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MichKen

Our 489 visa process

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MichKen

I have been keeping a bit of a journal of our process in the "about me" section, but realized this may not be useful to future applicants with similar circumstances to mine as this is not searchable.  So, I decided some time ago that once our Visa was approved, I would transfer this "journal" into the actual journal section.  I hope this helps someone, at some point in the future.

This way I can also add to this as we progress on this journey to our new homeland........

 

First a bit about us:

We are a family of 4, well into our 40's, with my husband hitting 50 later this year.  So we are not young, we are well established in our lives and leaving South Africa was never really on our future plans. Our children are both in high school, with our son finishing school this year.

 

Our motivation to move:

As our son grew up and entered his last years of high school, the reality of the limited opportunities available to him began to dawn on us, we started actively encouraging him to pursue a career that would take him out the country, were he would have a better chance "it's too late for us", we told him, but he should do that.  At that stage, the fees must fall movements started gaining momentum and becoming particularly prominent and seemingly violent, and I started to get really worried about him attending university here, even if he can get in, will he be safe.....?  What kind of future will our daughter have when she gets to that stage?  I don't want to bash my country, but the leadership crisis, the lack of integrity and the uncertainty, crime, etc. did weigh in our minds and was also a part of this decision.  The pull factor once we decided on Australia, and Adelaide in particular was the chance to live in a city which appears to be a blend of Grahamstown and PE, with a bit of the Cape.... small enough to not be a complete rat race but also big enough to have good enough job opportunities for us both.  Good cultural element, beautiful beaches and wine farms!  Great universities... and my position as high availability on their skills list!

 

How we came to our decision:

At the beginning of February 2016, an old friend was offered a transfer with his company to Houston, Texas in the USA, and we spoke about how fortunate he was to have this opportunity.  Being much more knowledgeable than we are on these things, he brought to our attention that my career is actually a scarce skill in some countries and suggested we look at Canada.  We did, and the bug bit...

With the decision made that we could consider emigrating, we started to really explore our options.  Canada, then Ireland, New Zealand.... then almost like I was being called to it, Australia.  Why called, every day during that period, on my route to work, I drove past a sign (literally) on the side of the road "Migrate2Oz". Each day I would drive past this sign and look at it... while we were contemplating other countries as a new home.  After a few weeks of seeing this daily, we decided to look into it, we made contact with that agent, had an assessment done and that was it.

 

This is how it unfolded from there.  As I mentioned this is the journal I was keeping as we progressed, so excuse the varying tenses, tones, etc.

 

08 March 2016 - made the decision to give this emigration thing a try, time and age is not on my side, so it's now or never...

 

16 March 2016 - appointed the migration agent, Migrate2Oz, after a good deal of research; decided we need the help and guidance and they seem to have a good reputation and success rate.  Finances a concern at this stage because it seems rather daunting to come up with the figures quoted.  Faith tells me that if this is His Will we need not worry about anything.  On appointment, agent requested skills evidence documents and I had my first experience of the roller coaster ride that is called Migration!  How was I EVER going to get that... convinced I had just wasted 5 grand, I gave up.  .....Nearly!

Epiphany! Research! Contacting old bosses and next thing I knew, it was done and the agent was happy we could submit.  My first introduction to the waiting game that is also Migration.

 

Sometime in April 2016 - Applied for unabridged everything!

 

26 April 2016 - Lodged skills assessment with AIM for HR Manager ??? praying hard for success.

Now for the anxious waiting......  I was not convinced I was going to get a positive skills assessment.  Everything I read online told me this was not an easy one to get.  The more I read, the more convinced I was that I was not going to make it.

"The LORD will fight for you, you need only BE STILLExodus 14:14

 

21 May 2016 - wrote PTE test, was NOT a walk in the park, have to redo

.....still waiting for assessment outcome from AIM.  I decided not to throw more good money after bad, and that I would rather wait and see if I got a positive skills assessment before trying again.

 

In hindsight, I wish that I had continued trying, at least tried once more.  This is where we lost our 190, if I had more (I don't know.... confidence? faith?...) I should have done Pearson again or gone for IELTS during this waiting period.  What I don't understand is that I was at first set on doing IELTS because it's accepted more generally for migration to other countries, why did I get stuck on PTE?

 

17 August 2016 - finally got my skills assessment results ? Positive result received ??? ..............but only 6 years have been recognized (which I kinda anticipated would happen) but that 5 less points!

 

.....still waiting for husband and daughter ubc, applied in back April. Now DHA may delay us. Have faith...!

 

...now I have to write the English tests and score Superior English to have enough points.

 

22 August 2016 - rewrote PTE, seemed even more difficult than first time.  Scores were slightly better though and enough to get us a 489 visa.  Discussing this with hubby we decided it's PR or nothing...!

 

This is where the wheels came off for me; with the time pressure, and so much at stake, it just wasn't happening for me on the English test front. Each score for speaking was lower than the previous one!  My confidence took a massive knock and I just felt plain stupid. People who knew about this were also quite insensitive about my failure. This was a difficult period for me! It was lonely too because no one could understand why I was struggling with this part; I'm known to be a "grammar nazi", with a strong vocabulary.... perhaps it was nervous anxiety or my typical over-analyzing, but it just got worse and worse... Again, I nearly gave up; in fact I had said I was doing one last test, then I'm done! But, my stubbornness would not allow that; I was determined to beat this English test thing!

I decided that Pearson needed to know that there is something wrong with their program/system and that somehow it was biased toward me.  I wrote to every email address I could find. Lo and behold, I got a response from a very sympathetic lady, somewhere in the organization, who offered to put my tests through a "SEM check", for free - so I sent her all my test IDs.  She did the SEM check and they (my tests) failed, meaning my test scores are not an accurate reflection of my actual test performance! WHAT? She then offered to send them all for review, for free. 2 months later I was fully refunded for 4 out of the 5 tests!  So, apparently PTE is not for everyone and I'm one of those whom it's not for... I felt so vindicated!

 

15 October 2016 - 5 PTE attempts later, results were 5 x 90's for listening and writing and above 80 for reading; 5 x (roughly) 40's for my home language in speaking... I did the IELTS on 08 October, waiting for results, one week to go - this WAS my last attempt at an English test before calling it quits completely. All 5 PTEs sent for review and taking longer than it should to get feedback.

Waiting is definitely the most difficult part of this process....!

 

But.... I must admit, I actually enjoyed writing the IELTS test, the test was challenging, but fun.  Wouldn't mind doing it again, if I had time. I know exactly where I went wrong and how to fix it for next time.

 

21 October 2016 - IELTS score L - 9.0, R - 8.5, S - 9.0, W - 7.5 ? So, therefore no 190 visa for us, and no time for a rewrite.

 

While I was waiting for the results, I started reading up about the 489, which we had dismissed outright earlier in the year.... actually not a bad alternative! Not ideal, but not bad! It will present some challenges, but not unmanageable ones.  Research done about school and medical, it's affordable, again we would prefer not, but we can do it!  Our challenge will be our sons education as we are not likely to be able to afford international university fees, but perhaps he can redo grade 12 there while we find our feet, then take a gap year and work and then once we have PR, he can go to university.  He will have to work because he will need to apply for his own 887, if he is not studying.  Alternatively, if they have a bridging program of sorts, he can study that, he just needs to keep studying full time to be included i our 887 application.

 

25 October 2016 - EOI and SS submitted for 489 visa.

 

23 November 2016 - Received our Invitation to Apply ?????????

 

01 December 2016 - 489 Visa Application Lodged ?? now for the nightmare task of gathering all the employment evidence.... another "how the heck will I get all that" blindside!  But the usual "panic - calm down - think - epiphany - research - dig - knock on old contacts doors - done" routine that has pulled me through before, thankfully worked again and before I knew it, I had it all, and then some! A valuable reminder as to why I try hard to never burn bridges! And a valuable lesson in being better in future about personal record keeping.

 

The waiting period I'm currently in is intensely punctuated with fear (perhaps more accurately phrased, a paranoia) of what can go wrong, with my mind believing that the worst case scenario will inevitably play out in real life.... perhaps this journey is about learning to truly "trust and obey, there's no other way..." just have learn to let it go, it's now out of my hands, my part is done.

"The LORD will fight for you, you need only BE STILLExodus 14:14....

 

12 December 2016 - Case Officer assigned? but we still don't have Kens birth certificate! Time to go "postal" on the DHA, email after email after email, (about 10 to be exact), and I eventually managed to get it sorted out - within 3 hours of mailing the ministers office, I got a PHONE CALL to say it was ready for collection!  Not an SMS... a personal phone call!

 

14 December 2016 - Police Clearance certificates issued?

 

05 January 2017 - Medicals done @ Rosebank with Dr Cobb, seems all good!?  Dr Cobb is an interesting man, he could tell how anxious I was, he heard how my heart was pounding.... he was so professional, entertaining and moved through everything very quickly.  Really put us all at ease.

 

09 January 2017 - all evidence uploaded, now for the final agonizing wait....??? 

 

...as we wait we have time to think of the many things we would do differently now with the benefit of hindsight, most importantly I would have done IELTS first (or at least sooner), which would have meant time to retry and go with a 190; and secondly, I would have tried for a direct grant.  This waiting is so difficult and no fun at all.

 

10 February 2017 - second request for information from VPO, felt like my heart would stop when I saw the change in application status... was immediately convinced something had gone horribly wrong and we were about to be declined or something terrible has happened- I felt myself shaking like a leaf and an overwhelming sense of "dread" is the best word for what I was filled with.... only to discover that it was a simple little matter of incorrect loading of documents.  One x birth certificate and three x passports.  Man, I'm bummed that could have been a grant!  These were loaded with mine, in one file, and not in the persons own profile.

Now back to the waiting room we go, for goodness knows how long, best I can gather from research is another 2 to 4 weeks wait, but there is very little data to inform this.  Argh!

 

25 February 2017 - I really don't have the patience for this wait, in a couple of weeks it will be the anniversary of us making this decision, but with all these delays and struggles, what should have taken us 6 to 8 months has taken 12 months! It has taken a lot of tenacity and determination to get us to this point, but I'm now at the end of my tenacity and determination, and desperately needing some certainty now, our lives have been in limbo for a year with "if we stay/if we go" scenario planning.  Emigration is NOT for the faint-hearted!  We plan to go at the end of the year, yet in my heart I know it will take all we have to not just get on a plane and go if our Visa is granted.

In the meantime we wait... I check my immiaccount 4 times between waking up and 09:00AM, with that heart sinking feeling each time when I see the words "assessment in progress".  I spend all my spare moments searching the Net for some clarity on how long we will now have to wait and if our Visa will be granted next time, answers Google just doesn't seem to have for me.  So, another week has past and we are reaching our 3-months-since-application mark on Thursday, will we be part of the 75%? Will this next week bring us some certainty?

 

09 March 2017 - not feeling quite so frustrated with this waiting thing anymore, and thinking perhaps that is the life lesson here.  I have come to the point of realizing that my Heavenly Fathers timing is always perfect and that it is best for us to just wait because our Visa will only be valid for 4 years and we can only leave in December 2017 and so each day in SA with our Visa is one less day in Australia with our Visa, so the wait is actually good! It's actually a gift!  As much as I have a need to know, I recognize that this is just my vain attempt to control this process, which is now out of my hands! So, the verse that has pulled me through the last year, remains my comfort "The LORD will fight for you, you need only BE STILLExodus 14:14

 

19 March 2017 - we are now on day 108 since lodging and solidly into the triple digits.  Strange that they (triples) used to scare me when I saw them in other people's posts, and really hoped we would not have to get there... yet here we are and they are much less scary than they looked.  Getting here has been tough, I have been through a myriad of emotions from anger to frustration but for nearly 2 weeks now it has just been okay! que sera sera!  This attitude I have found to be most liberating.

Last week Thursday it was officially one year since we appointed our agents, and I still feel I would do it again, I have no regrets.  I feel so very blessed that we could even get THIS far, it's been a difficult year and I am grateful for the gift of a persevering spirit to make sure I never gave up.

The waiting room time is currently being used by research into education options for our son who matriculates later this year and it leaves me with a sense of awe that God has really got this well in planned.  The uni option is not likely going to be an option to us as I doubt we will afford the international student fees, but I discovered the TAFESA colleges recently and they are such a fantastic alternative to bridge the two year gap and keep him a student....  the credits gained can also count towards a degree later.  Perfect!

Until our time comes, which we hope will be by April, I am praying hard that whatever our Fathers Plan may be for our futures and whenever He may choose to reveal His great plan, we are grateful and thankful for the current peace of mind that all will be okay, whatever the outcome, HE has got this!

 

07 April 2017 - After 13 months, after climbing numerous difficult hills, waiting.... waiting.... and some more waiting, we have finally been blessed with a Visa Grant.  I can say categorically that nothing about this process is easy, especially at our age; but enough about that!  We waited 126 days from our application to grant, with 8 week intervals between 3 x VPO contacts, exactly 40 working days between each, first to second and then second to grant.

It must have taken until about midday for it to register that it has actually finally happened. It was a surreal experience, and I was convinced I had dreamed the whole thing.  So far, we have told only a small handful of people, who have bitter sweet reactions for us.  I don't want to feel like I am boasting, so I'm not sure how to approach this subject with others.

 

My mother is the most beautiful person I know. She is now thrust into complete uncertainty with us planning to leave, yet she is celebrating in our success.  Leaving her behind is going to be by far THE hardest and most worrying part of leaving.  She has been my dependent for 12 years, completely relying on me, for everything.  This is a big worry for me because although we are 5 children the others can't really take care of her financially.  She turns 80 soon, and she doesn't want to leave the country, doesn't even want to fly. But, I have complete faith that Gods got this too! He has a plan here and has worked out every intricate detail, including her living arrangements when we go.  Trust and Obey!  Having said that, I will be researching visitors visa types for her, flying will take some convincing, but I'm sure we can get her to at least try....

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Husky

@MichKen

Reading your story reminded me so much of our own. Still so many emotions to process. Your persistence and faith will get you through the final stages. 

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MichKen

@Husky, the day will come when we look back at this time with a smile as we enjoy the fruits of this labour.

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MichKen

So, still really stoked about our Visa grant, but now it's that time where we start to get real.... I am inviting some opinions on our immediate plans, for those who may have some more insight here.

 

So, the general plan is that hubby, @KenMich ?, will leave in roughly August/September and find whatever job he can; start to get things set up and ready for us to arrive. We then arrive roughly first week in December once Matric finals, etc. are done.  And therein lies my current concern/sleeplessness... our initial entry date is 14.12.17.... I am a bit concerned we are leaving this too late....?  @KenMich is quite an extrovert (he's the guy that makes friends in a queue in the shops), and also an independent type, so I have not doubt that he will quickly have a social network going and he will be okay on his own.  But I am concerned the rest of us are leaving it a bit to the last minute.

Any thoughts???

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Husky

Don't think it is last minute. As long as your flights are booked and you land in Australia the first week of December, you will be fine. I would aim to be there by 7 December latest. Our entry date is 12 November, so having to do a quick activation trip in July as our daughter also writes matric. Final IEB exam is on 27 November ...... Things start to get very real now as you get into making the big decisions, which are often difficult to make because of various "if this, then that" scenarios. We're taking it one step at a time. 

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MichKen

Thanks for the reply @Husky.  I think taking things one step at a time is good advice!  I remember how overwhelmed I felt at the beginning of the Visa application process and my decision was "one step at a time", that got me through.  I think you are right, i need to do that now too, as I am feeling quite overwhelmed now again because of everything that has to happen now and the reality of doing everything that was purely theoretical a week ago.

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Husky

I hear you. I am normally quite capable of dealing with uncertainty and complexity, but this is off the scale overwhelming. My focus now is on a. Selling our house, b. Deciding on a suburb and so finding a school in that zone for my son, and c. Getting my daughter into uni.

Just remember to breathe.

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MichKen

It's seriously list-making time this long weekend ? But yes, my priorities are similar to yours ito kids.

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Fidjet

@MichKen

Quote

not feeling quite so frustrated with this waiting thing anymore, and thinking perhaps that is the life lesson here.  I have come to the point of realizing that my Heavenly Fathers timing is always perfect and that it is best for us to just wait because our Visa will only be valid for 4 years and we can only leave in December 2017 and so each day in SA with our Visa is one less day in Australia with our Visa, so the wait is actually good! It's actually a gift!  

This is so true!!!! Our story is very different to yours and so far things have been moving unbelievably fast, decision made (and funding approved) Jan2017, visa launched March 2017.

And through this entire purposes I can't help but feel that this is what He wants us to do. Thinks have been working out perfectly and even when it looks like things go bad a week or so later something would happen that makes us happy for the "setback"

And the most amazing thing happens the other day, I'm doing a bible study coarse "what's God's plan for me" and during it your supposed to ask Him for an image or word or something to make His plan known... I did it and kept being distracted by Auz stuff, so finally give up and move on. And the very next passage I read is where God told Abraham "pack up your stuff and move away from friends and family to the land I will show you" I mean whaw could He have made it any more obvious. 

 

Any way good luck with packing up and getting everything sorted for the actual move. Hope to join you soon. 

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MichKen

Thank you for the message @Fidjet, I believe that He makes our paths straight and I can truly say that I am still amazed that we actually got our visas; looking back I can see the lessons in each struggle and in each victory, where He was humbling me, teaching me, guiding me and leading me.  Every time something seemed impossible to me, He would show me the way, and "make my paths straight".  It's like I was looking for reasons it wouldn't work and He said "hey! come now! this way...!" Suddenly it was clear what had to be done. 

Each of our journeys are so unique but I do have faith that He has got this well planned out and will continue to take care of everything in His perfect time, whether that is quickly or slowly to us, He has His reasons and we must trust and obey. 

 

I wish you every success with your Visas!  I will be watching out for your grant post!

Edited by MichKen

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MichKen

This past week it felt good to finally be able to start working towards our goal of moving!

This week I emailed the education department for South Australia and I got a response within 30 minutes!!!! Wow! That's efficient!  We do qualify for the same school benefit as PR, which is a big relief; even though I knew this already from my research, it was good to get the confirmation.  I have started more seriously looking at medical cover options and I am pleasantly surprised that it's actually cheaper than we currently pay here, when converting to Rs.  We are investigating job options, we haven't applied anywhere... yet....!  Some interesting opportunities though.

 

Housewise we are pushing to finish renovations for renting out.

 

I have started getting firmer quotes for moving our fur-child now we have an approximate date.

 

It's been a good week!  I have pegged the 7th of December for myself and the kids; Ken's date will depend on the renovations and a few other odds and ends.

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Karools

@MichKen I am curious as to why you are choosing to rent your house instead of selling? 

 

Surely the difference in inflation between RSA and aus means that the exchange rate will inevitably continue to climb over time, making your income in rands less and less effectively? Or am I missing something?

 

And that is even ignoring the myriad of other risks facing our beautiful country's economy.

 

Rather sell now and take a larger capital over? 

 

Would love to hear your reasoning as I am sure you have valid reasons for your decision

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MichKen

@Karools, it's our own set of circumstances that make us feel that we want to handle it this way.

 

Financially, we have other more personal reasons for this decision, but mainly what I can say is that we bought our home over 20 years ago, which was a really low purchase price compared to today's prices, we have invested significantly into the house over the years and our bond is nearly paid up.  What we could get for it is many times more than we paid for it, so it has been a good investment, but only because we have always sustained it.

We don't want to relinquish the asset at this point, especially as it is currently a rental market.  Renting it out, we can get well more than the bond repayment amount, thus it will be paying for itself (and much quicker) and will be a good safety net if/when we need it later, e.g. to sell for a deposit on a house in Australia.  In the meantime we will get a steady and  good rental income for this in a rental market.

 

I suppose we have always viewed this house a bit like a part of our pension plan, it's a very long term investment we have made and will only give it up to reinvest in something better not just to liquidate it and burn through the money, which I think may happen if we are not ready to invest elsewhere and dealing with a migration.  In fact, I feel that if we can afford to buy in Australia eventually without selling here, I doubt we will ever sell it.

 

As much as there are a myriad of risks facing our country right now, we have not lost complete faith yet; and to us there are a greater myriad of unknowns awaiting us in Australia.  We would prefer settling in properly there before we completely let go here.  This is why we have chosen to stage our migration over several months as well so that we transition slowly. That just suits us better from a risk mitigation perspective.

 

Emotionally, perhaps we still feel we want our tie to Africa, maybe we still want our own little piece of Africa to call home; and it is so very close to being ours....!

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monsta

Just remember, if anything happens with your home... its over $2000 for you to fly back and sort it out. Thats half a months take home pay for most peeps here.

 

Also, I know shares haven't been doing well at the moment.. but they are always a good long term investment. For example, you can buy the "flavour of the day", a low risk indexed fund from Vanguard. If you had bought in 5 years ago you would have over 10% return per year  (https://www.vanguardinvestments.com.au/retail/ret/investments/product.html#/fundDetail/etf/portId=8205/?performance). They claim the annual return on the ASX 300 (top 300 shares in Aussie) was 10.83%. Thats very high for a nice stable 1st world country., 

 

I am not a financial advisor... but you should talk to one when you get here as to whether keeping your house in RSA is the best option. 

 

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MichKen

Thanks for the advice @monsta.

 

In terms of anything going wrong, we did consider that, and will have a reliable support system here that can take care of most things, including a very close friend who is actually in the construction/property game.  We also have 2 attorneys in the family in the event we need anything legal done.  And good neighbours who have become like family after 20 years.

 

We will definitely talk to a financial advisor once we arrive and are a bit more settled and in a better position to decide long term.

 

I think a big factor in this is that we are going on an 489, so once we have the PR in 2 years I feel we may feel more comfortable closing up shop completely this side.

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monsta

I guess my point was that Aussie has had a good run over the last 30 years. You might be better off looking for investment opportunities here. 

 

But many Australians in their 30s have over $ 100 000 saved up in the pensions. A South African would have 1/2 that... and have to pay tax on it if they withdraw it. So its good you are thinking about investment opportunities :)

Edited by monsta
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MichKen

Thanks @monsta I do appreciate the heads up and we will definitely look at investment opportunities in Australia.  We are much past our 30s so the small nest egg we have is very important to us.  So I guess we are approaching it quite cautiously (perhaps too cautiously, I will concede) and are cognizant of the fact that in property form it's relatively safe, at least for now...

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monsta

Just bear in mind that a software engineer in South Africa would earn +-R400 000 per year. In Australia you would earn R1 000 000 per year. 

 

Just think about how much more pension the Aussie engineer would have saved up by retirement. If they had bought a house in Sydney, that would be worth about a million dollars. Not many engineers own a R10 000 000 house in RSA.

 

Sorry if this sounds like preaching... but its good to pick an affordable suburb when you move here (affordable given your income). Its also good to see a financial planner (as you plan to).  Its not easy to play catch up.

 

 

Edited by monsta
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MichKen

 @monsta, you make good points for sure, and starting over in mid to late 40s will be a massive challenge, in terms of retirement planning, which is not too far away at this age.  We will have some major catching up to do.  Safe, good return investments is critical now.  Do you know a good financial advisor you can recommend who understands both markets?

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MichKen

Decluttering ones life is quite an exhausting experience.  Every weekend is spent sorting stuff - throwing out, selling, donating... it seems endless dealing with 20 years of stuff.

 

Today was not any different task wise, but I somehow today for the first time in months started to feel quite excited and overwhelmed by how we have been blessed with this opportunity.

 

I think until now, the idea of leaving a job I love has made this quite difficult for me. Being in HR, I am working on replacing myself, which has been quite emotionally challenging - but it's helped me to finally wrap my head around the reality of leaving.  Telling my amazing boss I was leaving was really hard for me.  It took me months to work up the courage and I still cried in the meeting.  He was shocked and disappointed, but once he came to terms with my decision he has been very supportive and has left a door open for me to return, which has helped me feel like I have a safety net if things don't work out.

 

The kids are really starting to get excited and my daughter is daydreaming about her life in Australia, I hope it works out to be all she is hoping for.  My son has decided to take a gap year and try life on his own in Adelaide next year, which I think will be such a good thing for him to do because he is not totally sure what he wants to study yet.

Ken leaves in a few weeks and finalizing the last things without him will be tough so we are trying to get as much done as possible before he goes.

All our flights are booked, CVs are in development with the professionals and my doglets import permit is granted and her quarantine booking is done, so we are progressing well so far on all fronts - even the decluttering.

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Husky

Sounds like you have all your ducks in a row. Well done @MichKen

Must admit that I am feeling rather anxious and dare I say, scared. We have not sold our house and have not booked flights yet. Still completely committed to being in Melbourne by January. I need to make decisions and take action to feel in flow. Right now there are so many what's ifs, difficult to step forward. Think I need to follow your example and just do something! 

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MichKen

It's weird @Husky how hard we chase the visa only to catch it and go "now what? do I really just give it all up and move across the globe"?

"Anxious and scared" is exactly how I would describe my own general state of mind lately, except for today; but my approach from the beginning has been one step at a time, one foot in front of the other, and post visa grant seems to be no different, just somehow keep moving forward... booking a one way ticket is both terrifying and motivating - gives you an absolute, invested deadline to work towards.

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RedPanda

I think it's a fantastic idea of your son to spend a gap year in Australia! The whole idea of how to support yourself by working is a lot different here to what it is in South Africa. There are way more options, and the careers are way more specialised. It'll serve him really well to get to know the lay of the land before deciding on a path, two thumbs up to him!!! :ilikeit: 

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MichKen

Thanks for the encouragement and reassurance @RedPanda :D!

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MichKen

Update from our side:

 

Ken has been in Australia nearly 3 weeks now and I am so very glad that he went ahead to pave the way for us. He managed to secure a rental today and will move in shortly with 3+ weeks to spare before we arrive.  He has also bought a cheap car and so we are set for accommodation and transport.  He will also be able to help me do all the admin when I arrive.

 

It’s been difficult here without him.  I am still working full time, driving up and down to collect kids in my lunchtime and doing my best to wrap up things here alone including the renovations that are still not complete - add matric finals into the mix.... I think this has been the hardest part of the whole 2 year process but it will all be worth it in the end.  Our house has been advertised for rental, hoping I still have a home for the last 5 weeks but also hoping I get a tenant ASAP!  Talk about being conflicted.

 

We still have no jobs to go to, but I’m positive based on the responses so far.  Ken has converted his drivers, obtained his police clearance so now he is just waiting for his TFN to get his ABN then he’s good to go and can start earning money.  This will be good because the rental is more expensive than we budgeted to spend.... and between that and the weakened Rand, we will be on a very tight budget until we find proper jobs.  

 

I have faith that we will be okay! It may be tough but we will be okay!  BE Still!

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