Private medical health insurance for 475 visa holders

Getting private medical insurance is a wise thing to do – especially if you’re not covered by Medicare.

If you’re a holder of the 475 visa or the 457 visa, you’re not eligible for Medicare, which takes care of your health needs, so you need to get private medical health insurance. However, because we’re not considered permanent residents, we have to apply under “overseas visitors” which can be more expensive.

Just a note: If you opt not to take out insurance at all, apparently you could be penalised for doing so. According to this forum post: ” If you are an immigrant you have a set time, 12 months I think, to enter without paying the age loading.” Basically, you need to apply for private medical health insurance during the12 months after you arrive or they’ll add a surcharge, I believe. I’m not sure how legit this is, but if you decide to wing it without insurance, just be aware there could be possible risks. You know, besides possibly tanking all your savings if you end up having an accident or a health emergency. (Touch wood!)

I’ve done some research on what the insurance companies are offering:

IMAN (Budget Visitor Cover) $76 per month

Bupa (Classic Visitors Cover) $89.21 per month

I’ll keep you updated with more information that I can dig up. Watch this space!

PS: In the end I went for Bupa cos I can’t find Iman’s office in Adelaide 😛 I know, probably not the sanest way to choose your insurance. But anyway, my police works this way. If I’m sick, I can see a doctor, pay for it first, then come back to the office to claim for it. I may not be reimbursed the entire bill, but it’ll be close.

Photo by forwardcom
Advertisements

I finally quit my job! And sometimes I do panic about it

Well, I did it folks. I quit my job. Without another one lined up! I actually handed in my resignation two weeks ago and I was overcome with a curious sense of peace. Maybe because I’ve finally decided what I wanted to do. But that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally get panicky, especially when I read doom and gloom stories about how global recession is going to happen any time soon. Or how South Australia has the highest unemployment rates!

Today I had one of those panic-stricken days. My plans to fly over to Adelaide hit some trouble because my company couldn’t release my tax documents in time. Basically, if you want to leave the country more than three months, you need to settle your taxes before you go. Interestingly, I didn’t know that. Like, duh. Any mention of taxes always sends my blood pressure through the roof because I hate dealing with the IRB and I keep having nightmares of some tax dude telling me, “Well, due to some clerical error you actually owe us $10k. Sorry!”

So, anyway, because of that I booked my plane tickets far too early, and now I have to cancel it only to find out that I can’t  fly off on July 18 like I planned. I would have to leave possibly in the last week of July instead. As a result, the accommodation that I managed to arrange for myself won’t be there anymore and I have to make alternate plans. *Frustration to the max*

Okay, so back to reality here.

Today, maybe because of all the hiccups to my supposedly-well ordered plans, I started sweating bricks, asking myself: “You not only quit a well-paying job, you also turned down and even better paying job with a nice, fancy title. And all to plunge yourself into uncertainty in Australia? Are you crazy or what?”

Nightmarish scenarios flooded my mind immediately. Of me, hunting for a job for months upon end. Of being penniless. Of starving … of being homeless.

I was on a roll.

So, I had to take a deep breath and talk to my panic-stricken self and told myself that this is something I’ve wanted to do for years, and nothing ventured, nothing gained. In the end, a sense of peace came over me, when I asked myself this: What would you be doing if you didn’t go?

And I realised I will be doing the exact same thing as I ever did. Nothing will change. And that includes being afraid of change! And if there’s one thing I want now are opportunities to expand beyond my fear, to conquer it, even. If I decide to stay, that’s equivalent of scuttling back to my shell.

I cannot say that migrating to Australia will be a smooth journey for me. But if there’s one thing I know – I’ll be intimate with the fears I’ve avoided all my life and I want to see how I can overcome them. And who knows what kind of opportunities will open for me?

Photo by webslave05.

Be sure to know WHY you want to emigrate

Before you emigrate, it is really, really, really (10x) very important to know why you want to make that major move.

I know because when I signed up with a migration agent all those years ago, I have absolutely no blinking idea why. I had vague notions of “I dislike Malaysian politics” and “Wouldn’t it be nice to experience the four seasons?” As a result, my journey out of Malaysia has been a great source of stress and worry for me over the last few years.

I like what SP (a lady I met on the Malaysians in Adelaide Facebook group) told me when I met her in Adelaide last year. Ask yourself: “Can you do what you want to do elsewhere? Why only in Australia?”

Sit down and think very, very hard because your answer could determine your life’s path. It will also be your source of strength as you face difficulties in Australia or whatever country you’ve chosen to go to.

For me, what I really wanted was a career break and a chance to travel the world. However, I didn’t know how to do it, so I thought emigration was the only way. I have since found out that there are many options out there (which I will explore in a future post). Also, I had a very vague idea what I wanted – back then, I was too afraid of taking a career break and was in denial so deep that I didn’t even realise all I wanted was a break from the grind. It took many years of thinking about my decision and listening to wise counsellors to realise what I really wanted, to formulate a plan to achieve it, access the risk and then through much faith and prayer, jump off the proverbial cliff.

Here is what I want:

I’m tired of the rat race. I’m tired of climbing the corporate ladder, trying to find meaning in my paycheck and title, and filling the void in my heart by buying endless amount of crap. I’m tired of suffering now so that I could live the life I want someday.

I want to life the life I want now because life is so short and life can swipe you sideways when you don’t realise it.

I want to travel and experience new cultures. I want to meet people. I want to carve a life that is centred around my passion to write. I want to create new worlds, and bless people. I want to live a life that is kind to the Earth. I want to live a more physically active life. I don’t want to sit all day in the office. I want to walk and work the Earth. I want to be physically present to people who are suffering and in need of help.

The truth is, I don’t have to emigrate to achieve all this. But since I did things backwards, and I now have this precious temporary residence visa, I would have to try fit my dreams into the visa. Now, I would not advice you to ever do things the way I did because it causes unnecessary headaches.

However, fortunately, I have discovered a way to achieve the dreams I have, and now my heart is light and bouncy because I will now fulfill my heart’s desire. (Topic of next post!)

So, here’s what you should do:

1. Sit down with your significant other (or yourself) and ask yourself this question: What doI really want? Give yourself a few days to think it through. Write your mission statement (like the one I wrote above). This will be your guiding light.

2. Next: To achieve what I want, can I do this in Malaysia? If no, why not? Write it down.

3. So, you have decided that Malaysia isn’t the place to achieve your goals. Now, choose a few countries that you think will help you achieve your objective.

4. Research the countries thoroughly. What is the job situation like? What are the risks? Is there any way to make things less risky?

5. Then, ask yourself. Really, really ask yourself: Are you and your family able to tolerate the risk? Is there a way to make the stress of the move and adapting to a new culture less strenuous? For example, to avoid landing in the new country without knowing anyone, why not join groups online to get to know more people? Or, when you’re in the new country, aim to volunteer so that you’ll get to know more locals.

For me, research was the backbone of my decision-making process. I talked to a lot of people – migrants, wise counsellors, people who have done what I wanted to do (take a career break) and read blogs. Through this I discovered options. Because I have options, I could make decisions with a clearer head.

So, guys, be wise with your decision to emigrate. Sometimes your desire for a new country is an expression of a deep desire inside of you that you just need to dig deeper to discover.

Good luck!

Photo by Roxaria.

Adelaide, here I come! Again.

(Read this first.)

Yeah, yeah, I know we’ve been through this before, but I have decided to leave for Adelaide after all. I figured that if I took the job, I’ll be too distracted by the fact that I’m giving up on Australia without even trying that I would not do a good job anyway. The idea of being haunted by “What if?” for years doesn’t sit well with me either.

So, I’m going. No matter how long or how hard it’ll take for me to get a job, at least I’ll be trying.

Frankly, I’m exhausted by the crazy emotional rollercoaster my life has been since I put in the papers all those years ago. I can’t wait  to get to Australia only so that I can just get it over and done with! 😉

Photo by dlritter.

Malaysia to … Malaysia?

Life in the fish bowl is comfortable. So, should I stay there?

I once said to my friend that maybe I shouldn’t have named my blog “Malaysia2Adelaide” because it may end up being “Malaysia2Singapore” or “Malaysia2Perth” for all I know. But here’s a possibility I have not considered. Could it end up being Malaysia2Malaysia?

I suppose you can call it Murphy’s law. I’ve finally rented out my apartment, packed away most of my things, given away 3/4 of my possessions and am about to hand in my “I quit” letter when I started getting calls … job offers, actually.

In a span of a few weeks, I had four  job offers. Two agreed I could work with them in some way from Australia. The last job is so enticing it is making me consider staying in Malaysia!

It’s a managerial position, with overseas travel included (in fact, they’re interested in me because I have travelled extensively overseas) and a chance to be involved in an exciting industry that is growing around the world. This job could be the gateway to a possible job abroad too, if I play the cards right.

I listed the pros and cons for my situation:

Accepting the job offer

Pros:

  • Definite career advancement
  • Higher pay means more savings, and that’s actually important to me
  • Get to learn new skills in line with my experience
  • Overseas travel
  • I get to hang out with my friends and family
  • Enjoy a comfortable, financially-secure lifestyle

Cons:

  • May have no time to recuperate from burnout from previous job
  • Lose the chance of carving a life for myself in Australia. I will probably never get the chance to do this again. <– the possibility of this haunts me greatly.
  • May have little time to fulfill my dreams – I want to write a few books and publish them
  • It’s life in the same fish bowl. It’s safe, and I will never know what it’s like to live without the tether of a job. As a result, my fears of losing a job is still there.
  • I don’t get to enjoy a different culture, get rejuvenated
  • I don’t get to live a healthier lifestyle – fresh food, more physical work, more walking around, parks etc
  • My dream of developing myself spiritually in a quieter environment will be delayed or will possibly not happen.
  • Stressful — jams, possible long hours, crazy commute, feeling inadequate at the job

Move to Australia

Pros: 

  • A chance to explore a new culture and country
  • A chance to experience the four seasons again
  • New friends and adventures
  • A chance to explore a new field – healthcare
  • A healthier lifestyle: More walking, a job that entails lots of physical work
  • Time to explore spirituality
  • Time to do my creative projects
  • Australia’s beautiful parks, beaches
  • An opportunity to battle my fears and conquer them – my fear of joblessness, financial insecurity

Cons:

  • Stress from worry about getting a job
  • Financially risky
  • Job uncertainty – tough to get a job in Adelaide
  • Separated from family
  • Career path may be affected; I’d have to start from the beginning

From what I can see — I’d have to choose between Career (staying in Malaysia) and Lifestyle (leaving for Australia).

I thought of asking the company if it’s possible for me to work for them from Oz (I don’t see how though) or for them to wait for me for at least six months. No harm trying, I suppose.

I know I can’t let this Oz chance go, not when I’m 2 months shy of landing in Australia. I don’t want to be haunted by what ifs!

Besides, one of my colleagues has just left for New Zealand on a similar adventure. It made me realise how much I want this dream.

Ah, I’m so torn! Any input from you guys would be much appreciated!

How to quit gracefully

Everyone who migrates have to resign from their job. It’s important to resign gracefully and with class, despite what you may have faced at your workplace. I like the part about exit interviews – I have no idea what to say. Should I tell them honestly? Or should I be careful?

Anyway, this is a very useful video. Enjoy!

Note to readers: I’ve removed my previous post temporarily as I want to be careful. Who knows? Someone from the office may find my article. Once it is “safe” (ie, when I am away from Malaysia!) I’ll reinstate the post.

Moving house, moving countries: overwhelmed!

It's a miracle, but I've managed to reduce 8 years of stuff to these few boxes.

I know I promised to post at least twice a week, but I have seriously underestimated the stress and all-consuming overwhelming-ness of moving countries.

Apparently, moving to a new place counts as one of life’s most stressful experiences – right up there with divorces. If you’re moving countries, you can double the stress!

Now, here’s a tip for all of you making the move: If you’re planning to rent out or sell your home, start the process asap! Say you hope to move to Australia in a year’s time. Start NOW.

I regretted waiting a year to do so. (The reason why: I was undecided whether I should make the big move.) I thought I had all the time in the world – I would be moving in July, so I thought six months was a good enough time.

So, I only contacted an agent around late January, thinking that I’ll get the place rented out by April or so. Well, I did get a tenant by April, but he backed out last minute.

Apparently, his first wife found out about his second wife, whom he was renting my place for. He was concerned about security. Gee, I think I should be the one more concerned, don’t you think? Calls by my real estate agent were ignored and now we have to restart the process all over again. So, what I’m saying is this: Shit happens, and a lot of times last minute too. So, you have to be prepared and make time for emergencies like this.

I’m now worried I may have to delay my landing in Australia. Maybe August would be a more realistic date for me after all. I’m praying really hard that I’d get a tenant by latest end of May so that I can safely resign and leave on time.

Still, I’m really glad that I contracted a real estate agent to do all this for me. If I had to weed out potential tenants all by myself I think I’ll go ka-ka.

Open a bank account before you move to Australia

When I made my initial entry to Adelaide last December, lots of people suggested that I open a bank account. In the end, I decided against it because I wasn’t comfortable using another person’s address to do so. What I should’ve done, however, was to visit an Aussie bank to see if there are any other options available instead!

But today I stumbled on something really interesting. Apparently, you can set up your bank account with Westpac online before you move/arrive in Australia. In fact, the site is entirely for prospective migrants.

I promptly did so, filling out the necessary form. But I wonder whether I’ll get approved as I wasn’t sure what to put in the “expected job” field. I selected “Student”, which is not a lie as I plan to take a certificate-level course in the first few months in Adelaide. I’ll update you guys on the progress.

There are two accounts you can apply for. The Westpac eSaver and Westpac Choice.

After applying for these accounts, you need to complete your identity check either by visiting a regional branch (the nearest branch for Malaysians is the one in Singapore), or by going to the Aussie branch to do so. You need to be there in 12 months of your application or else your account will be closed. Also, you need to have your identify verified within 6 weeks of arriving in Australia — just show your passport and Australian address. If you do so more than 6 weeks after arrival, you’ll need to provide at least 2 forms of identification such as a passport, driver’s licence or birth certificate.

Once your identity is verified, you can start transferring funds.

I’m personally a little leery with tele-transactions, so I’m using the old fashion bank draft route. I’ll probably just transfer a few hundred Aussie dollars to test the waters. What can I say? I’m paranoid.

Will update you on my progress. 🙂

PS: The National Australia Bank also has the same option – to open a bank account online before leaving for Australia. I will check it out and report back to you on this.

Update! My account with Westpac has been approved. 🙂 But what’s this I hear about monthly fees? Apparently some banks charge monthly fees to your account. OMG. However, Chris (below, in comments) commented that NAB doesn’t do that. That’s information for a future post!

Update 2: A guy with a very thick Australian accent (so thick I could barely understand him) called me to see if I was a real human being. A few weeks later, I received a nice parcel in the post with information about my account. I have the option of confirming my identity in its Singapore branch. Since my trip down south may be delayed, I may have to do that.

Update 3: Got to Adelaide! Before you arrive, be sure to make an appointment. Banks in Oz usually require you to make one if you want to open an account. Anyway, all I did was present my passport and wala. Interestingly, most of the people there know me because of this post! The bank manager actually dropped a comment below.  By the way, be sure to apply for your Tax File No as the bank requires it. If you’ve worked in Australia before (I did as a Subway Sandwich Artist when I studied in Perth) you can retrieve it from the Tax office.

I opted for a savings account with a high savings rate (about 4.5%). Happily, because I’m a new migrant, they waived the bank charges for the year.

Saying goodbye

Last Saturday, I had dinner with a couple of friends and told them that I was leaving for Australia. They were terribly excited for me, but sad as well – I won’t get too see them as often as I do right now.

That’s one of the more difficult aspects about leaving the home country for Adelaide. Saying goodbye to the ones you love.

Some of my friends who are in the know will sometimes, in mid conversation, sigh and say, “Oh, I won’t be doing this with you after July!”

I remember how I felt when my best friend left for Edinburgh. Her departure was just one of many that year, and I felt broken that so many of my friends were leaving me. So, I’m really familiar with how it feels like to be left behind. A part of me actually feels guilty for doing this to them, but everyone, at one point or another, will say goodbye to someone, as a friend of mine says.

I’ve not told my colleagues yet, though I came very close to being found out! I don’t want to do so just yet because I don’t want to have to answer 1001 questions why I’m leaving this company where I’ve been here for more than a decade. To be honest, I’m also not too keen with talking to folks who will throw ice water to my dreams and tell me how impractical my move will be. I’m not sure how many of those there will be, but I’m just not keen to meet any right now.

How do you say goodbye to the people you’re leaving behind?

  • You show them how much you appreciate them by spending time with them before you leave.
  • You reconcile with those you’ve had any falling out with, if possible, tying up any relationship loose ends.
  • Promise to stay in touch – and try to fulfill that promise via Facebook, emails or better, snail mail! I believe snail mails are such precious things these days.
  • You remind them that there will certainly be visits back home. Australia is only an Air Asia plane ride away 🙂

How did you say goodbye to the ones you left behind? How did you feel in the last few months before departure?

Pardon me while I de-stuff myself

If there’s one thing I learned from my preparations to move to Australia is that I have a lot of stuff. The most massive of which is my book collection – 1,000 of them!

At the beggining of February, I started packing them away to donate, sell, store in my parents’ home or ship to Australia. I’m only halfway through and have some ways to go! As I grumbled through the labour and sneezed through the exercise, I swore to myself that I would never again accumulate so many books or things in my life.

It’s really curious that one of the reasons why I was sad to leave Malaysia initially was having to give up my beautiful 1,000-book library. I mean, yes, I’m rather proud of my collection. Many of these books you can’t find in Malaysia as I bought them when I was abroad. But as I de-stuffed my library, I couldn’t help but think how attached we are to our things, how we somehow think that “stuff” will make us happy.

I can now only shake my head at my massive DVD and book collection. Now I really realise that buying DVDs and books was a way to fill up a void in my life. Somehow, by having all these things with me I felt happier, more accomplished. Alas, this is but an illusion.

But on a less philosophical note, my massive library is also a manifestation of our sore lack of public libraries. Many of these books I could’ve borrowed from a library, but our libraries are so shite that I had to buy them to read them. Well, I’m quite eager to experience Adelaide’s public libraries, that’s for sure!

This whole migration exercise has changed me from a person who needed suff to be happy to a person who yearned to be as free from stuff as possible so that she can just up and leave if she feels like it.

Frankly, I rather like this change in me.