Australia, the land of the Gold Coast, kangaroos, Home and Away and an encyclopedia of deadly animals. This country is the location for a generation that is looking for something they don’t know themselves. Australia is on the other side of the world so preparation is key.
- What are the cheapest flights?
- Which subscriptions should you not forget to cancel?
- What do I do with work?
- Social insurance?
- The financial situation?
- How do you apply for your visa?
These are some of the many questions we have asked ourselves in our preparation for the adventure of our lives.
Official figures show that Australia issued 210,456 visas last year. Including 2500 Belgians.
Getting to Australia
Australia is on the other side of the world. To get there you’ll have to spend some money. We decided to split the trip and stop in Bangkok, Thailand and travel there first. Via Qatar Airways you already have tickets for €459,00 (return) to Bangkok. For those who want to travel directly to Australia, that’s also possible. Melbourne seems to be the cheapest option for €959.00 (return) also with Qatar Airways. Please note that these prices are temporarily valid until 15/01 for flights until 15/12/2019.
Flight prices fluctuate so keep this in mind when booking. Personally I would recommend to split the trip and fly via Bangkok, Singapore, Doha, Qatar, Dubai or Jakarta. We even plan an intermediate flight on Bali and only then to fly on to the destination in Australia that appears to be the cheapest at the moment of departure.
You’d be amazed at how many current bills you’ve already accumulated in your life. Taking a sabbatical and pushing the reset button is the best way to get rid of all the fixed costs.
Mobile phone subscription
Let your provider know that you’re moving abroad and stop your subscription in time. Read the terms and conditions and make sure you don’t get any surprises. Send a registered letter or e-mail clearly stating when your cancellation is. When you go abroad, you can easily take out a subscription there. Belgium is one of the most expensive telecom countries so be glad that you’re turning your back to them.
For my girlfriend it was the cancellation of her monthly lens subscription, for me it was the cancellation of my fitness subscription. When you go to the wild nature or visit the most beautiful beaches, I imagine that you also want to pause your Netflix subscription or your Spotify subscription. All the fixed costs you spend monthly can be used during your ‘work and travel’ adventure. Take into account that most subscriptions have a month’s notice, so stop your subscriptions in time!
Insurance, social security and professional
You’d probably prefer to read the blogs that talk about how sunny and warm it is in Australia, but the reality is that you have to sort out a lot of administrative stuff. Step by step I’ll tell you what to think about.
Renting an apartment? Then register with your parents again. All documents, letters, etc. are sent to people you trust and can be count on. Do not unsubscribe, if you do, this will have detrimental consequences for your health insurance. Unsubscribing also means that you are no longer entitled to benefits. You are not sure whether you will be travelling for one or two years?Whether you will ever come back? No problem, you can always arrange this remotely.
Before you travel, you should visit your social insurance (OZ, De Voorzorg, Christelijke Mutualiteit, etc.). You’ll continue to pay your monthly costs, this way you’ll continue to build up social rights in Belgium. This is important for medical reimbursement, unemployment etc. Ask your institution for a travel ticket that will refund your medical expenses in Australia.
Protip! Upon arrival in Australia you should register as soon as possible at ‘Medicare‘. Many costs are covered by Medicare, but not all. This includes the dentist, so make sure you plan another visit to the tooth wizard before you leave.
Are you self–employed? Then you’re faced with the difficult choice of whether or not to close down your business.
- Close down? You do this via your accountant (extra costs) or online for €136.90
- RSZ continuing to pay quarterly
- Communication with customers varies about ten hours
- Do all your customers agree with your decision?
- Does this prevent you from an authentic Australian adventure?
I really struggled with this , but eventually I decided to stop my business so we could fully experience the Work & Travel experience.
Are you an employee? You either resign or apply for a career break (if possible). I’ve already heard stories of people stamping before they leave and receiving paychecks while working in Australia.
Not sure if legal though…
It goes without saying that you need to have some budget if you want to travel to Australia and stay there for twelve months. Don’t be naïve to the high wages there, because the standard of living is much higher than in Belgium. The Australian government will not grant you permission if you have less than $ 5000 AUD (= €3116) on your account.
A good measure to keep the dumb people out.
On arrival you have to:
- look for accomodation
- arrange transportation
- eat and drink
- find a job
Bringing as much money as possible is your best bet. A good way to spend your budget is to tidy up your wardrobe and put unnecessary things on second-hand websites. Your junk is another man’s treaure.
We had a budget of 20,000 euros together, but don’t forget, we’re doing Thailand first.
Work Holiday Visum
Congratulations! You’ve done the hardest work already. The relationship between Belgium and Australia is extremely transparent and this benefits the visa application process. Anyone from Belgium between 18 and 30 years old can apply for an WHV. To avoid any confusion:
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You may be 30 years old and 364 days old and apply for your visa.
- …and then you have another year to enter Australia
You browse to Australia’s immigration service and create an “Immi account“. After you receive the confirmation email you can apply for your visa. It takes about five to ten minutes to complete the questionnaire.
Make sure you have some necessary things in your area. You apply for a visa so your international passport is necessary. It’s recommended that you check your international passport to see if it is still valid. For example, if you plan to travel around Australia for two years and explore Asia in between, it is important that your passport is valid for the next three – four years. You can renew your passport in Australia, but that will cost you over €200. You pay your visa on the spot, so a credit card is required. Don’t have one? No problem, your parents’ visa is also an option. The visa costs $455 or about €284.
- International passport
- Credit card
- Valid email address
You’ll immediately receive confirmation of your application. This is not yet an approval! Your approval may take some time. It can take from an hour to 56 days to get your approval, so remember that when planning your trip.
Before you can enter the Australian road, it’s recommended to apply for an international driving licence. You can apply for this at your town hall and it will take two to three working days. The cost depends on your location and will vary between 20 and 30 euros. If you decide to go to Australia without an international driving licence, you may be stopped and they will ask you for a ‘translation’ of your Belgian driving licence. The legislation on this varies per state, so be sure to check where you are and what to do.
Debit and credit card
A classic when you travel to another continent: Go to your bank and explain your situation:
- Open up your debit and credit card for the continent
- Put credit card on Max
- for deposit (car, apartment)
- Pay attention to your expiration date and apply for a new one in time.
You’re here for one year minimum, a lot of Work & Travelers also want a 2nd year visa for Australia. Moreover, they travel to Asia for one to three months in anticipation of the approval of the ‘second year visa’. This means that more than two years will pass. Please note that your international passport is valid during your stay and potential stay. It would be a huge cost if you had to fly to your home country to apply for a new passport.
I did my best to note all our steps before we flew to Thailand and Australia. Hopefully I haven’t forgotten anything. If you have been on an adventure yourself and I have overlooked something, please let me know for sure. Together we can write a thorough Work & Travel Guide!