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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/12/2019 in all areas

  1. 5 points
    Good day everyone. I thought I would create this post to give back as I have been using this site extensively in the past few months. It helped allay fears and gave hope when things seemed difficult. It also provided helpful tips. A little bit about my situation. My wife and I got married in March 2018 and started the Australian visa journey in May 2018. I have an Industrial Engineering degree obtained from the University of Stellenbosch, and as such qualified for the S189 visa on the MLTSSL list. For reference, I turn 32 in March this year. I will share some actual costs and feedback with you as it plays an important part in the decision making and planning process. The timeline provided will be different for everyone, but I believe the overall steps are similar. Important! Even if you are just thinking about it, get your documents from Home Affairs ASAP! I know not all the documents I obtained was necessarily needed, but I could have saved some money and reduced the time for the VISA application significantly. Get your marriage certificate and birth certificate, I got all of the unabridged versions. I know people always ask if the unabridged documents are need, they might not be but why risk it. It really is not expensive, just the time to get them might be long. The first decision: Decide if you want to emigrate. I know it sounds simple, but be clear on this. This was something I was actually mulling over for a few years. My decision was based on a few factors; politics, building for my future, but most importantly my wife and I want to have children and I believe that the future I can provide for my children will be better in Australia. Once you have clarity on this you will also have the motivation to take on this process. The second decision: Do I use an agent? For me this was a simple answer: YES. In hindsight I believe my case was pretty straightforward (you will see this when we discuss the timeline), yet I would still go with an agent. It gives you that little bit of comfort that they have been through this process before and can guide you. If you feel that your case is straightforward and you like admin, by all means do it yourself (I reckon it will save you in the region of R40 000). We went with Integrate Emigration and Katja was our agent with Maike handling most of the admin. I found them by going to the Australian Home Affairs website and looking for someone registered in Cape Town. They provided an excellent service. I will echo what most people on the forum say, go with a MARA registered agent. This is your future and you will spend a large amount of money on this process. Don't skimp on this if you go with an agent. The visa application process - Start to Finish (Key milestones): 1. 17 May 2018 - Initial Assessment This was a very professional document with a comprehensive analysis on my wife and I with recommendations. Decided on S189 Visa with myself as the main applicant. 2. 16 June 2018 - Primary Applicant Language Test Integrate recommended the Pearson’s PTE test (if they did not I would probably have done the IELTS). I would also recommend the Pearson’s PTE test. It is cheaper, I believe it might be easier (have not written the IELTS) and the results are almost immediate. I obtained 90 in all sections and thus could claim full points for English. I would definitely recommend buying the gold package in preparation. If you do not know what to expect in the test it can go horribly wrong. 3. 19 June 2018 - Submit Skills Assessment to Engineers Australia Once the language test was done, we submitted the EA skills assessment. Integrate did all of this for me. I provided my CV (they gave me a template to use), passport and academic qualifications. I opted for the fast track approach. I think this was an additional R3000, but it gets your assessment to a case officer within 20 working days, rather than the normal 7 weeks. I would recommend this. 4. 20 July 2018 - Positive Skills Assessment Outcome Yay 😃 Almost exactly a month from submission to the outcome. Note that I only had my qualification assessed and no work experience. Once again, followed the agent’s advice, not sure how this works for every profession as I believe it might be different. 5. 30 July 2018 - Submit Expression of Interest with 75 Points Age 25 – 32 30 English language Superior 20 Education Bachelor Degree 15 Experience More than 5 less than 8 10 Total Points Claimed 75 At this point the agency advised us to start compiling all our documents required for the actual application, including police clearance. Not medical, this would only be done after submitting the application. 6. 11 August 2018 - Invitation Received to Submit Visa Application As you can see, the time from EOI to invite was less than two weeks. This will be different for everyone. From this point we had 60 days to get everything in order for the submission. To give you an idea my wife and I already applied in May for our documents (birth- and marriage certificates) and had not received them yet. We also applied for our police clearance certificates at the beginning of August. We used separate police stations (not recommended). I got my police clearance back mid-August (used Milnerton station) and my wife still has not received hers back as at the time of me writing this (Durbanville station). She did however receive her unabridged birth certificate in the meantime. As time passed I got really nervous about the documents and decided to use 3rd party companies. I paid Docassist R1000 to assist with my birth certificate and marriage certificate. One week later I had the documents in my hands. The police clearance was extortionate. I paid R3500 to Visa Logistics to re-do my wife’s document. The funny thing is they got it done within a week! This included the fact that the first one for some mysterious reason did not have her maiden name on it. It just boggles my mind that my document was R114 and hers was R3 614. Personally, I should have gone with Docassist from the start. I think it would have been cheaper, but Visa Logistics’ turnaround time is what I needed at the time. Once this was done we had all the documents ready for the application. Keep in mind that we provided all our information to Integrate at the start of the process and they completed all the admin (including Form 80). This is where you will have to invest some time if you have not gone with an agency. Note: For work experience I submitted signed letters (using the template provided by Integrate) from all my previous employers, pay slips, IRP5’s and pay slips. 7. 02 October 2018 - Submission of 189 Visa Application Integrate submitted the application. They always sent proof if they submitted something on my behalf and it was always the actual response from the Department of Home Affairs. We aimed for a direct grant by providing all the information with the application. You can submit the application without all the documentation and wait for a case office to request it (this is how I understand it). 8. 18 October 2018 - eMedicals Completed for Visa Application Once again, the agency completed all the online documentation and provided us with our HAP ID numbers. You need this to make an appointment at the most convenient registered medical centre. We chose the Intercare at Tygervalley in Cape Town. We made the appointments and paid onsite. After a few days I requested a copy of the medical report (the nurse advised us to do this). This is just proof that they actually completed it on the system. After this, everything that could be done from our side for the visa application was done. Now we just wait. You can create an account on MyImmi Tracker to see when other people submitted and received their visas. You only need to provide high level information (no personal information) so don’t worry about registering on the site. 9. 10 December 2018 - Subclass 189 Visa Approved This caught us completely by surprise. I estimated best case to get the visa in May 2019. Normally this can take up to 9 months (can be longer). Our first date of entry has been set to mid-August 2019. I think we are lucky in this regard as I am still debating an activation trip or just going permanently. This gives us some time. The lady from the agency phoned me as she didn’t just want to forward me an email (I found this to be a very professional and personal touch). You can use the detail from the acceptance letter to verify your details on VEVO (their Home Affairs online tool). Our total expenses (I share this with you because most people normally ask me this. I hope it helps): Date Company Reason Amount 2018-05-17 Integrate Initial Assessment R 1,783.00 2018-05-30 Vue Novell PTE Official Test (Alwyn) R 2,645.00 2018-05-29 Integrate Australian Migration 1st Instalment R 9,560.00 2018-06-19 Institute of E Barton Engineering Skills Assessment R 7,380.36 2018-06-11 PTE Practice.com PTE study guide and test R 810.57 2018-07-09 SA Department of Home Affairs Alicia new ID and Passport R 540.00 2018-07-23 Integrate Australian Migration 2nd Instalment R 12,650.00 2018-08-04 Vue Novell PTE Official Test (Alicia) R 2,645.00 2018-08-06 SAPS Alwyn Police Clearance R 114.00 2018-08-07 SAPS Alicia Police Clearance R 114.00 2018-08-07 PTE Practice.com PTE study guide and test R 828.33 2018-08-14 Integrate Australian Migration 3rd Instalment R 17,250.00 2018-08-21 Docassist Expedite birth-and marriage certificate R 1,038.00 2018-09-04 Visa Logistics Fast track Alicia police clearance R 3,500.00 2018-10-02 AUS Dept of Home Affairs Visa Application Fee (both) R 60,285.69 2018-10-12 Pathcare Tygervalley Blood Tests (both) R 444.80 2018-10-12 Drs Wolfaardt Medical Exam (both) R 2,220.00 2018-10-12 Bergman Ross X-Rays (both) R 1,280.00 Total R 125,088.75 Advice: Get your documents from Home Affairs ASAP (even if you are just thinking about emigrating). Get a 3rd party to handle the police clearance (it costs more, but the turnaround time is significantly shorter and you will save yourself a lot of frustration). Budget the entire process. Make sure you are in a financial position to do this and include at the very least an estimated activation trip. As you can see from my timeline everything happened within 6 months. If I estimate an activation trip and the money spent on the application it will be somewhere in the range of R160k – R200k for two people that is spent in less than a year. Final thoughts: Throughout this process you will have frustrating days, you will have doubts and you will get impatient. The best advice I can give is to continue with your life as normal and remind yourself of why you are doing this. For myself it is onto the next phase. Finding a job and making the move. Luckily I have a few connections in the corporate world on that side. All the best of luck to anyone currently busy with this. I hope all goes well and that you are successful.
  2. 2 points
    Hi everyone. So we arrived in Perth on the 5th December and it's been an absolute whirlwind. I enjoyed reading the journals of people arriving in Australia and how they are settling in etc, and promised to 'pay back' and give a true reflection of our journey so far.. Anyway, back to the 5th December..😁 We arrived in Perth at approximately 9 a.m. Our flight (via Mauritius) left JHB late which meant we only had 45 minutes to disembark, run to customs, and run to catch our connecting flight to Perth! But the staff at the airline are absolutely fantastic and we had a really enjoyable flight. Upon arrival in Perth it took about an hour to get through passport control. That said, we are normally the last people to leave the plane as hubby loves to pack a lot of stuff into hand luggage!! This, with a busy three year old, is normally a recipe for disaster! 🤣 It seems they were a bit short-staffed but we eventually made it through to collect our suitcases. They waved us through at customs and there we were, in Perth ready to start our new lives.. Car rental was a breeze. The shuttle stopped about 2 minutes after we made it to the pick up area (good timing I think!). The rental was $17 a day and a brand new Corolla. The Airbnb (we stayed there before) was like visiting family and we felt right at home. Jet lag was tough but after 2 days we were ready to start with the dreaded 'Admin'... First up - we needed a car. Having a limited budget is always a problem and as soon as we found a good deal we rushed as fast as we could only to find the 'car has been sold, sorry'. We also didn't factor in the amount of time it takes to get from one suburb to the next. The traffic lights stay red for a VERY long time! I joked with hubby and told him that we should bring a flask along and enjoy a cuppa while we wait at the traffic light 🤣. With one day to spare, and driving all around Perth we found a car we thought was a good deal. I would rather not go into too much detail here but please, if anyone is buying a vehicle privately, please take the car for an inspection first before buying. It is worth the $176. We were quite desperate, bought the car, and on the drive home realized that the brake lights were faulty, no wheel spanner etc. When we had the car checked we found out it needed a new timing belt ($600 later!!) and new shock absorbers (probably the same amount). Labour is expensive here so rather spend more on a car that still has a warranty in place. Will pay off in the long run. Oh yes, rego costs almost $200 for 3 months... Ouch indeed! Car sorted, we started looking at rentals. This was fairly easy. We used Realestate.com and as some of the properties were empty for some time and the agents were willing to come out and meet you at the property. We found a small villa which is just right for us North of the River. It was the first place we applied for and we were successful. We provided bank statements to prove we have funds available and paid two weeks in advance (over and above the bond). The furniture was another story.. We opted to go as cheap as possible (we are accountants after all!! 🤣) and drove around the whole of Perth picking up bits and pieces of furniture. Another tip, try and buy a car with a tow bar, makes it so much easier as you can rent a trailer which is cheaper than a ute or truck. Medicare we did on the third day after we arrived - took about two weeks for the cards to arrive in the post. They are very efficient and it took about 30 minutes for someone to help us register etc. The banks, Post Office and Dept of Transport are also super efficient. The next hurdle was converting driver's licenses.. All went well until the lady behind the counter asked me innocently "Are you taking any medication?". Like ANY medication, to which I replied yes. She asked me what medication I am taking so I replied I am a bit stressed so doctor gave me a month's prescription just to ease my through the transition. She look horrified and wanted to know if I didn't want to move to Australia, whether it was my husband's decision etc. She then proceeded to say I needed to go to a GP for a fitness assessment before they can process my application.. This was a real low point for me. Knowing that I may not have a license was really tough as most of the jobs I applied for required a license. Christmas was a quiet day. We went looking at the Christmas lights and spend the day in the park. Inbetween property inspections and collecting furniture it wasn't really a memorable Christmas.😥 Shortly after Christmas I started sending out job applications. It was absolutely quiet but then the rejection letters started rolling in. My mood started sinking and when we met with my husband's friend his daughter, who is in IT recruitment, told me to relax and give it time. We will find jobs.. Knowing the market in WA is tough for accountants, and many people telling us we should rather go to Melbourne or Sydney, I started doubting our decision and became more despondent. Not someone to give up, I spent some time on my Linkedin profile and started applying for jobs directly in Linkedin and Seek. Last week I received calls from agents who promised to have me at an interview the same day, resulting in me rushing to Perth CBD to quickly meet with them before seeing the client. Then, once I met with the recruiters face to face they came up with excuses such as the client decided to hire someone from internally, or the position has been put on hold etc. So I believe it was a way for them to get more candidates on their books. Inbetween all this one employer who I applied with directly contacted me for an interview. This was for an accounts payable job (I am a CA) at a big group but I thought hey, maybe I can just get my foot in the door. Interview went well and I was called back today for a second interview. During this time I was also contacted the FD of another company who saw my profile on Linkedin.. I am meeting him tomorrow. This is a more senior role and I am really excited about it. Anyway, second interview went well and operations manager phoned me to say 'You have got the job!!" Really excited but will still definitely meet with the FD of the other company tomorrow - even if it is just to broaden my network.. So, I finally got my license converted (after going to the GP for the assessment), job is basically in the bag, and life is starting to settle into a new normal. We are still frantically looking for a nice pre-kindy for the little one, and Centrelink has somehow messed up the linking code so I can't apply yet for the subsidized care. So will be heading there tomorrow again.. All in all, if I can give advise (probably relevant to Perth) it will be as follows: 1. If buying a car privately please do an inspection first.. Also use the report on the Department of Transport's website to make sure it is not stolen etc. Try and buy a car with a tow bar and service history. 2. Be prepared to wait a long time at traffic lights - factor this into your commute time 3. Apply for Medicare asap as you need it for proof of identity 4. Apply for a flybuys card at Coles - you get a lot of bonus points as well as 4c (AUD) off per litre of fuel. Fuel prices here vary every day but you will find that fuel is the cheapest on a Monday. 5. Work on Linkedin - it really makes a difference as most companies and recruiters will view your profile once they receive your resume. Meet with recruiters but ideally apply directly to companies. Wow, that is a lot of information in one go. Bit tired so will try and update my post by this weekend. Hope everyone has a great week!
  3. 1 point
    HI, you need a letter in Sydney to convert your license - pretty easy to get, As for car seats, SA car seats are not legal here (SA seats comply with Euro standards not Aus) , main difference is that all car seats must have a theater strap attached to the back of the main car seat (you wills see what i mean when you get here) My advice: leave your seats at home, and buy when you get here (Gumtree or Target/BigW/Kmart) PS: in Australia there is no concept of "OK in the interim" its either legal or not.....;-) ....takes us a while to get use to this,
  4. 1 point
    Hi Reinbow Welcome to the forum. Depends on which state you are headed to. Here in good the good old United State of QLD they are pretty sticky about car and booster seats. Believe it or not they have a 10 year expiry date on them and here in QLD they must have an Aus Standards sticker which also includes the weight and age rating. Most of the car hire companies have cars seats that you can rent with the car and Gumtree and FB are your friends here in Aus. You should be able to pick up a decent seat for a reasonable price. P.S. You have 3 months to drive around on your South African licence before ypu habe to convery and do yourself a favour by getting lettet from the traffic department validating your South African licences. As far as can remember NSW requires this letter to convert. QLD doesn't yet, and I'm not sure about the other states. Rather be safe than sorry. Happy Foruming
  5. 1 point
    @OnthemoveCongrats buddy! Safe travels.
  6. 1 point
    After a bit of a struggle, my folks just received request to pay VAC2. They seem to be directing them to online payment via credit card or PayPal and not bank transfer which all incur an additional 1.3%-1.9% surcharge - not insignificant on almost $90k.. Does anyone know if the old method is still available? @TeeTMI?
  7. 1 point
    Good morning Our lovely coastal town has a shortage of GPs. I found out about an option whereby our practice can apply for a special exemption and offer a job for overseas trained doctors. As I would love to help a South African GP, I thought to look into social media and forums to spread the word. GPs that is in South Africa or those somewhere else in Australia looking towards a move to the coast, please let me know if you are interested.
  8. 1 point
    Thanks all. I am hoping that the letter from SA High Commission showing we applied for her SA citizenship renunciation six months ago will be enough. I will try and find someone who I can ask about the queues when we come off the plane. I have just returned from my trip to SA with my daughter so am updating my post here. On entering SA I explained to the person controlling the queues that my daughter and I were on separate passports and wanted to stay together. He ushered us in to a queue and the gentleman serving us was very pleasant and didn’t ask any questions as to where her SA passport was. He was mainly interested in the Affidavit from my husband giving permission for her to travel with me. Leaving SA was a bit more tricky as we were asked where her SA passport was. I said that she is now a Aus citizen and no longer had a SA passport. The guy just said we should have let my daughter decide this for herself when she turned 18 and let us through. All I can say that if you are South African and planning trips back to visit family, keep your passports updated and give at least a year if you need a new one or wish to renounce your citizenship. It was an extra stress that we could have done without. By the way we still haven’t heard anything on her citizenship renunciation 8 months later....
  9. 1 point
    It takes 3 - 5 business days in South Africa! The only reason it takes 6+ months if you're outside of ZA is to p!ss us off as they have the systems in place to process this quickly.
  10. 1 point
    For some the information below may be old news, for others starting out, it can be useful. Here follows a short list of useful sites. You are welcome to add to it... This site! http://www.saaustralia.org Australian Government Immigration site https://www.australia.gov.au/information-and-services/immigration-and-visas Occupation lists and other news https://www.y-axis.com/australia-immigration-updates/ Site in India regularly updated with info about many things related to Aus immigration. Invitation estimates http://www.iscah.com/will-get-189-invite-iscah-december-2018-predictions/ Look on the ISCAH site on the news feed section for the latest news and invitation estimates. The site is updated regularly. https://myimmitracker.com/ Easy to use filters for different VISA classes, occupations etc Visa grants https://myimmitracker.com/ https://www.expatforum.com/ Packing up https://trello.com/ Use trello to organise your move On this site there is a very helpful 100 step process, as per the link below. Thanks Jordy ! Arriving and settling in https://www.justlanded.com/english/Australia/Australia-Guide/Housing-Rentals/Rental-Contracts https://www.realestate.com.au/ https://www.airbnb.com/ https://www.sydneymovingguide.com/ The site above is quite helpful, written by a US citizen who moved to Sydney, but the info contained is not only relevant to Sydney. That is all for now, since the job sites are more common knowledge. All the best
  11. 1 point
    Hi @satosa, Thanks for your post. Much like you, I've been lurking around on this forum with the odd post here and there. I really have found some useful advice on here, but have also freaked myself out at times wondering if I have crossed all t's and dotted all i's in our application (fingers crossed that we actually have!!). I certainly related to your Pearson's experience - the nerves certainly got the better of me that day, but thankfully a positive result in the end. My husband and I submitted our 189 visa application in November 2018 .... and now we wait. And wait. And wait. I am not an accountant, but like you, I'm open to any opportunity. Once we hear from our CO regarding our application, I am going to start looking and applying for jobs (I am an Occupational Therapist). Anyway, I just thought I would connect as we are also hoping to be over there by July this year. Here's hoping, hey! All the best!
  12. 1 point
    Hi all, New to this forum. Wishing everyone a happy new year and may the approvals all come through quickly. we lodged ours at the end of March 2016 so hoping we will hear something by September 2019. It has been a long wait but will sure be worth it. Dont despair and hang in there.
  13. 1 point
    🎉 CELEBRATIONS 🍾 🍾 🍾 popping the cork VISA granted early this morning - what a Christmas prezzie! To all my fellow roomies, A zillion thank you's for each and everyone's support, advice and tips over these past 1276 days from start to finish (yep, that's 41 months, 3 weeks, 6 days to be precise) All the best going forward. Have a wonderful festive season.
  14. 1 point
    Good news 😃😊 Received request for 2nd VAC payment very early this morning....so excited to all roomies, may this festive season be a safe and happy one for you and your loved ones.
  15. 1 point
    Hi all great news, just got email with letter of invitation to provide Meds, PPC, Update form 80 and copies of our passports ( we both have new passports ). Our lodgement date was 07 / 07 / 2015. we in Australia at the moment on 600 tourist visa. can anyone please advise current costs per person to have medicals done and get PCC done from Durban, South Africa. Best wishes to all in the waiting room - hoping that the process is in full momentum
  16. 1 point
    i have just received an email immigration asking for further documents... wohoo.. we have applied my Mum's visa on the 10 July 2015 .... hey guys so letter says we can apply AoS online... can anyone please guide me towards AoS ... Many thanks
  17. 1 point
    Good news, request for our 2nd VAC came in this morning 😎 Nearly there with our 143
  18. 1 point
    The Centrelink officer was as good as her word and called me yesterday to confirm they had accepted my AoS effective 4/12/2018. She also informed me that Electronic notification will go on 10/12/2018 to PVC. I am still waiting to receive this letter on MyGov but am so relieved that she cared enough to call and update me. I can now travel without anxiety of unfinished requirements hindering assessment.
  19. 1 point
    I'm just going to leave this here:
  20. 1 point
    Hi Elna been here 12 years 😸
  21. 1 point
    Hi everyone Thanks for all the responses and advice. I suppose the journey was not an epic fail - we managed to activate the little one's visa which was our purpose to start with. We only had until the 7h June to do so, so in that sense we achieved our goal. Maybe I was a little hard on myself, with my health the way it is and the uncertainty as to why my hearing is not improving contributed a lot to my emotional state that side. Also, being out of my routine and also getting sick that side probably turned the situation into the perfect storm. But I have 'pulled myself towards myself' and decided that firstly I will work on improving my health and then hubby and I will make another trip in October to Perth. The good thing is that we can learn from past mistakes, correct them, and tackle life again. @Mara Thanks for the encouragement Mara - I appreciate your support! @WayneAndMel The antibiotics contained sea kelp (I think that's what the doctor said. I am allergic to penicillin so there wasn't a lot of options). Perhaps I just reacted badly to it as I have never taken anything similar before? And travelling with a very unhappy toddler really adds to the stress big time. The one day we drove through Fremantle and he started screaming like there is no tomorrow. Our nerves were really frazzled. @Eyebrow I can imagine what you felt like arriving there in the cold of night after missing your connecting flight. Luckily adrenaline keeps a person going but once you check into the hotel and had a sleep reality kicks in. Wow Eyebrow, that's one very expensive breakfast! When we left the airport we had a plate of chips, one coke and hubby had a mango beer. I think it cost about $25.. Thanks for everyone's responses and encouragement - it means a lot to know others have been through the same process. Here is hoping that my health improves and by October our trip to Perth will go a lot better.
  22. 0 points
    I have a daughter that is waiting patiently for me to get there so she can have a medical procedure as she can't drive or do anything for 6 weeks, my boss in s retiring in April and they talking of splitting up the Directorate so I may need to be redeployed and my housemate is looking at going back to Sweden so I may be homeless too. Talk about being stressed!
  23. 0 points
    It is very demoralising to see the time extend with little movement in the dates. It is another of these elastic time frames. The length of time it takes is not expected to match the days that have passed in the meantime. The number of people who apply on any given day could e.g. be 0 or 100. The quotas limit the number of visas that can be processed in any one year.