Since the dawn of ages, history has recorded the constant movement of peoples of one region to another. And the present times aren’t any different. However, because of the complex world we live in today, immigration processes have become much more formalized than they were in yester years.
So for people from the Netherlands intending to migrate to Australia, being aware of those processes can truly help expedite the immigration process.
Validating your decision to migrate
Thanks largely to the global community’s recognition,
that immigration is a right to be exercised by anyone; migrating from one country to another is not uncommon. Social scientists who have studied the phenomenon attribute several reasons for migration, including:
- The search for better economic prospects for self and family
- The quest for stability (civil strife, political upheaval, security of live and property)
- The need to be closer to family and community (who may already be established in the country of migratory choice)
- Cultural reasons
If you are planning to leave the Netherlands and settle in Australia, one of the first pieces of advice that anyone will give you is to ensure that you have given your decision a second, third and even a fourth thought – if required. The journey you are about to undertake might bring you fulfilment of everything you are seeking – but there are no guarantees! Yet this is such a profound, life-changing decision, that it cannot (and should NOT) be made lightly.
Doing it right – the first time!
The Dutch have a very special place when it comes to Australia. There are over 300,000 Australian citizens who lay claim to Dutch descent. And according to Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics, over 15,000 Australians, of 1st or 2nd generation, are living in the Netherlands. However, as has been pointed out earlier, immigration from the Netherlands to Australia (like anywhere else in the world) is governed by a “process” – there are no shortcuts!
- There are rules
- There are pre-requisites
- There are timelines associated with the process
- …and there’s a cost attached to it!
So if you want to ensure that your immigration application flows smoothly, saving you stress, time and cost, then you need to follow some basic guidelines to ensure you do it right the first time.
- Language: Remember, though Australia has a rich multi-cultural heritage, it is primarily and predominantly an English speaking country. The official language of most businesses (including Government) and centers of education is English. Netherlanders who demonstrate above average fluency in English might have a slight edge (when it comes to getting an immigration visa) over those that don’t!
- Work with accredited agents: If you are seeking professional help doing your immigration “paperwork”, make sure you deal with a reputable agent! And when you do fill out the forms and questionnaires, provide full, complete and accurate information the first time. Don’t let the immigration personnel have to ask you for clarifications or supplemental information. That will only slow down the process.
- Choosing where you relocate: Unlike the Netherlands, there is a vast diversity between the climates of various Australian regions. The vastness of the Australian continent means it has multiple climate zones. The North of the country is influenced by tropical climate, making it dry, hot and rainy in winters and humid and hot in the summer. The southern part of the country is quite temperate, while the central region (desert/outback) is extremely hot. Before making the “big move”, know exactly where it is that you wish to settle.
- Processing your immigration visa: The Australian Embassy in The Hague does NOT process immigration visas. Most visa applications are processed electronically, and in line with rules provided on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)’s website. However, if you wish to make an in-person application, the immigration office in Berlin (Germany) does offer limited immigration visa processing facility.
- Planning for work: One of the first items of concern for new Dutch immigrants to Australia would likely be the labour/workforce market. Last year (2013), Australia’s rate of unemployment was around 5.5%, with a roughly 2% employment growth rate over the past 2 years. Primary occupations in Australia fall under 3 main classes: Technicians and Trade workers, Professionals and Administrative Workers. Plan ahead what class of employment you fall under, and ensure you have the skills in demand for the Australian market before you head over.
- Making a living: The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that workers in Australia earn an average weekly wage/salary of roughly A$1,056.16 – which translates to approximately €725. While many immigrants from the Netherlands to Australia will likely earn more than this amount, there will be others that will earn less. Before landing in Australia, it might be a good idea to plan your lifestyle according to what your expected earning power will be.
- Planning for housing: Australian housing is mainly influenced by American and European architecture, and offers immigrants a range of housing choices in both urban and suburban centers. There are public housing options for low-income citizens, and there are also government sponsored incentives for first-time home buyers. The best advice would be to rent a house/apartment when you first land, and then search for other alternatives as you establish yourself.
One parting thought that I shall leave you with is to apply for a visit visa and check out a number of cities and territories across Australia first, before uprooting from the Netherlands. The visit will give you a chance to take a much more up-close and personal look at life and opportunities offered by Australia.
Ideally, if you have a family that will ultimately be migrating with you, it might be worth considering a trip by yourself first. And once you have the hang of things, or are well settled, you can have your family join you.
The Australian Governments website has a lot of information about these and other related immigration topics of interest to would be migrants. The site even has an enabling tool that will help individuals from the Netherlands search and locate specific immigration visa categories that you might be interested in exploring. But regardless of which migratory visa category you might fall under, it is important to follow the requirements closely in order to avoid unnecessary delays in processing your application.
Happy Landings to you all. See you on the other side, Mates!