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What if curiosity killed the cat? :)


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Hello everybody, 

I can't tell short stories, but I'll attempt a quick introduction.


We've lived in London and travelled extensively (not to Oz though), but think we understand the expat lifestyle a bit.


We live in a pretty safe place, life is good in wine country and so I think the push is probably not that of some who have been attacked or experienced personal danger.


I just have this incredible yearning to live abroad and have better opportunities which I can't turn off no matter how hard I try.


So, when over Christmas all the cousins were returning to Hong Kong and NZ and we weren't also getting on a plane to our adopted home somewhere, my heart ached.


We've always tried to return to the UK, but it never really worked out.


I was once keen on NZ, but also, didn't work out and my husband hated the idea of NZ (no matter how i tried to convince him with youtube videos of mountain biking trails etc).


So, Australia... well, for a start, it's the only place Management Accountants are on a Shortage skills list, and where my husband doesn't have an immediate no frown.  And, I've worked with Ozzies in the UK and can actually see myself there. Somewhere rainy and cold.. I'll try avoid the 40 degrees sunshine regions :)


But, I've also been in dreamland with both the UK and NZ and allowed myself to dream that we'll be able to go and then couldn't... so I guess I just need to keep expectations real.


So basically I guess, I wanted to say hi, and thank you, I've been reading a lot since the New Year. And yes, we are thinking about getting our stuff together in order to become ozzies!


I'd love to hear from fellow accountants who are not CA's who have gone before and if you have tips and things I need to know. 


Especially if I should attempt CIMA (already strategic level, must do final 4 exams) first, or can I apply now?


thank you!







Edited by smcspan
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Welcome to the forum. Neither my husband or I are accountants so I can't help there but I had similar feelings to you of wanting to live abroad someday. I did manage to make it a reality as we arrived in Melbourne 10 days ago.

Edited by JackoFam
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1. A locally recognised qualification is a big win - CIMA, CPA, CA, etc


2. Lack of local experience is a very very serious problem, so be prepared to take several steps back. You catch up fast, but keep your options open to all forms of employment - short term, long term, independent contractor, etc


3. Familiarise yourself with the local terms and key issues so can confidently bring these up in interviews and phone calls - GST very similar to VAT, Tax Law based on similar principles to SA Tax Law, over a certain limit companies are required to pay payroll tax (a tax on the salary bill) and provide workers compensation insurance, something which is always being forgotten in costings 


4. Make sure your CV is very clear to someone who has no idea whether Pick 'n Pay is a large entity or a mom and pop corner store - give details about the companies your worked for so that any agent or recruiter can understand the scope. Perhaps translate it into number of employees or something else if you worked for large entities - translating turnover into dollars just doesn't convey scale.


5. I find the market to be quite industry specific so if you have a significant amount of experience in one particular industry, bring that to the top.


6. Be prepared to spend several soul destroying months looking for work. I sent out about 80 resumes, mae about 30 phone calls and got two interviews.


Have been working in Melbourne for almost two years and very very happy. So keep at it and shout if you have more questions.

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Jackofam ?


Thank you for your informative reply DB!

I used to work for the holdings co of 3 Mobile in London and Australia was one of my countries, so have experience with GST... though not recent. 


Once we are 100% ready and committed, I'll mail my old boss (who is a Sydney native and used to tell me I must move there) and ask if he can assist with something. 


In the mean time, I'm going to spend the year behind books ?? 






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If you're after somewhere cold and rainy then that would be Melbourne - although they also have their 40 degree days (most parts of Aus do). 

You could try Tasmania but work could be a struggle as it's pretty isolated and the population is small. 


Good luck on your journey

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Part of the challenge is getting your qualification recognised by an accredited local (Australian) body for your visa application, so I assume studying CIMA will help with that as I assume there's a CIMA affiliated Australian body.


I'm a CA myself but @DXB2OZ's advice itself in terms of getting work is sound and applies across the board to CA and non-CA alike. I've thus had to spread my options wide in terms of accountant related roles.


I do have my first proper interview that's not with recruitment agents on Tuesday but the point there is my industry experience and type of work seems to have gotten their attention - not the big 'CA' words. Similarly, I think networking and clicking with the right people is just as important as a pompous piece of paper.


That being said I'm just not sure if I've seen as many jobs advertised that would accept CIMA as much as a CFA or CA - however that is for Brisbane and so I can't comment on Melbourne or Sydney. Similarly as I mentioned above, it's not what you know but who you know that knows you and likes you.


Either way, get your CV reworked in the format Australians want and make sure you put the effort in writing an appropriate cover letter that speaks to each specific role when the time comes.

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We initially wanted to go to the UK, until my sister in-law had spent about 6 years there, married a Scot and still had to apply for short term visas every two years or so... Nah, direct PR sounded soooo much better! So we did an LSD trip(in Australia) in January 2014, loved it, and then got started on our visa. May 2016 landed here as Permanent Residents, and discovering that our feet stick to the earth more and more :) We live in Melbourne's far, far eastern suburbs and go to cycle on the mountain bike trails around Lysterfield Lake as often as we can. The freedom, safety and immaculately maintained free parks just keep wow'ing us. I think the best idea would probably be to look on Instagram what people put up about the Aussie parks.

So far, in about 8 months, we've only had about 7-10 days of 32°C-36°C, and maybe one or two days of 38°C, but the hot days are usually not all together and they have a cold change after. And more rain than I think I've ever seen for such a long period of time. But the locals say it's unusual...we wouldn't know.

Welcome to the journey.

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I have some sad news ?


I have studied through unisa my whole life, but lived accross continents, made stupid decisions and only managed to finish my degree in 2015, wrote my post grad in nov and got it in 2016. Which the lovely agent I've sent an enquiry told me, would get me zero points for post qualification work experience.


Which, I'm afraid means we won't be able to go to Australia.




He told me that Canada's visa system takes into account your entire working history and your qualifications and is busy with another 4 accountants applications and feel we would be successful there instead. And the visa app is much more affordable. And when I told my husband the news, his immediate response was super positive! 


So much for Hobart and Melbourne dreaming, I have to research Alberta and Vancouver now. 


Weird how life takes you on a different road sometimes. I wanted cool climate, I'm heading to the arctic!


To the lovely warm hearts of South Africans on here with your own journeys across the world, may you be blessed and happy where ever we all end up! 




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What a pity. But best of luck on the rest of your journey, even if it isn't to our neck of the woods.

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Hi @smcspan we spent quite a bit of time looking at Canada (we still have an Express Entry profile that is active) before changing to Australia. Just a couple of things to consider about the Canadian immigration system:


1. Your ability to be invited via the Express Entry system is based on your points. You can calculate your points (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/express-entry/grid-crs.asp) to see what your chances are and which options you might need to pursue. In the last year, they have sent ITAs to those with about 480 points or above and have only recently gone down to 459 points (the most recent draw). Ways to boost these points include provincial nomination, but most of these require a job offer.


2. The Canadian system takes much longer than the Australian one. We were pleasantly surprised to find out Australia took on average 3 months to process a visa. Canada says it takes 6 months, but it is often much longer. Friends of ours left for Canada in October last year after waiting 9 months for their visa. If you take provincial nomination this process will take much longer as you have to wait for that to come through and then to receive an ITA for Canada.


3. The Canadian system is very age and English-points oriented. You lose 5 points at every birthday and if you are over 40 then points will be very limited. Your IELTS score is very important as it determines other areas of the points allocation besides merely your English ability. Unlike Australia where work experience is rewarded, 3 years or more of foreign work experience is the highest category.


4. Proof of funds: This needs to be lurking in your bank account, although you can use an RA (I think, you'd have to make sure) if you plan to financially emigrate.


5. A very useful forum (just like this one) is: http://www.sacanada.org/


I don't want to scare you, but do take a look at the scoring system before just going on what an immigration agent tells you. Canada is a great place! Good luck!

Edited by CazK
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