12 Dec 2006 12:38 AM
|Maybe this will give some hope to some of you. Our story:
I worked in the NHS for 27 years, in nuclear medicine, using gamma cameras to image cancer and other serious diseases. I am well known in my profession, nationally and internationally and have kept up lots of contacts in Australia since I first visited in 1992. I am married and we have a 12 year old daughter. Until recently, I thought I was too old to move to Australia.
After a wonderful holiday in Australia in April 2006, during which I was an invited guest speaker at an international conference in Perth, I returned to the UK in May to be told that, due to NHS deficits, my job was being made redundant. This was devastating.
That was where my contacts in Australia came to the rescue.I was almost immediately offered a job by an old friend from the UK who was now working at a private practice in Perth.
However, at the age of 49 we knew it would not be easy to get me permanent residence. So, we applied for a 457 visa (sponsored by my friend's employer)in August. I had to submit nearly 70 certified pages of documents as part of our on-line application. The system could not cope and we had to email nearly all of them to DIMA separately. Then we had to have Medicals and/or X-rays and then we had to wait.... and the wait was excruciating.
After 90 days of 'consultation' on the redundancies (1000 at our hospital), on August 23rd my own redundancy was confirmed, I was given 3 months' notice and still we had no news of the visa. My work kindly let me have a few weeks garden leave from mid-October to get the house ready for renting out, but still I had no visa.... On November 6th we got an email. Apparently our case officer had been on holiday for a fortnight, but she had actioned it all when she returned. We had our 457!
PSS arrived on 27th November (earliest we could arrange) and the 40 foot container left us 4 days later. All three of us flew out together from Manchester on 9th December (Emirates, highly recommended), with a couple of hours in Dubai and we arrived here on Monday 11th at 1:10 in the morning. I am writing this on the Monday evening, sitting by our friends' pool in Rockingham. We have just had our first Aussie barbecue since we arrived and we are halfway through a bottle of Rawson's Retreat! The weather is a lot better than when we left Manchester!
I start my new job on 18th December. My new employer will sponsor for PR. We are hoping that an Exceptional Circumstances Case will get over the age barrier once I have had my qualifications accredited for Australia and we will be able to stay. Otherwise we will have a great four years in the sunshine. For now, we are just looking forward to Christmas in the sun!
Was it all worth it? Watch this space. Certainly a lot better than being redundant and possibly on the dole in the U.K.!!
For all of you waiting for DIMA's cogs to turn, hang on in there. At least if you spend Christmas in the UK it will be with friends and family and you have Australia to look forward to next year! And if you are going for a 136 or another visa that will get you PR straight away, at least you know that when the wait is over, you can come here and stay!
Reading the postings on Aussiemove has given me information, help and support over a difficult 6 months. Thanks to all of you, and good luck to those who are still waiting.|