Top Tips for New Arrivals To Australia

The Prescript team has a lot of experience in helping doctors relocate to Australia from overseas and we are experts at navigating the various regulatory obstacles that doctors encounter along the way. So you’ve got your AHPRA and visa paperwork done – congratulations! Now apart from getting over your jetlag, here are 6 key things to do on arrival down under.

1. Apply for a Tax File Number (TFN)

In order to be paid in Australia, you need a Tax File Number (TFN) which you can apply for online here. Note that you can only do this once you are actually in the country. It can take up to 28 days to get a TFN but you can still be paid in the meantime, though it will be at the highest tax rate.

2. Enrol with Medicare

If your home country has a reciprocal agreement with Australia, enrolling in Medicare will ensure that you are covered for basic medical expenses whilst you are here. To register, go to a Medicare office with your passport and evidence of your visa. Click here for details of office locations

3. Open a Bank Account

Opening a bank account is a straight forward process as long as you take your passport and have a postal address to open your account (your hospital accommodation address will do initially). The “Big 4” banks are Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), National Australia Bank (NAB), Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) and Westpac.

I would recommend choosing one of these four for the simple reason that in Australia you still get charged for using another bank’s ATM, and the big banks have the most ATMs nationally.

It’s also common for banks to charge a nominal monthly fee for an everyday transaction account but if you pay a certain amount in each month, those fees are usually waived.

4. Get Connected

There are three main mobile networks: Telstra (best coverage but most expensive), Optus (decent coverage, not as expensive), Vodafone (coverage has improved massively after once being known as “Vodafail,” competitive pricing and good deals on roaming and international calls).

If you already have a phone that you’re happy with, it might be a good idea just to get a SIM-only plan which shouldn’t set you back more than about $40 per month.

Having a Pay as You Go phone might make you feel like a teenager again but they are surprisingly good value. If you’re getting a pay monthly plan, you will need to show your passport and visa in order to be approved.

5. Check Your Driver’s Licence

This isn’t something that you will need to organise when you first arrive but there are a few things to be aware of regarding driving in Australia. First and foremost - we drive on the left!

Depending on the state or territory that you’ll be living in, laws and regulations on driving will differ. In most parts of the country, visiting drivers are not required to obtain an Australian driver’s licence for the first 3 months provided your overseas licence or international driving permit remain current. You must have your licence with you at all times when driving.

Beware - kangaroos are most likely to bounce into the road at dawn and dusk! 

Refer to the following state departments for further information about licences: ACT NSW NT QLD SA TAS VIC WA

6. Stock Up on the Basics

Coles and Woolworths are the two main supermarkets operating across Australia. They can be found in every town and there isn’t much to set them apart from each other. Some stores will even have an international food section where you can stock up on treats from back home such as Cadbury’s chocolate, packets of Taytos and Wine Gums. Bon appetit!

I specialise in placing doctors in locum and permanent roles across Australia. At Prescript, we pride ourselves on providing a highly personalised concierge service to doctors looking for the next step in their career. Interested to find out more? Get in touch on or 1300 755 498