Brindle Family – Migrate to Australia from the UK
What is it about Australia that made you want to move there?
Edd had always spoken about his trips to Australia when he was younger and we had always planned to visit but life (kids, careers, family) all happened and plans never materialised. Then one day we were sitting in our tiny cottage in London, after putting our boys to bed following both working another 60 hour week when we realised we needed to change something up, to get the enjoyment back in life. We debated moving to a different part of London or even the countryside and following a bottle of wine (or two), we thought…well if we going to move why not go big? And that’s when we came back up with the idea of Australia.
Had you previously been to Australia before migrating?
Edd had been twice in his teenage years to visit a cousin who lived here. I had never been to Australia until we did a recon mission in 2019, which I note we only went on AFTER we had submitted our EOI (Even got the invite whilst in Sydney). So, to say I was nervous that I wouldn’t like the place was an understatement. Thankfully, once we got off the plane and spent a day or two in Sydney, I was in love and couldn’t wait to move.
How did you find out about the Down Under Centre?
Edd & I are known to be pretty spontaneous and rash with our thinking so within 48 hours of above mentioned bottle of wine, I was scouring the internet for information and came across a range of immigration companies and sent of requests for a consultation. It just so happened that Wes got back to me almost straight away and following his amazing speech and straight talking attitude we signed up and got cracking. (This was mostly before we stopped to consider the gravity of what we were planning and perhaps chickening out)
Complete our free points calculator to check your eligibility to migrate to Australia.
How did you find the Australia Skills Assessment for a Plumber?
I believe at the time Mars said we were one of the quickest ever turn arounds for the Plumber skills assessment. This was mostly thanks to my obsession with never throwing any paper/documents out. So, with a quick hunt around the house, I was able to find payslips/P60s and everything else for the past 10 years (and yes, I have bought almost all of it with us to Aus).
TOP TIP: We bought a large white board for the kitchen and I would put one task that Edd & I each had to complete that week. It helped make the mammoth task manageable and made clear what the Mr (who usually is usless) had to do.
Writing Edds CV and statement of employment was interesting, as how many different ways can you explain that he spends his day making poo go away?
Edd was pretty nervous about the plumbing practical assessment, but he was done in less 3 hours.
I note that many are now having to keep actual evidence of their work such as photos/videos, which very glad we did not have to provide, as I am sure you are all aware life on site is like a kindergarten but the toddlers are grown men constantly making pranks. Was also concerned that Edd would have to pull apart our freshly renovated house just to get evidence.
Was it difficult securing a job in Australia?
I work in the finance industry and knew when we arrived that this would be a good opportunity to move my career into a different direction, so when applying for work I had to take a pretty significant step down (think Senior Director to someone’s second assistant sort of move) but within 18 months, I have moved up and now have an amazing job and an awesome plan for the future.
When arriving in Australia, we had to sort out a few bits for Edd such as his Tax File number, White card and Provisional plumbing licence for Australia. We then had to spend a good $2500 AUD on tools as our shipping container was delayed. However, once done he applied to every labour agency going (Buildability, Hays, ACR World, Pointforce) and was able to get a role doing hydraulic work on some of the big sites in Sydney’s CBD. This was all within 4 weeks of arriving.
Unfortunately, 2 months later ‘thou that shall not be named’ hit the world and we were plunged into lockdown and Edd being labour hire was let go. Thankfully, I could work from home and continue to bring $$ in for us to survive. Following the first lockdown he was able to get back on site albeit through a different agency where is took another 8 months before the company took him on as Permanent.
We just gone back into lockdown and construction has been shut…so keeping fingers crossed his work is safe. But do note the government are providing payouts of $750 a week for anyone with a working rights visa.
Just as bit of comparison for those considering to move to Sydney – Now that Edd’s Plumber job is permanent, he is earning the equivalent of £20,000 more per year than what he got for the exact same job he had in London and that is on a standard 8 hour day. He gets 1 RDO every 2 weeks, 4 weeks annual leave a year, sick pay and up to 2.5x per hour for overtime! We still need to factor in Plumber GAP Training, which we have been putting off due to the pandemic, but will need to complete in the next 18 months (NSW give you 3 years for your provisional licence), we have spoken to 3 different providers and this will cost $4-7k but so far it has not impacted ability to work.
TOP TIP: Get a tradie accountant. Tax time here is a big deal even if you are on the cards. There is a wealth of things you can claim back for which you wouldn’t even consider in the UK, including the cost of Gap training.
Have your children settled well? What are their ages?
We have 2 boys who are currently 9 and 7. Now, whilst as parents you are required to be proud of your kids, but these 2 have honestly shocked me at how well they have handled everything we have thrown at them. They totally embraced the idea of the move when we told them in the UK. They absolutely thrived when we then took them backpacking around the world for 6 months and have settled in so well since being here. They have even been open to moving again (albeit within NSW).
They are both doing really well at school and the oldest has been doing work 1 grade above his peers. They are part of a multitude of sports and extracurricular programs which no way our lives in London could have accommodated. They are even getting to the point of being able to meet friends in the park with minimal adult supervision (something one would never had dreamt of in London until they were at least 30). Whilst living in Sydney it’s not quite the beach every day, but there are still so many opportunities for them and at the end of the day this was all for them!
TOP TIP: appreciate current global situations may not allow, but we planned everything around getting the boys to start school at the beginning of the school year. They have fed back that it really helped them settle.
Where in Australia have you moved, would there be any other state you would live?
So, we are in the South Western Suburbs of Sydney. The decision of Sydney was made for us as I needed to be in one of the big cities for work and Melbourne wasn’t accepting plumbers. Also, having always been city dwellers (London born and bred) it made sense. Clearly, the desirable part of Sydney is the Northern Beaches, but despite better financial prospects I just couldn’t justify the cost of living there.
Having been here for 18 months we are coming up to our 2 year commitment to NSW on the State Nominated 190 Visa Australia and also with the changes in the office environment in the post Covid world not limiting me to being in a big city we have been putting consideration into other states, however with the ongoing state closures we haven’t really had the chance to explore, but it definitely something on the cards for the coming years.
Cost wise what do you find cheaper Australia or the UK?
Hmm difficult one. Noting everything said above with work we are just about earning the same as what we did in London on an annual basis. That being said we both have significant career prospects to increase our earning power which was not available in the UK. However in AUS or at least in Sydney it is EXPENSIVE. To buy a house is the area we are in we are looking at $1.2million and that reasonable cheap so we shall be renting for some time. Food is eye watering here and very seasonal so have to adjust your meal planning to suit. But there are things which offset this… mainly that you don’t need to spend much on leisure activities as you just go for a walk/bike ride/ chill on the beach.
Did you have a Skype consultation, if so was it helpful?
We did. We had a great conversation with Leigh Chadwick (Relocation Consultant) whilst we was traveling, which was really useful when considering all those random things you hadn’t considered to sort out before leaving/when arriving and believe me there were a lot of things I had not considered. – So HIGHLY recommend.
TOP TIP: get all your doctors records printed, especially kids vaccination records it will definitely be needed!!
Did you speak to any of our partners, prior to moving?
Yes. Marion who gave Edd some tutoring which without, there is no way he would have passed the English test.
Global Reach for all our money transfers.
AUS rental who helped sort us out a rental before we arrived (even got all the utilities sorted!)
Find out more about English Test Tuition.
What do you miss most about the UK?
Other than the obvious of Friends and Family (and our Dog which we left behind) the biggest thing I miss is the food. If you’re on any Poms in Oz groups this a point of serious argument but foreign cuisine is just not prepared the same. Having the familiarity of brands in the supermarket, having a million and one sandwich shops on the high street and good old chain restaurants. Like genuinely what I wouldn’t give for a Greggs, Pret a Menger, Pizza Express, Tesco meal deal or the almighty Toby Carvery!
And I might sound like an alcoholic but licencing laws here are weird. You can’t get alcohol anywhere other than an approved bottle O (boy did we look like idiots expecting 7/11 to have wine?). Everything closes on a public holiday and if you want alcohol after 8pm… HA you are out of luck. Also want to go ‘out out’ well you can’t get shots after 10pm, no doubles and you can’t buy more than 1 drink for yourself at a time. But saying all that they do have boxed wine which is drinkable!
One thing you know now, that you wished you had of before you made the move.
Australia will not fix all your problems. Life still follows you… you have to work, pay the bills, try not to kill the kids but you have to do it all whilst dripping in sweat as it 45°!
Is Australia everything you thought it would be so far?
Tricky. Covid has really thrown everything into the air. So, I have really struggled to differentiate between what is due to being in Aus and what is due to covid. The past 6 months, I have struggled with home sickness as we have missed a lot of big events back in the UK and had hoped to have had visitors by now, which is made worse when we are told it could be 2023 before travel is allowed. I have also struggled to meet new people as we are in and out of lockdown which has been a big change from my previous social butterfly status.
However, that being said, seeing my kids and how they are thriving makes any of the down times definitely worth it. They have so many more opportunities on the table being here and I couldn’t take that away.