I was sent this email, to which I just replied, which I thought some others may gain, or offer further insight.
The original email is right below, my reply below that, the article that spurred this conversation on, is http://www.dieselduck.info/library/01 articles/career_development/australian-adventure.html
Sent: November 26, 2015 6:24 PM
Subject: Hi Martin
I was researching articles regarding migration to Australia and Canada and chanced upon your site which made for a very interesting read.
I'm an Indian national, holding a Master's ticket sailing as a Chief Mate on oil tankers. We're presently a family of three, with a fourth member due early next year.
We were planning on migrating to Australia and just as I was planning to start my immigration process, I was offered a shore job by my present employer in Vancouver, BC. Quite honestly, the idea of shifting to Vancouver is quite daunting due to its cost of living. Also, we have no friends or family in Canada. On the other hand, we do have some in Melbourne and Brisbane, which grants me a sense of security should I leave my wife and kids and have to sail overseas.
As I understand, you've taken a bite of both apples, so would really appreciate if you could enlighten me regarding the cost of living in Canada against Australia, tax structure and benefits and most importantly, the job availability in Australia. I'm looking for preferably one month or 6 weeks on/off contracts. I don't hold a DP licence, only a Master's foreign going one.
Any help in the regard would be much appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to maintain the website and in advance for reading and replying to this mail.
Where do I start, on many themes in your email; too many to address, even if I was remotely an expert on the subject.
I attempted to get to see “both side of the coin” but did not really get a good glimpse of life in general in Australia. I dropped it because it was just too much cost to our family, as I did not feel much love from the locals.
Life and work in both Canada and Australia are quite hard to quantify as you may know. Australia and Canada have been in the gripes of the one% crowds for some time , and they have a strong drive to kill any decent paying jobs, especially in Australia. In Canada we are under considerable attack as well. I don’t mind competition for job, however I have a problem with paying the huge amount of taxes in Canada, the many hurdles by Transport Canada, then the government not protecting our seafaring jobs.
If you were to move to Canada – Vancouver – for work, you would be only able to work ashore. If you wanted to sail on Cdn ship, where salaries might be better than shore side, you would have to get accredited by Transport Canada which basically means you would have to redo all of your training. Transport Canada seems to exist only to make becoming a professional seafarer as excruciatingly difficult as possible, for no apparent reason.
If you just want to come to Canada – to leave your present situation, I would suggest a smaller city than Vancouver to relocate to, and working internationally. Working internationally in Canada means nothing, as your income internationally is taxed exactly the same as working in Canada roughly 25% of your paycheck right off the bat, which is difficult since, globally, your competing with jurisdiction that don’t tax their internationally working seafarers. So you will need to cut your living cost as low as possible to live okay. Working internationally and living in a major city like Vancouver, Toronto, and with a family, is just not possible.
The cost of living in Canada is quite high, especially in large urban center like Vancouver. There are a considerable amount of jobs in Vancouver for (ex)seafarers that pay in the 100 k range, however studies have found that an minimum average salary of about 150k per year is required to live in Vancouver. If able to, staying out of urban center is best, and sailing is best way to not feel like a slave, however there is a huge social cost to family in loneliness and isolation if not able to interact socially vis a vis your wife and kids.
As much as Vancouver is expensive to live in it is my opinion that it is cheaper than Australia, I estimate about 25% cheaper. When we were doing our assessment as to whether immigrating to Australia was a good idea, we estimated that the cost would be about 25% higher, but the salaries (sailing) would have been about 50% higher, therefore a net increase – socially. This all depends on getting decent sea going role on Australian ship in Oil and Gas, which is a bit dodgy, especially now, with the sinking oil barrel price. Not to mention the ruthless corporate friendly government running the show.
I found the Australian immigration process was fairly straight forward and I felt it was genuine. However I found that in Australia that dealing with Australians in the marine field, you need a thick skin, with the best benefits was speaking the “Queen’s English”.
I will leave it at that.