Post Landing Services

Living in Australia

What to do soon after arrival

There are eight important things you should do as soon as possible, when arriving in Australia. The first three are very important to all new arrivals.

  1. Apply for a tax file number (TFN)
  2. Register with Medicare
  3. Open a bank account
  4. The remaining five could be important depending on your circumstances.
  5. Register with Centre link
  6. Contact the Health Undertaking Service
  7. Register for English classes
  8. Enroll your children in a school
  9. Apply for a driver’s licence

Apply for a tax file number

Australian workers pay tax to the government on their income. To receive an income in Australia, you need a tax file number (TFN).

A tax file number is a unique number issued to individuals and businesses to help the government administer taxation and other government programs.

How to apply for a tax file number
If you are migrating to Australia or have a temporary resident visa that allows you to work in Australia, you can apply for a tax file number on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.


Telephone 13 2861
Translating and Interpreting Service 13 1450 – 24 Hour
Apply for a tax file number online Online individual TFN registration
Information in languages other than English Taxation information in other languages

Register with Medicare

The Australian Government provides help with medical expenses through Medicare. The government also subsidises the cost of some medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme .

It is important to know that migrants are generally eligible for Medicare assistance. If you are eligible to join Medicare you can gain immediate access to health care services and programs. These include free public hospital care, help with the cost of out-of-hospital care, and subsidised medicines

How to register with Medicare

To register with Medicare, you should go to a Medicare office and take your passport and other travel documents. If all registration requirements are met, you will be given a temporary Medicare card number to use.


Telephone 13 2011
Visit an office Medicare office locations
Website Medicare- Human services

Open a bank account

In Australia, people keep their money in a bank, building society or credit union. Most income including salary and wages and government benefits is paid directly into an account in your name. Australians use debit cards to withdraw money from their bank accounts and for many purchases.

If you open a bank, building society or credit union account within six weeks of your arrival you will usually only need your passport as identification. After six weeks you will need additional identification to open an account. Advice your bank of your tax file number (TFN) to avoid higher rates of taxation on interest earned. For further information about banking, go to the link below.


Bank Account Basics web pages

Licensing requirements for international visitors

It is illegal to drive without a driver’s licence and to drive an unregistered vehicle. In Australia the driving laws and regulations are slightly different from one state to another. Some states require you to carry an International licence with your current foreign licence. Other states request you carry your current foreign driver's licence together with a formal translation of your licence into English.

As a general rule, you are able to drive in Australia, as a visitor, on a valid overseas driver's licence for a set of period, usually three months.

If you are not an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia you are considered to be a temporary overseas visitor. Temporary overseas visitors include: Tourists, Business people on limited duration visits and people studying or working temporarily (eg working visa holders. To find out what the driving licence laws are for each state, please contact the relevant Road and Traffic Authority.

  • ACT - Overseas drivers
  • New South Wales - Temporary overseas visiting drivers
  • Northern Territory - Information for interstate and overseas visitors to the Northern Territory (PDF)
  • Queensland - Driving in Queensland with a foreign licence
  • South Australia - Driving with an overseas licence
  • Tasmania - Transferring an overseas licence
  • Victoria - Overseas drivers - licences
  • Western Australia - Overseas drivers

Getting around – Using Public Transport

Public transport

There are a number of forms of public transport in Australia including buses, trains, trams and ferries. You will need to pay a fare or buy a ticket to use most services. Concessions are generally available for students, seniors and Health Care Card holders. Brochures and timetables are available from many local government councils and visitor centres, railway stations, libraries and public information centres.

The website below, provide an up – to –date information on train, bus, ferry, tram services around Australia. All you need to do is put the address you want to visit, and these sites will plan your trip, using public transport based on the time you want to arrive or leave the destination.

Cost of Living in Australia

Migration Basic Rate (AUD) The basic rate of living costs under the Migration regulations requires the prospective student visa applicants and their family members to have the following funds to meet the living costs requirements:

  1. A$18,000 a year for the main student;
  2. A$6,300 a year for the student’s partner;
  3. A$3,600 a year for the student’s first child; and
  4. A$2,700 a year for every other child and where required.


Australia’s major town centres and capital cities have world-class shopping facilities. Hours are generally 9.00am to 5.30pm seven days a week, with late night shopping until 9.00pm on Thursdays or Fridays. Some supermarkets are open 24 hours a day seven days a week.

Below is a list of average costs for everyday grocery products in Australia:

  1. loaf of bread – A$1.50 to A$3.00;
  2. two liters of milk – A$2.00 to A$3.00;
  3. box of breakfast cereal – A$3.00 to A$6.00;
  4. jar of instant coffee – A$3.00 to A$4.00;
  5. bottle of soft drink – A$1.00 to A$3.00;
  6. bottle of shampoo – A$2.50 to A$4.50;
  7. beef (1kg) – A$9.00 to A$12.00
  8. 1 whole chicken – A$6.00 to A$9.00


The cost of clothing in Australia can vary. There are a number of quality variety stores such as K-Mart and Big W where you can find low cost clothing and shoes of all varieties. Department and specialty stores such as Myer and David Jones carry more expensive higher end clothing labels

Australian Culture

The Australian population is made up of a number of vibrant cultures resulting in a mixture of customs and traditions influenced by people from all around the world. Australia is a very safe country compared with almost anywhere in the world. Political unrest is limited in Australia, crime rates are low and strict gun control laws provide a safe environment.

When you arrive in Australia you may notice differences in etiquette, lifestyles and values. Australians are quite informal which can take some getting used to, especially if you come from a culture where ritual is important and where levels of status and authority are clearly distinguished and carefully respected. With most Australians living within 50 kilometres from the coast, many people enjoy a laid back and social lifestyle. A typical weekend may include a swim or surf in the ocean, participation or attendance at a sporting match, a barbecue with friends and spending time with family. As your time in Australia continues, you’ll find yourself becoming more familiar and comfortable with aspects of Australian culture that may have initially confused you. Just like at home, there are aspects of the local culture that you will enjoy, and others that you won’t.

Australian colloquialisms

Australians often abbreviate words and then add an ‘o’ or ‘ie’ on the end.

  1. G’day – an informal and traditional Australian greeting (shortened form of “Good day”);
  2. Fortnight – this term describes a period of two weeks.
  3. Barbecue, BBQ or barbie – outdoor cooking, usually of meat or seafood over a grill or hotplate using gas or coals.
  4. Cuppa – a cup of tea or coffee 'Drop by this arvo for a cuppa' means please come and visit this afternoon for a cup of tea or coffee.
  5. Fair dinkum – honest, the truth
  6. Chook – means a chicken
  7. Flat out – to be very busy
  8. Hey mate, an informal friendly way of referring to someone.
  9. Bloke – a man. Sometimes if you ask for help, you may get be told to 'see that bloke over there’
  10. How ya goin? 'How are you going?' – means how are you, or how do you do?

Student Accommodation services.

There are a range of accommodation arrangements are available for students. Students may choose to share a property with someone, or stay with a host family, or live in a student accommodation inside the university or college they intend to study in.

Please visit the sites below for more details;

  1. Student on-campus housing arrangements
  2. Homestay- Host family
  3. Homestay and shared accommodation

Migrant Settlement Services

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship funds a range of settlement services aimed at assisting migrants and humanitarian entrants to become active participants in the Australian community as soon as possible after arrival.