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Australia

A new life in…Perth

The Western Australian capital offers a sunny climate, beautiful scenery and plenty of attractive work and lifestyle benefits, writes A Piece of Perth’s, Sarah Tester:

It’s no surprise why Perth is fast becoming a popular choice for UK migrants to call home. With an all-year-round warm climate, stunning coastline, fantastic wine regions, beautiful scenery and a laid-back lifestyle it’s hard to find a reason why you wouldn’t want to move here.

Job Market
Perth offers some fantastic work opportunities. The building trade has always been big in Western Australia with many new suburbs, properties and developments being built. However due to the current economic climate this industry has slowed down slightly with many trades being taken off the skills shortage list. If you are looking to up-skill in the industry or looking for a change of career when you arrive check out Trainwest who offer qualifications in Health & Safety, Management and Training & Assessment.  There are many occupations listed on Western Australia’s skilled migration list, many of which fall in the healthcare industry. Contact a visa and recruitment specialist such as ISA Group, who have offices in the UK and Perth so will be able to give you all the advice you need. You can also view the current skills shortage list here: isagroupuk.co.uk/australian-life/western-Australia.

Healthcare
The healthcare system in Australia works differently to the UK. Firstly you have the government healthcare system – Medicare. This is Australia’s National Health Service; it provides free treatment in public hospitals and free subsidised treatment by doctors. As soon as you arrive in Australia it is advisable to apply for your Medicare card. You can do this online or in one of the many Medicare centres based around Perth.  When visiting a doctor’s surgery it is advisable to find a practice that bulk bill. This means the practice bill Medicare directly and you will not have to pay for an appointment. If you see a doctor that doesn’t bulk bill then you could expect to pay around A$50 for an appointment. You can then claim your refund at a Medicare branch. You must also present your Medicare card when picking up prescriptions. Dental and optical (apart from eye tests) and the ambulance service are not covered under Medicare. This is something you will need to get covered through private health cover. For full information on the government healthcare system check out: www. humanservices.gov.au.

Private health insurance complements the public system and offers members a broader choice in health service options including choice of doctor and hospital. Private health insurance can also provide cover for services not covered by Medicare, such as physiotherapy, dental, optical items and podiatry services. In some cases you may be required to take health insurance as part of your visa conditions. For example, if you are applying for a Visa Subclass 457, you are required to have a minimum level of health insurance and to maintain it for the duration of your stay in Australia. To apply for healthcare suited to this visa contact IMAN Health Plans. The Australian Government has put in place a number of incentives designed to get Australians covered by Private Health Insurance. These are the 30 per cent government rebate and the Medicare Levy surcharge. For more information on the private healthcare system visit:  www.privatehealth.gov.au.

Education
The school system in Australia differs from the UK. The school year starts at the beginning of February and ends in the middle of December and is divided into four terms, with the longest break being seven weeks over the Christmas period (Australian summer). There are a mix of different schools in Western Australia including, private and government. Private is a popular choice in Australia as it is a lot more affordable than the UK. The waiting list for private schools can be long so you need to get your child on the waiting list as soon as possible; some parents even do this from birth. Government schools work on a boundary system, similar to the UK. When enrolling your child into a school you need to provide proof of their immunisations. Be aware that children also have the Hepatitis B and chicken pox vaccination when they arrive in Australia. Many government high schools have different specialist programs such as football, music and IT. If you live out of the catchment area of a school that specialises in a subject of interest you can apply for a place under their specialist subject program. There are no fees for government schooling however you are expected to buy your child’s books and stationary for the year and also make a “voluntary” contribution to the school.

As of 2015 the Western Australian Government has introduced a tuition fee for families on 457 Visas (temporary skilled workers) whose children attend public schools in this State. The fee is A$4,000 per family each year regardless of the number of children in each family who are enrolled in public schools. Finding out how a school is performing is quite hard, as they do not have an OFSTED equivalent in Australia. A great site to use is www.bettereducation.com. au, as this tells you where a school ranks in the state and you can compare schools. To find out more information on schools in Western Australia visit www. det.wa.edu.au or www. privateschoolsdirectory.com.au.

Perth is home to four public universities: the University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Murdoch University, and Edith Cowan University. There is also one private university, the University of Notre Dame. The University of Western Australia is renowned as one of Australia’s leading research institutions. The university’s monumental neo-classical architecture is also a notable tourist destination.

Sarah Tester is director of A Piece of Perth. A Piece of Perth can help with your move to Perth. Become a member for free and get email support for all those relocation questions plus two suburb profiles to get your research started and a quarterly newsletter. Like A Piece of Perth on Facebook and keep up-to-date with the latest news about its  associated businesses and events.  Web: www.apieceofperth.com

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