While me and my partner were waiting to get a job in Sydney,getting the basic things organized seemed like a prudent thing to do.When we had time,lets get what we can done out of the way was what we thought best.Making resumes and posting it,getting our medicare card,bank a/c, and a taxation number; all that was taken care off. Like I said in an earlier blog, even though we kept trying for jobs,we were getting more and more convinced that hiring slows down from Oct-Jan.
So we thought of getting our drivers licence's done which was the norm.We had heard stories of how some companies were located where there were no trains,so they required you to have a car and a drivers licence.It seemed quite insane to any intelligent person,that without a job and money,how one could have a car.We thought so because we came with only a few thousand dollars and that wasn't enough to buy a car,at least not a decent one according to our standards.
We anyway decided to book a driving test for me as it was too expensive for us to do for both.Now all those who are new migrants or are planning to migrate(even better) please read carefully.Having a car is important in Sydney,knowing to drive is also important.Having a drivers licence from India is very very important.Preferably one in English.Now please read very carefully,every word that I write as its from our own experience and free for you, so that you can benefit from it.
We were told from various sources since we landed on the ways to go about getting the licence.Now, as Indians we get a lot of advice from our brethren which is both good and bad.That is because,it feels good to get advice,but if the advice is wrong, that's bad.Now when we were trying for a licence the rule was that if you had a drivers licence from India and you have held it for 3 years or more then you could go in for a conversion.So for this, you need to take a DKT(driver knowledge test) and once you pass it, you are awarded with a learners licence.Now please be advised that back then you could drive in Sydney with an Indian licence up to 3 months after arrival.To check on current status of that condition please visit rta.com. Make sure you type in small characters and not bold. Now be warned that the DKT was not at all a cake walk like most of our adviser's told us. Its basically a test to check your knowledge on road,traffic and driving sense from a booklet provided and then there are some rule books which you could download.Prepare well and by that I mean practice on computer as its a computer based test.Me and my partner passed,Thank God as we practised well.But the tougher part was only ahead.Everyone from the clerk at the RTA(Road transport authority) to the testing instructor and the driving school instructors,viewed me with suspicion.Why? Because I was Indian and had an Indian driving licence.I don't blame them.It seems a lot of our Indian folk have landed here with licences belonging to their sibling's who resembled them,got into accidents and even the Indian consulate got a bad name. A chap at the Indian Consulate told me this.So they are very strict.I had to get a letter from the consulate saying me and the person in my licence were the same thanks to our RTO in Delhi which can't ever get names correctly.So make sure before you leave India that your name on you licence matches your name on your passport.Oh God the trouble I had to go through.Whats in name asked Shakespeare.Ask me.Its a lot of trouble if you don't get it right on a plastic.I did pass the test and the person issuing the licence saw that my licence was issued only in 2006,but he didn't see that I'd held a licence since 1999.There was a big drama over that and finally his manager gave the go ahead.Phew Pho.That was the name of the guy, Pho! I'll never forget him.My partner gave her the test only in 2008 at five dock RTA,as she got so busy with work that she didn't get time.She said the instructor and the clerks there were much nicer and professional than the ones in Lidcombe where I went for my test.
So all those wanting to get a licence here in Sydney, forewarned is forearmed! So better get your licences in advance,there's no p0int getting a licence which you've held only for a year or so.Most folks do have licences for more than 3years.Otherwise get here and do the whole nine yards.Good luck and safe driving mate.