Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 20

New York in the Rear View Mirror

We have now arrived at the final chapter of our book. It is fitting that the end of our journey would discuss when is the best time to put New York (or any other U.S. city) in the rear view mirror, and head back to Australia.

This subject matter of this chapter was always going to deal with what can be an agonizing decision for many Australian expats. However with the COVID-19 Global Pandemic, many Australians’ decisions whether to stay, or to go, is being fueled by fear, rather than logic.

This chapter is not intended to give specific tax or legal advice. Every situation is different, so consult with your financial advisor or Immigration attorney for professional advice specific to your circumstances.

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 19

Death and Taxes

They say that there are only two things that are guaranteed in life… It is therefore surprising how few Aussie expats mitigate the later, in case of the former.

In 1978 Australia abolished its death tax. However, whether you and your spouse are a dual Australian/U.S. citizens, Legal Permanent Residents (Green Card) or Non-Resident Aliens (E-3 et al), understanding how U.S. Estate Tax will impact you in the worst case scenario is very important, yet often overlooked by Australian expats.

This article is not intended to give specific tax or legal advice. It is intended to highlight a potential expat risk that impacts Australians, as well as risk mitigation strategies. Every situation is different, so consult with your estate planner or financial advisor for professional advice specific to your circumstances.

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 18

The E-3Dad

More and more we are seeing Australians relocating their families to New York and other major U.S. cities, where the wife is the E-3 visa holder. As a result, The Australian Community has observed a growing demographic:The E-3Dad.

Many E-3D visa holders are Dads who suddenly find themselves as the primary caregiver to young children and infants. Whether it is a temporary, part-time or more permanent arrangement, the E-3Dad faces a unique set of challenges.

The challenges for the E-3Dad such as finding time for the job hunt are less if the children are in school. However, for those with children under four years of age, there are some short to medium term challenges that need to be understood.

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 17

Explaining the E-3 Visa to an Employer.

In any given year there are more than 200,000 applications for 65,000 available H-1B visas. For many employers this lengthy and expensive process fails to produce a work visa. As most employers’ experience when hiring non U.S. citizens is the H-1B visa, explaining why the E-3 visa is vastly different is best explained by an Immigration professional.

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 16

How to get your New York State Driver License

According to New York State Law, once an Australian expat becomes a New York State resident, they have only 30 days to obtain a New York State driver license, as their Australian license is no longer valid.

At this point there are those reading this chapter who will be arguing “How will the Police know?” or “I can still rent a car with my Aussie license so why bother?”

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 15

Are you Smarter than an Immigration Attorney?

There is no shortage of people on Social Media who think they are smarter than an Immigration attorney.  They are regular contributors to Facebook groups, and are quick to offer legal advice on visa applications, and other Immigration issues.  Unfortunately, not all of this advice is current, and in some instances, completely incorrect.

Our Yammer Private Enterprise Social Network was created to give our membership access to ethical, professional advice, content and connections.  It has become an important resource for overcoming many of the challenges facing Australian expats living and working in the US.

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 14

What an Expecting Expat should Expect.

Starting a family is a big step for any prospective Australian parent.  Starting a family whilst living in the US, is going to add an additional layer of complexity – emotionally, legally and financially.

Before we drill down on this article, the topics covered clearly do not cover every scenario when it comes to starting a family in the US.  There are a plethora of needs and wants when it comes to having a child.  This article covers some of the basics, and is intended to frame some of the challenges you will face, as well as the conversations you need to discuss with your spouse and close family.

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 13

Measuring the Australian Expat Continuum

In Chapter 3, we speak of the Expat Continuum.  This is a similar model to one used by corporations to measure their Capability Maturity.

The Expat Continuum has five stages:

  1. Basic
  2. Reactive
  3. Planned
  4. Aligned
  5. Integrated

A question was recently asked in a Facebook group that highlights the difference between an expat operating at Level 2 (Reactive) and another expat operating at  Level 3 (Planned).

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 12

The Top 5 Differences Australians Notice about New York.

One very famous Australian was quoted as saying “Imagine seven million people all wanting to live together. Yeah, New York must be the friendliest place on earth.”

Pre-conceptions notwithstanding, Australians who move to New York are constantly reminded of the multi faceted differences that separates Australia, and the city that never sleeps.   Here are just five of those difference Australians quickly notice.

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 11

Top 10 Expat Mistakes + What NOT to post on Social Media

We all make mistakes and most of them you can walk away from with the knowledge of what not to do next time.  However, there are some Expat mistakes that you simply cannot just chalk up to experience.

The saying “She’ll be right Mate” may be endearing in Australia, but here in the US, ignorance is not an excuse.

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 10

Everything you wanted to know about Expat Filing Requirements – but were afraid to ask!

Many Australians are still coming to grips with the US Tax Code as well as Expat filing requirements.  You may feel confident in filing your first E-3 visa, but first time tax filers should seek an “Australian Friendly” US accountant to make sure you have all of your bases covered.

The US Tax Code is complex, and made even more complex for Australians who have foreign income and financial accounts outside of the US. 

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 9

NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette 

New York can be an intimidating city for any tourist.  As with any metropolis, there are certain tips and unwritten etiquette that if not followed, can leave even the most seasoned traveler suffering the ire of a New Yorker, or worse, victim of a scam.

Illustrator and New Yorker a Nathan Pyle has released a book NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette that could be very helpful to Aussies arriving in New York.  Below are just a few of the animated gifs contained in the e-book and available  on Amazon and iTunes.

Definitely worth the investment!

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 7

Finding Work

The fact is that finding work in one of the most competitive cities on the planet is going to be a challenge for most Australians.  Landing in a US city with a freshly minted EAD or Green Card is only a ticket to the big league.

If you go into the game without understanding the rules or having a game plan, you will quickly start to accumulate some very unnecessary scar tissue.

Members of the Australian Community have access to resources inside our Private Social Network to assist in the job hunt.  They include our Employment and Mentoring Groups where they can make professional connections, access job resources and learn from the experience of other Australians.

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 6

Local Language 101

In 1887 Oscar Wilde wrote: “We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language.” This observation is very true for Australians who move to the US.

Firstly, Americans have a very different Language of Friendship which can be puzzling to an Australian.  For example when two American women first meet they may positively remark on the other’s clothing, shoes or a pocket book (hand bag) to start a conversation.

“I have that exact same Birkin.  Did you buy that here or Hermès in Paris?”  

This does not necessarily reflect materialism, rather Americans will lead with visual cues in an attempt to create an instant connection with the other person on a socioeconomic level.

Australians on the other hand will look for common personal interests to connect.  This requires conversation, and some Americans are not so comfortable in sharing personal information with a stranger.

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 5

Decoding US Health Insurance

Several times in this book, we have suggested that priority should be given to overcoming challenges that effect your, Health, Liberty and Finances.  This chapter addresses the first: Health Insurance.

Whether you are accessing Health Insurance through your employer, or through your State’s Health Care Exchange (Obamacare), understanding which plan is right for your needs is dependent on your understanding a very different Health Care system.

To enlighten the reader, and demystify some of the nomenclature, the following are important terms and concepts that will make navigating the U.S. healthcare system less complicated.

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 4

The Inconvenient Truth

Australians have a capacity to be direct, and a book written by Australians should be nothing less.  Think of this chapter as your friends dishing out some tough love.  They just want to be sure that you can separate fact from fiction.

Let’s first address the Elephant in the room

For those who move to the U.S. with the support of their employer, the machinations of relocating to a new city is for the most part transparent.  They arrive to a job, an apartment, and their greatest challenge may be finding their new favorite restaurant.

However, the plight of the Aussie who lands in NYC looking for work, is a very different story.  They must start from nothing and rely on savings to sustain them throughout their job search.  Their hope is that they will be gainfully employed in their sunny new apartment in six to eight weeks because they read on social media that U.S. employers are lining up to hire Aussies.

For most, the harsh reality is that finding work takes between three to six months, and their savings run out well before a second interview. This is the inconvenient truth for many Australians.

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 3

The Hierarchy of (Australian Expat) Needs

There is a saying:  “You do not choose New York – New York chooses you”.  There are numerous examples of Australians who arrive in the US with great expectations, yet return to Australia within a few months, shattered emotionally and financially drained.

Not having a solid plan in place before arriving in the U.S. is typically the No1 reason why Australians return home early.

In our book Moving to the US for Aussies, we discuss a check list of basic needs before moving to the United States.  By definition these are only the minimum requirements, and only the first step in what can be a lengthy and for some, a painful process.

In many of these cases, it is either a sense of isolation from family and friends, or failing to be adequately prepared for a very different New York from what they expected.

This book assumes that you are not moving to the US just to survive:  You are here to be successful, to compete against the world’s best in your field.

New York is a process and having the basics in place is only the first step.  Typically, Australians take around  eighteen months to feel relatively comfortable that they have all of their bases covered; but what if there was a way to do it in less than 90 days?

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapters 1&2

Chapter 1: Surviving the first 30 days

COVID-19 Preface

COVID-19 has caused immeasurable hardships and created havoc for International travelers.  Much of the content in this book assumes that we are not in the midst of a Global Pandemic.

Rather than remove content for this second edition, we retained the content as there are still Australians who are successfully obtaining Green Cards and visas, and moving to the U.S..

Pre-Flight Check List

Just as your pilot runs through a check list before heading down the runway, you too must create a check list to ensure that when you arrive at your destination, you will have a smooth landing.

Below are some items that should be on your personal check list.

Moving to the US for Aussies

Introduction

The Australian Community is a non-profit organization.  We provide valuable expat services to tens of thousands of Australians living in New York and other cities in the USA.

Moving to the US for Aussies is designed to assist Aussies moving to America from Australia gain an insight into expat life in the USA.

Rather than relying on the individual experience of self proclaimed experts, our book Moving to the US for Aussies is the culmination of years knowledge captured from the collective experiences of thousands of Australian members of our non-profit organization.