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  1. Hunts

    Our Australian Escapade

    After reading other people’s journals over the last few years I guess the time has come to write my own journal entry as we are less than 2 months away from moving to Melbourne on 189 visas. My family and I currently live in Dubai. My wife and I have lived here for almost 11 years and both of our kids were born here. Over the years we have become so accustomed to living without fear of crime. People leave their handbags in their trolleys in supermarkets, leave their cars running when they pop into a shop to keep the AC running etc. When we hear a noise at night it the last thing we think of is someone breaking in. This carefree lifestyle is exactly what we want our children to experience growing up. We had always toyed with the idea of moving to another country and in October 2016 I got hold of an agent and started looking at our options. I am a quantity surveyor, however I studied a different degree at university so my case wasn’t very clean-cut. This is the reason that we ended up using an agent for the entire visa process. The 2 best options that the agent recommended were a 190 visa for Queensland as a construction estimator and a 189 visa as a quantity surveyor. While we were busy collecting all of the initial documents I received the bad news that Queensland had taken construction estimator off their 190 skills list. This meant that the only chance we had of getting a visa was the 189 which meant that a positive skills assessment was crucial. I did the IELTS Academic in November 2016 (still don’t know why I didn’t do the General) and my score wasn’t enough for 20 points (9/9/8/7), however it was enough to submit a skills assessment. Our agent sent our documentation off to AIQS for the skills assessment in December 2016. She warned me that it could take a few months to get a reply due to the time of year. She also warned me that AIQS are notoriously quite strict and getting a positive skills assessment for a degree that wasn’t for QS might be tough. Literally less than a week later I received an email to say that I had received a positive skills assessment. My wife was already in Cape Town with our daughter on holiday and I called her to tell her the news. She burst into tears and that was the moment that I always look back on when I knew that she was as committed to the move as I was. Up until then she was always interested but I was not entirely convinced. That phone call changed everything. I joined her in CT for Christmas and only got around to attempting IELTS again in February 2017 (General this time). The marks came back and I was short again (9/9/9/7.5). I paid for a remark which was unsuccessful so I turned my attention to Pearson PTE and did the test in March 2017. Luckily in Dubai the centre is open six days a week with two tests per day so I could do the test immediately. I ended up getting straight 90s and suddenly we had enough points to lodge the expression of interest. The EOI was submitted in the middle of March 2017 and by the end of March we had received an invite. Our agent recommended that we submit the final application ‘decision ready’ meaning that every single document that is required is submitted with the application. We did our medical and by the end of April 2017 the final application had been lodged for a 189 visa (quantity surveyor) with 65 points (60 was the minimum back then). I signed up to Myimmitracker and visited the site multiple times a day. Visas had started drying up and everyone was talking about waiting until July when the new quota came into play. Halfway through June 2017 we received an email from our agent stating that the case officer was requesting a correct police clearance for my wife. The police officer who did the certificate in SA had written the date on the day it was issued as my wife’s birth date! The courier service missed it, the agent missed it and so did we. This was incredibly frustrating as we would have been granted the visas. We managed to get a new police clearance within 24 hours and it was loaded onto the system. The wait continued. We had booked flights to Australia to activate our visas (big mistake, I know) and when they hadn’t come through a few days before we were due to leave we ended up changing our flights to Hong Kong. There aren’t many last minute holiday options with a South African passport! At least my daughter got to experience Disney Land and Ocean Park. We also went to Macau for a few days. On 1 September 2017 (I will always remember the day) we were in the desert having a breakfast braai with some friends around one of the man-made lakes. I had left my phone in the car. I went to check it and one stage and I had emails, missed calls etc. I opened the first email and it was from our agent. CONGRATULATIONS. YOUR 189 VISA HAS BEEN APPROVED. We were so excited but also relieved. Four months of daily checking of Myimmitracker, reading forums etc. and all of that was behind us in an instant. We had been keeping a bottle of champagne in anticipation of the visa grant and we eventually opened it that night. We had no intention of moving to Australia immediately as we were (and still are) extremely happy with our lives in Dubai. We had up to early April to enter the country and we booked our flights for March 2018. We ended up going to Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. We arrived in Melbourne on a Friday morning in late March 2018. Quite strange setting foot on Australian soil for the first time as permanent residents. The jet lag was terrible and it took a few days to recover. We went to the aquarium, watched the Hawks beat Collingwood at the G, went up the Eureka tower etc. We really loved the place but we were only there for a few days and flew to Sydney on Tuesday morning. We did the big bus, went to Manly for lunch, saw the opera house, went to the zoo and the wildlife park near Darling Harbour, went to the Newport for dinner (we were staying in the Northern Beaches). Sydney was incredible and definitely has the most to offer for a tourist. We flew to Perth on the Friday to stay with my wife’s cousin who had moved to Perth about 20 years ago with her family. It was Easter weekend so the family were all free to show us around. Kings Park was stunning. We spent the full week there doing site seeing and spending time with the family. We absolutely loved the holiday and when we got back to Dubai we knew that once my son was born (my wife was pregnant on the trip) we would have to start the entire visa process again but luckily just a 101 visa. My son was born at the end of June 2018 and we immediately began the process of applying his Australian visa. The official website at the time said that the visa could take up to 11 months. We submitted the visa application in the middle of September 2018 and within a month the visa had been granted. We have until September 2019 to activate the visa. Fast-forward to today and we are busy finalizing the move. I have managed to get an internal transfer with my company to the Melbourne office which I am very grateful for. I start at the beginning of August so we are looking at going over towards the end of July so that I have a week to settle before starting work. We still need to sell our cars as well as furniture that we aren’t taking, ship the remaining furniture, finalise the dog relocation and close out all of our admin in Dubai. We are moving to Melbourne as we have quite a few friends who live there and my wife’s sister and her family moved to Geelong a few months ago. It’s about 8 weeks until we make the move and we cannot wait. The only problem is that we haven’t had a winter in about 6 years and Melbourne will be freezing!
  2. Hi everyone, I have read various posts where people have mentioned that some form of letter from the SA Traffic Department is required in order to swop your SA drivers licence for an Australian one. Is this the case for all states? Does anyone know if it's required in Victoria? Also I currently have both an SA and UAE drivers licence so could I maybe use the UAE one in case the letter is required as I do not have the letter?
  3. Hi, Hoping someone can confirm this process. I'm hoping to apply for my Visa 190 next week. I had a look at the Victoria website here: https://www.liveinvictoria.vic.gov.au/visas-and-immigrating/skilled-visas/skilled-nominated-visa-subclass-190#.WbvU-qiCx3g The normal process to apply for a Visa 190 (according to their website) is these 6 steps: How to apply for Victorian visa nomination: ICT occupations On 1 July 2017, the Victorian Skilled and Business Migration Program is reopening applications for ICT occupations. For the full list of occupations, please see the Visa nomination occupation list for Victoria. New application process for ICT occupations Due to the high number of ICT applications that Victoria receives, we are changing our application process for ICT occupations. The aim of this is to reduce processing times and hopefully improve your experience with our program. To apply for Victorian nomination (in ICT occupations), follow these steps: 1. Check you meet the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s (DIBP) Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) requirements and Victoria’s minimum nomination requirements. 2. Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) in DIBP’s SkillSelect, and indicate your interest for Victorian nomination. You do not need to notify Victoria that you have submitted an EOI. Note that if you already have an EOI in the SkillSelect system (submitted before 1 July 2017), it will be considered for Victorian nomination. You will not need to resubmit it. 3. Regularly check your email (including your junk mail folder) to see if you have been selected by Victoria. There is no set timeframe to expect an invitation after submitting an EOI. Invitations are not guaranteed. If selected, an email invitation to apply for Victorian visa nomination will be sent to your email address used for the EOI. 4. Submit an online application for Victorian visa nomination within 14 days of receiving the invitation. Note that you must be able to demonstrate that you still meet the claims that were in your EOI when you were invited. We recommend that you have all your supporting documents ready before you submit your EOI in SkillSelect, as the 14 days cannot be extended. 5. If you are successfully nominated by the Victorian Government, you will receive a SkillSelect invitation to apply for the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190). 6. Submit a visa application to DIBP within 60 days of being nominated by Victoria. Selection considerations The Victorian Government will review and select the top ranking ICT candidates from SkillSelect, who have indicated Victoria as their preferred state. Candidates who are selected to apply are still required to meet Victoria’s minimum eligibility requirements, including demonstrating employability and commitment to Victoria, and are not guaranteed nomination. If you are not selected by the Victorian Government, you will not receive an email. Your EOI will continue to be considered for as long as it remains in DIBP’s SkillSelect system. But the most important part is the Exemption of this process: Exemptions from this process This application process is for ICT occupations only. However, if you are an ICT applicant and currently hold an offer of employment in your nominated occupation in Victoria, or meet the streamlined 457 or PhD pathway, you are exempt from this process and can lodge a Victorian visa nomination application directly without first being selected by Victoria. So, I do have the minimum of 60 points and also the requirements for VIC (BA with min 5 years and all 7 in EILTS) plus I do have a job offer from our branch in Melbourne. So I am exempt from the normal process. So if I understand this correctly I'm skipping step 1-3 and directly applying (step 4) to the VIC. So, am I right in saying I'm going to apply and they will just do a confirmation on my paperwork and then I'll be successful and I can then apply for my Visa 190? So I don't have to wait on the list for an Invite to apply. If this is the case it should surely be very quick to get my Visa 190? Or am I reading something wrong?
  4. Hi Everyone, We have been in Melbourne for a few days now and hope to convert our drivers licences at Vic roads on Monday. I see there is a Fee of $18,50. If we convert to Victorian licences and move to Canberra, what will the implications be - does anyone have advice? (Their website doesn't seem as clear as Vicroads) How long can i stay an interstate driver and do I have to convert? - Is there a cost associated? Is it better to convert now to Victoria and then again in a month or so? Should I just drive on my RSA license and convert in ACT if and when necessary?
  5. FingersCrossed

    Next Step

    Hello everyone Need some advice please as we are about to visit Australia to activate our visa's in June this year. We received a PR190 visa with Victoria state sponsorship which we are very excited about. We (my wife and 2 step children) are flying in June to activate these visa's and will be entering Australia in Perth and then going for a short 2 week holiday in Brisbane where my wife's family lives. We were going to visit Melbourne however after the research we have done we are comfortable that we would love it there and we thought that it would be better to stay with family on the activation trip to save money. This morning, I received a email from the Victoria government congratulating me on receiving my PR visa and outlining the conditions of my Victoria government nomination. This has raised a few questions which I wanted to bounce off you guys just to make sure I dont do something wrong. Firstly, when we go over for our activation trip in June this year, do I need to let the Victoria government know that I am just coming over to activate and will be staying in Brisbane for 2 weeks or do they only want to know once I have officially moved to Australia? We will only be moving over next year (2018). I dont see anywhere in the email that states we need to visit Melbourne for activation trips, however I dont want them to think that I am living in Brisbane. When we move over next year, we will be going straight to Melbourne and I planned to let them know of my address etc once I arrive. Should I send Victoria a email outlining my plans or is it not required? Secondly, what happens if when we move over next year and we are in Melbourne, and my son wants to attend university in another state? He isn't planning that, however I know that universities get full or they may not offer a subject that he wants to take - so he may decide to study in another university. Does he as a dependent on my visa HAVE to stay in Melbourne for the 2 years with us or is it OK if he studies in another state? I was under the assumption that each members PR190 visa is independent once the visa's are activated. Is this correct? Any advice would be appreciated. Many thanks FingersCrossed
  6. Hello Hope everyone is doing ok. :-) I submitted my state sponsorship application 12 weeks ago and have not heard anything back since then. I am applying for Victoria state sponsorship. Has anyone else done this and if so, how long did you have to wait for a reply from them? The waiting is killing me :-( I know that there may be a backlog or something - and I keep telling myself that "No news is sometimes good news" - however i really wish that I would just get a answer from them. cheers FingersCrossed.
  7. I would like to hear from anyone that has successfully entered Australia on a 190 PR visa sponsored by a state (especially Victoria) for Database Administrator 262111. We are going to apply for my husbands' skills assessment for Database Administrator (262111) within the next few months. He has been Oracle certified since 2006 and worked as a Database Administrator since 2008. All his latest certifications are also up to date. 1. Has anyone received a positive skills assessment with only Oracle (not Microsoft) for Database Administrator? (and No Degree) 2. What documentation did you submit? (We were advised to submit employment letters, 3 pay slips and 3 bank statements to prove each year of work experience.) 3. How long did you wait for a response after you submitted your EOI?
  8. Hi Guys, So my wife, 2 toddlers and I arrived on Tuesday night in Melbourne and what an adventure it has been. We hired a rental car till this week Monday 06/07/2015 which needs to be returned to the Airport, as we have managed to buy a 2nd hand car today which can only be collected on Monday as I could not make the round trip back from the bank in time. The problem I have is that my wife starts working on Monday so the 4yr old twin girls and myself will need to drop off the rental at the airport in the morning and then I need to get the three of us with two booster seats up to Coburg. The Dealer suggested a Taxi but I think that would probably cost a small fortune and I'm not sure that arriving on a train with two booster seats would be allowed. Does anyone have any suggestions? Could I just not take the booster seats and dodge to metro cops? Thanks a mil
  9. Hi I am kind of new to the site. Well I have been reading what people have had to say about Aus while we were waiting for paper work and approvals to come through. So we finally have the Engineers Australia’s approval! And my boyfriend’s qualification has been approved. We are applying for a 190 visa and now need to decide on a state. So I have previously seen that Victoria and NSW were giving out the most invites for the 190 visa. This is a blessing, as we want to bring our dog along and the two quarantine stations are in Sydney and Melbourne. So I am opting for Victoria (for no real reason) and looking at a smaller town like Geelong or Ballarat. But I don’t know what the job situation is like there, especially for a mechanical engineer? I see that there are lots of jobs in the major cities but rent is just too expensive! And it seems there are fewer places which are pet friendly. Many people seem to flock to the major cities looking for work. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  10. Hi again forumites! I have documented my 6 week, and 6 month experiences elsewhere on this forum - and have just realised that I never did my 1 year post. It is now actually 1 year and 3 months that I have been in Australia. I am feeling particularly reflective this week...perhaps it is the beautiful full-moon that we had last night, or perhaps it is the meteor that I witnessed falling just outside Ballarat last night (as a friend and I took a long walk that ended after dark), perhaps it is the fact that I reached a significant milestone in my work this week, or perhaps it is just the fact that I am ridiculously happy right now. Those of you who remember me will know that I ended a long-term relationship to move here. I was frustrated that my work was not fulfilling me. I was suffering from fear of crime I was bored I was craving change Today I am single again (having had another relationship with an Aussie, which was fun but ultimately not for me at this time) Today I am 1 year into my PhD, the reason why I came to Aus in the first place. Today I am safeToday I am challenged on a daily basis Today...well...I am still craving change :-) I suffer from serious wanderlust. I must admit and stress here that I was never unhappy in RSA...if I didn't have an opportunity to leave I would have made my life there. Out of necessity I did, and would have loved my life there. It is in my nature to be an eternal optimist and I have a very strong motivation to make the most of my life, no matter where I am or what I am doing. But I must also admit and stress here that I have never been happier than I am now in Aus. Now, I hope this does not come across in the wrong way, but bear me out: The Oscar Pistorius trial has been a particularly interesting parallel for me, and yes I am slightly obsessed (the only positive of the time difference between here and RSA is that I can stream the trial live!). The weekend that I left RSA was the weekend that Reeva was tragically shot. The first thing that most people asked me that first week was my opinion on the OP case. I have never had an opinion on his innocence/guilt, but I do remember so very clearly that all I could think that week was that I could actually understand his fear of intruders (bear in mind that whether or not this is actually true does not matter for my story). In PTA I used to live not far from OP's estate, we have many mutual friends although I have never met him, and we are the same age. I remember the news of the rugby player who shot his daughter accidentally, and the father who sadly shot his child because of that all-encompassing fear of crime. At the time I had no idea how much that fear seeped into every day of my life. Those first few weeks in Aus I could not sleep because, ironically, I did not feel safe. I had moved into a share house that had 6 bedrooms and was quite large, there was only one other girl in the house at the time (others were uni students who were still on holiday) and I felt so unsafe. I remember her asking me why I locked my door at night, and then being told off because it was a fire risk. I also remember that the owners of the house had to come and change the locks because all locks had to by yale locks that could open from the inside in case of fire. No burglar bars/trellidors here! Today as I think back to that everyday pervasive stress I really do believe that it is a major health risk, both physically and mentally. I lived with that fear because I did not know anything else. I lived with that boredom and frustration because I did not know, because I could not shape those feelings. It has only started to dawn on me now. I am currently in a highly competitive PhD program, and must admit that being a proper professional nerd is right up my alley, haha! No time for boredom here! A large part of my research involves Australian Football (Aussie rules)...and in Aus you don't say Aussie Rules when you refer to this game, you just refer to it as 'Footy'...as in "I went to watch the Footy this weekend" Now, I just wanted to share a story that I think will make you all smile! Nobody in my office understands this, but I know that you all will! #embarrassing We were having a big research meeting a couple of weeks ago, about our Footy research projects, and at one point in the meeting just started chatting. I mentioned a story where a colleague of mine took me out to teach me and the other international student how to kick an Aussie rules ball. The trouble was that I referred to this as a "Footy ball", as in "rugby ball" by saying "we went out to kick the footy ball around"...WELL I was met with howling laughter and had NO idea why!!! Apparently you just say 'footy' as in 'we went to kick the footy around'. So now I will forever be known as the 'footyball' girl. Oh boy. But the Aussies LOVED it...embrace these moments I say! Haha! Another one has been the obvious 'robot' blunder, and just yesterday "till slip" was met with a blank stare (it is a receipt)! In April I attended a conference in Monaco (still cannot believe that coming to Aus led me to the amazing opportunity of going to Monaco). At the conference there was a delegation from RSA...and they thought my Aussie accent was hilarious, especially the inflection. Although the Aussies still think I have an RSA accent. This led to more gentle teasing from all! Haha. Worst of all, I had quite a few English teachers at the primary school that I went to in Botswana and so I now have a strange RSA/Aussie/English accent with occasional American pronunciations thrown in for good measure! Got to laugh at myself sometimes! Whoah, okay I better stop for now (and change the title to add "embarrassing moments"). This journal started off being reflective and has quite swiftly progressed to things that have made me laugh! I think this is the perfect indication of my state of mind a year ago, and my state of mind now! So, will write more in this journal another time. For now it is over to all of you...what are your most embarrassing Aussie moments?!?
  11. Skilled migrants and overseas qualified professionals have a new way to connect with Victorian employers. The Victorian Government’s Overseas Skills Registry is a new online initiative service that connects skilled migrants and overseas qualified professionals with Victorian employers who have vacancies in areas of demand. Overseas qualified professionals and skilled migrants can profile their skills, qualifications and work experience on the registry. Victorian employers will be able to access the registry and make contact directly with individuals who have registered. The registry is currently open to state nominated skilled migrants (primary visa holders only) and international student graduates with previous professional work experience. The registry will be open to other overseas qualified professionals and tradespeople by December 2013. Find out more at liveinvictoria.vic.gov.au/overseasskillsregistry
  12. Hi all, I would like to establish contact with any mechanical engineers (or related) who are currently working in Victoria. I have a couple of questions regarding current employment opportunities, conversion of certain skill & so forth. Engineers Australia assessed my qualification to be Engineering Technologist (mechanical). I have about +10 years experience in the sector in positions ranging from CAD designer to Project Engineer to Site Manager. Im currently looking to enter the market as CAD designer and would like to know if I need to get these skills assessed or converted to a local qualification. If so, I'd like to know where or how I need to do this. Any, help or contact would be appreciated! Thanks John.
  13. jcl

    Hello from Belgium

    Hello. This is my first post on the site, probably my first post ever on any kind of forum, so here goes! We received our visa approval on the 28th of November 2012 and were ecstatic! I was over the moon and have been floating ever since! I consider getting the visa as quiet an achievement. As we received state sponsorship for Victoria we will be heading out to Melbourne in August this year. It will be a big move as we don’t have any relatives or friends in the area. Hope we can connect to some of you living out that way. As I’ve been doing quiet a bit or researching the scariest part for me right now is finding employment. I always used to think this would be relatively easy, but having read some of your posts I am getting a bit concerned. Any advice would be much appreciated! Sincerely John
  14. Hi everyone Firstly - thanks for the kind words and welcoming "hellos" ! Just looking for some input on costs. Hoping some of you can guide me here. I work with a reputable immigration agent, but there's no harm in getting a perspective on the costs of the 188 state sponsored visa application. Can anyone shed any light please? From what I can see, based on 50% dep required from my immigration agent of R47,880 it must cost around R95,760 ?? Can anyone comment, verify this amount as market average cost for this application? I'm not wanting to grind them down in price, just want too ensure I'm not being ripped-off and am paying fair value for this process... (plus additional A$5000 payable on successful app) Any input super appreciated.. Thanks ! Jan
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