100 POINT IMMIGRATION CHECKLIST From making the initial decision to shutting up shop
by Liesel Rennie
What follows is a 100 step process that the average immigrant would need to follow. Obviously every persons circumstances differ and everything may not apply to everyone. Furthermore, some things are not required for some visas. Then one could continually add to the list from everyone elses experience, but these steps would be the most important things and should be a great help to anyone emigrating to Australia. The information provided below is based on various posts from the http:www.saaustralia.org forums often using copy and paste. Credit belongs to the forum members and not the collator of this article. All the best of good fortune as work toward getting to step 100.
1. Make the decision to immigrate2. Make the decision to do the process of applying for a visa yourself or to use an immigration agent.3. Start reading the http:www.immi.gov.au website. Spend hours reading about all the different visa options and who they are for. It is a fantastic website and most of your questions will be answered there. 4. Register as a user on http:www.saaustralia.org and make your first introductory post in the foyer thread. Do not be a lurker who reads and takes but never contributes or helps. If you get help by reading then try give help to others. It is not expected for you to be an immigration expect before you post. All we really want is an opinion based on your experience if you have accomplished one of the steps. The forum is a great support to people who are in the same boat as you. Use it as such.
The Visa application process
5. Choose which visa is best for you and your situation.6. Start collecting the required documents for your particular visa.7. Get multiple passport sized photographs. You will need about 8-10 per person. (You even need photo for the customs department that inspects your container.)8. Apply for passports9. Apply for all family members unabridged birth certificates from home affairs10. Apply for an unabridged marriage certificate from Home Affairs or get proof of De Facto relationship.11. Get a certified copy of custody documents (and access arrangements) adoption papers (if applicable to dependents). 12. Apply for military discharge papers from the Defence force if you did National Service or served in the Permanent Force. 13. Book to write your IELTS exam with the British Council if required. 14. Apply for academic transcripts from your university.15. Apply for a letter from your university saying the course was taught in English (if not using IELTS to prove English speaking ability).16. Apply for a letter from your High School saying the medium of instruction was taught in English (if not using IELTS to prove English speaking ability).17. Get certified copies of all academic qualifications.18. Get certified copies of all licenses you hold to practise your profession. 19. Ask for detailed references from all places that you have worked (previous and current).20. Apply for skills recognitionassessment from the relevant Australian skills assessing authority. See document 1121.pdf on http:www.immi.gov.au for all assessing bodies.21. Make a curriculum Vitae (this is not only for looking for work but needs to be attached to some visa applications). Ensure it is in the Australian Standard Format.22. Study up on the different areas in Australia.23. Do an LSD (look-see-decide) trip - either actual or virtual - to help make the decision. For a virtual tour use Google Earth or go to http:www.migrate360.com (provides incredible 360 degree photos of Perth, its suburbs, various streets - unfortunately Perth only) or use http:www.google.com.au and use the image search for other areas.24. Choose in which part you want to live.25. Secure work in Australia from an employer who is willing to sponsor you to DIAC (if not going the independent route)26. Get a formal letter of appointment signed by both employer and employee27. Complete your character Assessment (Form 80)28. Apply for police clearance certificate.29. Book your medical exams (form 26 for medical and form 160 for x-rays)30. Read and sign the Statement of Australian Values (Form 1281)31. Get a copy of Regional Certification Body approval (if applicable)32. Get a copy of the Nomination approval letter 33. Submit your visa application34. Get your visa approved letter35. Book your airplane tickets through I.O.M.
The moving house process
36. Make the decision whether to sell your house or to rent it out and finish paying off your bond, then to sell. (As it not a sellers market at the moment, it might mean that it is better to rent and pay off the bond with the wonderful A$7.75 to R1 exchange rate.)37. Make the decision whether to ship all your belongings across or to sell up and buy everything new once there. A 20ft insured container will cost in the region of R50-R65000 and a 40ft will cost R75-100000). If you sold all your belongs for say R30000, could you replace everything for between R75-R100000?)38. Get three or four removal companies in to give you quotes (eg Magna, AGS Frasers, Crown, Chess, Pickfords, Biddulphs, Amphibious Freight)39. Choose which one you will use.40. Start throwing away things that you had horded for years. Keep only what is going in the container. This takes longer than you think so start early. Work room by room.41. Make an inventory of everything in your house (with values) thats going with you to Aus. (You should even take photographs of the contents of each room before they start packing - open your cupboard doors and photograph your clothes, CDs, DVDs etc). Take this with you on the plane. 42. Do some research on DAFF website http:www.daff.gov.auaqistravelenterin...ving-emigrating as to what you can and cant take. 43. List the serial numbers of all valuable items in your house (TV, PC etc). Take it with you on the plane.44. Clean perfectly all items like garden equipment, vacuum cleaner, camping and fishing equipment. If done by a professional then tape the cleaning invoice to the item.45. Beds in Australia are extremely expensive as is linen. All Australian King and Queen size beds are extra length (203cm) - that means if you buy a new bed in Australia, your old linen (fitted sheets) will be too short. Consider replacing your linen with extra length before you leave. 46. Keep all receipts for your relocation costs (medicals, etc). In some cases you may be able to claim it from your tax.47. Make sure your passport is not in the container!48. Keep the keys for everything that is locked inside your container with you - customs will request it.
The pet decision
49. Make the decision whether to take your pets with you or not. 50. Contact both Keringa and Kookaburra for quotes 51. Visit them both (if possible one is in JHB and the other in Pretoria) 52. Get certified copies of your pets vaccination records 53. Select one and book them a place 54. Ensure your pets are micro chipped 55. Ensure all their vaccinations are up to date. 56. Ensure their rabies vaccination is valid. All pets must have had at least two Rabies vaccinations, one of which must have been done not more than 6 months, but not less than 1 month, before entering quarantine. (Extremely NB: ensure that if they need a rabies shot that the vet does not use one containing Leptospira interrrogans. var. canicola. This affects the blood tests during quarantine 57. If your pet is ten years and older, then have a geriatric profile done by your vet. It is advised to get full blood counts, liver and kidney enzymes and urine analysis. Your vet may require chest and hip x-rays. If they fail this profile, you will not be allowed export them.
Shutting up Shop process
58. Change postal address of all accounts to a reliable friend or family member two months before you go (so you can see which companies did not make the change, and you have enough time to sort it out before you go. Things like telephone account, DSTV & MNET, City Council, Security company, insurance (both short term and life), Bank (all accounts - some banks you have to change it for each account!), Medical Aids, Shopping Cards, Memberships, Doctors, Specialists etc.)59. Set up a free email account like gmail and start using it two months before you leave. Then you can see who is still emailing your old email address. Put an auto-forward on your old email address directing all mail to your new address. Remember when you cancel your ISP you will lose your email address.60. Start obeying the South African speed limit and road rules. It takes time to get used to watching that speedometer and the cars behind you edging you to go faster. Australia works on the Drivers license point system. Too many speeding fines will see you losing your drivers license. Learn how a traffic circle is supposed to be used. The Australians know how to use one, South Africans do not.61. Get a reference letter and client code from your bank. Get your bank branchs SWIFT code.62. Sign a fax indemnity with your bank. This allows you to give faxed instructions for transactions etc. 63. If you dont already have internet banking, get it set up and test it. 64. Get a reference letter from your short term insurance detailing your no claim bonus etc.65. Cancel Telephone account (Do this in writing and keep proof - applies to all cancellations)66. Cancel cell phone contracts (all three VC, MTN, Cell C contracts may require 3 months notice).67. Cancel ISP
68. Cancel DSTV MNET69. Cancel Security Company70. Cancel SABC license (good luck with this) You will need to provide them with clear documentary proof that you no longer live in RSA - copy of airline tickets plus copy of visa plus copy of passport with stamps clearly showing exit and re-entry dates plus a letter from employer confirming appointment and indicating date when employment begins. 71. Make the decision whether or not you will continue paying your policies (Life Insurance, Annuities etc) from Australia. Speak to your broker about the effects of early cancellation.72. Cancel your medical aid (read the fine print - they may require 3 months notice)73. Close your store accounts. 74. Cancel all membership debit orders etc that wont continue.75. Get all you kids immunizations up to date and have it recorded on their immunization cards. (To attend school in Australia it has to be up to date).76. Get a letter of membership and involvement from your church. Advise them that you are leaving. 77. Get a reference letter for your family if you were involved in volunteer work. Volunteering is big in Australia and if you were involved in volunteering, it goes a long way - also, when you want to get involved again in Australia, you will need references.78. Back-up everything on your computer (photos, documents, inbox, sent items etc) and take the CDs with you on the plane. Even better, remove the hard drive and insert into a movable hard drive protective case. If you ship the hard-drive you pay for the replacement value of the software on it. 79. Make certified copies of ALL important documents (passports, visas, ID books, birth certificates etc) and leave it with a reliable friend or family member. Even better yet, have it scanned and leave a copy of the disk - take the other one on the plane with you.80. Update your will and leave a copy with a reliable friendfamily member.
81. Give a reliable person power of attorney to attend to your business on your behalf. Make sure they have details of all your bank accounts, policy numbers, contact persons etc. As well as copies of all important documents. Please remember that the banks do not honour a general POA. Check with your branch what they require. You might have to register the POA prior to your leaving the country with them. 82. Get transfer cards from your kids schools and their latest report cards or a progress report. 83. Get reference letters from your kids activities e.g. ballet report, etc - this will assist in placing them in the right group when they take it up here. If your child performed in anything, get proof. You WILL need it!84. Take the whole family for a medical check-up, have their eyes tested, go to the dentist, get that filling etc. Dental and optometry is very expensive. 85. Get the contents of your medical files from all your doctors and specialists. Saves you from going through the whole process again - they dont take your word for it! If you have a special condition, let the doctor write a letter. If you have contacts or glasses, get your script.86. Get scripts for all medication your family is currently using - especially chronic. You can bring 3 months prescription medication if you have a written script. Take it on the plane with you in case your container is delayed etc. (Also bring some general medication that your family uses regularly if it is anything stronger than panado or if it is something specific such as anetheine cream, myprodol, etc).
87. Apply for an international drivers license. (This point is debatable as your current SA license is sufficient - well, for three months anyway).88. Leave your flight details, first accommodation details etc with a family memberfriend. Also leave the details of your next of kin with this person. Write this persons contact details in the back of your passport.89. Research the different Australian Superannuation funds. You will need to transfer your pension into this fund and will have to leave signed instructions with your funds in RSA. If you have cash surplus to your immediate needs consider putting them into superannuation. This is an allocated pension. Either you can run a self managed superannuation fund, or else elect to use one of the big funds. All income within the fund is tax free and all drawings are also tax free if you are of pensionable age.90. One of the first things you will need once you land in Aus is to get set up with telephone and internet. Do your research on the different packages and options available in Australia before you come. It is worth shopping around. If your home phone, your broadband and your mobile are with the same service provider, you get the best deal. What you want to be able to do is to walk into the dealer on day one of arrival and buy the right SIM card without having first to do your research here. Look at their international calling costs.91. Service your washing machine and dryer if it hasnt had one in the last 12 months (just a call out by a technician for a quote is A$75).92. Pay your UIF and de-register. Give your employees their UIF documents as well as a letter that they no longer work for you. (UIF does not only accept the UIF document - they also require a letter that they no longer work for you). Keep proof of all of this. Give your employees reference letters and assist them in finding work elsewhere. (Advertise with you school, church, neighbours etc that they will be available from a specific date etc). Pay them their last salary, notice pay, leave and pro rata bonuses. Keep proof.93. Go to the AA travel shop and buy some SA to AuzNZ plug adapters. Pop them in your hand luggage! Then buy some multi-plugs. The kind with 4 or 5 plugs on a cord. Then when you get to Australia replace the main plug with your Aussie plug - you can then use your old SA plugs in the multi-plug. Do not forget your RSA two-pin adapters for things like cell-phone adapters. 94. If you havent yet sold your house, but are planning to do so, get an electricity certificate before you leave. Give it to your agent or the person who will be handling the sale of your property. Keep a copy.95. Inform your tax consultant that you are leaving. He will still have to complete a tax return for you for the current tax year. Then he may need to deregister you as a tax payer at some point and arrange a tax clearance certificate. In which case you might need to sign papers before you leave.
96. Help the older members of family set up Skype before you leave. Buy them a microphone and webcam for their computer as a gift. Install it for them.97. Take photographs of everyone and everything, your friends, family, the neighbours, your pets, the kids friends (give your digital to your kids to take to school for a day). Take photographs of your house, neighbourhood, church, school, street.... This is all you will have of your life in South Africa. It may not seem important now, but when your kids or grandchildren one day, want to know what life was like, youll have more than enough visual memories to share. 98. Have a farewell party at least 3 weeks before you leave. Less tears & emotion than having the goodbyes at the airport!!99. Sell your cars.100. Arrange your transport to the airport and fly to your new life.
This list was compiled from many sources, with specialacknowledgments to:
Riekie du Plessis and