points. Some oral testers take it upon themselves to be Australia’s immigration gatekeepers. The more you can convince them you respect the English language, the better. My best oral score came from an American tester who was working for IELTS.

3) Get relevant and good work experience. Do what it takes to get that experience for your chosen specialized field, even if it means having to leave Singapore to get it. Your skills assessing authority and immigration authority will want it. You need at least 2-3 years.

4) Age plays an important factor in your migration case. The younger you are when you apply, the more immigration points you get. The sweet age is before 35 years old. After that, it goes downhill quickly and even good IELTS scores or tons of work experience will not be enough to cover points shortfalls from age. With the rest of the world discovering what a great place Oz is, every point counts. A good target is to get 70 points and above, the higher the better. The minimum is 60 points but nowadays that could mean an infinite wait like the U.S.

5) This is hard but start saving because you will need a cushion of funds to get by when you land and try to find your first job, unless you are a star researcher or IT whiz that every Aussie STEM company will trip over themselves to hire you. Learn how to get by financially by being frugal in every aspect of your life. You don’t need that iPhone X if your iPhone 6s is still serving you well. Learn how to cook because you will save and pick up valuable skills for Oz. A plate of chicken rice costs A$10 so all the more incentive to know how to cook it. Put your money in Singapore’s blue chip stocks if you can like banks and telcos. It will grow much faster to build your cushion of funds.

6) Network a lot, or learn how to. It will open doors and new horizons to you. Oz is a much more diverse place than Singapore. You will likely be living next to and be working with immigrants from Euro countries, Greeks, Italians, India, Middle East, Africa, Korea, etc. It is not our standard Malay, Indian (Tamil), Chinese & Others mix.

7) Lastly, you must set your own thoughts and path. Your environment in Singapore will try to influence you – family, friends and right-wing Singaporeans – that ours is the best place on Earth. Yes it is in some aspects but not all. I value a country that truly protects its citizens’ access to jobs and opportunities, that provides proper safety nets, that has wide open spaces, clean and pristine nature, that gives everyone a fair go. What do you value?

GV Yong

Editor’s note: This article is retrieved from a comment posted online.

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