Saving New York lives through #KoalaGiving in 2019

The latest published CDC data shows that 8,882 new Melanoma cases were reported in NYC and Long Island, of whom, 1,015 died.  In 2019 The Australian Community is working to reduce these deaths.

#KoalaGiving is The Australian Community’s charitable initiative where Australians have the opportunity to give back to the broader New York community.  Since its inception, it has raised money for other charities including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, The Bowery Mission and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  

For the past four years #KoalaGiving has raised money for MSKCC through Cycle for Survival.  C4S has also served as a platform for The Australian Community to raise awareness of skin cancer.   However, as C4S now focusses on funding rare cancers, and skin cancer is not a rare cancer, in 2019 we are raising money to directly fund our own #SlipSlopSlap campaign to save New York lives through skin cancer prevention, and screening for Melanoma.

The CDC reported that there were a total of 8,882 annual new cases of Melanoma diagnosed in NYC and Long Island, of whom, 1,015 died.

Continue reading “Saving New York lives through #KoalaGiving in 2019”

Is the “E-3 Hopeful” Australian Job Seeker an Endangered Species?

It has been a tumultuous few weeks for H.R. 7164; Legislation that would allow Irish citizens to take up any of the unused 10,500 E-3 visas annually allotted to Australians.

H.R. 7164 is the Bill that has passed Congress and is now before the U.S. Senate.  Originally, the proposed Legislation allowed Irish citizens to compete directly against Australians for the 10,500 annual E-3 visas, but only after last minute negotiations, the Legislation was amended to Ireland picking up any unused E-3s in the following year.

On the surface, this may appear to be a win for the E-3 Hopeful Australian considering a move to the U.S., given the legislation preserves the annual 10,500 E-3 visas.  However, a deeper analysis of Irish Immigration data reveals that like Neanderthal, the Australian E-3 Hopeful may be facing extinction, displaced by a more sophisticated species who is better adapted to finding work. Continue reading “Is the “E-3 Hopeful” Australian Job Seeker an Endangered Species?”

Are the Irish entitled to the E-3 Visa?

Lobbying by the Irish special envoy to the US, John Deasy, has culminated in draft legislation currently before the United States Congress that would have Australians and the Irish both competing for the E-3 visa!

An article published in the Irish Times on November 13 stated that hopes for additional US visas for Irish people was hit by a setback after the Republican Congress decided to defer a vote on the E-3 Legislation.

The article states: “under the current draft that has been brought to Congress, Ireland would compete with Australia for the 10,500 visas, rather than simply take up the unused quota.”
Continue reading “Are the Irish entitled to the E-3 Visa?”

How Many Australians are Living and Working in the US? V 4.0

For a number of years we have been publishing data on Australian visas from the Department of Homeland Security.  The information is released at different times of the year, and some remarkable data has recently come to light.

Given the growth in the number of Australians in New York and other large cities, a persistent question is how many Aussies are living in the US, and how many are just visiting?

The latest data from the DHS is shedding some light onto whether the Aussie sitting at the table next to you is likely to be a tourist, or on a work visa.

Continue reading “How Many Australians are Living and Working in the US? V 4.0”

November Anniversary Mixer

November 2018 marks the seventh anniversary of the founding of The Australian Community, and all of our members are invited to the celebration!

Members and guests are invited to attend this special evening at One Art Space located at 23 Warren Street, where they will also have the opportunity to mix and network with other professional Australians.

 

 

Beer, wine and alcohol will be served on the evening, so you must be 21 or older to attend.

A buffet of cheese and vegetarian snacks with also be provided.

Complimentary admission for Members and one guest.

Non-member admission is a suggested $20 donation per person. Please use the link below after you RSVP.

Please use the form below to RSVP.

 

Click to make a Donation.

Aussie Cafés in NY – and where to find them: Village Coffee and Goods

Visitors to this site will know that since 2017 we have featured a number of Australian cafés in our posts. Most are located in the City, but one Aussie Café is located in Upstate New York.

Considering this is the time of year when New Yorkers are preparing to head north on 87 to visit a tree farm or embark on a ski trip, we spoke with Anthea and Mark who opened Village Coffee and Goods in Kingston, NY.

Anthea White and Mark Palmer are accomplished musicians from Sydney, Australia, who have moved to Kingston by way of Brooklyn.

Continue reading “Aussie Cafés in NY – and where to find them: Village Coffee and Goods”

Find out how much you could be saving through our Preferred FOREX Rate.

“If there is a better rate on International wire transfers, we have not seen it!”

Members of The Australian Community transfer millions of dollars every year for business and personal needs.  Based on this volume, a preferred rate on International wire transfers has been negotiated with OFX.

Continue reading “Find out how much you could be saving through our Preferred FOREX Rate.”

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?” Continue reading “Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 16”

10 Reasons to Connect with our Yammer Private Enterprise Social Network

The challenges that face Australians living in the US are constantly evolving.  Our Yammer private enterprise social network is the perfect platform to access, and share knowledge with other Australian professionals no matter where they are in the US!

The Australian Community is a 501(c)(3) registered public charity whose mission is to connect Australians through social, professional and charitable initiatives.  Since its inception in 2011, we have assisted more Australians overcome the challenges of living in New York than any other public charity.

As we enter our eighth year, we are now using the lessons learned in NYC to assist Australians overcome many of the same challenges across the USA.
Continue reading “10 Reasons to Connect with our Yammer Private Enterprise Social Network”

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. Continue reading “Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 14”

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). Continue reading “Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 13”

June @ The Microsoft Store

Join The Australian Community for a Breakfast Mentoring  and Networking Event, plus a Private Tour of Microsoft's Flagship Fifth Ave Store!

Members are invited to attend this highly interactive Networking event where members can listen to Thought Leaders as well as mix and meet other professional Australians.  Members will also be invited to a private tour of Microsoft's Flagship Fifth Avenue Store.

Please use the highlighted entrance when you arrive at the Store.

For those members who find breakfast events more convenient to attend, or you have "Private Fifth Avenue shopping experience" on your New York bucket list, this is a must attend event.

The Microsoft Store is located on Fifth Avenue at 53rd Street.  The entry for the event is through the door located to the left of the main entrance - see image.

We have reserved a private conference room where coffee and pastries will be served.

Members and guests will also have the opportunity to experience first hand, the latest Microsoft products, including HoloLens Mixed Reality technology as well as a tour of Xbox Studios and 3-D theatre.

 

Eddie Geller, Founder and CEO of Tinybeans will be sharing his thought leadership on how to build a successful US based, Global company.

Tinybeans is an app and web-based platform that provides parents with one safe space to capture and share their children’s life stories with family. Tinybeans offers an experience without the distractions or privacy concerns that arise when sharing a child’s memories.

Founded in Sydney, Australia in 2012, Tinybeans serves a deeply engaged user base of over 2.4 Million users in over 200 countries/territories and keeps over 125 million precious memories safe.

 

 

 

Date:  Thursday June 21, 2018

Time:  7:45AM to 9:00AM

Location:  Microsoft Store Fifth Avenue.

Cost:  Complimentary for Members and a Guest. 

Non-members tickets are $45. 

 

Thank you to all our members and guests who attended this event!

 

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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.

Continue reading “Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 12”

Spring Gathering at Taproom #307 in Gramercy

Join The Australian Community for our May 16th Social Gathering at Taproom #307.

It has been a few years since we last held a social gathering at Taproom 307,  but it was one of our most popular.  The location at 23rd Street and 3rd Avenue in Gramercy, which makes it geographically desirable for many members – including those in Brooklyn.

Taproom is known for its wide selection of beers on tap and great pub food.

You can RSVP using the link below.  Cash Bar, No Cover.

Our monthly gatherings are an excellent opportunity to meet other professional Australians in NYC, share knowledge and make new friends.

We hope to see you there!

Newsletter

Wrap up of our March Networking Event at One Art Space
Our March Networking event at One Art Space was another great opportunity for members to meet other Australians living in New York. There were also a number of special announcements that were made on the evening.

Launch of the 2018 Creative Challenge.

This annual art competition is an opportunity for all Australian artists living in the Greater New York area to receive recognition from other Australians. The Challenge for creative Australians is to create a body of work – using any art medium – that best encompasses three elements: Australia, Community and New York.

The $500 first prize winner will be decided by popular vote by our members. If you would like to receive the competition rules and enter, you can complete the form on our website using this link.

The competition closes to entries at the end of September, voting will commence in early October and the winner and runners up will be announced in early November.

We wish to thank our sponsors HSBC and One Art Space for making this event possible. We would also like to thank all those who attended, and special thanks to another superb classical performance by Rupert Boyd.

Our expat banking and credit services with HSBC has been extended to include Home Loans.

In addition to Banking and Credit Card services, under this new program our members can finance up to 75% for a primary home, up to 70% on a second home, condo, co-op, one family etc. or finance up to 60% on an investment property – without a Social Security Number or two years of US tax returns to qualify!

This may come as good news to many Australians who have been on the fence about selling their Australian homes and purchasing US properties prior to the proposed changes to Australian Capital Gains Tax for non-residents effective June 30, 2019.

New and existing members anywhere in the US can qualify for credit and Home Loans under this HSBC program. To read more, or have a HSBC credit specialist reach out, details are on our website.

Read the latest data from the Department of Homeland Security on Australian non-immigrant visas including E-3 approvals – and denials.

For a number of years we have been publishing data on Australian visas from the Department of Homeland Security. The information is released at different times of the year, and some remarkable data has recently come to light.  Read More:

Access a better deal on FOREX through The Australian Community’s 0.45% preferred rate.


For those members who transfer money internationally, you may not be aware of our preferred rate negotiated with OFX (OzForex). Under this 0.45% preferred rate, which is better than the best rate offered by TransferWise, members can transfer 36 major currencies internationally, and there is also an App.

Whether you transfer $500 or $50,000, you always get the 0.45% preferred rate.

Many members around the US who have had to begin repaying their student loans can now access this rate to transfer payments to Australia. There is no fee to sign up, and you can immediately compare your existing FOREX service with our preferred rate to see how much you can save.  Click here to learn more and sign up is free.

ANZAC Day “Spirit of Mateship” Drinks on April 25 at Beckett’s NYC from 6:30PM to 10:00PM

ANZAC Day is just around the corner and for those who wish to attend the Dawn Service hosted by the Australian and New Zealand Consulate-Generals, you can find the information here.

The Australian Community will also be hosting an informal gathering at Beckett’s in the Historic Stone Street District from 6:30PM on ANZAC Day. Bringing together Australians in the “Spirit of Mateship” is core to our organization, and a great way to celebrate the ANZAC spirit in the US.

Space is limited so a RSVP is essential via the form on our website.

There will be a cash bar, food will be available to order and there is no cover.
Please reach out if our organization can assist you with any of your social, professional and charitable goals here in the US.

Announcing the 2018 Creative Challenge Art Competition

The Australian Community Creative Challenge was first held in 2013 to recognize the diversity of Australian artistic talent living and working in the Greater New York area.

The Challenge for creative Australians living in New York is to create a body of work – using any medium – that encompasses three elements: Australia, Community and New York. Continue reading “Announcing the 2018 Creative Challenge Art Competition”

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.

Continue reading “Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 10”

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!

survive nyc cover-1

Continue reading “Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 9”

New York in the Rear View Mirror:  An Australian’s Perspective.  (Part 3)

Over the past seven years, The Australian Community has connected over 5,800 Australians living in New York.  We reached out to members who have returned home, and asked them to share their perspective on living in NYC and their transition back to Australia.

What advice would you give to Aussies contemplating the move to NYC?

Continue reading “New York in the Rear View Mirror:  An Australian’s Perspective.  (Part 3)”

New York in the Rear View Mirror:  An Australian’s Perspective.  (Part 2)

Over the past seven years, The Australian Community has connected over 5,800 Australians living in New York.  We reached out to members who have returned home, and asked them to share their perspective on living in NYC and their transition back to Australia.

How did NYC change you professionally? Continue reading “New York in the Rear View Mirror:  An Australian’s Perspective.  (Part 2)”

New York in the Rear View Mirror:  An Australian’s Perspective.  (Part 1)

Over the past seven years, The Australian Community has connected over 5,800 Australians living in New York.  We reached out to members who have returned home, and asked them to share their perspective on living in NYC and the transition back to Australia.

What is it like transitioning back to Oz?

Continue reading “New York in the Rear View Mirror:  An Australian’s Perspective.  (Part 1)”

Aussie Cafés in NYC – and where to find them: Merriweather Coffee + Kitchen

There are dozens of Australian businesses who have opened shop in New York.  Some we know well, and others not so well.

We want our readers to learn about these businesses, where they are located, as well as share the personal stories of their owners.

We spoke with Peter Godhard, the Founder of Merriweather Coffee + Kitchen – an Aussie café located at 428 Hudson Street in New York City. Continue reading “Aussie Cafés in NYC – and where to find them: Merriweather Coffee + Kitchen”

March Member Networking Event

Thank you to all of our Members and their guests who attended this event.

The evening featured a brief presentation from HSBC discussing the expat credit services, including home loans, available to our members.  Currently our members are able to open bank accounts and access credit cards before they receive their social security number, and start building a US credit score from Australia. 

You can use this link to learn more about expat credit services available to members:  www.aucommunity.org/news_hsbc/

Through this new program, our members can now access HSBC’s expat mortgages, an important service for those members who may be considering selling their Australian property and reinvesting in the US before the proposed changes to Australian Capital Gains Tax that come into effect in June, 2019.

The Australian Community’s 2018 Creative Challenge art competition was also announced on the evening.

The Creative Challenge is an art competition open to Australian artists living in the Greater New York Area, and the entry can be in any medium of art that embodies Australia, Community and New York.

Click here to learn more and submit an entry in this year’s Creative Challenge.

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.

Continue reading “Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 7”

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. Continue reading “Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 6”

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 US healthcare system less complicated. Continue reading “Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 5”

Aussie Cafés in NYC – and where to find them: Wattle Café

There are literally dozens of Australian businesses who have opened shop in New York.  Some we know well, and others not so well.

We want our readers to learn about these businesses, where they are located, as well as share the personal stories of their owners.

We spoke with Ana Ivkosic, the Founder of Wattle Café – an Aussie café located on Third Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets in New York City. Continue reading “Aussie Cafés in NYC – and where to find them: Wattle Café”

Aussie Businesses in NYC – and where to find them: Wellbuilt

There are literally dozens of Australian businesses who have opened shop in New York.  Some we know well, and others not so well.

We want our readers to learn about these businesses, where they are located, as well as share the personal stories of their owners.

We spoke with Mitch Kidd, one half of WellBuilt Co – an Australian Construction and Development company making waves in New York and the Tri State Area.

Continue reading “Aussie Businesses in NYC – and where to find them: Wellbuilt”

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 US 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 US 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. Continue reading “Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 4”

December Drinks at Hole In The Wall – 15 Cliff Street FiDi

Our monthly gatherings are always an opportunity to make new Australian friends and share your New York experiences, so on the evening of Wednesday December 13 we will be hosting a small gathering where members and guests are welcome.

December is a difficult time to organize after work drinks given the number of competing office Holiday parties that happen this time of year. However, what is more difficult is being away from family and friends in a new city.

Our friends at Hole in the Wall's new café, which recently opened up on 15 Cliff Street in the Financial District, are opening up their doors for our members to gather together to share some Holiday cheer, and meet other Australians who are living in New York.

In addition to being a Café, the 15 Cliff Street location has a fully licensed bar so you have the choice of caffeinated or alcoholic drinks - not necessarily in that order!

An outside view of Hole in the Wall's Cliff Street location.

 

Space is very limited, so RSVP early as this event is likely to oversubscribe.

Details:  No Cover - Cash Bar -  Happy Hour Drink Specials - Snack Menu.

 

Aussie Cafés in NYC – and where to find them: Boundless Plains Espresso

There are literally dozens of Australian businesses who have opened shop in New York.  Some we know well, and others not so well.

We want our readers to learn about these businesses, where they are located, as well as share the personal stories of their owners.

We spoke with Jo Black, the Founder of Boundless Plains– a new Aussie café located on Rector Street in the Financial District of New York City. Continue reading “Aussie Cafés in NYC – and where to find them: Boundless Plains Espresso”

Aussie Businesses in NYC – and where to find them: Scanlan Theodore

There are literally dozens of Australian businesses who have opened shop in New York.  Some we know well, and others not so well.

We want our readers to learn about these businesses, where they are located, as well as share the personal stories of their owners.

We spoke with Melinda Robertson and Sarah Blank to learn more about their business Scanlan Theodore located at 117 Prince Street in SoHo. Continue reading “Aussie Businesses in NYC – and where to find them: Scanlan Theodore”

Aussie Businesses in NYC – and where to find them: Save Your Sole

There are literally dozens of Australian businesses who have opened shop in New York.  Some we know well, and others not so well.

We want our readers to learn about these businesses, where they are located, as well as share the personal stories of their owners.

We spoke with Amanda Collins to learn more about her business Save Your Sole located at 1 Little West 12th St in NYC. Continue reading “Aussie Businesses in NYC – and where to find them: Save Your Sole”

Aussie Cafés in NYC – and where to find them: Three Seat Espresso & Barber

After a very positive response to our series of articles featuring Aussie Cafés in NYC, we are posting a series featuring Australian small businesses operating in New York.

We want our readers to learn about these businesses, where they are located, as well as share the personal stories of their owners.

We spoke with Aaron Cook, the Founder of Three Seat Espresso & Barber – a Barber Shop AND Café – located on Avenue A in New York City.

Continue reading “Aussie Cafés in NYC – and where to find them: Three Seat Espresso & Barber”

Aussie Cafés in NYC – and where to find them: Southern Cross Coffee

There has been a ton of recent press featuring Aussie cafés in NYC.  Most feature either the highly successful coffee chains or those found only in NoLIta.

To highlight some of the other Aussie businesses in NYC, here is the third in a series of articles featuring Australian Cafépreneurs.

We want our readers to learn more about their Aussie owners, and what is unique about their businesses.   We spoke with Adam Sobol who with his partner Sergio D’Auria opened Southern Cross Coffee located at 300 E 5th Street between 2nd and 1st Avenues.

Continue reading “Aussie Cafés in NYC – and where to find them: Southern Cross Coffee”

Aussie Cafés in NYC – and where to find them: Hutch & Waldo.

There has been a ton of recent press featuring Aussie cafés in NYC.  Most feature either the highly successful coffee chains or those found only in NoLIta.

To highlight some of the other Aussie businesses in NYC, here is the second in a series of articles featuring Australian Cafépreneurs.

We want our readers to learn more about their Aussie owners, and what is unique about their businesses.   We spoke with Alastair McFarland who has recently opened Hutch and Waldo located at 347 E 81st @ 2nd Avenue.

Continue reading “Aussie Cafés in NYC – and where to find them: Hutch & Waldo.”

Aussie Cafés in NYC – and where to find them: Saltwater

There has been a ton of recent press featuring Aussie cafés in NYC.  Most feature either the highly successful coffee chains or those found only in NoLIta.

To highlight some of the other Aussie businesses in NYC, here is the first in a series of articles featuring Australian Cafépreneurs. 

We want our readers to learn more about their Aussie owners, and what is unique about their businesses.   For our first location we sat down with Lee and Sid Chitnis, the owners and operators of Saltwater located at 345 E 12th Street between 2nd and 1st Avenues.

Continue reading “Aussie Cafés in NYC – and where to find them: Saltwater”

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.

Many of these Aussies did not have a solid plan in place before arriving in the US. 

In our book Moving to the US for Aussies, we discuss a check list of basic needs before moving to the US.  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? Continue reading “Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 3”

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapters 1&2

Chapter 1: Surviving the first 30 days

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.

  • Budget
  • Insurance:  Health/Travel/Property
  • Accommodation Plan
  • Communication Plan (phone, internet and emergency)
  • Local Credit and Bank Accounts
  • Foreign Exchange
  • Employment Plan (if seeking work)
  • —————————- New York Bucket List
  • —————————- your professional “Hit List”
  • —————————- items to take
  • —————————- items to leave behind
  • Passport
  • Plane Ticket
  • Membership to the Australian Community

You individual lists are going to vary, but simply making a list is an important step before leaving Australia.  Knowing also what to leave behind, is almost as important as what to bring.

A good rule of thumb is that if it needs an 240 to 110 AC adapter, you should probably leave it behind.  Unlike Australia, most consumer electrical goods are cheap in the US – and they are built to natively run on 110 volts!

Tim Tams, Vegemite and Bundaberg Rum

Any well prepared Aussie will have planned ahead and packed a few “necessities” before leaving home.  The usual suspects are either coated in Cadbury chocolate or are items that have never graced the shelves of an American supermarket.

Australians have been bringing these items – everything from foodstuffs to cleaning products – into the US and through US Customs for decades.  It may be your first trip to the US, but Customs have already seen it all.

Fortunately, you have planned ahead and three dozen packets of Tim Tams and a 1 litre bottle of Bundy is well under the US Customs limits.  This is the perfect opportunity to get onto the Something to Declare line, which always seems considerably shorter that the Nothing to Declare line (queue).

Do not be surprised by a pithy comment from the Agent: “You Aussies and your Tim Tams”, or a simple roll of the eyes before they stamp your card, smile, and then wave you through without incident.

If you purchase Duty Free liquor or any liquid that exceeds the 100ml restriction for Domestic carry on, be sure to transfer it to your checked bag as soon as you land in the US.  Thousands of Aussies have had their bottle of Bundy, or Perfume, confiscated by TSA Agents for exceeding the 100ml restriction for Domestic Flights!

The Carousel Moment.

For those who are arriving in the US with a fresh work visa or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status, in all probability you have not had a chance to fully process your decision to move to the US.

For the most part, you may have been completely focused on the logistics of how to get there, where to stay, what to take, what to leave behind and where to store it if you do.

You may have been tirelessly searching the Internet looking for medium term accommodation, checking its affordability, and hopefully you have found a location to live that is a relatively short commute to, if not in the City itself.

If you are starting a new job, you may be excited about taking your career to the next level and competing with the best and brightest in your field from around the World – and then it hits you.

Standing at the airport carousel of your final destination, waiting for your second bag to arrive, all at once a wave of anxiety washes over you and you find yourself suddenly asking the question “What was I thinking?”

As the realization sinks in that you are now past the point of no return,  for the first time you start to see the forest for the trees:  The Big Picture starts to come into focus.

After the anxiety abates and the cold sweat warms to mild perspiration,  you pick up your bags and then head into your first adventure:  The Airport terminal.

Running the (Airport) Gauntlet

No matter what city you land in, be it LA or NYC, you are going to have to deal with transportation to your hotel or that “sunny” apartment you found on the Internet.

Given many Australians have just spent 20+ hours travelling, are tired and simply want to get to their hotel or apartment, this makes them especially vulnerable to Airport scams, especially related to transportation.

Transportation comes in many forms, bus, train or taxi, but the scourge of many Airports are the private, and sometimes unlicensed/uninsured drivers commonly referred to as Gypsy Cabs.

Uber/Lyft notwithstanding, there is usually a Spruiker who is lying in wait at the Arrivals gate aggressively asking new arrivers if they need transportation.  If you fall victim to their seemingly bargain offer to take you to your destination, you are quickly pawned off to a driver who whisks you away, and a short time later find yourself victim of a scam.

Your best strategy is to avoid eye contact, and with your headset on make a bee-line directly to the Ground Transportation sign where you will find a bus or cab that will reliably take you to your destination.

In New York, Yellow Cab drivers have a flat fee from the airport to Manhattan.  It can be the most expensive form of transportation, but you are assured that you and your luggage arrive safely at your destination.  The most cost effective transportation in NYC is the Airtrain and Subway.

If you do take a private shuttle bus, beware of the risks of losing your luggage by the diver inadvertently (or deliberately) giving your luggage to someone else if there are multiple stops.  Always keep an eye on your luggage and be sure to have insurance in a worst case scenario.

Bonus points if you can tell the cab driver more than the street number of your hotel, but between which avenues it is located.  New York is a grid so navigation is much easier by saying “10th Street between 1st and A”  than “275 E 10th Street”.

The Tipping Point

One area where Australians seem to struggle when they arrive in the US is in the area of tipping or gratuity.  Unlike Australia, in New York the minimum wage is only $11-$12 per hour, therefore workers often rely on tips to supplement their income.

Whether it is the Taxi driver who also assists you with your bags, the hotel worker who carries your bags to your room, or the server who smiles as they place your well earned beverage on the hotel bar, the amount you tip can be a challenge for newly arrived Australians to the US.

Before you leave Australia, ask your bank (or banks) if they have any US $1 bills that they can sell you.  Arming yourself with at least 20 x $1 bills before you leave Australia should be enough to tip your way to your destination.

Sure there are ATMs at any US airport, but it is somewhat challenging to hand over a US $20 bill and ask for change if you are attempting to tip someone $2 for helping you with your bags!

Taxis and Hotels

As a guide, taxi drivers are tipped either 15%, 20% or 25% based on the service you receive.  NYC taxis have a feature on their touch screens where it will calculate the tip for you.  When it comes time to pay, you just select the amount you want to tip.

If someone is helping with your bags at your hotel the tip is usually $1 per bag, or $2 per bag if you are staying in a luxury hotel.   Hotel maids are usually tipped $2 to $5 per day which you can leave in the room at the end of your stay.

Many hotels have a Concierge, and if you have a special request, say for organizing theatre tickets or a table at a restaurant, you would also tip an amount commensurate with the difficulty of the request.  A simple request such as making a dinner reservation is $5, however if they get you tickets to Hamilton, the sky may be the limit!

If a Doorman hails a cab, or assists you in and out of a cab, they are usually tipped $1-$2 depending on the service.

Food and Alcohol

Restaurant servers are tipped in the 15%-20% range, though 20% is more the norm in New York.  If there are six or more of you in your party, restaurants usually add a gratuity to the check, so ask first if it does not list it on the menu.

Be sure to check your bill when it arrives as some restaurants automatically add a tip to every check.  You can be sure that your server is not going to alert you to the fact that you just double tipped!

Sitting at the bar, the tip is $1 per drink.  However if the drinks are $15+ each, $2 per drink may be more appropriate.  If you are paying cash for drinks in NYC, there is no sales tax.  However, if you order food or use a credit card, tax will be added to the check.

This will at least will eliminate any tipping faux pas at your hotel, and ensure that during the course of your stay, service will always be accompanied with a smile.

Once you have your own place, then a new set of dynamics apply!

Deliveries

If you arrive home exhausted and decide to order “Take Out” rather than attempting to cook in your (often small) kitchen, even though the restaurant advertises free delivery, you still have to tip the person who brings your food to your door.

The tip amount is usually in the $3 – $5 range, but if the person just rode twenty blocks on a bicycle in rain or snow, you might want to consider adding a few extra dollars for a weather surcharge.

Where tipping becomes a fine art is deciding on the tip to give to  the people delivering your new furniture. 

If your building has the convenience of an elevator, compared to carrying a sofa up five flights of stairs, you have to make a judgement call on how much more to tip than $10 per person.

Doorman Buildings

If you are among those who are living in a Doorman building, you will understand the convenience of having your deliveries signed for, and your dry cleaning delivered safely to your apartment.

Like all services in New York, it comes at a price.

Depending on the level of service you receive, the door always being held open for you, taxi doors being opened for you, in addition to signing for deliveries etc., you may be looking at tipping $100 to $200 per doorman when Christmas rolls around each year.

As a guideline as to how much you should tip at the end of the year, if you were to tip $1 each time they provided a service throughout the year, what would be the total?

You can also ask other residents with whom you may be friendly, how much they tip each year.

Do not be surprised if a list appears in your foyer showing how much each apartment tipped during the Holidays.  It is not in every case, but some buildings allow posting the numbers!

Maintenance Staff/Superintendent

Chances are that at a minimum there will be a building Superintendent or Super.  Their responsibilities include taking out the trash (garbage) and recycling, as well as ensuring that the building common areas are clean and neat.

If your heat and/or hot water is out, they are usually the first to call.

It is always important to say Hi, and be civil to your building maintenance staff because you never know when you might need assistance in your apartment.

If say you need to borrow a tool, or your toilet suddenly stops flushing, the speed at which your problem is resolved is based on two variables;

1)    Your level of personal relationship, and

2)    How much you tipped them in the past

As a guide, even though it may be their job, if they do help with an issue around your apartment, $10 here or $20 there is going to ensure that anytime there is a problem, you are going to be prioritized over the person who never tips, or never bothers to say hello or ask about their family.

This can also be a best practice if you have a Doorman building, given that if you tip your maintenance staff throughout the year, you do not need to tip around Christmas.

Health and Beauty

The guide for tipping if you decide to head off for a haircut or a new style, is to tip 15% to 20% of the bill.

Similarly, if a day at the spa sounds like a great way to shake off any residual jetlag, you can add another 15% for great service.

Nail salons can be a challenge for those astute shopping who find a  bargain.  For example a mani-pedi can cost as little as $20 (if you pay cash), or as much as $55 or more at an upmarket salon.  Should you tip the same for both services?  Feedback is that $5 to $10 is the range, the higher of the two if they throw in a free back rub!

Haircuts are similar.  Women can expect to pay around $50 for a haircut, or as much as $800 if you have your bangs trimmed by Orlando Pita, the owner of Orlo in NYC.

Expect to tip a minimum of 15%, however, if you are lucky enough to be sitting next to Madonna or Gwynneth Paltrow at Orlo, why not make it an even $1,000?  You now look like a millionaire, so why not tip like one!

Chapter 2: The Four “W”s of Survival in NYC

Australian Special Forces are regularly dropped off in a remote part of Australia as part of their survival training.  In these situations the mantra is the four “W”s:  Water, Weather, Widow Makers and Wigglies.

In a way, survival in New York can be equated to these same four  “W”s.

Water

There is a saying; “Spending money like water”, and in NYC failing to ration your water has brought unstuck many expats.  Going out and spending $20 for breakfast, $15 for lunch, a few Flat Whites during the day, throw in cocktails with dinner and you are going to burn through $1,500 to $2,500 per month – before you pay rent.

At this rate of burn, and facing the prospect of a three to six month window to find work, many Australians simply run out of money before they see any positive cash flow into their bank account.

It will be covered in a later chapter in detail, but many finding work is not as easy as many Australians believe, so be very careful with your money and ration wisely!

Weather   

At some point you may find yourself settled into your new apartment, and you feel somewhat secure with the knowledge that you have a roof over your head.  But like the weather, your situation can change very quickly.

There are many unforeseen challenges that could arise at any minute in the US, the most devastating are those that effect your Health, your Finances and your Liberty (HFL).  You cannot plan for every scenario, but failing to have basic health insurance in a country that charges $10,000 to $30,000 for an Appendectomy, this is one risk you first need to retire.

This book is a great start to understanding some of the challenges you may not have known exist, but always seek advice from a professional when it comes to matters that effect your HFL.

Widow Makers

Your would not pitch your tent under the dead branch of a tree, or on the precipice of a cliff, so don’t take any unnecessary chances that effect your HFL.

It is sometimes the simple oversights that can have an Australian’s dream of living in the US dashed.  One common one is overstaying a visa.

The most devastating consequence of a visa overstay is that it will most certainly lead to a ban from entering the US, and ergo the denial of an E-3 Visa.

If your visa expires on January 1st, this means you have until 11:59PM on December 31st to be outside the US.  If you mistakenly booked a flight that leaves on January 1st, you will have no problems leaving the country, but you can be sure that next time you try and enter the US, you will be detained at US Immigration and you will find yourself on the next flight back to your last point of departure.  Hopefully that was Australia.

The Australian Community’s website contains a number of articles including:

Top 10 Expat Mistakes

What NOT to Post on Social Media and

Top 10 Questions asked by Australian Expats

All of these posts  serve as a guide to avoiding “Widowmakers” that can cut your stay in the US short, or worse.

Special Note on Personal Safety

In the City that never sleeps you are often going to find yourself out enjoying New York’s amazing night life.  Whether it is a Broadway show, an Upper West Side restaurant or Lower East Side bar, you may feel safe, but the situation can change in an instant.

Crime may be down in NYC, but you are never completely safe.  You must always be situationally aware of your surroundings, especially late at night and on the Subway.

If you are out with a friend, never leave your wingman.  There are gangs that use a male or female as a ruse to gain entry into your apartment, so NEVER invite a stranger into your home.

Crossing a NYC street against a DON’T WALK sign is very dangerous, however it is common practice in NYC.  One might assume that traffic only flows in one direction on a NYC street, but locals know to look in the other direction for the delivery guy on a bicycle riding against the traffic before making their dash.

Before you can start behaving like a native New Yorker, you first need to understand all of the risks.  If New York decides to hand you a life lesson, you are not always able to simply dust yourself and walk away.

Wigglies

In Australian you know to first check your boots for spiders or other wigglies that may have decided overnight to make your R.M. Williams their new home, or checking that a Common Brown is not sunning itself on a cement block before heading to the Hills Hoist with a basket full of laundry.

To be literal, it is important to look down in New York as well. Whether it is stepping in the by product of an inconsiderate dog owner, or a visit to the ER after tripping on an uneven side walk, looking down can be just as important as looking forward.

Like their Aussie counterparts, New York Wigglies can also enter our lives via stealth.  These Wigglies can be “Consultants” who claim to help you find work – naturally for a fee, internet accommodation scams, or simply bad advice on social media sites that lead to financial hardship or legal issues.

New York is full of scammers, all who are keen to separate you from your money.  It is not always easy to tell, but if someone has a well rehearsed sales pitch that begins with “Pardon the interruption…” and finishes with …God bless”, chances are they are not “homeless” and they do this for a living.

These scams can be quite elaborate and ask for more than just a “nickel, dime or a penny”.

There are stories of someone who would dress up as a Nun during the St Genaro Festival on Mulberry Street to scam money from unsuspecting tourists.  Another was of a well dressed business man claiming his wallet was lost/stolen and needed $55 to get back to Connecticut.

The more sophisticated pan handlers target Amtrak trains awaiting departure and the pitch is that they need $100 to get back home as their was [Insert issue] with their ticket.

In these and similar scams, the person is playing on the heart strings of generous individuals, and Australians are amongst the most vulnerable.

Not being able to differentiate between a genuine plea for help and a convincing scam, does not mean that you are forced to either feel guilty, or fall victim.  The simple solution is to make an annual donation to a charity who assist New Yorkers in crisis.  The Bowery Mission, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army etc., all have programs to not only assist the homeless, but help families in crisis.

By financially supporting charities that directly assist New Yorker in crisis, you are armed with the knowledge that you have already made a donation of food, clothing or money the next time someone asks for money on the subway or on the street.

It does not completely make you immune to a plea for help, but the good news is that you still have a soul.  In a later Chapter we discuss When You know its time to leave the US, however, the day that you stop saying “There but for the Grace of God go I”, it might be time to book your return flight home.

The Emotional Cost of NYC

Aside from scammers who can be financially devastating, there are individuals who can emotionally bankrupt us as well.  Relationship advice is not the subject matter of this book, but being alone in a big city can lead to questionable relationship decisions.

Building a circle of Australian friends (not virtual) is important as they can quickly assist you in finding your moral compass.  Aussie friends as we all know can be brutal when it comes to offering personal advice, whereas Americans tend to be less direct for fear of hurting your feelings.

Rest assured, there are many New Yorkers who will want to take you in the wrong direction, so a quick check of your Aussie Compass should keep you on the right path!

A Positive First Step

Joining the Australian Community is a great first step for any Australian who is moving to the US.  Making social and professional connections with other Australians not only gives a sense of home, but you can also tap into the collective brains trust of thousands of other professional Australians who have most probably been in your situation at some stage.

On the social side of things, it is not uncommon for single members to attend our events and make new (real world) friends.

Our private social nework contains more than two dozen groups including Food and Coffee, Family Friendly, NYC Social and Sports are just a few groups to tap into the social side of our organization, and connect with professional Australians.

Click here to read Chapter 3 The Hierarchy of Ex-Pat Needs

Click here to read “Moving to the US for Aussies” from the beginning.

About The Australian Community

The Australian Community is a 501(c)(3) Public Charity and its Mission is to connect Australian living in the United States through social. professional and charitable initiatives.

All contributions are fully tax deductible under Section 170 of the IRS Code. The Australian Community is also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under section 2055, 2106 or 2522 of the Code.

Announcing The Australian Community Center in New York

Who would have thought that seven years ago, what started out as a handful of Australian expats banding together to network and share knowledge, would grow into what is now the largest Australian non-profit organization by United States membership.

Further, after launching our Enterprise Social Network in January 2016, the Australian Community’s Yammer network has now grown to house the largest private Australian knowledgebase in the US.

Sixty percent of our 3,800 members, and two thirds of our Board of Directors are Australian women.

Continue reading “Announcing The Australian Community Center in New York”

10 Tips for Australian Job Seekers in New York

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 J-1 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.

Continue reading “10 Tips for Australian Job Seekers in New York”

10 Questions asked by Australians Living in New York

On Wednesday June 14, 2017 The Australian Community held a private networking event at Bluestone Lane’s DUMBO location in New York to record a video of the Top 10 Questions asked of The Australian Community.

Some of the answers captured in the thirty minute video revealed a number of common mistakes (and incorrect assumptions) made by Australian expats living in New York and the broader US. Continue reading “10 Questions asked by Australians Living in New York”

10 Reasons to Join The Australian Community

Diving into the deepest end of the most shark infested pool on the planet may be no brainer when it comes to taking your career to the next level.  However, without a social or professional lifeline, you are going to face some serious challenges.

The Australian Community is a 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission is to connect Australians living in the US through social, professional and charitable initiatives.

Continue reading “10 Reasons to Join The Australian Community”

5 reasons why the E3 visa is not going away anytime soon.

Since the new Administration has signaled sweeping changes to the US’s policy on immigration, The Australian Community has been approached by many of its members who are concerned that the E3 visa may be abolished.

Clearly they are concerned about the potential economic and social impact that this will have on thousands of Australians living and working in the US.

Continue reading “5 reasons why the E3 visa is not going away anytime soon.”

Announcing The Australian Community Corporate Sponsorships!

In response to companies wishing to better connect with The Australian Community’s events, and expat services for their Australian employees, we have good news!

Our Corporate Membership classes promote closer engagement between sponsors and thousands of Australians in the US.  We also provide bespoke in-house seminars to educate Australian employees on overcoming the challenges facing expats living in the US.

Sponsors also receive benefits including access to our private Yammer social network, professional introductions, and complimentary tickets to our member-only events. Continue reading “Announcing The Australian Community Corporate Sponsorships!”