My Experience of Immigrating to Australia
Last November (2005) I immigrated to Australia. I wanted to share my experience in case it can help anyone else who is planning or just wants to immigrate to Australia.
I have a very romantic back story to this experience. I was living in rural Oxfordshire when I took a coach trip to Paris. While I was waiting for the coach to arrive in Oxford, I spotted a young lady. It turned out she was on the same coach and the morning after arriving in Paris, I overslept and missed the talk about how to get into the city centre, etc. I went to the hotel lobby and met the girl who was also talking about how to get into Paris from the hotel. We caught a train together and the rest, as they say, is history. She turned out to be an Australian living in Oxford. Once we were established in a relationship, Mel made it quite clear that she did not want to live in the U.K. for too much longer and that if our relationship was going to continue I would need to consider moving to Australia. We took things slowly, and considered the possibility of emigrating very seriously before making a decision. It was probably about 2, maybe 2 and a half years before we moved that I first looked at the visa application process.
Applying for a visa to immigrate to Australia
I guess it was around 15 months before we moved that we took a trip to Adelaide, South Australia to visit Mel's parents and the city she grew up in. It was soon after that that Mel fell pregnant. We used the impending birth of our daughter as a time guide as to when to immigrate. We set a date for just after a year after the birth of our daughter on the assumption that it would be too difficult to move with a baby any less than a year old. Obviously this gave me plenty of time to look into and actually make my visa application. Although Mel and I were planning to marry, at the time of my visa application the best suited application option was as a defacto spouse. The visa application details are easily accessible from the DIMIA website (http://www.immi.gov.au/)and are quite clear and easy to follow. That said the visa application did take a long time to complete. What took longer (even though we had a wealth of suitable stuff after living together for a couple of years) to get together was the supporting evidence. With my visa application we sent bills in our joint names, invitations to social events in both our names, and similar bits and pieces. We also needed statutory declarations from at least two Australians who knew us both - obviously this was easy enough for us with all Mel's family and friends but I guess it might prove difficult if you didn't have those sort of connections. Once I had completed all this, and Mel had completed her sponsorship forms, the process was actually really quick. The fact that we already had a baby with dual citizenship I'm sure will have helped a lot but my visa came through in less than a week and I was ready to immigrate to Australia.
Preparing to immigrate to Australia
Having an Australian fiancee really lessened the amount of preparation to immigrate to Australia. We already had an offer of rent from accommodation from her parents, she already had a lot of furniture and we didn't need to make any of those tough decisions about where to live. We only needed clothes and personal bits and pieces like all the photographs we had collected over the years. We also worked out that it was cheaper to send my CD collection than try to replace it. Because we had so little to send we found it was actually cheaper to break everything down to 2kg packages and send them by Royal Mail than to fork out for shipping or courier. Although this was cheaper it was also a real pain in the you know what! We also took a slight risk in booking flights well before my visa was granted. It was a very strange sensation knowing I had a one-way ticket to Australia!
Immigrating to Australia
I was sure I was completely prepared to immigrate to Australia but the truth is it is such an enormous move that no amount of preparation will ever be enough. At first it was just the small differences that all added up to irritate me and put pressure on my relationship with Mel. There were some little things that Mel simply didn't realise were different - like car parks having multiple entrances or exits so when I asked "should I take this turn?" she would reply with a shrug, "you can if you want". Of course, after a short while you get used to these things. What has taken longer is work. I started looking over the internet well before we moved. Having little success, ok no success, I began to wonder if a personal touch was what was needed and that I might only find work once I had actually immigrated and moved here. Unfortunately this is simply not the case. Adelaide just does not have the sort of work I am experienced in. After 5 months I am now facing the prospect of either retraining or moving to a different city in Australia. I guess I have been naive but I just didn't consider the possibility that work would not be here for me - I have a good CV and this is easily the longest period I have ever been out of work. If there is any advice I would give to someone considering immigrating to Australia, I would urge them to find out as much as humanly possible about the character of the place they are thinking of moving to before committing and preferably you should find work before you come out here.
By Matt Maclay-Ross
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"If you can't live in your own country you can't live any where else. So when you immigrate keep your mouth shut because if you ever criticise any thing the Aussies call you a moaning pom IF LIFE IS ALL MILK AND HONEY WHY HAVE WE HAVE GOT SO MANY OF THEM OVER HERE "
"I am trying to find a visa that will allow me to get in australia, but im finding it a headache, i wanted the temporary long stay 457, but i need sponsors from employers first, but they dont want to help, its so difficult and im losing faith in australia, or i wanted to go with the family visa but im having difficulty with that coz it doesnt tell me alot."
"hi i need some info. I\'m also immigrating to Australia, do i need to show any money at the port of entry? like Canadian immigration."
"I'm sorry for your experience. Having examined the full jargin, your story is a repeat of many others. It's akin to reading a C.V. Sounds brilliant, but a few months down the line, in compliance with L.R.A. one is sitting with a headache. On a return trip from N.Z. and Ozz, a few desperate and faces behind the questions, was I also returning to the Land of Milk and Honey for a holiday, I could say with a smile, I'm returning to South Africa - my country - the greatest country in the world. I do think that there lies great happiness in Ozz - but at a huge price and negation of many things taken for granted in life which should be a lesson to all."
"im a year 11 student i am Australia but have been doing reach on immigration your page helped a lot thanks"
"Hi, is it easy to find job in Australia if you are studying?"
"hi all, i live in Australia and the main thing you need to realise before you come out here is it will never be the country that you left. Australians are happy with the way of life here and dont like it when people move here and try to impose a different way of life on us. Also as you all should know the boom is now over and everyone is finding it hard to get jobs no matter where you live in oz it has nothing to do with colour or religion, although unfortunately we have been experiencing alot of gang related violence by african refugees and this has caused some amount of stigma. but if you accept "your" new country's way of life you will settle in fine. "
"Dear Matt, my heart goes out to you, I to realise how hard it is to choose an exit from a car park, life can be so hard in these situations, one can only hope that oneday you do find the exit that you have longed for and can all agree on. Why is life so hard."
"Ok, here's an interesting story that I need help with. I have a fiancee from Netherlands and he's overseas at the moment. I'm not able to sponser him yet for him to be able to move over and he hasn't finished a uni degree yet. Are there any possible ways for him to be able to move to Australia sooner than later?"
"thanks for this valuable information"
"Does anyone have any advice for some friends of mine, who have come over on a skilled 457 type visa and the kids on student visas. All the kids desperatly want to work, but are unsure if they are allowed to do so. They are struggling to come up with the money to pay for the medicals. If the wife and the kids pass the medicals - can they apply for permanent residency, even though they came over as dependants upon her husband? The husband has stress related health issues. If they are granted permanent residency, would the mother be able to get Family Tax Benefits at all? , I know that they have to wait two years before they can apply for benefits. Thanks "
"good information. do you think it would be easier for a young 23 stanford student single guy to get a job in melbourne or will he face the same problems? my friend is thinking of immigrating to melbourne and hoping to find a good job since the economy here in the us is so bleak."
My heart goes out to you. Here is our story that I posted on a Dutch immigration to Australia site: I want to share our story with you because I feel that it is a common story that people are not being told in the Netherlands before they make the big move to Australia. I am an Australian who also has the Dutch nationality who is married to a Dutch man and had lived in the Netherlands for seven years. For the last two years we were busy in the Netherlands planning our big move to Australia. This was my husbands dream to live here and I naturally wanted to return home to Australia after living away for such a long time. We were full of dreams and ideas about how wonderful it would be to live here and I couldn't wait to come home. We arrived in Australia in Feb. of this year.
My husband Bart studied hard for many years and has a Bachelor of Education (mathematics) a Bachelor of ICT and an MBA, he worked for the last eight years for one of the Netherlands largest banks as a Project Manager. I am not mentioning these qualifications and experience to 'brag' but more to set the scene of how we thought with all of his educational qualifications and IT Management experience with a stable work history that we would be 'set' in Australia considering that the Australian Government are telling Europeans that there is a skill shortage here.
I can only tell you that since we arrived back in my homeland in February this year our dreams have come crashing down around us. Bart met with at least 60 recruitment agencies around Melbourne and was continually told that he was lacking Australian experience. After mixing with other expats who are even higher qualified than him, even doctors who have Phd's, they also have the same stories to tell that they are not valued because they do not have Australian experience and cannot get their 'foot in the door'. As an Australian it saddens me to say that this country is full of arrogant people who unfortunately think that Australians know it all and they look down at foreign experience. It is extremely difficult to get your foot in the door and when my husband finally did, it was for a salary at half his normal salary in the Netherlands and unfortunately for a company that had many management issues. Bart has now applied to revert back to teaching which he has not done for quite a number of years and I can only brace myself for the next lot of interviews where he is told that he lacks Australian experience.
The reason I am telling you this story is that I would like to let those who have children know that it is not as easy as you think it is to immigrate and work here. Think very seriously before you give up your jobs, homes and say goodbye to your families and friends and your security. Bart and I both had very good jobs in the Netherlands, a lovely home and wonderful family and friends. We left all of this behind for what we thought was a greater lifestyle for our children; however what we found was a great amount of stress and frustration. As an Australian it was easy for me to get work when I returned but a different story for Bart. There is definetely discrimination here and please ensure you have work here before you make the costly move in immigrating here.
Please do not hesitate to email me (d.c.sinkeler at gmail.com) if I can be of any help and I would rather people not have a fantasy in their heads about Australia. Of course you hear the success stories, but people are unfortunately not so brave in coming out with the stories where they didn't succeed here. It is a hard country to live in when you don't have work. Kindest regards, Devanya "
"I am a black Jamaican MBA, educated in Jamaica, who would like to immigrate to Australia. Does anyone have experience either first hand or otherwise, of a black person immigrating there for a job? What's that experience like? and what's it like to live there for a person of colour?"
"Dr Abdalla, sad to hear your story. Hope government should investigate this injustice. Alex Perth"
"Well said since you are white man migrating to Australia. I'm Black Muslim man from Africa and I have been in de facto relationship with Australian women for the last 10 years. We have three kids. When I applied visitor visa -not immigrant visa-, the white officer on my case treat me like a criminal. He make on my case all kind of wrong assumptions. He questioned my nationality since I have dual African citizenship in which I was known for long sometime. Instead of granting me the visa the guy went after me, trying to make my country police go after me. He prosecuted me with rare idiocy. He denied both of us to enter the consulate unless we have an appointment. So whenever we show up to see him the guards refuse us to see him. When we try to talk to him he refuses to pick up the telephone. After complaining he even went further asking us to communicate with him only thru email. After insults, belittling, accusation, innuendo, I decided to write to him a professional email asking him to reply professionally since he is going direction of visitor visa rejection. In making long humiliation story short, the guy said, he will reply when he finish his investigation. What a joke. He didnít care about the right of three kids, my spouse whom are all Australian citizens. We contacted to his superiors in Canberra (DIIMA) though to no avail. Today, we have a life and we move on with our lifeís. But this incident shows how Australian immigration can be lethal racist if you are muslim and black. Hope some officials read this scandalous incident and do proper investigation about this this officer, incident and similar. "
Dr Abdalla, Ghana
"good to know your story, and thanks for sharing your experience. good luck!"
"thanks for this i am a nurse but my husband has a good well earned and well paid job here in uk he is nervous of this very problem my son is 18 yrs and studying at uni our daughter is only 9 we have her schooling to sort out she goes to a private school in the village 12 in the class i feel we need to come over before a decision is made but ifeel we need a lifestyle work balance and i feel i would like the life in oz thanks for sharing your story all the best "