New Migrants

Apply for a Tax File Number (TFN)

A tax file number (TFN) is a unique number issued to individuals and organisations to help the Tax Office administer tax and other Australian Government systems. It’s one of your most important forms of identification in Australia. It’s yours for life and keeping it secure is a good defence against identity theft.

While it is not compulsory to quote a TFN without one you may:

Ø pay more tax than necessary, or Ø Not be able to get government benefits you are entitled to receive.

Apply for your Tax File Number (TFN) in Australia as soon as you move into. You don’t have to wait until you find a job. To receive an income in Australia, you need a Tax File Number (TFN). Income includes salary from a job, money earned from investments, payments from the government, also includes interest on savings accounts.

In Australia, you can telephone the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and have a TFN application form sent to you. Alternatively, you can apply for a TFN over the internet.

It takes 2-4 weeks to obtain your TFN Number which, you will need before you can start work. You will also need a TFN Number to apply for child benefit.The table below provides contact details for

Australian Taxation Office (ATO) contact details
Telephone 13 2861
In person See: ATO shopfront locations
Apply for a TFN online See: Online individual Tax File Number (TFN) registration
Homepage See: Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
Register with Medicare

Medicare Australia is an Australian Government agency, delivering a range of payments and services to the Australian community (check eligibility at the website below).

Medicare is Australia’s universal health care system introduced in 1984 to provide eligible Australian residents with affordable, accessible and high-quality health care.

The Australian Government provides assistance with basic medical expenses through a system called Medicare. You may be eligible to join Medicare and 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 subsidized medicines.

How to enroll for Medicare

Ø To enroll in Medicare, you should go into a Medicare office. Take your passport or travel documents. There are also many different private health insurance options you may wish to consider, as Medicare does not provide for all services. Examples: Medicare does not cover dental care, most optical care or ambulance services.

Ø The table below provides contact details for Medicare Australia

Medicare Australia contact details
Telephone 13 2011
In person See: Medicare Australia office locations
Homepage See: Medicare Australia
Medicare Welcome Kit (available in other languages) See: Medicare Australia Welcome Kit - Choose your language

For information on Private Health Insurance See: What is Private Health Insurance

Open a Bank Account

In Australia, most income including salary and government benefits are paid directly into a bank account. You should open a bank account soon after your arrival into Australia. You would need only the passport as identification. Do this as soon as possible of your arrival. For further information on opening a bank account. See: Smarter Banking - make the most of your money

Register with Centrelink

Centrelink contributes to the social and economic outcomes set by government by delivering services to assist people to become self-reliant and supporting those in need.

What help you can get from Centrelink

Ø Centrelink can help you find a job, arrange for recognition of your skills and qualifications, and to access certain courses. Centrelink can also help you with Family Assistance payments to help with the cost of raising children.

What help you cannot get from Centrelink.

Ø As a newly arrived migrant, you are not immediately eligible for social security (unless you are a refugee or humanitarian entrant). You do not have access to the full range of government employment services. If you are a permanent resident, you may be eligible to access some services.

Ø The table below provides contact details for Centrelink

Centrelink contact details
For newly arrived migrants.For newly arrived migrants See: Have you recently moved to Australia to settle
Homepage See: Medicare Australia office locations
Information in other languages See: Medicare Australia
How to contact Centrelink (phone and office details) See: Medicare Australia Welcome Kit - Choose your language
Register for English Classes

Communicating in English is very important and the key to your successful settlement. English language courses for new arrivals in Australia are provided under the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). As a new resident, you may be eligible to receive free English language tuition of up to 510 hours. Register as soon as possible or you could lose your entitlement.See: Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)

Enroll Your Children in School

Under Australian law, children must attend school until they are 15 years old. You should enroll your children in a school as soon as possible. See: Education

Apply for a Driver's License

If you want to drive in Australia, you will need to have the appropriate driver's license. In Australia, drivers' licenses are issued by state and territory governments. You may be required to pass a knowledge test, a practical driving test, and an eyesight test.

The link below provides contact details for Western Australian licensing authority. Western Australia (WA): Licensing services

Please note: If you are a permanent resident visa holder and have a current driver's license from another country, in English or with an official translation, in most states and territories you are allowed to drive for your first three months after arrival. In Western Australia, the three month period begins when you are granted your permanent residency visa, not when you arrive in Australia. Overseas license holders, please check the link on how to transfer your overseas license.

Commuting in Perth

Commuting into Perth and getting around Perth is easy if you want to move between key destinations. However, it is not as easy to get around Perth if you want to move between suburbs that are not on a main route.

A large number of the population in WA, live in Perth and the surrounding suburbs. For those people who work in the CBD (Central Business District) living within a commutable distance from the City Centre will be important.

The suburb they live in will be relative to, their budget, the lifestyle they want, the distance the suburb is away from Perth and the amount of time they are prepared to spend travelling to and from work.

Public Transport - Perth
  • Public transport in Perth includes trains (most stations have a park and ride system), buses and ferries. Public transport is managed by Transport.
  • In regards to the fare, Perth is divided in to zones with the fare calculated on the zones you intend to travel and the time taken.
  • You can pay by the trip or you can purchase SmartRider Card, this is a debit card which offers a discount on the purchase of multiple journeys in advance. The SmartRider can be used on the buses, train and ferries.

Public transport is generally available until midnight Sunday - Thursday and 2am on Friday and Saturday. When there are special events in Perth then Transperth will often put on special transport which is generally free. Transport is also free within the city of Perth as long as you get in and of within the CBD (Central Business District).

In the Perth CBD you will also find an additional FREE bus service which is known as the CAT (Central Area Transit).

Perth has five train lines leaving Perth Train Station.
  • The Clarkson Line goes North along the Freeway to Clarkson.
  • The Armadale line goes South East to Armadale.
  • The Midland line goes North East to Midland
  • The Freemantle line goes South East of Perth to the Port of Freemantle.
  • The Mandurah line travels South down to Mandurah.

For many people being close to a train station could be an vital consideration when selecting where to live since it will make that travel less worrying.

  • Within the CBD and some of the suburbs you will find numerous taxi stands or you can call them and book a taxi direct.
  • Taxis are generally licensed to carry four passengers although you can get a maxi taxi, which will carry eight passengers. If you need a maxi cab (most have facility for wheelchairs) then you will need to mention this when you make your booking.
  • Taxis charge based on a flagfall and rate for distance travelled (the same for taxi and maxi cab)
  • Western Australia is very large state and the driving circumstances will differ depending on where you are.
  • The greater part of the population lives in the Perth metro area where the driving conditions are good.
  • One thing good about Perth is the roads are on a grid system. This makes finding your way around easy.
  • Although you are encouraged to use the public transport system Perth is a car orientated city.
  • Many will use the public transport to get in to Perth but will use their car to get to the train station. Most stations offer a park and ride system so this works well.

As you are about to move to Perth you will probably be worried about finding accommodation to suit your situation..!

When first arriving in Australia it is advisable to stay in a motel or hotel, until you settle in and start looking for a place to live. Some migrants stay with their friends or relatives until they get a suitable accommodation.

There are lots of options to stay depending on what you look for - Rent a house, shared accommodation etc.

The information you should look for are:
  • The rental property you can afford
  • The type of accommodation you would like to rent
  • The location you would like to rent in

Be realistic about what you can afford each week or month on your rental expenses. Always allow another 10% allowance in your budget to cope with unanticipated costs in addition to normal living expenses.

Rental vacancy search could be either of these ways
  • Rental vacancy search
  • Inspecting the rental property
  • Lodging your rental application

There are various methods through which you can use to find rental accommodation. The possibilities include:

The internet
  • Internet databases are the best ways to narrow down your searching as they can be refined to locate properties that meet your own specific criteria like size, location and weekly rent amount etc. You could also search social networking website like for accommodation availability.
  • The classified sections of metropolitan, suburban and community newspapers can be a useful source of available rental properties. Normally, rental properties are listed under headings such as: To Let Accommodation Wanted to Rent Accommodation Vacant Shared Accommodation Real Estate Agents
University/Campus Accommodation:
  • Universities, TAFEs and other education providers often have accommodation associated with their campuses or close at hand for their students. It is a good idea to contact the accommodation departments of individual education providers to discover what they have on offer. Most often, the institution’s websites are good source of information.
Community noticeboards/ Shop Windows:
  • Shopping centres, cafes, libraries and other community locations usually have noticeboards that display available rental properties. Community noticeboards are a excellent ways of advertising the fact you are looking for rental accommodation as well. You should specify your desired weekly rent level range and preferred locality. You can enter your details in under the accommodation wanted category.
Family and friends:
  • Never forget to tell others that you are searching for somewhere to rent. The message might make it through to someone who knows about the perfect place to lease. You might also hear about potential flatmates through this avenue.
Inspecting the rental property:
  • You should always inspect a property before you sign an agreement to rent it. Never ever sign an agreement based on telephone conversations. Checking a property doesn’t take long and will certainly confirm the advertising message from the reality. Your searching will probably result in viewing several properties; record your impressions of each property you visit to make comparisons easier.
Don’t forget to list your evaluative criteria. These could include:
  • Size (number of bedrooms/bathrooms, size of kitchen, etc.);
  • General appearance (check for problems);
  • Appliances/items in working order (e.g. oven, shower, etc.);
  • Distance from work/university, family and friends, shopping facilities etc.;
  • Access to public transport or major roads;
  • Parking facilities;
  • Backyard, courtyard or balcony;
  • Appealing environment (e.g. low noise);
  • Privacy and security;
  • Special features: e.g. storage space, etc.
  • If you like a particular property but find it needs some minor repairs, ask the landlord or agent to fix these problems. Ensure you have any agreement in writing before making a commitment to move in.
Lodging your rental application
Upon discovery of your ideal accommodation, you will need to complete a rental application form. This normally means providing the following details:
  • Your name;
  • Your current address and telephone number;
  • Your occupation;
  • Your current employer;
  • Proof of your income;
  • Two or more referees;
  • You might be asked to provide information concerning personal finances, such as any loans you may have and the value of your savings. In some states these questions are unlawful - check with the tenants’ advice service in WA. Tenants’ advise.

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Shyam Ambati
Shyam Ambati
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