February - unofficially known as "the month of meh." It's still cold, you're still broke and the prospect of going into work every Monday morning is still about a appealing as a back-alley vasectomy. Fancy a change? Why not follow the example of the 100,000 Brits who, in the last 10 years, traded it all in for a life of sun, sea and Sheilas?
Here's how you can move from the UK to Australia in five easy(ish) steps.
01 Do Your Research
Find out if your skills are in demand down under by checking the jobs on recruitment websites or by going to specific company websites, as they often have career sections and will pay for visa and relocation expenses. Shona Farrell, director of Expat Network, recommends checking to see if your qualifications are recognised in Australia, or if you will need to do anything to get your skills recertified. “Compare salaries, tax, cost of living and accommodation to see if what you are being offered is a good deal,” she adds.
02 Apply For A Visa
If your prospective employer isn’t doing this, you’ll have to do it yourself. Be warned, some visas can take up to two years to be granted. What visa you apply for will depend on your status – again, do your research. The publisher of Australia Times, Bryce Lowry, urges organisation: “Every visa is different, so study the entire application, as there can be the odd hidden requirement.”
“Organise what you need to do to facilitate the move,” says Farrell. “This is sorting out the financial stuff – looking at your direct debits, pensions and the like in the UK, plus opening a bank account in Australia.” Find out if your UK bank has any links to Australian banks. Organise selling your home or renting it out and ship your possessions two months before moving.
04 Polish Up The CV
If you’re not moving with the promise of work – and many don’t – now is the time to start thinking about how you’re going to pay for all this. “There are regular exhibitions in the UK about working in Australia,” says Farrell. “You get the chance to talk to employment specialists and companies who are recruiting.” Be careful, though: Farrell advises being wary of using companies who say they can find you a job for a large fee with no guarantees.
And watch the month (or whatever your notice period) fly by before you board the plane to start your new life of endless barbecues, weak beer and venomous serpents.
Feeling that buzz of excitement and inspiration? Then go and get the latest issue of FHM and read the true stories of the men who dared to ditch the dreary 9-to-5 to look for a better life in Australia. They did it so you can too!
Photography: Fabrizio Lipari