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Before a New Worker Arrives

Once a new overseas skilled worker has been recruited and their visa paperwork is finalised, the focus of the migration journey moves to issues of relocation and settlement.

Many employers find supporting their new employees (and their families) through this stage, even in small ways, can build trust, foster loyalty and lead to a more successful placement.

Here are some things that an employer might consider to get their workplaces ready and to help their new worker plan the move.

Finalise employment contracts

Employers should ensure that their new employee is provided with a copy of their employment contract and any other relevant documents.

Employers may also like to provide their new employee with information such as media releases, annual reports, websites and staff newsletters to help introduce the organisation and its culture before they arrive in the workplace.

Prepare an employee welcome pack

Preparing an employee welcome pack with information about local services and facilities is a great way to welcome a new overseas employee into an organisation. The welcome pack can include things like:

  • locations and contact numbers for banks, libraries, recreation centres, schools and shops
  • local public transport locations and/or timetables
  • taxi numbers
  • local restaurants, take-away menus and grocery stores
  • local cultural and community organisations and places of worship.

Many local councils provide welcome packs for new residents and may be able to provide employers with resources for their employee welcome pack.

Employers may like to ask their new employee to provide some information about themselves and their family so the welcome pack can be tailored to their specific needs. This information could include interests, hobbies, ages of children, pets and how well family members speak English.

Employers can do this informally over the phone or via email, or prepare a brief questionnaire for the employee to complete. Employers should make sure the employee knows why they are requesting this information and that the employee is under no obligation to provide it.

Spouse and family support requirements

Settling in a new country can be a challenging experience, especially if it involves moving a family as well. Many employers find that understanding and addressing the needs of their new employee’s family can have a positive effect on the success of the placement.

Any support that an employer can give to their new employee and their dependents to plan the move, settle into their new community and get on board in the workplace will be appreciated. It is also an investment to help retain the worker for the longer term.

Employers may consider asking a new employee about the needs and interests of their spouse or any other dependents so that employers can link them into relevant contacts, resources, services and opportunities where possible. Some things that employers might ask about include occupation and work requirements, English language proficiency, facilities, cultural requirements and any hobbies or social interests.

Relocation services

Many companies offer professional relocation services for moving to a new country. Services vary from a ‘one-stop-shop’ solution to tailored services for specific needs.

Employers may be able to suggest a relocation company that has been previously used by their organisation or staff. Alternatively, employers may like to suggest that their new employee researches online for a suitable service by searching ‘moving to Australia’ or ‘relocating to Australia’ on the internet. Alternatively, a new employee can seek advice on one of the online communities for migrants.

Customs, quarantine and pets

New employees may not know that Australia has strict laws about what can and can’t be brought into the country. Australia’s quarantine laws regarding pets can also be more rigorous than other countries. These websites have more information about customs, quarantine and pets:

Help to organise temporary accommodation

Finding somewhere to stay is often one of the most daunting tasks for new migrants. Employers have the advantage of local knowledge about suitable areas to live and places to stay.

Employers may like to organise some temporary accommodation for their new employee and their family so that they have somewhere to stay when they arrive. Or there may be an opportunity to connect the new employee with another worker, colleague or friend that is offering a share-house arrangement.

Alternatively, employers could provide their new employee with a list of local accommodation providers that offer short-term accommodation.

Online communities

The new employee may not be aware that there are a number of online community websites for migrants and expatriates.

These communities are a great source of information about moving to Australia and give new migrants a chance to connect with others who are making the journey to Australia or who have already settled here. Many of the websites and forums also have associated Facebook pages.

Some online communities are country-specific and others are open to all nationalities. Here are a few of the more popular communities:

Useful resources for employees

The following links provide more information to help new employees to prepare their move to Australia:

  • Our Relocation Checklists have information for new migrants about what to prepare before they leave and when they arrive in Victoria
  • Our Settlement Help page has information and links for prospective migrants including customs and quarantine, bringing pets and relocation support and services.
  • Our Living in Victoria section has detailed information about everyday life in Victoria including cost of living, housing, transport, education and childcare.
  • The Australian Government Department of Social Services has a section on their website about settling in Australia