For starters (and because I didn’t start this site until we actually received our Visa’s) I thought it might be a little useful to give a little background about how and why we ended up getting to the stage where we are now
Please also keep in mind; I’m a pretty typical bloke with an average education. I may not necessarily have the literal talents of Shakespeare or J. K. Rowling so please stick with me through the typos. Please also keep in mind that we’ve done a lot before we got here. As a result, some of these earlier sections may be a little long but I’ll type as fast as I can to try and get up to date ;)
Anyhow, I won’t get too heavily involved in the specifics about how we did this, how we did that. However, as the site matures I’ll make sure that all these areas are covered and will link to and from certain sections of this article to help you guys navigate around the site.
I guess it all started in the summer of 2004. I took voluntary redundancy from the company I was currently working for at the time. My wife and I had been to Australia (Sydney) in 2002 to catch up with my brother-in-law who has lived and worked in Sydney as a permanent resident for over 7 years.
We fell in love with the place, the weather was fantastic, the sky was blue and probably most strikingly, the friendliness of the people and the Australian culture as a whole took our breath away.
It struck me that why should I restrict my job-hunting to the UK when there was a mass of other opportunities a few thousand miles away on the other side of the world. Although the missus was working at the time, I was, up to that point the main ‘breadwinner’ in the house so (in my mind) it seemed logical that we should be able to pack up one job if I was able to secure a similar or better job in a country with a lower cost of living.
We also had a 2-year-old baby son to think of and out of all the reasons for moving to Australia, he was probably the main driver. I love the UK and am proud of my country. However, living in the UK (West Yorkshire) can, at times be extremely depressing. It’s not just the crappy weather but the direction our country seems to be heading in.
Immigration is high, crime levels are high, you take your baby son to a park that is covered in graffiti and littered with broken ‘alcopop’ bottles. You spend hours sitting in traffic, simply trying to get from A to B. There has to be a better life out there doesn’t there?
I guess having a baby did us a big favour; it gave us the focus we needed to get our head down and seriously look at the processes involved in getting permanent residency in Australia.
I say it gave us the focus because (although I think initially we didn’t fully appreciate it at the time) it gave us a relatively short timeline to work with.
We were conscious that we needed to apply and get our visas before we reached our 40’s due to the impact that being over 40 has on the number of points you require (we are early to mid-’30s at the moment). However, we wanted to get to Australia before Australian children start their first (grown-up) School year, this being his 5th birthday.
Ultimately we wanted to get to Australia and (relatively) settled in time to get our son into the Australia schooling system from the start, not uproot him from a UK school and stick him in with a class full of kids, he’d never met, halfway through a school year. This gave us a worst case, must be in Australia, whatever happens, date of October 2007.
So, we made the decision to seriously look at Australia as a new home. I guess that was the relatively easy part. The next steps were telling the in-laws.
Telling the wife’s parents couldn’t have gone any better, they were both retired. Had experienced living in Spain, had a son around the other side of the world that they never saw. They were delighted. It was almost like a massive weight had been lifted off their shoulders.
They were bored with the UK, wanted another ‘project’, were still relatively young (in their early 60’s) and after a couple of days of telling them that we looking to emigrate to Australia announced, so are we!
Unfortunately, telling my folks didn’t go down that well. As well as me, they have my sister and a grandchild. They are also in their early 60’s, retired, and enjoy 3 – 4 long holidays abroad each year, BUT for them, moving anywhere wasn’t an option.
I guess telling them that the process could take over two years helped and I’m really glad now that I told them at such an early stage. So for my first piece of advice.
As soon as you have decided that you’re defiantly going to emigrate to Australia, anyone you can tell then tells.
Giving your relatives time to get their heads around you moving to the other side of the world will seriously help you further down the line. Even if your not successful in your Visa attempts, you need to think positively and planning the emotional stuff as early as possible will help you when it is getting nearer the time for you to make the big move.
Ok, next step. Where do we start..? Google.com seems the logical answer and WHAM! Bloody hell! “Emigrate to Australia” only gave us 500,000 websites to go through. Time to phone the brother in law.
From what we had seen on the web, everything seemed to be about these people called ‘migration agents’ people who will help you (for a fee) through the minefield of emigration law. What did the brother in law do…
“Naa… I did it myself mate, there are only a few forms to fill in” blah, blah, blah. ;)
Hindsight again is a wonderful thing and hindsight tells us that is not only about filling a few forms in. However, I’m a great believer in the mighty Google God and with a wife who’s absolutely great at reading instructions (unlike me who just rushes in, screwdrivers blazing) we reckoned we had half a chance of doing this ourselves, and that, in the end, is exactly what we did.
How far along are you in your own journey? Share your thoughts in our comments below :)