This week we’ve got representatives from the Australian Consulate-General in New York, a Director of Recruiting at Robert Half Technology and a Travel Expert from Liberty Travel chatting to me about the most up-to-date information in their industries!

You will find a recording and transcript of the conversation below!

What are Regular Checkups?

I’ve created Regular Checkups as a way to keep you informed by relevant industry professionals as well as giving them a platform to share their best advice for you.

Join me every Thursday night at 6pmET for a rotating weekly panel of professionals from different relevant areas giving up-to-date advice for expats living and working in the U.S.

You can submit your own questions for the panel each week before Wednesday at 6pm and we will include it in our discussion.

I’ll include professionals from a wide range of backgrounds including:

  • Government & Consulate;
  • Travel, Movement & Flights;
  • Immigration & Law;
  • Recruitment & Jobs;
  • Tax & Accounting;
  • Health (Physical & Mental);
  • Finance & Markets;
  • HR & Management;
  • House & Accommodation;
  • Insurance; and
  • Community.

Relevant Links from the Panel

Meet the panel from Regular Checkup #1 (April 30, 2020):

Natalia Rojas, Consular and Passports Officer, Australian Consulate-General, New York

Natalia has been in working for the Australian Government for over 10 years now, 7 of those with the Department of Home Affairs in Melbourne and remote Australia working with Immigration detainees.

She spent 5 years with the Australian Foreign Government when she left her native Melbourne in 2015 for Canada on a working holiday visa and worked at the Australian High Commission in Ottawa processing Australian Visas.

Soon after, she moved to the Australian Consulate-General in sunny Los Angeles before making her move east to her current position in New York.

Matt Baden, Director, Permanent Placement Services at Robert Half Technology

Matthew Baden works as the Director of Recruitment for Robert Half’s Technology division. Matt has worked in NYC for 3 years and before that held a similar role back in Sydney in their Finance and Accounting division.

All up he has more than 10 years of experience across both markets and is well placed to provide insights on the market here in NYC for Australian’s having placed many E3’s himself, but also on those wanting to, or thinking of going home.

He leads the practice for all permanent technology roles in NYC for Robert Half, the only Staffing company in the Fortune 500.

Josh Engstrom, Travel Expert, Liberty Travel

Josh consolidates group rates and manages the heck out of any and every kind of flight you could possibly think of. His team solves problems and send off happy and sad people alike. Their mission is to humanize what has become a very transactional process.

Josh is from Australia, and lived in Europe for seven years before moving to the US, so he’s familiar with diverse cultures. He tap into his worldly experience to help clients find the perfect destinations.

Transcript from Regular Checkup #1

[00:00:00] Josh Pugh: [00:00:00] Hello everyone. My name is America, Josh, and welcome to Regular Checkups, my weekly summary of the news for expats in the United States.

[00:00:07] Every week we’re going to have different panelists on who can answer questions about their industries, what they see day to day, and the recommendations for the future  as for you as expats living in the United States. These aren’t going to be deep dives, but each week we’ll answer as many questions as we can and hopefully give you some comfort knowing that you’ve got all the information you need at your fingertips. So that leads me to our first panel for Regular Checkups.

[00:00:34] I want to thank these three for joining me tonight of the first of many Regular Checkups. It takes a lot to come on to the very first one. We’ve got Natalia Rojas, the Customs and Passport Officer at the Australian Consulate-General, New York. Matt Baden, a recruiter at, he’s the director of permanent placement services at Robert Half technology and Josh Engstrom is our travel expert from Liberty Travel.

[00:00:57] Thank you very much everyone for joining me tonight. [00:01:00] So. To define how we’re going to do these. Every week we’re going to divide into three sections. We’ve got past, present, and future. Past is where we’re going to hear about how our panelists have gotten here tonight, so how their industries have gone over the last few months.

[00:01:15] Present: We’re going to talk about what the panelists are up to now and what they’re seeing in their industries at the moment, and answer your questions that you’ve submitted and in the future we’re going to talk about recommendations and ideas that they’ve got for you and what their plans are going forward.

[00:01:30] As I said, these are meant to be punchy and is meant to be a bit of fun. So thanks again, guys for joining me. Before we get to any information, though, we do need to flag that this webinar is strictly for informational purposes only and it is not intended, nor should it be relied upon as a source of legal advice or opinion.

[00:01:47] As always, it’s important that you know this because everyone’s situation is different and not everything we say tonight will necessarily apply to you. So formalities out of the way. Tick, tick, tick. Natalia, I’ll [00:02:00] start with you. Thanks again for joining me from the Australian Consulate General in New York.

[00:02:05] How are you now? Can you give a little bit of background about how you got here tonight?

[00:02:10] Natalia Rojas: [00:02:10] Yeah, so my name’s Natalia. Like you said, I worked for the Consulate here in New York. I’ve done a few different things in my career, but predominantly in the last year four years, I’d been a consular and passport officer.

[00:02:21] I worked in Los Angeles before moving over the last year to New York. Prior to this, I also worked in Australia for the government there. I was working with home affairs, so the old immigration citizenship crew. I did a lot of things there. I processed visas. I worked in the contact centers, complaints. I also managed, detainees and immigration detention centers for a little while.

[00:02:42]Yeah!

[00:02:43] Josh Pugh: [00:02:43] Awesome. So then moved over to New York. So you’re in the Consulate General and what’s it been like in the last few weeks and months? You know, have you been open and at work all these times, your, yours looks a little bit more like a, an office than mine does in the background of my picture. So what have you been up to and what’s the [00:03:00] Consulate been up to in the last few weeks?

[00:03:01] Natalia Rojas: [00:03:01] Yeah, so, we’ve been open the entire time, basically since the pandemic, obviously. the volumes of people coming in have changed. At the beginning, we had a bit of a rush. We did have a lot of Australians who were concerned as to what was happening, just like the rest of us. we would just, you know, following direction at the time of government.

[00:03:19]So, a lot of Aussies came in to apply for the possible, and some of them, most of them have left now. Things that slow you down a little bit, we’re still open. We’ve been open the entire time we’re here, Monday through Friday, people can still come in with their appointments and get their passports.

[00:03:34] Josh Pugh: [00:03:34] That’s very impressive considering I have not been, I think I haven’t been at my office since March 13th so I like it. Matt Baden, how about you? Are you, where is that background or an office or are you hunkered down at home?

[00:03:45] Matt Baden: [00:03:45] No that’s actually my little plant in the background. It’s been my regular webinar, zoom call background for the last couple of weeks.

[00:03:57] I’m here in New York. I’m in the West Village. I came to [00:04:00] New York, like, like a lot of us do with a bit of a dream about coming and testing yourself in the biggest market. I worked in, in permanent placement for one of Robert Half’s competitors, first in Sydney, and then I started work for Robert Half and then transferred internally with them.

[00:04:14] And now I lead their tech practice, here in the city.

[00:04:17] Josh Pugh: [00:04:17] Awesome.

[00:04:18] So tell us a little bit as a recruiter professionally, what’s the industry been like, sort of leading up to this point? Has it been in the last few weeks and months.

[00:04:26] Matt Baden: [00:04:26] Yeah, it’s been pretty challenging. I’m not gonna lie. Yeah, I would say it’s probably, I started recruiting, at the back end of the GFC, and it’s much worse than that.

[00:04:36]I hadn’t, I haven’t seen it like this, but I would say safe for the last couple of weeks, it started to get a little bit better. And so I think across the industry we’re starting to see some green shoots and that leaves people with some, some kind of positive feelings about where things are going.

[00:04:52] Josh Pugh: [00:04:52] Okay. That’s a reassuring start to tonight, which is great. Josh, I love your name. It’s [00:05:00] really working for you. In your promo picture, when I was looking for pictures of you, you have a Brown hair, a huge beard, and now you are sitting here with pink hair and no beard. So how’s isolation treating you?

[00:05:11] Josh Engstrom: [00:05:11] Yeah, well, that’s a good question. And as you can see, I went through the obligatory stages of isolation. First stage was  no access to my usual hairdresser or my usual barber. Next stage was, taking it into your own hands and a stage three was let’s get creative. If there is ever a time I can have pink hair, it’s probably now, so why not?

[00:05:34] Josh Pugh: [00:05:34] I like it. So you’re joining us from Liberty Travel as our travel expert. What would you, just so people understand what you’d normally be doing day to day, what would a, what would be your.

[00:05:45] Josh Engstrom: [00:05:45] Yeah, that’s, that’s good. So, prior to the crisis, I suppose we were, heading into our busiest time of year.

[00:05:52]So spring is usually, in North America anyway, is our busiest time of people booking for summer and, and [00:06:00] autumn, travel. So we were gearing up for, actually our busiest kind of time of year and it was going to be a bumping year. So, usually at this time a year, I’d be, you know, I’m handling a steady stream of inquiry, helping sort out their questions and what they have, where they want to go and, and all of that kind of thing.

[00:06:20] And then also, doing much of the booking and ticketing and getting all of that stuff ready. So. I suppose this whole crisis has kind of flipped that all in reverse. Now. I spend most of my days helping clients who had already booked. rather than helping you clients to book, then you, yeah, most of my day doing.

[00:06:40] Josh Pugh: [00:06:40] No, I can imagine. And so, I mean, that’s, that’s a perfect sort of segue from past to present is, we’ve seen that the, obviously, as you just said, the lead up to now has been pretty rocky and it’s been really changed your industry and your job day to day. We’re seeing a bit of confusion about.

[00:06:56] Flights at the moment and you know, what, what people should be doing. And [00:07:00] we’ve had some people get in touch who might’ve had flights booked and might have flights booked for the coming weeks and months. Can you give us a bit of a picture for what the situation is right now with flights in and out of the United States?

[00:07:11] Josh Engstrom: [00:07:11] Yeah, definitely. so I suppose when we’re talking about past, present and future, that past, is kind of important at this stage because around the beginning, the crisis really started hitting travel in North America around the end of February, by, early March, it had become kind of full meltdown, a series of meltdowns in terms of flights being grounded, borders being shut.

[00:07:38]So I suppose the most important distinction to look at, to begin with when you’re looking at your travel plans and what’s going on is when did you book your ticket? Generally speaking, anything booked around early March has different rules now compared to anything booked after, that early March.

[00:07:58] So [00:08:00] that’s an important distinction for people with tickets that they’ve got currently booked to make sure that they’re aware of what window they were in. Did they book prior to the crisis or have they booked something now?

[00:08:12] Josh Pugh: [00:08:12] Okay. In terms of what, just as a broad speaking, what’s better? Is it better to have booked before or better to have booked after.

[00:08:21] Josh Engstrom: [00:08:21] I suppose it’s, it’s, that’s a tricky question just because, I suppose what the airlines are doing right now is they’re making it super flexible. and they’ve all introduced their peace of mind policies. So, trying to get people to, you know, book their flights for the autumn or for Christmas or whatnot.

[00:08:42] Just to, when the crisis hit.

[00:08:44] Yeah. end of February, early March. It was all really confusing. So, I mean, I, I’m working in the front line, so I can just imagine what, the public thought about what was going on. Airlines were literally changing their policies hourly [00:09:00] and just saying, this is happening with this airline right now, and then that next day it would be totally different.

[00:09:06] Josh Pugh: [00:09:06] So, okay, so in terms of flights right now, if we can sort of quickly buzz through the airlines, United and American, are they still fighting right now?

[00:09:15]Josh Engstrom: [00:09:15] American, no. Putting into the context of going to Australia. American Airlines. No. The only airline going to Australia at the moment, from the U S direct to Australia is United.

[00:09:30]There’s various other carriers that transit other nations, you know, the middle East, or New Zealand. I definitely advise all my clients to, take the most direct route as possible and at the moment that’s United.

[00:09:44] Josh Pugh: [00:09:44] Okay. I know a lot of people would be wondering, Virgin Australia obviously went into voluntary administration.

[00:09:50] I think I’ve lost track of time, but I think it was last week or maybe the week before. Yeah. What’s the situation with people who might’ve had flights booked with Virgin? I know they were listed as one of the sort of [00:10:00] airlines to look at, sort of a few months ago.

[00:10:03] Josh Engstrom: [00:10:03] Yeah. There’s still a lot of confusion going around there.

[00:10:06]I hear different things from different clients, with their Virgin Australia flights. Some people are saying that, when they log into their online account with Virgin Australia, that they can still see their flight, traveling as normal. So in this instance, if your flight is still going as normal, my advice to people is wait until the airline contacts you and to tell you that the flight is canceled.

[00:10:31] That would be the first step. because you can only really, I understand what your next step is going to be when you understand what is happening with what you’ve already booked. So that would be my first piece of advice. And then the second piece of advice would be that the airline hasn’t actually folded.

[00:10:48] So they’re just going through a series of steps to make sure that they remain liquid as a company and that they continue to have cash. So the future of Virgin Australia at the [00:11:00] moment seems somewhat bright. I know that there’s a lot of talk about up to 10 different interested buyers looking to buy the airline.

[00:11:09]But at the moment, unfortunately, particularly if you’ve got Virgin Australia flights for May, I would definitely recommend looking at some alternatives if you really needed to get home, because there’s a really good chance that. those flights won’t be, won’t be happening.

[00:11:25] Josh Pugh: [00:11:25] Okay. And then, so we’ve got Qantas as well.

[00:11:28] Are they, they’re not flying to the U S between Australia at the moment, or

[00:11:31] Josh Engstrom: [00:11:31] No, so Qantas have had a series of flights that have now ended. And the good news is that, Qantas is starting again  from June 1, 2020 [Editor’s Note: This has now been reversed, click here for information]. There just won’t be any flights in May with Qantas for, for people that wanted to fly home with Qantas.

[00:11:49] Josh Pugh: [00:11:49] Okay. So broadly looking at all of the brands, and just to repeat the advice that you gave before, if people are looking for refunds or they are looking, they’re a bit concerned, what they should basically be doing is [00:12:00] waiting for the airline to reach out to them. Is that sort of the general, the best advice as opposed to like actively canceling.

[00:12:07] Josh Engstrom: [00:12:07] Yeah. I suppose there’d be two, two kind of scenarios there. So people who have booked, Oh, I suppose there’s three. People who have booked themselves with the airline direct the airline will have their email address and phone number and we’ll be contacting them if their flight has been canceled.

[00:12:24] So that’s step one I suppose that’s one way to pop someone off.

[00:12:28] If you’ve booked through a third party, an online travel agent, you know, you’ve used Skyscanner and then got, you know, bounced to some other random website. That certainly makes it trickier, especially if the flight has been canceled, and getting refunds and whatnot.

[00:12:45] Or thirdly, if they’re booked with an agent, a human agent like myself, we have a direct line of communication between the airline and ourselves as agents. So we get, live updates about your [00:13:00] flights. 24/7 from the airline. So if there has been a change or a cancellation from your flight, your travel agent will be in touch.

[00:13:09] Josh Pugh: [00:13:09] Yeah. Okay, fantastic. Matt, that leads me, I mean, all this talk of, you know, making sure that people have their bases covered and things. We saw some pretty severe unemployment numbers come out today in the United States.

[00:13:22] Matt Baden: [00:13:22] Yeah I think I read 30 million, right?

[00:13:24] Josh Pugh: [00:13:24] I think it was, yeah. 30 million in the last six weeks have filed for unemployment across the U S which like, it’s staggering.

[00:13:30]How does, and I know you were sort of saying it’s starting to look a bit greener. Do you want to sort of go into a little bit more detail? What does it look like for your day to day as a recruiter? How are things looking and how things feeling right now?

[00:13:39] Matt Baden: [00:13:39] Yeah, that’s a good question, Josh. I think just to give people like a wide on view of like how a normal recruiter would approach their day.

[00:13:46] You would spend half your day, you know, trying to seek out new companies to work with, you know, call it pure business development, you know, trying to grow your network of companies you work with, and then you would spend the other half of your day, literally a 50/50 split of trying to find candidates for the open positions that you [00:14:00] have.

[00:14:00]Across our business, we’re more like 80/20, 90/10 right now. To give you an understanding as to just how focused we are to try to find new opportunities to work with, which means the job is, you know, it’s a lot more of a, it feels a little bit like a, I’m working on a dialer right now. It would be, the way I describe it, it’s hard as well cause you have to be super sensitive to the fact that you could be speaking to somebody that’s lost somebody from COVID-19 or they might have a vacancy because, God forbid, somebody died.

[00:14:29] You know, like you have to be really sensitive about that. But I think what that tells you is that, you know, we’re trying to find new places in the market. To be able to place good, good candidates. Secondary to that, there’s more available candidates that they can get themselves, which is a challenge because people are are unemployed.

[00:14:43]So using agencies isn’t always the way that people are gonna choose to go immediately. But, the last bit, which is I think maybe the positive bit is that depending on the industry that you’re, you’re in. There’s definitely some opportunities. We’ve seen a lot of opportunities that I wrote a few down, but [00:15:00] education is one.

[00:15:01]Anything that provides like some kind of online platform. So I think things like e-commerce, and logistics and supply chain have been incredibly busy and also within, within finance. But more specifically within mortgage broking, we’ve found a lot of our clients that are literally can’t hire enough people.

[00:15:17]As quickly as they can. So one of my other big is a company called Peloton, which I don’t know if any of you have been on a Peloton block before, but they literally hiring people hand over fist. So there are some pockets of the market that are, that are really strong, but then there are some places like, you know, hospitality client as an obvious example…

[00:15:36] Josh Pugh: [00:15:36] Devastating.

[00:15:37] Matt Baden: [00:15:37] Bloodbath.

[00:15:38] But, but yeah, so that’s, that’s kind of like an overall…

[00:15:41] Josh Pugh: [00:15:41] No, that’s perfect. I think that gives a bit of a grounding for people to understand, you know, it sounds very dire when you watch the news, and I think sort of people want a bit of a grasp on, is that the real picture and is that what it actually looks like on the ground?

[00:15:56] Matt Baden: [00:15:56] I literally just placed somebody two minutes before the call started. [00:16:00] So I was so late to it because I was literally how I was like, okay, we’re accepting, we’re good to go. And then job’s placed. And look, it’s not like a well known company. It’s not like an only a top company, whatever, it’s just a medium sized startup looking for somebody. They’re desperate for the right people. And there’s, I think some companies are looking at as an opportunity to bring in some real top talent from other companies that have unfortunately been let go.

[00:16:22] Josh Pugh: [00:16:22] Yup. Okay. Natalia, the Consulate being an essential service has been, as you mentioned before, you’ve been open this entire time, so is it like any other day or you know, you said that numbers are down a little bit.

[00:16:35] What should people know if they are looking for support from the Consulate? Right now?

[00:16:40] Natalia Rojas: [00:16:40] Yeah. So basically, like I mentioned, we’ve been open, so people want to head to our website and book an appointment. They can come in, obviously we’re working with reduced staffing at the moment and reduced hours, but that shouldn’t reflect in our what’s available publicly because we’ve had spots available every day.

[00:16:56] Josh Pugh: [00:16:56] Okay. Awesome. So if I am in desperate need, one of the services that [00:17:00] obviously people would use the consulate for regularly is a passport. And if I do need one in an emergency, what is the process? What are my options for an emergency passport right now?

[00:17:09] Natalia Rojas: [00:17:09] So, you can always come in person to get your emergency passport.

[00:17:12] We can print them within 24 to 48 hours. I’ve even printed several on the day of, so we’ve had a few people come in that have needed to leave that day. Yeah. It’s nothing that we promote so much, just because you know, there’s certain checks that we need to do, but it can be done most of the time.

[00:17:28] Josh Pugh: [00:17:28] Okay. And what’s the process? If somebody wants to, they just sort of go online to the Consulate’s website and it’s got the instructions for an emergency passport there, or…

[00:17:37] Natalia Rojas: [00:17:37] It’s all there and you’re welcome to call us as well for all the step by step of what you need to do. But also if you don’t want to come in person, there is, we have temporary processes in place.

[00:17:48] So if you wanted to mail in your application, you could also do that. So a lot of people are choosing to stay at home as they should. So if you want it to mail in your application and you do have evidence that you are traveling within the next [00:18:00] three weeks, you can do it by post. so that’s also an option for an emergency passport.

[00:18:04] Josh Pugh: [00:18:04] Awesome. Is that the same for a full passport? If I wanted to renew my full 10 year passport?

[00:18:09] Natalia Rojas: [00:18:09] A good question. It’s not, we’ve been asked that a few times. So just because our passport process is one of the most secure in the world, we actually don’t offer the full passport when we don’t see someone face to face.

[00:18:20]Obviously, there are exceptional circumstances. So if you’re here, you’re stuck and you need to renew your passport for X, Y, Z reason, and you definitely need that 10 year full passport, which is a case for, I guess, some people renewing their visa here. Or renewing the green card or whatever. you can put your case forward if you can’t come in or you don’t want to come in and we’ll forward that to Canberra for approval.

[00:18:43] But you know, where possible come in if you can.

[00:18:46] Josh Pugh: [00:18:46] Okay. one of the parts you need for a passport is a photo, and it’s one of the questions that I get asked, and I’m sure you get asked quite often. How do people go about getting a photo now? Especially a lot of the venues are closed to get them.

[00:18:58] Natalia Rojas: [00:18:58] Yeah. So basically all the [00:19:00] photographers around us and that we recommend, they’re all shut.

[00:19:02]And we don’t like people going to pharmacies because pharmacies are inconsistent, the photo quality isn’t great. So what we’re recommending at the moment is people had to, there’s two options. You can head to a website called passportphotonow.com. You send them your photo by email, they can crop it to the size that we need, and then they’ll post it out to you.

[00:19:22] The second option is if you come into the Consulate, you can actually take your own photo with your phone. there’s instructions on our website, on what we’re looking for it. It does sound a little bit complicated, but it isn’t. so long as you can take a photo with a white plain background, a light grade, just something plain, a neutral expression, no smiling, mouth closed.

[00:19:42]What you can do is actually email us that photo. When you come in. We can crop it and we can print it on the spot.

[00:19:52] Yeah. I also wanted to mention for anyone who needs a photo to be endorsed by a guarantor before they come in, you can actually [00:20:00] still get your pharmacy photo and get that endorsed and the good quality further that you can take yourself, we can print here as well, so you’ll have two different photos, but that’s fine.

[00:20:09] Josh Pugh: [00:20:09] Okay. Good to know. Thank you. So segue out of that very poorly. I’ve written a bit about in on America, Josh, about border closures in Australia. So to look right now at sort of situation in Australia and people trying to leave, I know there are restrictions in place and there’s a little bit of confusion about what exactly that means.

[00:20:27] Can you explain the process of, you know, if I do go back to Australia, what’s required. If I did want to return to the States.

[00:20:34]Natalia Rojas: [00:20:34] To the States. So that’s something that’s managed obviously by the department of, Citizenship and Border Protection [CBP] of the States. There’s no ban for Australians coming back to the States now.

[00:20:44] There’s no bans on any visa. So long as you’re coming from Australia, the ban applies to certain countries in Europe and Asia. So when you’re coming back, the Department of Home Affairs in Australia doesn’t want Australians traveling right now. So there are, there is a list on the Home Affairs website with [00:21:00] what’s, what’s considered an essential, I guess essential travel. But if you normally ordinarily reside overseas, that you don’t count as part of that group.

[00:21:10] So if you were living here for a long time and then you wanted to go back to Australia, wait it out, renew your visa and then come back. So long as you can prove that you are living here, you’ve got utility bills, rental agreement, that sort of thing. You should be fine.

[00:21:26] Josh Pugh: [00:21:26] Okay. So yeah, the essential travel is only required if you don’t reside or the say if you can prove that you reside overseas, you’re completely fine.

[00:21:34] Natalia Rojas: [00:21:34] Yeah, it should be fine. And we haven’t had any feedback from people who had any issues coming back. We’ve already had a few people who’ve left during this time and come back, so…

[00:21:42] Josh Pugh: [00:21:42] Okay. And that’s the Department of Home Affairs is the one that they should be looking to you for further information if they want to clarify that.

[00:21:49] Natalia Rojas: [00:21:49] Yeah, and I can share that link with you as well.

[00:21:51] Josh Pugh: [00:21:51] Fantastic. So we’ll circulate some links at the end of this in an email, which has some feedback and all sorts of information for everyone.

[00:21:57] Josh, that’s probably a good [00:22:00] segue. What, in terms of actually getting back to Australia, what are we thinking that it’s going to look like in a sort of coming months and coming sort of heading further into the future?

[00:22:09] I know we were sort of talking about right about now, but what’s it looking like for flights to and from the US.

[00:22:16] Josh Engstrom: [00:22:16] At the moment it’s, it’s, it’s very limited. So, that United flight via San Francisco is the only way that you can pretty much get back to Sydney. In terms of Brisbane and Melbourne and Perth, there’s still other routes that you can take.

[00:22:34]There is the Middle East route. if you were going over to Western Australia, so Qatar Airways are still flying from New York to Doha, Doha to Perth. So that’s still able to be taken. And then you’ve also got Air New Zealand coming from Houston as well. So it’s really limited.

[00:22:55] Like a particularly a classic example is the route from [00:23:00] Sydney to Melbourne. It’s one of the busiest and one of the most profitable routes, in the world. And at the moment I was looking at, some availability and they had three flights a day. Yeah. So to put that into perspective on, on a normal time period, we would have up to 30 to 40 flights a day.

[00:23:20] Yeah. Between Sydney and Melbourne. So it’s, it’s really limited.

[00:23:24] In terms of the short term. I think we’re just in a bit of a bump at the moment. This next month of May, coming month of May is still going to be very limited. but we can see as we move into June and as we move into the summer, that airlines are starting to pick up their pace again.

[00:23:42] So, Qantas are starting to fly again, from New York, from June 1, 2020. So that’s great for New York. Aussies in New York. We love catching that Qantas flight, so that’s going to make immediately make people start feeling better about travel, knowing that your national carrier is flying from the [00:24:00] country that you live in.

[00:24:01]So that’s a big step, I think. as we move into August, September, October…

[00:24:07] Josh Pugh: [00:24:07] Christmas!

[00:24:09] Josh Engstrom: [00:24:09] Christmas, and the very first thing that’s going to come up and back online is going to be your domestic travel here in the United States and domestic travel in Australia. International travel, I would say by Christmas.

[00:24:21]I could be fairly certain in saying that, you’re not going to have a problem getting home for Christmas. Whether we still have the quarantine when we land, for two weeks. that’s something that people really need to be on top of because obviously if you’re only going home for three weeks and you have to spend two of those weeks in quarantine, that’s really gonna put a bummer on your Christmas holiday trip.

[00:24:45] So, just keep up to date with what the quarantine rules are and then I, I imagine that we’re going to be back to normal, I would say by this time next year. I’m hoping.

[00:24:57] Josh Pugh: [00:24:57] Yeah. Okay. That’s probably a perfect [00:25:00] segue back to Natalia about the, and I know this has a bit of a crystal ball question as Josh said, but do we know anything about, you know, what are the requirements for that quarantine and is that for everyone?

[00:25:09] And do we have any index that we know at the moment?

[00:25:17] Natalia.

[00:25:24] That’s right. That’s right. So that’s right, Josh. no, thank you. But it is something that we need to take into consideration because I. I think it’s important that we know whether or not, like as much as there might be a flight, we need another bigger picture. We need to make sure that we’re looking…

[00:25:39] Josh Engstrom: [00:25:39] The hardest thing for people as well has just been the, not knowing what’s going on.

[00:25:44] And then also just the general panic around all of the borders shutting and stuff. So I think as we move throughout the year and we see, particularly a few of those milestones be hit, you know, like they come up with the treatment for the virus, you know,  [00:26:00] a staggered approach. So I think once the borders start opening up, I think it’ll be, you know, so many people can’t wait to get out and travel again.

[00:26:11] Josh Pugh: [00:26:11] Yup. Okay. Matt, that’s a good point. You know, if people are looking to move to the States, what do you sort of foresee as being. The dates. You know, we were just talking about September and Christmas and this time next year with Josh.

[00:26:24] What do you think in terms of jobs and in terms of actually feasibly thinking about moving here, what was your crystal ball moment?

[00:26:32] Matt Baden: [00:26:32] Yeah. I think as I said to you, I just saw Natalia come back online, by the way.

[00:26:37] I think for people who are, if they’re joining from Australia or thinking like, what am I going to do if you’ve maybe lost your job here or whatever. I think for Australians, at least in New York, I can kind of see that end of Q3, start of Q4 being the time where things are gonna start to return to a bit of normality. At the end of the day, there’s 30 million Americans out of work, and like [00:27:00] if I’ve learned anything about placing Australians here, not that only exclusively place Australians, but I have placed some, it’s that they will hire an American first if they can,  and we just have to appreciate that’s going to be the situation that companies approach. And so I think, naturally, with so much unemployment, a bit of that or bounce back where, you know, when restaurants start opening, all of a sudden, like a lot of that, 30 million all evaporate, you know, like, and it’ll start to get back to normality.

[00:27:23] But I can’t see that being before, maybe a September time. Just from what I do, I speak to a lot of Aussies who want to move here from, from, from home to New York. And. My advice has been just wait it out, just wait it out. If you’ve got a job back home, I know it may not sound fun right now and you really want to get your New York dream started,  trust me, I get it when I say that, but it’s not the New York dream as we all know it right now, and there’s no need to rush into anything.

[00:27:51] Hold what you have right now, and then as you get to September, you may start to see that kick. It’ll be busy with hiring. If it, if it [00:28:00] does start to show that it’s right back to normal then, I would expect there to be a lot of hiring in Q4 in the lead up to Christmas. But then at the side of next year, I think you know, from what, from everything that people within our organization are talking about at Robert Half, we expect the start of next year to be incredibly busy because people will be trying to make up for lost ground.

[00:28:18] Josh Pugh: [00:28:18] Okay. All right. That’s good to know. I mean, and I’ve said the same thing. I wrote an article I think about a week ago that talked about, you know, save your dream, save some money, and save it up for another, you know, half a year and you’re going to have a better time with more savings than you would potentially try to battle it out.

[00:28:33] As you said, with a lot of people here who are in a really tough position themselves, so it’s difficult to come here and compete with.

[00:28:42] Absolutely. Natalia, do we have you back? No, that’s all right. We were just talking about flights and going back to Australia and what exactly is available. I was wondering if you could use a crystal ball for a moment and tell us, you know, do we know anything about the, we understand there’s two weeks quarantine in hotels at [00:29:00] the moment in Australia.

[00:29:01] Do we have any idea on what that’s looking like going into the future, heading into the holiday months in Australia, for example?

[00:29:08] Natalia Rojas: [00:29:08] No, I wish I, that would help me as well actually, because I want to go back home for Christmas. But no. there’s a little bit of misconception that we might know these things before they’re released, but actually in reality, we don’t. When these things get announced by the prime minister, we all find out at the same time.

[00:29:24] I don’t see it changing anytime soon, but we haven’t heard either way. So they still apply and I’d be prepared for those two weeks to still apply for a little while.

[00:29:34] Josh Pugh: [00:29:34] And just to confirm with everyone at the moment, if you fly back to Australia, you basically, you don’t have any options wherever you land, wherever it is that you land, you are taken to a space that is for two weeks.

[00:29:48] Natalia Rojas: [00:29:48] Yep. Yep.

[00:29:49] Josh Pugh: [00:29:49] Yep. fantastic. Well, we’re at 6:35PM, so I wanted to make sure that we kept this good and punchy, but thank you all very much. Does anyone have anything that they’d like to add before we [00:30:00] finish up?

[00:30:04]Josh Engstrom: [00:30:04] Just briefly, just wanted to let people know just in terms of, booking flights now, we made that distinction about that it was quite tricky at the beginning of the crisis, but we’ve come a long way from there now.

[00:30:16] A lot of airlines have come to the table and come to the party, now offering a lot of flexibility for their flights. So what that means, for example, for use the United flights, via San Francisco, back to Sydney, you could book that flight today, and then say you wanted to leave in three weeks time because you’d lost your job. At the moment United have flexibility for anything to change any booking you’ve made up until the 31st of May right now. So at the moment, for example, you could book your flight in two weeks time, you actually get the job, you thought you had to go home cause you lost your job. Something happens, a miracle happens. You find another job, you’re going to stay. [00:31:00] United will let you change that flight. Now, right up until, I think at latest, it was, August, 2021.

[00:31:08] So in terms of, it’s a very tricky time to travel at the moment I’ve been in terms of the flexibility that a lot of the airlines are offering now it’s actually a really good time to book now. Because you’ve had, you’ve never had that opportunity. Usually to get the flexibility on a ticket, you would have to buy a fully flex ticket, which can sometimes be as much as a business class ticket, just in economy. At the moment you essentially get a fully flex ticket and the prices at the moment are incredibly low, so you’re getting the flexibility and the low price, and that’s never happened in the eight years that I’ve worked at Flight Center.

[00:31:46] To have both at the same time.

[00:31:49] Josh Pugh: [00:31:49] Okay, fantastic. And then just so everyone knows we will be sharing the contact details of everyone, who’s speaking today, so that you can follow up and ask any follow up questions.

[00:31:59] Thank [00:32:00] you Josh, Matt, and Natalia, very much for joining us and thanks everyone for, for watching.

[00:32:05] We really hope that we’ve answered at least some of the questions. I know that there were some questions submitted on topics that we weren’t addressing tonight. Next week, Thursday night, 6:00 PM Eastern. We will be talking with the U.S. Immigration attorney to talk about some legal issues on that side.

[00:32:19]We’ll be talking again about jobs, but over on the West Coast, to get a bit of a perspective, and we’ll also be touching base with some people who are over in Australia and in those quarantines and hotels to get a bit of an understanding from a first person to understand exactly what’s involved. And what you should know, if you are really planning to head back to Australia.

[00:32:37]There’s information on my website at AmericaJosh.com/corona I’ve got information that I update almost daily. And there’ll be a feed of this if you want it to recap it or anything that you’ve learned.

[00:32:47] And so everyone knows. A bit of, a lighter hearted side. I also host Friday night drinks tomorrow night [Fridays] from 5:30PM Eastern. I do trivia. You can come and join and meet some new friends and little breakout groups and have a bit of a debrief and a chat with people outside your own [00:33:00] apartment and home.

[00:33:00] So we’ll send you some feedback. We’ll send you some emails. You can let us know what you thought.

[00:33:05] If you want to be on a panel, let me know in that form. But thank you very much everyone for watching. And thanks again to the panel for joining me

About the Author

America Josh

I had a fantastic life in Adelaide and in Australia but thought in late 2015 that it was time to do something new. I handed over control of my company, sold my house, car, and even gave away my cat (“Aslan”) to start on my journey to New York.

I arrived in New York on January 10, 2017, from Adelaide, South Australia and in March 2017, I started America Josh to help make the transition to the US from wherever you’re from just a little bit easier.

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