The 11 most important things that Kiwis forget to do when moving to Australia

1. Should I take the whole family first or not?

Our experience with helping New Zealanders throughout the years points to one successful tried & tested strategy. There are two clear options when considering who should go first to Australia: should the whole family go including the kids, or just the primary income earner?

Without any doubt, sending just the primary income earner over first (whether Mum or Dad) is definitely the best option. Here are some reasons why: searching for and applying for houses, attending interviews, standing in bank or Centrelink queues for hours, paying for accommodation & travel upfront etc… it’s clear one person is far better suited to organising important details rather than struggling to deal with the whole family abroad.

One person won’t be a burden on the host family if you plan to stay with friends or whanau. Trust us: those friends and family start out with the best intentions for you. However, you can easily overstay your welcome without realising. Overstaying with friends or whanau is a common topic discussed on our Facebook groups.

The length of your stay could determine how much effort you are putting in, as hosts can quickly become discouraged if you are not following their advice, or not making progress in your endeavours.

The main problem with the whole family going first is it can slow down your relocation overseas. You may become nervous, anxious or frustrated that things are not going smoothly with the family occupying your valuable time. Learning some local tips & tricks, and even having things go wrong will be a benefit for when your family arrives, as these lessons will ultimately aid their transition into your new life.

Another good reason to send one person first is to become familiar with your surroundings. Australia is huge! Cities in Australia are often much larger with more people, more traffic & more places to get lost. If you have a better understanding of the area when your family arrives, they will settle in quicker & find the move to Australia less distressing.

Example:

Be more organised by visiting schools in your preferred area prior to your family arriving. This could be the deciding factor on the suburb you want to live in, aid in researching transport options and avoiding getting lost. Make things a lot less challenging for your family.

Children should not have to experience the anxiety, fear and overwhelming pressure of moving countries. Not knowing where your house is, which bus to take or other important information won’t help you or your kids transition to a new life. It will deepen their anxieties if they are sad about leaving NZ while also being stressed about their new life.

Send the primary income earner first if you can!

2. Zero Government Assistance

When you get off the plane, you will be in a curious position that many New Zealand citizens are unaware of. The Australian government is unable to assist you in any way; they only look after Australian citizens. At the same time, aid from the New Zealand government will be inaccessible, as you have left their country and support for you is now unavailable unfortunately.

Some Kiwis don’t quite understand what government support looks like because they have never needed help back home. It’s not about general assistance, it’s about the ambulance in Australia that now costs $3000 if you call one due to not having medical cover – this can be a nasty surprise while trying to start your new life!

It isn’t all bad. This system is confusing for many and has been a hot topic for years. Complaining about it or focusing blame is pointless. All you can do is embrace that you have chosen to move to Australia and make a commitment to be totally organised with a preventive mindset. The other thing you can do is use NZRelo; we will do all we can to offer assistance where possible.

Example: 

Hemi breaks his wrist. He works for a marketing company on a computer, but there is no ACC for Hemi here. If Hemi is the primary income earner, then his family will struggle meeting basic costs like food & bills without an income. Even though Hemi arrived 4 months ago, he will not meet the criteria for a bank loan to cover bills. And ultimately if Hemi then loses his job, there is no unemployment benefit available for Kiwis in Australia.

Who do people turn to for advice in these situations? Good question: they turn to us! Rest assured; we have been doing this for years & will do all we can to help you.

Solutions: Use NZRelo to get started, include income protection insurance as part of your super or pay for private health insurance.

3. Koha to the host family

If you plan to get off the plane and stay with friends or family, offer a koha (gift of money) – it is that simple. They might say no, but don’t worry. They probably don’t mean it; most likely they are hoping you will have more money to get out of their house quicker!

An average timeframe for you to get on your feet from the host’s perspective is 3-4 weeks. If you sit around drinking, engaging in tourist activities, spending too much money, or applying for jobs that are not interviewing until 4 weeks’ time, you will annoy them for sure. If your host drives off for work for the day and returns to your lazy butt laying by the pool sipping one of their beers, don’t expect things to go smoothly or end well…

Staying with friends or family is an opportunity to build your network personally and professionally. Their friends will become yours. Advice will be given. Listen to it, do not underestimate the fact that if you get kicked out, your sense of security will go from 10 to zero very quickly!

Stay organised, committed and prepared. Relax when it’s all sorted.

4. Will your credit history follow you to Australia?

No, it will not. If you have poor credit in NZ, it will usually only show up if you apply for a home loan in Australia. It will also show up if you continue to mention your history to institutions after having just moved over. If you are relying on your amazing NZ credit history to follow you to Australia, sorry it won’t. You can bring supporting documents from institutions, but you will need to develop your credit history with a stable job and previous statements of earnings.

Be careful: once you do have a good credit history in Australia, you will be sent multiple offers from all types of institutions. In some cases, banks send out ready to go credit cards and all you have to do is activate them… do not fall into this trap!

Be careful with brokers! They will send you to ten lenders in search of an approval, but you will look “credit hungry” to future lenders because you have just made 10 different applications. Always ask the broker first.

5. Facebook Group Advice

We run, manage, and facilitate many FB groups. Asking for advice from members about particular experiences is good practice and can be extremely valuable. Something not helpful is when members take general advice from FB about serious things like visas or accessing Super during hardship. Let us take care of the serious stuff; you can email us, message us and access direct assistance from our partners using live chats. Our partners are all experienced in the art of helping our niche client base, Kiwis. Use them; that’s what they are there for!

Example: 

Jane wants to get citizenship, so she posts on ‘Kiwis in Brisbane.’ Some online comments tell her to just apply. She applies, pays thousands of dollars, waits for 18 months, and gets a reply saying that she made errors on her application.

Jane now must pay again and wait another 18 months. Jane should have come to NZRelo where she would have been given a free assessment by our licensed migration agents. Jane would then have received guidance, support and assistance. She would also have been able to pay the fees in instalments. Jane wouldn’t have wasted 18 months and thousands of dollars!

6. Transport: to bus or not bus?

The best way to get acquainted with your surroundings in a big place like Australia is to use a car. Buying one straight away is not necessarily the best practice. We would recommend keeping that money available for other things like the deposit needed for a rental property.

Buses may get you around the cities, but you may get lost or confused. It may be better to hire a car and explore your new area properly in your own time. Attending interviews on time, getting to rental viewings & arriving promptly to appointments are all important steps to make your relocation more pleasant.

You can hire cars on NZRelo, and guess what?… You do not need a credit card to book a vehicle through our partner company, Apex. 100’s of Kiwis hire cars when they arrive in Australia, but only Apex & NZRelo offer you an easy & affordable option for transport.

7. Choosing the right Superannuation Fund in Australia & what to do with your KiwiSaver

NZRelo is well-informed on this topic. As long as it’s right for your overall circumstances, taking your KiwiSaver with you can be a great move.

Why, you ask? When you become a resident of Australia for tax purposes, you are no longer a resident of New Zealand. Your KiwiSaver will be taxed at 28% on investment earnings by IRD if you leave it in New Zealand.

Can you bring your Super back to NZ if you move back home? Generally, yes. This is an important asset for your family should you choose to move home.

Are all super funds equal? No, they are not. First Super is one of the few super funds that accepts KiwiSaver transfers. And they’re an industry fund, which means all profits go to members. They also have a history of strong investment returns, with their Balanced (MySuper) option being a top performer in 2022.

Do all Funds have strong investment returns? Put simply, NO. In fact, every year the Australian government regulator APRA publishes a list of Funds with poorly performing MySuper options. These Funds have to contact members and notify them about their underperformance!

First Super has passed every APRA test. And our partners are one of only a few funds in Australia to have put their hand up and said, “We will help New Zealanders with the tricky stuff!”

How so?

They have gone out of their way to complete training with NZRelo to understand all the specific needs and considerations communicating with a Kiwi requires. They have live chats on their website and have created niche content specific to you. Our partners at First Super make it easy to learn about buying a home in Australia using your KiwiSaver, as this content is rare and not easy to find anywhere.

What really impressed NZRelo was when they helped our community during Covid. There was no financial aid made available during Covid for NZ citizens living in Australia. All that happened was $10k was made available by the Australian government to withdraw from people’s super in two-part tax years – so $20k total. Not all Kiwis had $20k in their super funds available!

First Super came to our aid when Kiwis needed to move their KiwiSaver over to Australia to draw down funds during Covid. Considering the urgency and time frames around withdrawing the $10K Covid payments, First Super swooped in and helped members navigate the red tape, quickly adapting to any government changes, always answering the phone quickly, and providing assistance completing a range of forms.

The outcome of all this was First Super & NZRelo being able to streamline financial support to thousands of our members in a crucial time of need.

First Super are the good guys in our eyes. They have restored the faith that companies can put clients first above profit. Highly recommended!

*Disclaimer

8. Should you bring your furniture or not?

Are you going to drag that rusty BBQ all the way to Australia? What about those stained mattresses with the bed base that has a wonky leg? Good question! The answer is a system that cannot fail and ultimately, the decision comes down to cost.

If you didn’t know already, household items are substantially cheaper in Australia. For example, a 4-burner BBQ brand new with a sink is around $599 from Bunnings, but that same BBQ in NZ is about $1100! Don’t get us started on BBQ furniture; Seagal’s has a range of outdoor couches for $799, the same ones in NZ are $2000! Australia has IKEA

The winning process here is to create four lists in this order:

  1. A list of everything you own
  2. A list of things to sell in a garage sale
  3. A list of what will be purchased new or second hand in Australia
  4. A final list of what will be sent to Australia

Step 1. Get a quote to move all your belongings from list 1. Great now you have the list, it’s $8000. Now research how much it will cost to replace all your stuff in Australia.

Step 2. Sell the things you own in NZ that you want to buy new in Australia. Have a garage sale, use Trademe or FB Marketplace.

Step 3. Get a new quote to ship your belongings that excludes the items you have sold.

Step 4. Use the money you have saved on the reduced quote and the money from the sale of items to purchase new furniture in Australia.

Any shipping activity should be conducted through our partners, Allied. Why? We know all the shipping companies, their reputations & their costs. Allied have outstanding customer service! Trust us, they get the job done! Their reviews are not mixed like others, being consistently positive & recommended by customers.

9. Moving money between Australia & New Zealand

Many people recommend Wise (formerly TransferWise). If you are a Kiwi moving to or living in Australia, we strongly suggest using the service that has been created by NZRelo with you specifically in mind.

NZRelo & OFX teamed up to give you 50 fee-free transactions on transfers over $250 AUD. Even if you go directly to OFX, you will not get this deal. Why OFX? Why did we put this in place?

Early on, we identified that many thousands of Kiwis living in Australia are still sending payments to NZ for fines, student loans, IRD and child support. OFX has the option to setup automatic payments.

Yes, that’s right; you can setup an automatic payment, internationally without a bank. Even better there are no fees! We use it ourselves to pay our development staff all over the globe. It’s the only way to go! The biggest FYI for you here is NZRelo can assign you a dedicated OFX concierge to facilitate custom rates for those big transactions like when you sell a house. Only OFX has personalised customer service; the others do not have anyone to call directly if things go wrong!

Use NZRelo & OFX to move money – if you don’t, who knows what could happen?!?

10. Finding a justice of the peace

Unlike in NZ, JPs and all those documents you need signed can be found in your local pharmacy. That’s right; JPs are often chemists, and they charge $1-15 to sign documents. Easy as!

11. Scams

Common scams that Kiwis get sucked into before moving to Australia are:

Paying for mining job connections – No mining company in Australia has gone out and said “To work for us or apply for a job with us, you have to pay $99.99” – surprising how many people fall for this!

Paying for a tax number – We hear these complaints across our networks daily. Although people only lose about $69 to the scam, you do not need to pay anyone for a TFN (Tax File Number). Just head to the ATO (Australian Tax Office).

Australian Police Clearance Check – be careful who you engage with for this process. There are a few legitimate websites with the correct credentials, but there are the many fraudulent ones. In most cases, employers require a police clearance from NZ directly from the NZ police, NOT a business in Australia.

*Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

This article was produced by First Super Pty Limited (ABN 42 053 498 472, AFSL 223988) as trustee of First Super (ABN 56 286 625 181).  This document contains general advice which has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the advice is appropriate for you and read the Product Disclosure Statement before making any investment decisions.  To obtain a copy of the PDS or Target Market Determination please contact First Super on 1300 360 988 or visit our website www.firstsuper.com.au.

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