If you are planning to come to Perth, or Australia for that matter, here is some general advice:

  • Do not always believe in hearsay that life is always rosy Down Under but be prepared for any set backs and difficulties, especially during the initial days of getting settled.
  • If you are married, as far as possible, do not leave your spouse behind. This is because life in Australia may not be as social as we are used to, and one may tend to become lonely. Moreover, even if you have friends here, everybody will be busy.
  • Learn how to drive and get Bhutanese driving licence, a must! With Bhutanese driving licence, you can legally drive within WA as long as you hold a valid student visa.
  • If you are planning for long term stay in Australia, it is worth checking whether the course you are undertaking is in the so called “Skilled Occupation List (SOL)”. More information about SOL, visit the webpage http://www.border.gov.au/

Visa Wizard

While student visa is the most popular visa through which the Bhutanese come to Australia, there are also other visa types one can apply. There is a very comprehensive webpage called Visa Wizard at http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1 on Australia immigration website where you can check which visa you can apply for.

Major documents required for student visa application

While the documents required for visa application are specific to each kind of visa, the following are the important ones for student visa*:

  • Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) – a document issued by the education institute stating that you have been successfully enrolled in the institute.
  • IELTS – most higher educational courses require a certain pass mark in IELTS, but the requirement differs from course to course and on institute as well. So it is important to check the English language requirements for the course you are applying for.
  • Health check up – it is mandatory to have health check up to apply for any visa to Australia.
  • Academic transcripts – attested copies of your academic transcripts.
  • Bank balance – different visas requires you to show certain amount of money in your bank account.

*Please be advised that the information provided here is for general advice only and is neither complete nor verified. For complete information, visit the relevant pages on the immigration department’s website at http://www.border.gov.au/.

Flying to Australia

Congratulations on securing your visa to visit Australia!

While boarding your flight to Australia, there are certain thumb rules in regards to what and what not to carry.

  • Generally food items like bottled pickles & ezays, zaw & tengma, dry chilli and packaged/labeled foods are allowed.
  • Most often food items like chugo, dry meat and unpackaged/unlabeled food items are not allowed
  • Live animals and plants, plant material, animal products are strictly not allowed
  • No matter how small or insignificant a food/plant/animal product, always declare it on the “Incoming Passenger Card” form. It is an offence if you are caught for not declaring these items.
  • If you are carrying any parcel for someone, make sure that you know the contents of it. Do not carry any items for others not knowing what is inside.
  • Do not pack your items with hundreds of layers of cello tape because you have to unpack them at the customs checkpoint.

If you are buying a laptop, it will be cheap in Bangkok. But we recommend you to buy from here because of reliability and easy support later. For phones, there are various plans to choose from. We recommend not to buy any outright phones from Bangkok or elsewhere even if they are cheaper.

Airport pick up and temporary accommodation

We have seen cases where some Bhutanese arrived in Perth without any knowledge of the existence of Bhutanese community here and they had to put up in hotels paying huge rents. So it is always good idea to ask around who is already here, and seek help especially to arrange airport pick up and temporary accommodation. We encourage you to first approach your friends and family who are already here.

  • Bhutanese couple spotted in the streets of Perth city
  • Scarborough Beach, one of the most popular beaches in Perth. Photo: www.birdseyeviewphotography.com.au
  • A Buddhist monestry in Perth