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Today is where my book begins...the rest is still unwritten


March2

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Today is where my book begins, the rest is still unwritten....these lines come from Natasha Bedingfield's song "Unwritten".

This song has a special meaning for me as it was the song that played on the radio some 8 years back when I was on my way to an interview at a new school.  I remember that day well as I was really nervous about the new direction my life was about to take, the uncertainties, the what-ifs and so on.  The lyrics (very encouraging) just popped at me through all the anxiety I was feeling and stuck in my head since that day.  I had just resigned from government school and was about to take on a teaching job that would pay me half with no benefits, the only benefit I was soon to learn, was that this position would rekindle my love for teaching, set me up for 2 promotions and lead me to where I am now.....the rest is still unwritten.  

 

The Decision

It was April this year, what was a normal first term school break, suddenly turned out to become a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts.  Feelings I am still coming to terms with and trying to figure out how to deal.

Before I started my new position at the school 8 years ago (I was in a really bad space then, feeling demotivated, hating my job), I approached hubby about emigrating.  Our boys were younger (now 21 and 17) and the elder one was about to start high school so a move would be better then.  We were also in our 30s so the points were in our favour above all else.  Unfortunately that idea flew in the wind and we never really looked at it again.  I started at the new school, things were really great with my students, a fire was rekindled, both hubby and I got promoted and things were looking great.  So what changed?  I wish I had the answer to this Q!  Another chapter for "my book" was about to unfold?

Hubby just came home one evening, asked me what I thought about immigrating to OZ and that was it!  At first I was a bit taken aback by his decision/thoughts but then when we spoke at great length: about opportunities for our boys, their families in years to come, and ours... the decision didn't take too long to make even though I still cannot fathom what made him even ask me the Q (out of the blue)

So we started doing our research and stumbled across this forum....and I am so grateful we did.  This forum has been so great with all the info and advice that the forumites share and above all else, the sense of belonging you feel when someone encourages and edges you on.  Have a bad moment or a horrible feeling in the pit of your tummy and you can lash out here and there will always be someone who will pull you back up.  Not to mention the advice or the research that many forumites will carry out on your behalf just to give you an answer or to set your mind at ease.

The process began with us investigating options and reading up on the steps we need to start to get the ball rolling.  Hubby chatted on the phone with a few forumites who were kind enough to point us in the right direction with advice about using agents etc.  We do not have a huge financial back-up as my job only pays well with regards to how much I love doing it, instead of actual cash...if only we could pay for stuff by expressing emotions!  So whatever we were about to embark on and how we were going to finance it was on the little reserves we had and on our Faith in our Good Lord.  After all, it was the Lord himself who pushed us to walk this path and I am certain He is holding our hands like a good Dad does when walking with his children on uncharted territory!

TBC

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Today is where my book begins, the rest is still unwritten....these lines come from Natasha Bedingfield's song "Unwritten". This song has a special meaning for me as it was the song that played o

Starting the Process (2)   I haven't "journalled" for a while, because in all my anxiety of waiting and waiting for my skills assessment, I really had "no comment".  All around me, those of

The EOI I have not journalled for a while, that's because I had nothing to note.  All that I feel is anxiety and stress and nothing worth writing about. My agents had lodged my EOI on 16 Nov

RedPanda

Good way to look at it ;) 

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Starting the process 

End of April and we are thinking of using an agent. This forum has provided such invaluable advice and comments on what to look for and how to go about appointing a good agent.  :yourock:We looked at a few agents, went for a free seminar, even booked for an assessment (not free) and got told that this was very doable, with me being the primary applicant as secondary school teacher and a visa 189. While we were still toying with which agent to use, we applied for everything unabridged.  From doing research from past posts regarding teachers, I realized that I had to do the IELTS academic test so both hubby and I booked tests, only to get dates in July :huh:.  In May we assigned Migrate2Oz as our agents.  They were really helpful and sent us an email detailing the steps and what we should do to get the process moving.  We began the daunting task of organizing documents from the university where I completed my studies and began the process of certifying a stack of documents. The next daunting task was telling my principal and hoping that he will be willing to do a proof of employment letter. I couldn't believe how the waterworks opened that day in his office as it suddenly dawned on me that this is real. He was reassuring and told me that it's really hard to make decisions when you're in a comfort zone but when it comes to family and our children's future, if it really feels right in your heart, then don't think twice, just do it! I left feeling a tad bit sad but elated that he was supportive and that I knew he would assist with references etc.

The next daunting task was telling our family.  We were very selective as to who we told at this point, as we know this isn't going to go well with some of the family.  My parents and my sister were the first we told simply because my parents had experience with my sister and her family leaving on a work visa to Malaysia a few years back and that they had just returned from visiting family in New Zealand and Australia- which made their understanding of our move a lot better. In fact my parents were very encouraging and had lots of positives to say although they visited for a short while.

During the July school vacation we spent a great amount of time practicing for the IELTS test.  A few days after the test we decided to take a holiday in the Berg and enjoy the break, vowing not to speak of IELTS, immigration etc. because it was at this stage Australian immigration rules changed the age criteria from being under 50 to under 45 for skilled visas. Now the stress levels are soaring because come March next year I will be 45, but the Lord must certainly have a plan!  I mean after all I didn't just think this whole process by myself, we were led towards this path by divine intervention. 

At this point we had also  only received the boys' and hubby's UBC, no sign of mine or the unabridged marriage certificate.  A call a day to DHA and I feel like I'm going nowhere slowly.

A few days later and I get my IELTS results and I'm ecstatic. I got the scores I need for my skills assessment and for the visa 20 points, in just one try.  Now to get the skills assessment done by AITSL.  

First week of August and the agents send off my skills assessment to AITSL. Ten days later, my account is debited and payment for the skills assessment is taken off. Now I wait nervously for a positive skills assessment, praying hard each day....

While the stress of the skills assessment plays out, DHA isn't helping my nerves in the least bit. Still no sign of my documents and I'm frustrated at hearing that they are still processing it. Even DocAssist can't do much. Advice from forumites: go into the DHA office and fill out a few forms and also send an email to the presidential hotline. Did both and within 2 weeks got the documents. In the meantime I have completed the form 80 and all other documents my agents requested that I complete while we wait for the outcome of the skills assessment.

Today is week 9 since AITSL took off payment..... I feel really anxious and scared because my qualification isn't so straightforward.  Everything depends on a positive skills outcome......then only can my next chapter begin.

TBC

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@March2, the waiting can be mind bending, but hold out, I am sure there will be a rainbow at the end!

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Thanks @Mara....and I just want to say thank you very much for all your insight, words of encouragement, honest advice...it is really appreciated. One of the territories we are closely watching i.t.o jobs etc is Melbourne and I have read your posts regarding Melbourne but more especially Sunbury.  I will have to call on your advice later on when we make our final decision....:D

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@March2 you would be most welcome....

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  • 4 weeks later...

Starting the Process (2)

 

I haven't "journalled" for a while, because in all my anxiety of waiting and waiting for my skills assessment, I really had "no comment".  All around me, those of whom I knew had sent off their AITSL assessment, had already received emails that theirs were completed and being posted.  Some had theirs completed in just 5 weeks and they had already received the outcome via post!  For me it was daunting....it was week 9, then 10, then 10 weeks and 3 days....the wait was killing me softly.  AITSL says on their website and eamil that they will complete the assessment "within 10 weeks". A couple calls to my agent for reassurance and although you want to desperately keep your Faith in the Lord, this test is not easy.  Pray and pray and pray I say....Believe it, receive it, walk in it! (Mark 11:24)

Every day I look at my phone for a message and when it's past 9 and I get nothing from my agent, for me it's another day gone and a day closer to my 45th birthday!  I suddenly am not a happy chappy about birthdays....used to love it!  

So it's week 12 and I go about my ritual of looking at my phone, seeing nothing, sigh:mellow:

Four days into week 12 and the same ritual.....there's so many spam/junk mails on my phone....irritating....

I scroll and then I see an email from my agent.......I HAVE RECEIVED A POSITIVE SKILLS ASSESSMENT!!!:ilikeit:

And the best part is that it just wasn't an email to say that the assessment was complete and to look for it in the post, which from Oz to RSA would take another month or so....it was the complete thing...email with a copy of the assessment showing the results!!!!   GOD IS GREAT.

I couldn't contain myself....I burst into tears....and this was just for the skills assessment....but I couldn't help it.  So right now I am super stoked.  If this is how it feels to just get a positive skills assessment, I am not going to be responsible for my behaviour when I get an invite and then the visa grant.....sorry.

So now....it's the next "hurdle"...the EOI....

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Congratulations - each step is a step closer.

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Fantastic news @March2 

The emotional roller coaster that is emigration is an exhilarating ride.

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Thanks @Husky. Hope you’re recovering well after your back op. You will be landing in Oz soon! Exciting times ahead 😉

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Congrats on the skills assessment!

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  • 2 months later...

The EOI

I have not journalled for a while, that's because I had nothing to note.  All that I feel is anxiety and stress and nothing worth writing about.

My agents had lodged my EOI on 16 November and it was from this round on that DIBP had increased the points they were considering for invitations.  It seemed that only people with 70 and above points were being invited.  Everyday that passes, means I get closer to my 45th birthday and if I don't get an invite, then it's GAME OVER.

Early December and the number of people being invited has dropped to one third of the usual invited that DIBP issues.....there is no light at the end of this tunnel for me, so we decided that we would try applying for the 190 NSW.  Weeks went by and nothing from NSW either....gosh this is stressing me out!  All I ever do is think about going to OZ and the more I think, the more I want it....there's no Plan B here...it just has to be the only plan.  I am trying to remain positive and with the help of my "forum" friends, I am taking each day as it comes....yes, gritting my teeth as each day passes and no invite in sight.

It's the holidays and my agents will be shutting down soon....we decide that we should lodge for a 489 Tasmania.....lots of paperwork to do for a visa that's temporary and no "benefits", but hey, beggars cannot be choosers!  Right now I will take whatever I get!  Hubby is not really sold on this...this visa would mean that we will not get any assistance for my younger son who has just completed his Matric with a brilliant pass (7 Distinctions) to study at Uni, no medicare and of course when we do apply to get PR (after living in regional area for 2 years and working for 12 months), it's extra cost again and it's like restarting the entire process.  Worse, my older son, who would be over 23 by then, can no longer be included as a dependent and would need to apply for his own visa after meeting the said criteria....God, how are we supposed to do this???  I am struggling with keeping my faith and trying to channel positive vibes to the Universe....it is really difficult...days are passing by so quickly.  Why did I have to have a birthday so early in the year?  I usually love my birthdays...I share this special birthday with my husband and my gran and I loved that I got to share a birthday with 2 of the most special people in my life...now I am beginning to feel otherwise (about birthdays, I mean).

Pray and pray and never give up....God knows the plan and He will ensure that what is meant to be, will be when the time is right...we just have to trust Him and keep our faith...surrender unto Him.

After chatting to my agents on 19 January, I am told that a CO has been assigned to my 489 Tasmania and that it looks like I should, hopefully, hear something before end of Feb..."hopefully"... this eases some tension but I am still stressing...

24 January...I get an email from my agents....I have received an invitation to apply from Tasmania....NOT for the 489 BUT the 190...whoop whoop!!!! The Lord is GREAT.....THANK YOU GOD, THANK YOU, THANK YOU THANK YOU....

I am so ecstatic, my head is spinning and I still cannot believe it.  In fact as I journal....I am still awestruck.

NEVER GIVE UP ON THE LORD....KEEP TRUSTING HIM AND HOLD ONTO FAITH

 

 

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We are all so pleased for you! Good on ya Tasmania!!

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@March2 Hallelujah for your great news, Tasmania is a great place to live.. and if you have been offered a 190, then it also means your skills are on their list!

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7 hours ago, Mara said:

@March2 Hallelujah for your great news, Tasmania is a great place to live.. and if you have been offered a 190, then it also means your skills are on their list!

Hi @Mara do you perhaps know about living in Tasmania?  Any pointers?

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@March2

Unfortunately no, I have only been there three times, as a visitor, but I loved it. Not a huge island, easy to get around, and no real traffic problems that we ever saw. Very laid back, reminds me a lot of New Zealand.

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On 1/26/2018 at 11:20 PM, Mara said:

@March2

Unfortunately no, I have only been there three times, as a visitor, but I loved it. Not a huge island, easy to get around, and no real traffic problems that we ever saw. Very laid back, reminds me a lot of New Zealand.

Thanks @Mara.  Suddenly so much to research and just don't know where to start.  Luckily I chatted to my uncle in New Zealand this weekend and it turns out, his wife has a cousin in Tassie.  So that's going to be my starting point.  Hope all goes smoothly from hereon.

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Big congratulations @March2

So happy for you guys. I remember speaking to a forum member @Vissers

based in Tasmania,  but have not seen her active for a while. 

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Hi @Husky...thanks so much.  Will try to PM them and see if I get a response.  Trust you are settling in nicely?

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@March2

Unlikely that you will get a reply from them, I see they last visited the forum in May 2017!

I also did a search for you on the members, I had around 12 come up that appear to be based in Tasmania, unfortunately none of them have been on the forum for more than a year.

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You can also try message @BlueBaboon they landed in Tasmania in Oktober, he hasn't been on the forum for a while but he still responds to private messages. 

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Have you joined the facebook groups for South Africans migrating to Australia, and SAMTA kitchen table? The latter one will probably be a good place to ask about living conditions in any specific area.

By the way I checked immitracker for 190 today and was thrilled again to see your name on there :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

VISA 190 LODGED:

So my visa application has been lodged on the 30 January and so now we are officially buckled up and seated in the "waiting room".  We booked for our medicals and had them done on 9 February and by Monday, 12 Feb it was uploaded and cleared.  Now we wait for either a Case Officer or a Direct Grant (as all our docs are in, including PCC).  

This past weekend, we also decided on breaking the news to our family members, but most importantly my mum-in-law.  This was the part we were dreading and had to keep it away from her all this while because she is a meek woman who worries and stresses a lot.  Coupled with that, she has lived with us since I was married (for eons!) and having to tell her that we were leaving was the biggest task we had imagined.  Plans have been made already for her well-being but not knowing how this was going to go was daunting.  We finally raked up the courage and had our family chat with her and laid down the cards.....SURPRISINGLY...she took it quite well, very well actually and gave us her blessings...although we do know that she's quietly stressing about it now.

Our other worry at this point is my older son.  He has a girlfriend now and they have been together since they were done with school.  So this isn't going down very well on that side.  He knows that this is the most important decision we have made as a family and him staying behind in RSA is NOT an option.  After all, our decision to emigrate was for the benefit of our sons, and their future families.  But my poor son is being torn by having to emigrate or be with his girlfriend.  She's a sweet and respectful girl and they are great for each other and we actually do feel bad that right now we are breaking them apart, but I want what's best for my son right now.  And whilst that might put me out as a hypocrite (seeing that she is the best thing for him right now)...that's just it...right now, being operative.  They are still very young and I am not saying they are immature but I do not think they understand what this move would mean for them in the future.  Both of them are still very dependent on us parents.  We have discussed the fact (with my son) that after her studies are completed and if she would like, we can arrange and will do whatever it takes to get her across as well, but it seems she does not want to leave her family, irrespective.  Again, I may be biased, but I don't want to leave my son either!  We have told him that he needs to come across and at least get citizenship and perhaps make a decision thereafter....and whilst he is acknowledging all of this, I know he's hurting and his thoughts and decisions are clouded.  I am praying that this all works out and that she sees the importance of this for him and herself later on, if she still wants that.  But I can't sometimes help but feel that she's being selfish (Oh gosh....the mother in me lashes out!  Sorry...just saying it as I am feeling it).  God help us!  So that's where I am right now, stressing over my son, trying to make him feel and believe that this move to Oz is the ultimate thing right now and that God has willed this.  And with all this on my mind, trying to get the next step of researching rentals, job opportunities, etc, etc is not going very well either.  A different kind of anxiety and nerves are finding their way in and the sleepless nights are taking its toll.   Just going to pray to our good Lord as I have been and know that He will take care of this too.  He has been really great and has blessed us abundantly so I will keep that faith and forge ahead.  Just need my son to see the light at the end of this tunnel!

TBC

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RedPanda

Yup, leaving family is the tough part. And if they don't want to come, nothing you can do about it.

All the best! Courage for the time ahead.

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Wow, that's hard. I imagine he must be feeling really torn. I assume he's known all along about the plans, this is not new to him, it's just that it's real now, right? How old is he?

You are doing the right thing for your family and hopefully he'll understand that and things can still work out for them.

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