Poms Down Under - Offering hints, tips and information on emigrating and settling in Australia

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BBC program “Wanted down Under”

We are the Jones family from Bedfordshire in the UK we were filmed for the BBC program “Wanted down Under”. We left the UK in August 07 myself Sarah, my husband Donovan and our 3 children Josh 12, Mitchell 8 and Harvey 3 to start our life on the Gold Coast of Queensland, after a tearful goodbye at the airport saying goodbye to Donovan’s mum & dad we flew from Heathrow airport with Singapore airlines. We had a 2 night stopover in Singapore to break up the journey, which I would definitely recommend; it was great to spend a couple of nights in a different country to recharge your batteries, ready for the next leg of the journey.

When we entered Australia on the 23rd August 2007, as permanent residents, we could not believe that the years of hard work and research had finally paid off, and we were now living in a country that we had only ever dreamed of, and had visited before on holiday and when we filmed Wanted Down Under with the BBC.

 We had lots to do when we first arrived as everyone does when they are setting up in a new country, we had to set up Medicare, Tax File Numbers, change our driving license,

Donovan started work about a week after we arrived, working for a carpet company in Brisbane, whilst I was driving to the Gold Coast every day looking for a rental home and  also to get the kids sorted and settled into a routine, the rental was the hardest part, as no rentals were available, until one day I came across a house that had not been finished, and me being me asked the builder for a nosy around, he let me have a look and said that it was going up for rent in the next couple of days, so lucky for us I was in the right place at the right time.

 We have now lived on the Gold Coast since Sept 07 and are loving life, we feel our kids are a lot safer in the streets, we spend a lot more quality time together as a family, work yes you still have to work really hard, if not harder as you are starting from scratch, and have to get out there and get yourself known in the job that you do, we have made some lovely friends both English and Australian so feel we are very lucky.

I have now set up Gold Coast Relocations, www.goldcoastrelocations.com.au as I like to help other people that are doing the same thing to settle and find rental homes etc, it is now starting to pick up and I am starting to help more people not only moving from the UK but also interstate.

The Gold Coast is a great place to live, beaches are great, and we are not too far from the mountains, so have the best of both worlds. I wish anyone going through the process all the luck in the world and, hope that they will be as happy as us. Feel free to contact us: sarah@goldcoastrelocations.com.au


‘Beautiful One Day, Perfect the Next’………

A truthful quote to describe the climate in SE Queensland, and one that I heard from my husband’s ‘new boss’ to entice me to move my life to Brisbane! It worked…along with my husband and two sons, I’m now into my 3rd year, and loving it! 

This is our story so far, hope you enjoy it….


My first reaction to the move was “no way”.  We had only been back in the UK for 18 months, having spent the previous three years in Colorado USA.  We were just getting our lives settled, and the thought of moving our sons again and telling our parents we were, this time, taking their grandchildren half way across the world, left me, shall we say, slightly anxious!

But coming back to England, after being away for a while, had also made us even more aware of the hustle bustle of living in a country with such a high density population, and for a family who likes to be outdoors, the weather was a real downer!  Here was an opportunity for us, to experience another part of the world, and one that was hot and sunny!  So in early August, my husband and I took a trip to Brisbane.  Straightaway, we were smitten with the laid back lifestyle, feeling of space, clean parklands with BBQ facilities, miles of bike paths,  palm trees, exotic wildlife and to top it off, the weather was true to the quote, ‘beautiful one day, perfect the next! 

We’re lucky our two sons (who were 12 and 10 when we moved) have inherited our adventurous genes and were very excited about the move, (telling them we would get a house with a pool may have helped!).  Our family, although a little surprised we were off again so soon, were happy for us and started planning trips over to see us before we had even left! 

We moved to Brisbane on 24th November, just 3 1/2 months after our initial visit.  It was a whirlwind 3 ½ months, we were working to a deadline of December 1st, which is when my husband started his new job, somehow it all came together, with hugs, tears and goodbyes said, we moved out of our house, waving off the container with all our worldly goods, handed the house keys over to the new owners, stayed one night in a hotel then we were on the flight to Brisbane!

We arrived on 457 visas which were sponsored by my husband’s employers (we are now permanent residents).  We still had to submit all the relevant paperwork, medicals, police checks etc, but it is definitely a fast track way of obtaining a visa. 

I had done a lot of internet research before we left the UK, both on houses/suburbs and schools and had organized short-term rental accommodation and a rental car for when we arrived. 

The first two weeks were really hard, we were tired, not just from the long flight but also exhausted from the months of intense planning to make it all come together.  And there was still so much to do, bank, credit card, Tax File Number, healthcare (Medicare), buy a car, all the things that would make our life easier.

But although it was hard in those first few weeks, we also had so much fun exploring, getting to know our way around, spending time at the beach, visiting the Koala Sanctuary, and I will never forget the look on my youngest son’s face when he saw a Kangaroo for the first time!

 Finding a good school for our sons was a high priority and I had done plenty of research before moving and had a shortlist of schools in different areas.   We soon found one we all liked.  The school year runs from February to November, so they were able to start at the beginning of the new school year. 

Within 9 weeks, we had bought a house, in the same suburb as the school (true to our word, it has a pool), and moved in with just a basic furniture rental package (beds, fridge/freezer, TV, washing machine), as our container wasn’t due for several weeks.

Now over two years down the track, we are all very happy, and well and truly settled into the laid back Queensland lifestyle.  Our sons have thrived in their new school, easily making new friends, and are involved in a variety of sports, including football, their passion!

As for me….after initially working in Real Estate, I now own my own Relocations Business, helping people moving to SE Queensland, find their new homes, or schools for their children, or just a friendly face to meet up with for a coffee and chat.

I’ve not been homesick at all, probably because we have had a steady stream of visitors! That’s the best part of living somewhere that is ‘beautiful one day, perfect the next’, being able to share it with family and friends.

Good luck to any of you who are taking the enormous ‘leap’ to Australia, enjoy the adventure!

 Story Supplied by Jayne of


Your personal connection to Brisbane and the Gold Coast, we can help you find accommodation, schools for your children, rental cars, provide maps, or just be a friendly face to meet up with for a coffee and chat.

The Story Of The Roses

My wife Rosalie and I migrated to Perth in Western Australia in May 1999. This was mainly as a result of many visits to Perth, as Rosalie's sister and her family have lived in Australia for over 20 years, along with our daughter Lisa coming to Australia on a 1 year working holiday visa, and deciding to make her life here in Perth.

Rosalie and I applied for a "Parent Visa" around 1996, once Lisa had received her permanent residency, and were told it would take many years for this to happen. We were both very depressed at the thought of being separated from our daughter for this length of time.

Fortunately for us, an opportunity arose when my Brother-in-law was unfortunately advised to sell his business due to heart problems.

As I was operating the same kind of business in the UK as my Brother-in-law was in Perth, I successfully applied for a Business Visa using a Migration Lawyer based here in Perth, and we arrived only two weeks prior to the birth of our first Grandson. This was no mean feat as we had a home to sell in Surrey, along with a business to sell, and the visa to be granted all within a small window within our desired timescale.

In order to gain permanent residency for myself and my wife, I decided to prepare the application myself, which was a very demanding project. I lodged this with the DIMIA here in Perth, and was congratulated by the Case Officer for supplying such a professional application.

I followed this with assisting my elderly parents with the preparation of a retirement visa (I am an only son) as I wanted them to spend their latter years of their life living close to the family.

This application was also successful, and following my parents move to Perth, I started thinking about an alternative career as a Migration Agent.

The rest is history, I studied migration law through the Deakin University course, sat the examinations set by the MIA and the University, and set up my new business June 2002. I now assist applicants from all over the world to apply for migration to Australia, and I am very pleased to tell you that I have to excellent success rate.

Thanks to Bill & Rosalie for their story, you can contact them at:
Email - bill@anglia.com.au / rosalie@anglia.com.au or visit their site: www.anglia.com.au

Thoughts on Emigrating

Once our daughter and son-in-law became Australian Citizens, we decided to look into the possibility of emigrating. At that time we were 70 and 72 years of age. We contacted an immigration agent, who immediately asked our ages - his response was at that particular time the waiting period for elderly parent visas was approximately 10 years. We put the idea out of our minds and decided to get on with our lives and visit Australia until we felt the long haul flights were too much.

Probably eighteen months later our son-in-law told us that legislation had gone through Parliament for new classes of visas - one being Contributory Visas for elderly parents. Another call to the agent confirmed this, so we pulled all the information together and began to think again. It did not take us long to reach our final decision, that we would go for it.

Then started all the form filling, searching out documents eg. Birth certificates, marriage certificates, even very ancient R.A.F discharge papers, all of which had to be copied and validated. With the agent's guidance and enthusiasm from the family, our application went forward. Next part of the process was the waiting game. We were told that our application had been received and was waiting attention and that we would hear in due course to attend our police checks, medical examination and x-rays. We would also be informed of venues available. Eventually we were requested to arrange all the examinations to be carried out and all the results to be returned to the Immigration Department. Until now only the family knew of our intentions, but we felt it was now time to move forwards, so we started making investigations into the value of our property, how we could move money out to Australia. Would our work pensions be transferable and what were the implications regarding our D.S.S pension.

As our daughter and son-in-law are our official guarantors they were the first to be informed that our visas were underway and to put us in the picture they rang one morning about 5.30am to give us the good news. Next was for us to arrange finance to the Australian immigration Department. Events moved very quickly after this and we eventually had the official visa in our passports.

It was all systems go after that - put the house on the market, get quotes from international movers. Tell everyone our plans and generally try and keep with the happenings. We had the usual cliff hangers with the sale of the property, but eventually the day came and we handed over the key, having seen all our worldly possessions being wrapped and packed and driven off in a container, wondering when we would see them all again.

We stayed with friends for three nights, whilst we tied up all the ends, paid accounts, closed bank accounts etc. Finally we were on our way to Heathrow on what we had named 'Our last Adventure"!

It seemed strange to come to Australia and know we were here to stay. Having family to stay with was great - apart from all the support and encouragement they gave us, we now have somewhere to stay and it gave us time to do all the necessary legal things at this end, without any pressure.

We brought a car and very soon after arrival we had sorted out our Medicare, applied for Tax file numbers and opened a Bank Account, we started to look for property. We had a fair idea of the locality that we favoured, so we rented an apartment for a few days in the area and really looked around. We drove, walked looked at shopping facilities, amenities and did inspect quiet a number of properties until we found the one that clicked.

Within seven weeks of our arrival, we had the key to our new home. The business of house buying is so much simpler here, and there were no hold ups or complications.

Without exception everyone has been very helpful and informative and it has been a refreshing change to meet such enthusiasm. We have now been in our house four weeks - all our furniture having arrived intact, and we have put our personal make on the place. The whole exercise has been hard work, but very stimulating and we have achieved our goal - being closer to the family. So anyone thinking about this move - our advice would be don't let your age deter you, if you are enthusiastic you will achieve it. DO IT.
By Jack & Greta

Should wish to contact them, you can via Pomsdownunder.com

The Lloyds Story: (as featured on www.brisbanebound.com)

This is a brief account of my family's experiences since we migrated from London.

I was a London policeman and my wife Lesley, a Paramedic. We have 2 daughters, now in their mid teens. During November 1998 we had a 6 week holiday, travelling around Australia. It seemed to us a perfect place for family life, with its beautiful environment, climate and generally relaxed, friendly people. Obtaining a permanent residency visa was a relatively straightforward process and just over a year later, we were on our way back to begin our new lives in Perth.

The decision to migrate involved much deliberation; we both had good jobs, a great social circle, as well as family in the UK. Our decision was based on wanting to do the right thing for our girls and give them the best possible start in life.

We arrived in Perth during February 2000, spending our first 7 weeks in one small hotel room. It was quite bewildering not knowing anybody and the occasional bout of panic set in. I resumed police work and the girls quickly established friends and picked up an Aussie accent.

Our youngest daughter was selected to swim for WA, we were so proud. The beauty of our new environment and the predictable sunshine made us feel good inside. We bought a house overlooking the Indian Ocean, in a lovely suburb, with the added bonus of being mortgage free.

We developed a social circle and all was going well.

However, we began to feel increasingly isolated and unable to take advantage of opportunities readily available in the major cities on the east coast.

Jobs were offered to us in Melbourne and we relocated.

We sold our house and spent 5 days driving across the Nullarbor, arriving in Melbourne during November 2001.
I decided on a career change here and together with Lesley became a paramedic.

Although Melbourne offered a vibrant atmosphere, climatically it seemed fairly similar to the UK. The coats and jumpers were hastily unpacked. We gave ourselves 2 years here in an attempt to settle, we couldn't and one last move was required. We wanted to live somewhere with a good climate, job opportunities, as well as have a great lifestyle. This time we relocated to Brisbane, where we found everything we were looking for and more.

The girls settled into their new school surprisingly well (3rd since arriving in Australia) and now have a great social circle. They were always our biggest concern on each move and the main reason we migrated, it's obviously a huge relief to parent's when big decisions finally work out for everybody. It's fair to say we've been very fortunate in respect our girls have always enjoyed this adventure and adapted so well on each relocation.

Prior to each move, we had become accustomed to extensive research into suburbs, schools etc. With each of the moves, we developed a more focused approach to our research. Of course where you live is very much a personal choice, but if you get off to the right start in Australia, then you'll find the lifestyle you desire, without expensive mistakes and adversity. Our move to Brisbane has been entirely worthwhile.

Lesley and I are still paramedics in Brisbane and enjoy this rewarding, often challenging job.

We have a desire to assist others migrating and decided to form a comprehensive settling service, which we named Brisbane Bound.

Families using Brisbane Bound feel welcome from the moment we meet them at the airport. They are pleased with our high standards in accommodation and then there's the support and social functions we provide. After all we make big sacrifices to change our way of life and it's so important to have a good start.

Sometimes during these past few years, we've experienced some low points, in fact it has been difficult settling into a new country then living in 3 cities (thank goodness for Brisbane). Although we both miss our old friends and family, we're able to return to the UK for a visit in less than a day of travel (circling the M25 can take just as long). Migrating has made us stronger characters and brought us closer during adversity. I consider us a very fortunate family to have shared such diverse experiences and yes we'd do this all over again, this one life is too short to miss opportunities. My only regret is we didn't come here sooner.
Success here is based on a positive attitude, open mindedness and the ability to adapt.

If anybody would like to contact me, my email address is info@brisbanebound.com

     Our names are Bill and Sue, we are both in our 40's and we do not have any children. Bill works in the oil industry and I am a Midwife. We made our first trip to Australia 10 years ago and had a holiday of a lifetime. We then made two further trips to visit Bills family and it was on our last visit we felt as if we were coming home. Bill and I have always wanted to venture overseas but we never found anywhere we both felt attracted to until we came to Australia.

So, following our third trip we decided to put the wheels in motion and we contacted a migration agent. We found the agents service to be excellent and this made the process quiet painless. We received the final ok on a cold frosty morning and I remember thinking we have to do it for real now! So we planned our escape, we priced flights, removals, storage etc. and finally we were set. After a very busy few months, we had a great farewell party on the Saturday and left for Australia on the Tuesday. It was a very emotional time and there were times when we did wonder if we were mad.

We arrived here in Australia on Feb.14th 2000; we were full of excitement, anticipation and enthusiasm. We were lucky to be able to stay with Bill's family for the first month and during that time we ran around doing all the business to get set up here, which is more than you think! We really did not feel as if it was real and we kept thinking we were on holiday. Bill started to apply for jobs and had a couple of interviews but with no success, I letter dropped some of the hospitals and soon had a position. Unfortunately Bill did not manage to get any work for three months but he remained positive.

Because I was working we rented a house after four weeks and prepared to receive our furniture. It was great when that arrived as it felt like home again plus we had been camping in the house for a couple of weeks and our bed felt great.

Once we were both working, life began to settle down and we started to meet new people. We have moved a couple of times and we now have bought a house. We have also both changed jobs since the beginning but we are now in positions that suit us and we can see some future. In August 2002 we became Australian citizens and this has also helped to make us feel settled here.

We both feel that you under estimate the network you have in the UK and initially that is very hard but slowly you build up new friendships. You do need to make a big effort to meet people but it does develop over time. I cannot lie, there have been times when we have wondered what are we doing here but usually you don't feel like that together. This does happen less as time passes and we have made a trip back to the UK and this has helped clarify why we are here: beautiful weather, clean, cheaper living, beautiful countryside and beaches, less congestion and everyday off is like a holiday. We often say you do not get homesick you are people sick. We really miss our family and friends but our house has a revolving door since we arrived and people visiting have helped.

The future here looks good, provided there are no major dramas in our lives; we have plans to stay here.

     Suzy had first come to Australia in 1985 with a girlfriend. After seeing her photographs I wanted to go there too. So, in 1990 we took a long trip via Africa and Asia and spent several months wondering up and down the east coast. Emerging from a central Brisbane cinema we naively decided that it would be nice to stay. But, the local Department of Immigration office told us to "go home and apply from the UK".

Seven years and two failed applications later, we decided to have 'one last try'. But this time we went through a migration agent. So, nine years after our initial 'lets stay conversation', we finally passed the 'Magic points assessment'.

After trying for so long, it is a very unreal feeling to be finally given permission to go. Excitement was closely followed by, panic, Oh, my god what are we going to do now!

We had only told a few close friends about the two earlier migration attempts, And had not told our families, as, we felt that there was no use in worrying them. Now we had to tell everyone of our big decision. Some kindred spirits recognised the opportunity we had been given, others could not comprehend. We were both 38 years old and had two young girls aged 2 and 5. We'd no jobs or house lined up, no family living in Australia - we hadn't even decided exactly where we were we wanted to live.

The sale of our house had to finance everything, from the estate agent fees, the removal cost and the plane tickets. So, we had to get as much as possible, without getting 'shafted' by would-be buyers who knew we had a 'plane to catch', (as our entry visa expired six months after issue).

After landing in Adelaide and staying with a friend we bought a car and a camper trailer and headed off to Brisbane, along the Great Ocean Road. The drive was the best possible way of being introduced to our new country. Family and friends are missed the most, and of course the 'pubs'.

There are still times, and probably always will be, when we miss the old country. Usually after a phone conversation with friends and relatives, or around the time of important birthdays or anniversaries. Still, it would be difficult to go back. We have become accustomed to the outdoor way of life, the physical and mental space and the general quality of life.

The first few years were the most emotionally difficult, especially for Suzy. Although, things look familiar, they are not. There are cultural differences we had not envisaged. Also, things like having a sense of belonging and a network of friends crept up on us. But, these short unsettled phases pass and we just get on with it. Sending the girls to a local school has greatly helped, we have now become more settled.

We came because, we had to. We didn't look back and wonder, what if...

     I am Mandy 34, married to Antony 35, we emigrated almost 2 years ago along with our 3 children aged 11,10 and 5 and the dog! Antony works in I.T. and I am a nurse. We decided to emigrate after a holiday to Australia that showed us a better way of life. People live to work here rather than the other way round. We love the relaxed lifestyle, climate, lower cost of living, better education system and ……the beach!

We used a migration agent for our visa application but in hindsight we feel this may have been an unnecessary expense as both our jobs were on the jobs in demand list and we think the application would have been processed pretty swiftly because of this. We started collecting the necessary paperwork in July 1999, lodged the application in December '99 and received notification the visas had been granted in June 2000. We had the house to sell and wanted to spend a final Christmas in the UK, so we booked our flights for January 2001. We holidayed in Los Angeles and the North Island of New Zealand, finally arriving in Brisbane on February 10th 2001.

The final few months living in the UK were hectic as we tried to ensure we had sorted everything. We also did a lot of travelling to see all our friends and family before we left. It was an emotional, stressful time and we did sometimes wonder why we were putting ourselves through it. Only the conviction that there was a better life for all of us and a brighter future for the children kept us going. We decided not to have a farewell party, but instead went to Cornwall for a weekend with a group of our closest friends.

We searched the web and found a good school on the North side of Brisbane. We had friends who, by coincidence, had just moved to the same suburb as the school was in. Taking this to be a good sign we ended up living with our friends in Albany Creek for five weeks. We were very lucky as our initial impression of the area was good and we have happily settled here. Although we were convinced immediately it was where we wanted to be, we rented a house for 6 months to allow us time to settle into school, work etc before we made a permanent decision to buy.

The first year especially was an emotional roller coaster and I would suggest new migrants prepare themselves for some difficult times, but always hang onto the idea you are going to stay for at least two years. The best piece of advice we had was from an ex-pat, "don't go back to the UK, take a holiday there first to remind yourself why you left". We love it here and wouldn't wish to live in the UK again. The people there whose love and friendship we value are still closely in touch by email and phone. They don't stop being special because they are in another hemisphere-in fact you have better times together because they come to stay on holiday.

As to the future, we take out Australian Citizenship very soon; we had a return trip to the UK recently and, enjoyable though it was, we were all glad to be back HOME in Australia again. That to us really says it all.
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