The chicken and the egg, a dilemma of who comes first, so famous that you will find it in every culture.
To step foot in Australia, you need history. To have history, you need to exist in Australia. Let’s start with accommodation. The process starts with looking for houses available for rent online, attending a property inspection arranged through the real estate agent, and then if you like it, filling up your rental application. The rental application is just as intensive as a job application for a Big 4 company. They basically ask for history in Australia; work, references, rental history. There is even a 100 point system you need to achieve before you can apply. The points can be accumulated through your Medicare card, driving license, student ID…etc. which varies by real estate agent. So if you have no history, you will not be able to apply. Even if you manage to reach the 100 points and submit the application with your overseas details, your chances of being accepted are simply too low if not zero. And this is where the chicken and the egg comes in.
This dilemma pops up once again when you apply for jobs. If your “not so Australian” resume (even after you really tried hard to make is as Australian as possible) gets lucky and is noticed by the job poster or the recruitment agent, they might ask you for an interview. Your first interview in Australia, will feel just like your first interview ever. You are now back to square 1. No matter how many late nights you spent at work, how many family events you missed, how many fights you held at the meeting room, or how many promotions you have celebrated, it means nothing, because it simply did not take place in Australia. On the one hand, it is a nice fresh start, but on the other much more valuable hand, it is not fair. The world is too connected now. I might not have Australian experience, but I do have international worldwide experience. I dealt with cultures, I learnt from them and achieved with them. It does not make sense to blank out my history, because it is simply an overseas one. So here is where the chicken and the egg kick in once again.
Eventually, we do an approval for one of our dozens of house rental applications submitted. We also do get a phone call congratulating us on the job we just got hired for. It might not be what we really wanted, but it is a step in the right path, the path of the Australian Experience.