Police Check, Taxes and Tax File Number,Enrolment and Work Permit:How to Immigrate to Australia Within a Week

To refer to the check-list that you will guide you in immigrating to Australia within a week please refer to the Introduction post in the series.

NB: The unit of currency in Australia is the Australian dollar which I shall represent with the symbol: $

Police Check

Australian police

To download a police check or get more information on them from the official website please click on this link to go to the Federal Police Website.

If you will be performing any sort of job that will involve:

a) Children (working in a daycare centre),

b) The disabled (disabled care),

c) The elderly (aged care nurse) or;

d) Anyone who is vulnerable in any way, you will need to get a police check.

A police check is basically like a background check to make sure that you don’t have a criminal record – if you do have a criminal record, then this tip probably isn’t for you.

Some Quick Tips About the Police Check

1) You will probably need to renew it on an annual or bi-annual basis. Get familiar with the process so that it’s quicker each subsequent time you have to do it.

2) If you require your police check urgently then go to the central police station, or whichever station the police checks are processed at (in Melbourne it’s the Spencer Street police prescinct). This shaves time off the mailing and transit process.

Marrickville police station

3) They cost a little over $30 and you must pay for postage (either $0.50 or $1).

4) You will need to attach copies of certified documents to the police check application form. One of the places that certified documents are neccesary.

5) You will wait on average between a week and a fortnight after applying to receive your police check.

6) You will need to specify an address for the police check to be sent to (you can’t go pick it up from anywhere, they must mail it out) . One of the places that a permanent mailing address comes in handy.

For more information on the police check or to download a police check please click on this link.

Taxes and Tax File Number

You are not legally required to get a tax file number. In addition to that I am not 100% sure why we need a tax file number. In my experience the reason that an international student would want a tax file number is:

a) To have records of their employment and payment history at a centralized location in case that is needed.

b) To avoid paying more tax than is neccesary (you end up paying more tax if you don’t have a tax file number)

c) Tax return: The first time you get your tax return, if you are like me, you will experience something that can only be described as a sugar rush! At the end of every financial year, many people employed in Australia are entitled to get a portion of the taxes they have paid back-hence the name ‘tax return’.

NB: For more information on why you need a tax file number, check out the Australian tax office page on tax file numbers.

Old school tax forms

The tax you get back can vary from $1 to a single lump sum payment of $1,700 (this is the biggest I have seen for a student so far). You can also employ to have your tax return paid back to you in small chunks over a predefined period of time.

To apply for a tax file number online, click on this hyper link and the only details you need are your:

a) Passport or travel document number: this is the number on your student visa (In case I haven’t said it already, you should also make many photocopies of your student visa and get them certified. )

b) Your mailing address.

You should receive a tax file number within a couple of weeks. Save that tax file number somewhere safe and memorize it (it’s only nine digits- remember the numbers as 3 groups of 3) because you will need to fill in a tax form every time you get a job.

For more information on tax file numbers check out these guides from:

a) Swinburne University- in Melbourne: http://www.international.swinburne.edu.au/currentstudents (My former University, great school…..)

b) University of Tasmania -in Tasmania: http://www.international.utas.edu.au/studentSupport

c) Australian Taxation Office – part of the Australian Government:


Enrolment and Work Permit

NB: The rules changed on April 26th and now all students automatically get work permits. Refer to this article from Mwalimu for more information. I live this section intact for the sake of nostalgia (and because it took some effort to write). Hope it’s of benefit, even entertainment counts, to you.

Melbourne University

The basic rule to getting these two things done ASAP is the same: follow them up daily until they are completed. Let’s go through them one by one.


For those who don’t know, the process of enrollment is basically the process of you slotting yourself into all the systems and all the records of a University. Once enrollment is completed, at the beginning of every semester, it usually runs on autopilot for the rest of the semester with a few glitches here and there.

From the outside it may seem that fitting you into the University database and system is a simple five step process: I can assure you it’s not. I can also assure you that unless you take personal responsibility, very little or nothing will get done.

The enrollment process has a number of steps that can be broken down into two major steps:

1) Getting enrolled in your course.

2) Getting enrolled in all your classes.

Deakin University

These two are quite separate from each other. Once you are enrolled in your course, then this is when you can begin exploring all the classes that you are allowed to enroll in over the course of the next 30 days. Don’t jump from class to class for too long though: that will mean that you will have to do more work catching up with the class that you eventually chose.

However remember, nothing will happen in this area unless you make it happen. Follow it up, talk to all the people that you need to speak to every single day until you are fully enrolled in the University and every class you are supposed to attend. Universities are too big, have too much bureaucracy and are too slow for you to leave the responsibility for your enrollment entirely with them.

Work Permit

A work permit is basically a document that legally allows an international student to work in Australia. The process of getting one can also be broken down into two steps:

1) Getting the University to email the Department of Imigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) to inform them that you are enrolled in the University and are indeed a student of your chosen University.

2) Applying for a work permit either online (recommended) and off.

Getting the University to Mail DIMIA

Follow this up with your international student office until it gets done x1,000,00000. Tip over!

Applying for a Work Permit

DIMIA offices during a day of protest

The Department of Immigration has a pretty clear simple step by step guide that will show you how to get a work permit (also known as ‘permission to work’) so please check it out. Contact me should you have any problems with it all.

You may be required to go to the DIMIA offices in your city to pick up your work permit. Should that be the case then please click on this link to find out the nearest DIMIA office near you or to give them a call.

We are almost there,



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Other Links to this Post

  1. How to Immigrate to Australia Within a Week: Introduction » The Displaced African — April 6, 2008 @ 5:23 am

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