28 June 2007

End of Financial Year Sales

In case anyone's missed it, Saturday is the last day of the financial year and companies around the country are reducing stock to improve their end of year figures. That spells good discounts for shoppers. Lets have a sneak peek at a few of them. Advertisements in my local rag this week include a "Massive Jeans and Street Fashion Sale" starting 12 noon at the Brighton Town Hall, a stocktake sale at Decorators Warehouse, Cnr Cecil & Market St South Melbourne. Caulfield Godfrey's at 380 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield, has up to 60% off. They mainly sell vacuum cleaners, but have steam irons at $10 for the sale. That sounds all very well, but while we're still on water restrictions the best bargains have got to be on plants. Devon Tubestock Nursery in Monbulk* is offering hundreds of thousands of plants for sale at $1 each. If I had time to get across to Monbulk I'd be checking them out this weekend.

*17 McCarthy Rd, Monbulk Phone 9752 1700.

23 June 2007

How many kg am I allowed on the flight?

Manisha asked:
"Hey I'm from India coming with a student visa in July. Could anyone help me out by telling me how luggage I'm allowed? It will be a great help. Thanks.

Ahmad replied:
"That is up to specific airlines. Most airlines from India would allow 40kg for students. Normally it's 20+7 for economy class, 30+12 for business class and 40+12 for first class."

From India Airlines will not pinch you if its your very first flight. They are lenient if you keep your luggage under 40+7 kg.

40 should be divided into 2 bags. Due to work safety laws no one will pick up a bag heavier than 30kg.

There are things which are not allowed in the cabin bags and in luggage. Please check CASA's web site for it.

Reproduced from the Orkut Melbourne Community with permission from Rajan & Ahmad

21 June 2007

What is the cost of doing an MBA in Australia?

Seems like a number of people are interested in the average cost of attaining an MBA from the land downunder. The link should suffice as far as estimates are concerned.

However, it misses the two leading business schools:

Melbourne Business School (Melbourne Uni): AUD 55,000
Australian Graduate School of Management: AUD 52,800

If you want to consider potential for earnings from a part time job
Tuition fee (total): AUD 35,000 to 55,000
Living Expenses: AUD 12-18 thousand per yr

Part time jobs can get you about AUD 10k a year at max in most cases...

Thanks to Ahmad and Hadi from the Orkut study in Australia Commumity

16 June 2007

Myer Stocktake Sale

For all of you searching for a bargain, I've heard from a reliable source (Vogue Forums), that the Myer stocktake sale starts on Wednesday the 20th of June. There will be a preview event on Tuesday the 19th, for holders of Myer cards and Myerone cards.
Quoting Mr Industrie from the Vogue forum the sale catalogue is "pretty average. The offers for fashion were pretty boring, especially considering its a stocktake sale. Its mostly homewares stuff, so if that's what your after, then you might find it interesting. There are big discounts on selected towels, sheets & cookware and lots of travel goods on sale." For recent arrivals who can stand a few more days of being cold, prices of womens' coats will be reduced by 30% and quilts will be reduced by 40%.

The David Jones half yearly clearance started today.

10 June 2007

Am I allowed to drive with my overseas driving licence?

In Victoria, registration of vehicles and licensing of drivers is handled by VicRoads. VicRoads currently allows temporary residents to drive on a foreign drivers licence indefinitely, as long as the licence is in English or has an English translation. Alternatively, temporary visa holders may drive on a valid International driving permit. For further information and updates, check the VicRoads page on overseas drivers licences.

05 June 2007

PR Pass Mark to Remain at 120

The Australian Department of Immigration has confirmed that the pass mark for PR under the Skilled (Subclass 175) category will remain at 120 points, in FAQ available from the department's website. English language proficiency will increase in importance in the new rules which come into force on the 1st of September. Students on Orkut, an online community popular amongst the Indian diaspora, have welcomed the clarification from the Department of Immigration.

Yesterday, Ahmad, a Monash University student commented:

" The Pass mark remains at 120, which means most of you are safe.

Sandwiching of qualifications has NOT been prohibited

The rest remains as I explained before.

Here's the summary again:

Skills: 50 or 60
Age: Normally 30 for students under the age of 29
Aussie qualifications: 5, 15 or 25
English Language: 15 or 25
MODL: None, but with 1 yr work experience, can claim 15 or 20 points for MODL in addition to 10 points for work experience.

Total: 100 to 140, depending on qualification and skill.

It's a positive move in the end. Higher IELTS scores will be need (at least 7.0 in EACH module) to claim 25 points for English language, but a Temporary Residence visa for 18 months will be available for students unable to directly meet requirements."

Abilash asked: But I wonder what would happen after the upcoming elections. Is there a chance that the new government (probably labour) would increase the points required?

Ahmad answered: maybe...but since the steps have been implemented after a detailed study done by an independent panel, it should stay for a while. I won't be surprised if the new government jacks up the pass mark to 130 or 125, but that is something we cannot predict with any amount of accuracy.

Zaib asked:
Hey guys.......i want to ask.......... who gets temporary residence (TR)? People who don't get positive assesment from some authority) or people who can't get the pass mark of 120? For the assessment on cookery must have 900 hours of working experience?

Ahmad answered:
Anyone who meets the 2 yrs study rule, has a skill on the SOL approved by the assessing body, but unable to meet points requirement directly. yes u need 900 hours of work experience.

Work experience requirement can come from 2 sources:


They want work experience only to claim MODL, or work experience points, but the basic range of points has a waiver of work experience.

Assessment Authorities:

Sometimes work experience is required to claim SOL points from an assessing authority. For example, TRA wants 900 hours of work experience for assessing cookery. There's no way you can get around this blockade unless your qualification includes work experience.

Frank Asked:
What is the skill thing? 50 or 60 points? what does skill stand for?

Ahmad replied:
The points your job carries on the SOL list. Fully specialised jobs have 60 points (accountant, engineer etc), generalist jobs have 50 (economist, etc) and trade occupations have 40 (engineering associate etc). You have to apply to the relevant assessing body after finishing your course. For students they don't need an assessment letter, just the proof that they have applied for the assessment of their skills.

Abilash asked:
Have the 5 points for regional study been axed? I can find no mention of them in the GSM changes booklet.

Ahmad replied:
I do not find them either...maybe that will become clear when the specific website for the 885 is made...

The Q&A are from the Orkut Study in Australia community. Reprouced with permission from Ahmad.

02 June 2007

Weekend Breaks

Question from Anthony:
Hi Guys !! I look up to you, for the help and info that you guys are extending forward.. its truly commendable...I wish I knew about this community when I arrived here.

I am in Melbourne for about 5 months and I have been through all the phases of house & job hunting. Now its time for a break !!!! Since I am here with my wife, we need to break the usual monotony of work and home. We are looking forward towards venturing out more often and checking out some beautiful places here.

Can u suggest a few places that could be a nice weekend break. It could be anything from beaches, to dining, to sight seeing and not to mention cost effective as well :-)

I am sure,all would agree that , if you don't socialize out here, boredom will get you..

From Rajan
Hi Anthony, I personally do not know in monetary terms that how much are you willing to pay but following are few places you can go to (Some near to Melb and some far away but within Victoria)

Just one thing to be noted that I personally find YHA as the best and cheapest place to stay if you are a back packer or do nto want to spend much on staying overnight or for couple of days.

1. Great Ocean Road, further than Geelong and a lot of tour companies conducts tours for these places.
2. Mecedon Ranges (If you like lakes, agriculture, wineries etc.)
3. Yarra Vally
4. Mt.Buller, Mt.Baw Baw and Mt.Hotham (If you are into snow and ski, part of north east Victoria)
5. Gippsland and Phillip Island (Penguin parade is pretty famous from Phillip Island)
6. Grampians National Park (It took me about 3 and 1/2 hours to get there but it's a nice place to go to if you like bush walks and rock climbing on the way you would come accross wind farms and other historical places)
7. Dandenong Ranges, Puffing billy, Sky High, (take train from Belgrave for Puffing Billy. On the way to the Dandenong ranges try lunch at Miss Marples 'where mountain highway finishes' )

From Ahmad:
Rialto observation deck...Puffing Billy Railway (thats a starts from near the Belgrave station and takes u on a scenic ride through the Dandenong Ranges...

From Michelle:
I agree with Rajan that the youth hostels are an excellent cheap choice for accommodation. You should also check backpacker directories if there is no youth hostel at your destination. In some places you can hire an onsite van at a caravan park. The prices are similar to Youth Hostels, but with a wider range of destinations.

1. For Spring through to Autumn, I would recommend coastal towns, such as Lorne. In summer the beaches on the surf coast are a great attraction, but the wild seas in winter make a great view too. In winter you can still bushwalk (in the forests), see koalas in the wild if you're lucky, and you also have the cafes and pubs of the town.

2. I would recommend a visit to the Mornington peninsula, especially in the warmer months. At this time of year, the beaches are cold, but there are other attractions to visit, like wineries, Sorrento is a very picturesque little town and there is a very good mineral spa centre. You can relax in the mineral springs all day for $30, all less than an hour's drive from Monash Clayton.

From the Orkut Melbourne Community, reproduced here with permission from Rajan and Ahmad.

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