Thursday, November 20, 2014

Can I drive in Sydney, NSW if I have a Philippines drivers license ?

If you are on any temporary or provisional visa, you can drive on your Philippines licence as long as it is still valid.

If your licence is not in English, you must also have an International Driving Permit (IDP) and must carry it and your licence at all times when you are driving - IDPs can only be obtained in the country in which you obtained your license.

http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/licensing/visi... Information for visitors and temporary residents

If you have a permanent residence Australian visa, you then have 3 months in which to obtain a NSW license - after that, you will be considered to be driving unlicensed.

Because your licence was obtained in the Philippines which is not a recognised country for licensing purposes, you will be required to undergo a driving and a driver knowledge test.

http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/licensing/newt... NSW licence for international drivers

http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/licensing/newt... Recognised countries


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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Can a Philippines drivers license be swapped for an Australian drivers license?


Hi guys and gals, if you are moving to Australia and are from the Philippines, you will unfortunately not be getting an Australian drivers license off the bat,

Short answer is NO. Unfortunately due to the fact that you can literally(under the counter) buy a Philippines drivers license, it is not recognized by Australian authorities.

For Sydney, NSW,  if you have a Philippines drivers license, and are a permanent residence (PR visa) it is NOT recognized in NSW Australia for a straight swap.

You need to do all the tests and it varies by age group.

For over 25's you only have to do the Australian theory and practical test in order to get the license.

BUT!!!

If you fail any of the test's, you will only be allowed to apply for a learners license! So don't fail it.

Probably worth getting some driving lessons. The Filipino way of driving will not pass an Australian test.


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Sunday, November 9, 2014

South Africans in Sydney, Australia - part 2



..continued from South Africans in Sydney - Part 1


Hi, I am a South African living in Sydney. I have been here for some years. Here are some facts as I see it.


Q. What do I like about Sydney?

Well, it reminds me of home - wide roads, parks, sea and beaches and the lifestyle is similar to my home town of Cape Town. Good weather, blue sky (I lived in the UK for a bit ). There are large amounts of forests, beaches and mountain ranges to drive to on the weekend.

Q. What are the negatives of Sydney.

Number 1 - its very expensive.
It can be boring - especially in the established, non eclectic suburbs, neighbors are strangers. Nothing is familiar. Sydney is huge, takes about 5 hours to drive around it.
Australia can have a lot of rules and regulations. If you are not working - it can be very lonely.
See the posts on this blog - why do people leave Australia


Q. Is Sydney Safe?
Well, compared to South Africa its totally safe, although one needs to be wary as there is a seedy side. There are large amounts of youths that seem to be affiliated to gangs and drugs.

Q. What about the cost of Living?

House rentals are extremely expensive, finding something reasonably prices for rental entails a lot of searching, living further out from Sydney and perhaps not being in the best location.
Food prices are high - its wierd as I would have expected it to be lower. Electronics are similar to Asian countries and in some cases lower  - e.g. mobile phones are not exorbitant.

Q. How have you found the locals to be?

On the whole Australians are friendly and probably friendlier than the UK. I think they are less pretentious than South Africans, as South Africans seem to put a lot of emphasis on image - large cars, houses etc. etc.

Q. What was the first thing you did when you arrived in Australia?

Rented a car, bought a mobile Sim card and also a dongle for internet access. I bought chunks if 3 gig at a time.
I think I treated myself to a spanky new laptop. You have to have this, to do your research for home rentals etc.
Within a few days I  bought a car with finance, you need one I think, especially if you have family. Transport is great, but walking 10 minutes to a bus stop etc. etc. is not my idea of fun.
Also figured out where to do my shopping.
Then I reported in for work and started the house hunt.

Q. How did you get to work?

Used the train, I drove to the nearest station and parked there.


Q. Where did you stay at first?

Well I actually moved to Sydney twice now. the first time I went a month ahead of my family and rented a room in someone's house in Baulkham hills. Was cheap and that's all I needed while I set things up fro my wife and kids. The good part was that there were other people who were staying in the house from whom I extracted a lot of information.

The second time I found a nice furnished house near Narabeen lakes - cheaper and better than the expensive 3 bedroom short stay apartments which hit you for AUD $1500 a week. I was lucky I looked for weeks and then we chanced upon it, we also did some haggling to get the price down.


Q. What is the transport like in Sydney

Sydney has a large network of bus routes that get you from anywhere to anywhere!
There is also a mature rail way network with modern spacious trains that don't seem to get anywhere as crowded as other places. Its not like South Africa where you have to have a car.
Taxi's are available but not all over the place, a last resort and can turn up late!
Of course the road system is totally first world. Very annoying is the large number of toll roads!

Q. Do you miss South Africa ?

Yes and no. As a family we long to return to South Africa and sometimes make plans to do it. Finances or circumstances always seem to get in the way. Sometimes we miss it so much that we don't even care about the negatives in South Africa. On the other hand I have lost most of my ties to South Africa now and I am not too fussed. I miss feeling like I am "home". I think I am always more daunted by Australia. - when getting work, applying for anything etc. I seems to stress more in Australia at work as I feel lightly less confident, I am losing this sort of inferiority complex though.















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South Africans in Sydney



Hi everyone,

as I am a South African who has moved to Sydney(and has a blog about living in Sydney), I thought I would try and do some research on South Africans in Sydney as of right now, end 2014.


I am personally an English speaking South African(my Afrikaans is not too bad - depending on who you ask!). I was born and bred in Hillbrow, Johannesburg and believe it or not, I can remember green parks and waterslides and swimming pools in that area... Not so much the same now unless things have changed radically since I left.

I am well qualified in talking about Sydney as I have migrated there TWICE now and its been an up and down roller coaster ride with highs and some very dark lows. (very effing lonely and very effing expensive living there.. did I mention how expensive Sydney is...?)

Personally I think almost all white South Africans in Sydney, especially the adults will have left South Africa due to social ills and fear. -Fear about South Africa's future, fear about infrastructure and I guess fears about crimes and job availability. (in a nutshell (lets call it as it is)).

Please note - no blame here. Apartheid in South Africa over the last 80 years has basically ruined the country. (some people wont like that..anyway that's my opinion, no use blaming the current government without blaming the existing government) Just imagine what could have happened if the old gov. had skilled up the whole population and not just 10% of the population. Very very very short sighted.

OK so on to South Africans in Sydney


So, how do I categorize it. There are a RICH bunch of South Africans that moved to Sydney, and there are the working class that moved, and then there are the rest, who are either youngsters with enough points to get a visa or Kids of South African immigrants.

These are further divided into English speaking and Afrikaans speaking South Africans.

There is a very large and seemingly very affluent South African Jewish Community in St Ives and the surrounding areas. They have a Jewish school and synagogue there. I know because I drive past it often and there are security guards.

There are some very active online forums - SA Australia being one. I am trying to start a forum, but its very difficult as the big boy forums are already out there. And its getting spammed a lot.  (Please join up and help me get it running!!)

When I lived in St Ives - about 20 minutes by train north of Sydney (very upper class) I bumped into South African mothers all the time as kids came to visit our kids etc. I must admit, they were very friendly on the whole.

The pool guy in St Ives was also a very old fashioned, old afrikaaner(about 60) who cleaned our pool once a week. I think he had problems being a "laborer" his attitude was very bad and in the end we swopped him out for another service. You have to be a south African to understand this. Most White South Africans do not do "manual labor", they get people to do it for them. I know this is a generalization, but in the past this was how it was, it may have changed a bit. No maids in Sydney ne people! minimum wage is AUD $16 per hour, not so affordable to have a house keeper..


Where do South Africans live in Sydney?

Firstly, there are about 50000 South Africans living in Sydney which is only about half a percent of the Australian population. (Actually that's quite big)

Of course South Africans don't move to Sydney to be with other South Africans but if you are interested here are some breakdowns.

Here is a breakdown within Sydney.
Eastern suburbs - 6398 (2.6%)
North Sydney - 7728 (2.1%)
Baulkham Hills - 3168 (1.5%)
North Beach - 3017 (1.3%)
Central Coast - 1369 (0.4%)

Lets focus on Eastern Sydney
Dover Heights - 555 (14.1%) --- So many, and such a high percentage?
Rose Bay - 868 (9.2%)
Vaucluse - 563 (4.7%)

A few of the prominent Suburbs in North Sydney with South Africans
St Ives - 1742 (11.2%)
Cherry brook - 565 (3%)

Latest statistics put South Africans as new comers to Australia with an average stay of 10 years so far compared to others who have averages of 40 to 50 years.
South Africans are only 8th on the list of migrants coming to Australia though.

Dover heights is very expensive, you would need a couple million to buy up there. So not for the average Sydney migrator?



The density of migrants within Sydney suburbs by percentage (not just south Africans though)



Image of Where do migrants live in Sydney, Australia




























see part 2 of South Africans living and moving to Sydney



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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Immigrating Sydney - Where do people shop cheaply online in Australia ?

Hello again!

I though I would down some points about online shopping in Australia. As an expat we don't really know where the shops are and whether the shops are well priced. Online shopping is very competitive so I know the prices are ok and I really hated driving around hoping to find suitable shops fro what I wanted.

Before coming to Australia, we were living in the UK for a number of years and in the UK the online shopping scene is highly mature. We got so used to the joys of shopping online.

In fact it got to a point where we did ALL our grocery shopping from the PC and that the only times we went to one of the big supermarkets was for snacks or small top-ups. You can even choose the two hour slot it will be delivered in and re-use you previous orders to save time.

In Australia it is not there by a long way! The broadband is quite slow, and bandwidth is limited so you pay for X amount of data  per months and then your speed gets restricted. Its growing fast though.

Slowly I started to online shopping (we were in Sydney). We started buying some pc parts and also started to do online shopping for various household items.

I just cannot waste my time travelling to various spread out shops to find out what's what - rather just spend 20 minutes online and spare myself the drive, the petrol and the time. (Sydney is a big place)

My favorite online store I found (because it was generally cheaper and delivery is free) was this wholesale store called Simply Wholesale.

If you need reliable, cheap car rental the you can use Budget car rental  or Avis Australia Rental Cars and Car Hire Services

If you need to safely book some accommodation in Sydney, I found Booking.com to be the best and the prices are normally as good as or better than the other sites out there. I used these folk when I needed some temp accommodation on arrival in Sydney. I had some issues with the hotel I stayed at and booking.com sorted it out and organized me some discount as well.

For Sydney online shoe shopping there is Clarks who are well known and I trust the shoes there. Especially good for reasonably priced school shoes as well.

And finally for clothing ladies, an old favorite - especially for South Africans who have moved to Sydney Australia, we have Queenspark to shop at online.




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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Immigrating to Sydney - ISIS, radicalism and the ginger terror teen

Wow, I just saw the news about the "Ginger Jihadi" or "Terror teen". This is a young Australian kid, who has travelled off to ISIS and joined up. Now he is there, he cannot come back right? He kows to much, is under as extreme peer pressure as you can get and is now an outlaw in Australia.

It seems that the radical, I don't care about anything or anybody, muslim jihad ideology is taking hold everywhere that people can read about this stuff.

I don't know how anybody could sell God or the ideology of a loving God as someone who condones war and murder. It just does not add up any way you look at it.

At first I just read this with interest and even amusement but slowly realized that this kid who is 17, has probably just thrown his whole life away. He is at an age when he is not really a man, basically a stupid teenager, easily influenced, wont listen to anyone,  who has slowly (or quickly) become radicalized.

The sad thing is that he probably just some Australian kid who thinks he is doing good or right by the world. Its seductive right - you get a brotherhood, friends, security - you get to travel and do high excitement stuff.

I believe the authorities should be reserved and compassionate if he should want to come back. If he was 22 or older when I believe men have finally become adults then its a different story, but right now this is just a dumbass kid and as far as I am concerned, and just makes these radical terror groups look stupid as well as murderous

Just my thoughts, I hope and pray he somehow leads a normal life again one day.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Movng to Sydney, Australia - Preparing for the IELTS - English Language test?


Hi

If you are applying for one of the many visa's available to you for your migration to Australia and English is not you or your countries first language, you will be required to prove you are English speaking or pass an English test.

Annoyingly, I remember taking the oral part of the IELTS and that they played out a tape recording with questions.  I think it was the overseer who kept coughing at exactly the wrong times! Although I passed quite easily and so did my wife, I missed a good couple of questions because I could not hear them. Please remember, as it's a replayed recording, there is not second chance, you need to focus and focus immediately. The recording churns on and does not wait for you. If you miss a question just focus on the next one so you don't miss anymore.

I recently spoke to someone who is an experienced teacher of 2nd language English speakers and who has been teaching in Australia for 28 years now.  He has actually focused only on exam preparations for IELTS and Cambridge advanced for the last few years.

His advice for the Australian IELTS is :
The reading test of the IELTS is quite difficult. Time is your enemy. Some people spend ages reading the text and run out of time when answering the questions. Native English speakers might be able to read the whole text in detail, but most cant as it takes to much time. (I did this)
Here are some bullet points

1. SKIM the text only looking for the main idea of the text by checking the heading, pictures and their captions. Always look at the firsts sentence of each paragraph. The first sentence is likely to be the topical sentences, telling you what is in the actual paragraph. This is called locating where the information is in the text. Do this in three to five minutes. This will set you up to come back for answers as you go through the questions.

2. For each question note or highlight the key words. You will be please to see that you can already answer a lot of questions already as a result of the initial three minute browse through the passage.

3. Work your way through each left over question by scanning the passage text the correct answers. Please remember that time is the killer here. Rather get the 80 to 90% of answers you know quickly and then when you have time left over go for the hard ones.

4) Once finished, CHECK your work. Those possible questions you answered incorrectly could be the difference. Keep checking until the time is over. Stay calm and focused. DO NOT flip your sheet over feeling satisfied as soon as you hit the last question. Check the hard ones. Sometimes we make the silliest mistakes.

5) In the True, False and Not Given or Yes/No/Does Not Say sections, don't be a clever dick and use your own knowledge, logic or common sense. Since these are  reading tests, the examination is on precisely what is in the text - EVEN if it wrong.

6) Watch out for "bold" defining words like "all, every, no, none, always and never" : These are not quite always true, as there will be exceptions or tricks.

7) DO  NOT skip a hard question, especially in the multiple choice sections. Come back, try to answer it, and then GUESS. Marks or points are not subtracted for wrong answers! Give yourself a chance!

8) Always make sure you read the instructions carefully.
For example -- "Write no more than two words and/or a number". Don't exceed this! Anything else will be wrong. Its a clue to the answer.

9) Check all your pages. Make sure you have not skipped any questions. There are normally 40 questions. check the back page.

Check check check - nothing more painful than doing it again when you could have passed it the first time.

10) Don't be nervous. The stress we went through preparing and at the test was not equivalent to the test itself. This is no university English, just standard English. The Oral tester was very friendly, they are not there to be nasty or trick you, just to see if you can communicate.

I think both my wife and I had a nice conversation with the Oral tester and had a bit of a laugh too. Nerves will kill you, be honest, communicate as clearly as you can. Think about the tester you are talking too, he will ask questions. Talking is communicating so ensure you give him the info he needs to feel his questions are being answered.

Good luck people. Hope it goes well!
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