Your Migration Balance Sheet

Hey Nix

I was googling for answers to Australian migration details before I stumbled upon your blog. It's been a great read so far, and I've mostly been jumping around your entries. It's really inspiring to see how far you've gone from 2011 till now.

Like you said, every migrant has their own unique circumstance which makes them consider moving. I've had my doubts about belonging to the system for a long time, but recent events this year really forced me to just push ahead with my own self-fulfillment instead of always thinking about my responsbilities - to my family, to my country, to my friends (the limited few who aren't even Singaporean to begin with, but Southeast Asian).

I don't really want to talk about the recent events because that will only makes me depressed. But maybe I'll share about the other details about myself that may give you a better picture - I'm 24, graduating from SMU Accountancy in the next semester. Didn't get any job offers from my previous 2 internships. 

I don't have much savings, I saved most of what I earned in NS but it wasn't much. I ate mostly at cookhouse, did not go clubbing or blow money on anything really except time on computer games. I have about $10k worth of shares. I don't owe anything to anyone for my university fees - I was on a bond-free university scholarship. So at least I'm debt-free (yay?).

I've been to Perth back in 2006 with my brother. It was the earliest memory I have of travelling. And the thing I remembered most fondly of was the night sky. I've been hiking in other countries trying to find the same thing, and honestly the only place that came close was a different part of Australia - Tasmania. Something about the scale of the starry night sky just makes me feel at peace. I also enjoyed the weather and the friendly people who would say hi to me when I went for my morning jogs. I've also been to Sydney and Melbourne in 2015 for a study trip, and I must say I didn't like the city very much. Of course, 10 years is a long time and Perth might have changed drastically since I last visited so it's good to check with people who are actually staying there.

Well, if all the hikes I've been to taught me anything, it is that I don't need many things to be happy. Sleeping in a freezing tent getting blown by strong winds after an arduous 15 hour hike up and down Iceland seeing nothing but sheep, I felt more at peace than I ever did in my 24 years in Singapore. The thought of staying with my parents until I'm 35 and eligible to qualify for my HDB flat abhors me. I do not want to live off my parents. Call it pride, ego, whatever. I want to be independent, to be able to take care of myself and anyway the relationship with my parents have not been too good after recent events.

Anyway, it's hard to reduce my life story down to one paragraph or two. I've deliberately left out details of my family because I don't want to talk about it to a total stranger. After my long-winded cock-and-bull story, I finally get down to my questions about applying for the Skilled Independents visa (Subclass 189):

1) If I get a visa via Subclass 189, do I have to work under that chosen profession? Honestly, I chose the profession back in JC days because of the job security that it offered. Now that I no longer need that job security, I found that being an accountant is really not for me. I fall sick all the time in office environments and feel miserable throughout my internship periods, even if the people are great.

From the Immi website, it only states the the visa allows me to "work and study" in Australia. Not really sure where the boundaries are set. Seems a bit strange to vet applicants under Skills and not compel them to work using that skillset, similar to using DSA to apply to Secondary School, and then not enrolling in that CCA.

Anyway, I'd very much like to undertake a trade occupation apprenticeship if I succeed in my visa application. The only problem is I have absolutely no experience as mechanic, engineer, or fixing things in general. The only thing I fixed in recent memory was my bicycle tyre and chain which dropped out. I know you also had a similar starting point, so I'm curious as to how you managed to convince employers to take you on despite the lack of any background knowledge.

2) Do I need working experience for the Skills Assessment? Will my accounting degree from SMU be enough? I am afraid I will not pass the Skills Assessment test administered by CPA Australia or any of the other accounting bodies. Unfortunately, after 4 years of study, my accounting knowledge is really bad even though it is enough to pass with an average GPA. Additionally, my understanding is that work experience is generally required to be a certified accountant. If you know of any accountants who successfully migrated to Perth under this scheme, putting me in contact with them would be a great help.

3) How much money would you estimate is required to move/settle in Perth? I understand the visa alone costs almost $4,000 now. Additionally, things like buying a second-hand car ($1,500 - $3,000 based on your blogposts) and putting down deposits for housing rent (2-3 months? About $1,500?) and having a safety net (for food most importantly) while doing the job search is necessary. All that being said, I am single, have no children or real relationships to worry about, and my parents are financially stable. Ideally I hope to remit a portion of my salary to them as it is my responsibility, but they do not require me to supoprt them. But I want to hit the ground running when I begin the move to Australia, and thus am going to work and save as much as I can in Singapore to hit that goal as soon as possible.

Well thanks for reading this long email. I don't think I've typed any email this long before, but since I'm asking for advice for such a big complex move, I would like to be as thorough as possible. If you're too busy to reply, then thanks for chronicling your journey. It's been a really informative read to see your trials and progress as a migrant. I should be able to scrape through and make the move happen if I want it badly enough anyway. I like to believe that when there's a will, there's a way.

Hi R,

Straight to the point.

Q: If I get a visa via Subclass 189, do I have to work under that chosen profession?

A: No, because this is a permanent resident visa, unlike a pure work permit (Subclass 457) which may require you to work under the profession qualifies you for the visa.

Q: Do I need working experience for the Skills Assessment?

A: No.

Q: Will my accounting degree from SMU be enough?

A: The skills assessment is based on two things. First, whether your degree is recognised by the certification body. I would like to think yours is. Second, if your working experience is related to your degree. Say if you work as a telesales agent for 3 years, these will not be recognised and you will not be getting the points. The accounting vocation is under a lot of pressure in recent years due to high demand. So applicants are trying to get more than the required 60 points to give themselves a higher chance of getting invited. Working experience in this case will put you at higher stead.

Q: How much money would you estimate is required to move/settle in Perth? I understand the visa alone costs almost $4,000 now. Additionally, things like buying a second-hand car ($1,500 - $3,000 based on your blogposts) and putting down deposits for housing rent (2-3 months? About $1,500?) and having a safety net (for food most importantly) while doing the job search is necessary. 

A: Your visa application cost is likely to be the only fixed cost that we can based our estimation on. Other than that, it's a wild variation. We are, after all, talking about Singaporeans. The nationality that does not accept anything below their expectations, that are usually higher than a druggie on payday.

Due to that reason, it is near impossible to give a general estimation.  Such things have to be tailor made. If you are comforting in driving a car that cost $1,500 instead of buying that $10,000 leaky Nissan, house or even room share, your costs can be tremendously reduced and kept to the minimum. Being single and young, I strongly encourage you to live on economy mode. It allows you to be mobile, swift and grow your options quicker.

To keep things simple, instead of working out how much you will need to settle in Perth, starting living the Economy Way in Singapore already. Assume  Take away a market rate rental ($600 a room or something) for the HDB room you live in, from your bank account and set it aside to another account. Name that Migration Account. Total up the meals provided by your parents and take that amount away as well, pretending you paid for them. Pay all your bills, debts, pek gim, wedding ang baos and shit. Transfer a mirror amount of your total expenses to the migration account. By the end of the month, if you are not in the red, you are doing it right. Transfer the remaining funds into the Migration Account.

Multiply the length of time you manage to do this by 0.5. Take for example, if you can do this for 1 year, 12 (months) * 0.5 = 6 months. That is the amount of time you can survive in Australia with the money you set aside in the Migration account. The longer buffer you need, the longer you have to do this exercise.

TLDR: Amount of money to bring = EsP where,

Expenses, E = *Your total outgoing expenses in Singapore
Safety factor, s = 2
Period, P = Your comfortable buffer period, eg. 6 months, or 12 months.

* including rental

That'll allow you to survive the amount of time you can go without a job in Australia under similar living conditions, as well as paying the one-off items, such as a modest fridge and a non-leaky cheap old car.

Don't say big brother never teach.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nix, can I add my 2 cents?
    I know someone who moved to Melbourne from SG and literally started from scratch. He was an officer (regular) in SAF (scholar, etc). Gave it all up. Started as an apprentice motor mechanic few years ago. He's still here and happy with his choice.