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iambrettstar

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iambrettstar

Like others, I've found it incredibly helpful to read other people's process and experiences - and so thought I'd scribble down (err.... type out?) my own, in case it helps someone else along the way.

 

We were always hopeful about South Africa and the future, and never truly considered moving (at least not for anything other than the adventure of it). When we had our little girl, however, things changed a little. We had a few discussions over the months leading up to and after her birth, and mutually agreed that if right now was not the best time to pursue emigration - we'd have to have a sit down and seriously consider it in at least the next 5 years: thinking by that time she'd be approaching primary school and it'd probably be better all around if we moved before she started rather than mid-way. It would also give us some time to scope the political scene of our country, and decide against a move if all was rosy.

 

Narrator: all would not be rosy.

 

So, with the idea in the back of our minds, we eventually hit our tipping point with the cabinet reshuffle back in March. December was a scare and put us on the edge of our seats, but we never really believed that JZ would get away with axing Gordhan given the economic climate of the country. Hah! The day after the news broke, we had a long discussion about our options and felt that economically, things were not in a good space for South Africa, and with a population clamouring for progress from a government determined not to give it to them - the best future for our daughter in terms of education and opportunity was not likely to be here. It wasn't to say that the country was completely broken, but that we couldn't see it changing anytime soon and it would be a long and difficult road to salvation.

 

So, we put our house on the market and began researching.

 

New Zealand, Australia, Canada, UK - these were our options. UK ancestral visas are available to us, but it's at the bottom of our list given weather and lifestyle. New Zealand and Canada aren't options without a firm job offer, and my occupation is on the skills list for Australia - meaning PR without the long and arduous search for work without a visa. We also have friends and family there, so Australia it is!

 

We began gathering the mountain of documents required almost immediately, preparing to apply as soon as our house was sold. Well! Apparently, the market just about shifted overnight, and houses in our area in Cape Town were suddenly selling for hundreds of thousands lower than they had been two weeks prior. Thanks, Jacob! Nonetheless, around July we applied for our police clearance certificates and I proceeded with finding the various docs for a skills assessment and booked a date for the PTE General English test.

 

There was a minor glitch on the ACS site (they sent out my successful assessment, but it never reached me....it was only after I emailed the CO after a few weeks that it came through) but I received my positive assessment in August way after I'd applied, and after I'd nailed the English test in July.

 

A week after receiving my positive skills assessment, I submitted my EOI with 70 points, and received an invite the same afternoon (technically the next day in Aus, so I'd just made the cut-off...)!

 

We discovered that my wife's police clearance certificate was incorrect (it did not have her maiden name) so we re-applied for that (ended up getting a friend to drive to Pretoria and collect it personally mail it directly to us).

 

We also received an offer on our house and signed the OTP - transfer and occupation from 1 December.

 

We finally received a letter from UNISA stating my wife had completed her degree in English (for proof of functional English), and we booked our medicals after doing the My Health Declaration on the immi site. The next hurdle was finding the $$$ to lodge the application. With all of our money essentially tied up in the house, and largely reserved for housey-type things like certificates and work required etc., this was a bit of a stretch, but by mid-October, we scraped our pennies together and officially lodged our 189 skilled migrant application with all docs including police clearance and medicals.

 

Woo!

 

In the interim, we've been getting rid of as much stuff as possible, either by selling it or giving it to our cleaner or the many, many, many people who come to our gate asking for a little help. While we initially thought we'd struggle to part with the most sentimental things, the process has been quite cathartic and we're pretty sure we'll fit all of our earthly belongings into a small movecube and checked/hand luggage. What a liberating feeling!

 

Courtesy of my ever supportive in-laws, we've a flat to stay in until the visa is granted, and we'll be spending December with them up the West Coast so our daughter can spend some QT with her grandparents. We'll be off to JHB to see my family before flying out, whenever that is...

 

Some interesting observations we've made in the last few months:

  • A lot of people are moving, preparing to move, or want to move
  • Some people are quite offended when you tell them your reasons for leaving, particularly if they have children and your reasoning is "it's for our daughter's future". So much so that we prefer to state our main reason as "I've got a job offer I can't refuse"
  • For the most part, however, people are very supportive, and family - while sad we'd be far away - are excited for us
  • There's quite a lot of documentation required
  • Like, a LOT of documentation :D
  • People who live in Melbourne think Melbourne is the best city to live in. People in Sydney think Sydney is the best city to live in. People who live in Brisbane think Brisbane is the best city to live in. So...not sure it's worth asking anyone from other cities since we can guess their answer :D

 

Now we wait (and I totally haven't checked my immi account 32 times during the writing of this essay, despite only having lodged a month ago....), and pack, and bin, and sell, and prepare to land in Melbourne (we've friends and family there, and loads of IT jobs, so seems the most sensible starting point) sometime next year.

 

See ya round, folks - and if anyone has any questions that I can help with, feel free to shoot me a PM.

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Hi Brett

yip that sounds familiar.

My wife and I always took the glass half full approach when looking at the future in SA.

 

This changed when we had our twin girls…., once we came up for air,  after the girls turned 1, we had a long chat and decided to start “the process”. I think our tipping point was the Nene axing. (was about Nov 16)

Don’t get me wrong we know we have a very good life in SA, but same as you, we are doing this for the girls, not for us.

 

Long story short we received our final VISA approval (189) on 20 Sep, with a tight deadline to activate (first entry 20 March 2018) so the whole troop will be heading to Melbourne in Feb on a holiday/activation trip.

The plan is to move later in 2018 (holding thumbs each day that Zuma does not destroy the Rand before then)

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iambrettstar

Congrats! And agreed: the kiddies are the driving force, and no matter what we have to go through, we'll do it for them.

 

Good luck and enjoy the trip - also holding thumbs that the Rand doesn't completely tank in the next few months.

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Hi @iambrettstar

Keeping a record of your journey is useful for others and allows for time to reflect.

Our large move cube left on Friday. Have also sold/ given away big furniture items. The cube was actually much bigger than we expected, despite having measurements. Feel free to pm if you have any questions.

We are Melbourne bound in 45 days ..... 

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iambrettstar

@Husky thanks! We've measured out the small movecube and put markings on the floor/wall in a corner, and are packing the stuff we want to take into said corner. So far, it feels like we may not fill the movecube...but we're not done yet :P

 

Good luck - I'll keep an eye out for your "we've arrived!" journal entry, and if any questions spring to mind, I'll shout.

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20 hours ago, LM17 said:

The plan is to move later in 2018 (holding thumbs each day that Zuma does not destroy the Rand before then)

@LM17 I believe you can open a bank account up to 12 months before you move. So you can start moving money over if the changing exchange rate is a concern.

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@TamTam this is true, but you have to activate 3 months after opening. 

We are there in Feb so the plan is to activate the account then, and then gradually move some cash across. 

Unfortunately most of our money is tied up in our prov funds (will only be available after we resign)  and our primary residence.

But these are issues we all have I assume ;-)

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@iambrettstar Thanks for sharing. I found your story very similar to ours (we haven't sold our house yet and our visa has been granted). But I agree, everything changes when you have a child. I know that is how my husband started seeing things differently. We also started discussions during that cabinet reshuffle time and shortly thereafter started the process. Before that, he had a lot of faith that it could still come right. 

I used to look at other people immigrating and wish it was us, and now it is. Im always hestitant telling people because you don't know how they will react. There are those that don't make much of it, and others that then bombard you with questions on the process. I also think a lot of people we know would love to go but can't afford it, so you have to aware of what you say and how often you talk about it. You are after all, leaving them behind. Generally, I found family were quite accepting knowing that our child will have a better life that side. 

 

We are going to Perth, but only because we have family there and have been there twice. We don't know the rest of Australia. So I guess Perth is the best :) 

 

Good luck with the rest of the visa journey, Im sure it will all go smoothly. 

 

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10 hours ago, LM17 said:

but you have to activate 3 months after opening. 

 

I don't think this is true, where did you get this information from. 

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@ChrisH this could well be true, not all the banks have the same rules!

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@ChrisH Yes we had to activate our comm bank migrant accounts within 3 months BUT we could start moving money over before we activated. Just couldnt access the money until activation. Other banks might be different.

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Sorry guys let me clarify.  My comment was in context of both of these:

16 hours ago, TamTam said:

@LM17 I believe you can open a bank account up to 12 months before you move.

 

15 hours ago, LM17 said:

this is true, but you have to activate 3 months after opening. 

 

 

Commbank has a 3-month requirement, all the others are 12 months.  In the context of the two quotes above, there is no account that can be opened 12 months in advance but has to be activated within 3 months.

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iambrettstar
22 hours ago, Clauderoy said:

We are going to Perth, but only because we have family there and have been there twice. We don't know the rest of Australia. So I guess Perth is the best :) 

 

Good luck with the rest of the visa journey, Im sure it will all go smoothly. 

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Thanks, and good luck to you too!

 

Do post a journal entry so we can get your opinion of Perth when you land (I'm sure it'll be the best city to live in!)

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RedPanda

Hahahaha...the cities! :lol: 

Of course Melbourne is the best city to live in! (Says the Red Panda, who loves her forest walks around Tecoma)


I think it has a lot to do with the fact that when migrating to a new country, for the first time you get a blank slate re cities and you can do your research and choose the one that appeals to you the most. So I think there is a higher incidence of people really liking their cities than if you are just born somewhere based on what your parents decided.

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Sydney is the BEST! Just done the Tough Mudder in Sydney and the nature was brilliant! Mountains, lakes, plenty of forest, it was really nice. Then there is of course the epic park and coastal walks and running routes in the gorgeous weather. And of course the variety of food the city has to offer (that's why I need to run in the first place! :D)

 

Just kidding. Been to all three cities and can honestly say there is plenty to love and enjoy in all three! Had the best jog in Perth's Kings Park, the most enjoyable breakfast and haircut  in Melbourne (a mundane task became an experience in one of their odd little barber shops) and we are really enjoying the stay in Sydney. Whatever you choose, Aus is a brilliant place.

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  • 5 months later...
iambrettstar

Soo...5 and a bit months down the line, and we finally have our grants  :ilikeit: :jester:

 

The moment itself was a bit surreal: a mix of emotions, but mostly sweet, sweet relief. It's quite impressive how your mind can run away from you after months of limbo! And since that moment, it's been a bit of a mad rush. We've booked tickets (flying out on the 3rd of May, Cape Town > Dubai > Melbourne), booked accommodation for the first week, transferred some money, opened bank accounts, packed bags and chucked out more things.

 

We've been telling the 2.5 year old that we're making a big trip, going on a big airplane to Australia, and moving to a new home, and the other day we were going over it again "We're going to fly on a big plane, to Australia", and before we could finish she carried on: "Yes, and then we'll go and get ice cream." Too cute!

 

It's now getting to the part where we're saying the goodbyes (9 more sleeps!) which has been ok, but this weekend will be my wife's side of the family, and they're very close - I expect a few tears all around.

 

I really thought I'd be more nervous, but after waiting for so long, and countless hours reading and researching, we're both just ready for the flight to be over and to have landed. The next week and a bit will be a whirlwind I'm sure, not long to go now!

 

I'll do another update when I have some downtime after we land :) 

 

Australia, here we come! 

 

 

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RedPanda

As long as you remember to get the ice cream, I'm sure you'll be fine ;) 

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iambrettstar
1 hour ago, RedPanda said:

As long as you remember to get the ice cream, I'm sure you'll be fine ;) 

This probably applies as a general rule to parenting at all times :P

 

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On 11/14/2017 at 11:46 PM, iambrettstar said:

For the most part, however, people are very supportive, and family - while sad we'd be far away - are excited for us

We noticed the same thing, the number one response if we tell anyone we are leaving is, of we know So and So in Auz. Seems everyone has family or friends in Auz. And most people are sad to see you go but at the same time happy for you. Its a sad reflection of just how bad things got in SA. 

21 hours ago, iambrettstar said:

Soo...5 and a bit months down the line, and we finally have our grants  :ilikeit: :jester:

 

Congrats!!!!!! 

 

21 hours ago, iambrettstar said:

It's now getting to the part where we're saying the goodbyes (9 more sleeps!) which has been ok, but this weekend will be my wife's side of the family, and they're very close - I expect a few tears all around.

 

I really thought I'd be more nervous, but after waiting for so long, and countless hours reading and researching, we're both just ready for the flight to be over and to have landed. The next week and a bit will be a whirlwind I'm sure, not long to go now!

Sounds familiar. Try and enjoy the whirlwind of activity and goodbyes. good luck and see you in Melbourne soon, bring a jacket :P

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  • 4 weeks later...
iambrettstar

So.... we've now been here 2.5 weeks - and what a surreal, mad rush it's been! I've been mulling over this post (when lying awake at 2 am, jet-lagged...) and trying to condense the experience into a meaningful post. Here goes!

 

T minus 1 week

Things started to get a little chaotic. We arranged goodbye dinners with some friends, bought another suitcase because we ran out of space, bought another suitcase because we ran out of space again, booked an additional bag, because...yeah you guessed it, we ran out of space 😂 we only had 1 fight about how many pairs of shoes my wife owns...

 

My family are in JHB and we'd said our goodbyes already. The weekend prior to our departure we spent with my wife's mom and gran. Seeing my daughter sit on her great-grandmother's lap right before we had to go was heart-wrenching. She's not able to travel anymore, so it's tough knowing it'll be a few years before we see her again. The goodbyes were a bit rough!

 

Because my father-in-law is a pilot, we managed to catch him the night before we left - another goodbye which was quite rough. On the plus side - he's a pilot, so flights for the in-laws to Perth are almost free, so we'll be seeing a lot of them (which is great for my daughter, she loooves her grandma).

 

T minus a few hours

The morning of the departure was a strange blur. We had a close friend arrive in Cape Town and say the last goodbye, and help us carry our luggage into the Uber XL. I didn't feel nervous at all - I was just calm and ready to go. We packed our 7 huge suitcases and numerous carry-on items into the car, and squeezed in...and I immediately thought: "We're going to :censored: off in Melbourne." Turns out I was right!

 

At Cape Town airport we had 2 porters unpack the Uber, load the luggage into trolleys, take it over to the check-in desk to weigh each bag, repack the trolleys to have the bags wrapped, take them back to the check-in desk and load them all for us...so nice! We lugged our carry-on items (which were 2 laptop bags, a baby-bag, a toddler's backpack and roll-along suitcase, a pillow, toddler carrier, teddy-bear, 3 jackets....) to wimpy and had the last breakfast, and then it felt like we pretty much walked straight through onto the plane. Our timing was perfect!

 

The toddler wasn't so interested in carrying her backpack and pulling her suitcase along (which until that point, she did daily!), and so basically I "dad-mode" carried all the carry-on through the plane while my wife carried the toddler to the seat. I was a tiny bit frazzled, but we made it, and my daughter was a charm.

 

Liftoff!

The flights were actually fine, considering we had a 2.5-year-old along for 9.5 hours to Dubai, 2 hours stopover, and 13 hours to Melbourne. She didn't cry all that much, she watched a lot of TV, played a lot of games, ate pretty well. However...it's a long time to be on a plane. I joked afterwards that it was only the last 9 hours that were really hard! All in all, I think we were quite lucky, but it wasn't fun and next time I think we'll go to JHB via Perth or Sydney instead, and skip the 2nd really-long-haul flight.

 

Landing

The entire process from landing, through to the pavement outside the airport, was a breeze. Passport control took about 3 minutes, customs didn't even check our bags for the medication we brought, they just asked my wife what it was and waved us through. I'd say 20 minutes from walking off the aeroplane to being in the airport building. Everyone was friendly and efficient, and it was a surreal experience. We've got a photo of my daughter pulling her suitcase along, walking into Australia. What a moment.

 

Getting all of our luggage into those trolleys, however, was a mission. The trolleys are slightly smaller than in SA airports (they were free, by the way - I'd read somewhere they weren't), and so it was quite a task to get everything onto 2 trolleys and manoeuvre those through the airport with an exhausted toddler. We did it, though.

 

At this point, I'll concede that, perhaps, we should have booked an airport transfer. We figured we'd get an uber XL, same as in Cape Town. No problem - airport wifi is free. My wife orders an Uber XL, I go to Optus and they have a deal at the airport for $20 for a 28-day prepaid sim with 15GB on. Lekker! The uber pulls up outside (which is cold, by the way...it's 10:30 pm and freezing) and asks if we have a car seat. Yes, we do! It's in the Uber XL, in Cape Town, of course... sorry mate, I can't take you. You'll have to cancel.

 

Excellent...so we drag our luggage back from the uber collection point (which is a thing - like a covered seated, marked area for ubers) to the taxi point and we get a maxi-taxi for the 3 of us. The driver looks at us somewhat skeptically, but loads our mountain of luggage into the taxi (which looks pretty much the same as a minibus taxi in SA, just with yellow branding. The tyres were possibly in better condition than an SA minibus taxi. Possibly.) and agrees to take us to the CBD. Great!

 

The drive up to the CBD was uneventful, especially considering we had a toddler who was bored to tears of being strapped into moving vehicles. We kept having the realization that, hey, we live here now! Which was weird when outside it looked just like Benoni! The noticeable difference was the driving - slow, steady, following the rules...

 

Our check-in was a bit of a mess. We had to collect our keys from a drop-box in a 24-hour internet cafe. The building is unmarked, so I used google maps to get to the building but had to leave the taxi a block away with my wife and child in it, while I walked around the CBD at midnight looking for the place. I eventually happened to walk past as some people were walking back into the door of the place, and glimpsed an internet cafe inside. Whew! I grabbed the keys, ran back to the taxi, and the guy took us to our spot. Only - there are no parking spots there, so he took us around the corner, and offloaded our luggage, and us, onto the pavement. In freezing cold, post-midnight Melbourne.

 

Breathe...

 

Being trolley-less at this point, and with my daughter on the brink of collapse, we had no way to get our luggage into the building other than me carrying them all. So my wife went and stood at the corner, and I made 5 trips from where our luggage was deposited, to the corner. My wife then went and stood 15m down the road, halfway to the door to the building, and I moved the bags there via 5 more trips. We then did the same thing another 3 times into the building lobby, and into the lift. And then...the key wouldn't work, so the lift wouldn't go up. At this point, the toddler is all over the place (but not crying or screaming, thankfully), I'm sweating like I've run a marathon (disclaimer: 7x 23kg bags being moved about 100m is pretty much like running a marathon), and we can't figure out what's going on. My wife is not impressed.

 

Luckily, a couple tried to enter the lift (which had 0 space because of all of our luggage) and kindly pointed out that 5208 didn't mean apartment 208 on floor 5. It meant apartment 08 on floor 52. Oooooohhhhhh! So I moved the mountain of luggage out of that lift, dodging the deadly looks from my wife the whole way, and carried them into the next lift, hit floor 52, bingo! Up we went, into a hallway which couldn't have looked more dark and dingy if it tried. Let's just say, our nerves were frayed. The looks were coming thick and fast, and a few choice statements were headed my way...

 

... so when I unlocked to the door and opened to a pristine apartment with amazing views of the sparkling lights of Melbourne at night, all was forgiven! What a relief!

 

We got the toddler to sleep almost straight away, dug out our Le Creuset mugs that we'd spoiled ourselves with, had a cup of tea and a cup of coffee, had a long, relaxing shower (man I don't miss the drought in Cape Town and 50L restriction at all!), and got ourselves to sleep.

 

This post is already a small book - so I'll carry on in a separate one 😊

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Wow, so glad you arrived! Good luck to the settling in! 

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SimpleSimon

Nice post - very interesting. Keep it up

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FromDurbs

Ha-ha.  Really liked your writing.  I hope things improved soon. 

Our story was much the same, with two notable differences:  We have 2 teenage sons; so everyone can move luggage, not just dad.  It makes an enormous difference.  In fact mom got to stand with the heap of luggage while dad and sons carried it all up and I just walked up with the last batch of luggage.  Sounds much easier than what you went through.

2nd difference:  I booked an airport hotel for our first night.  They had free pickup from the airport and I thought I did not want to find an airbnb key drop after midnight. Plus airbnbs are never marked well and the hosts might not be available at 1 am to help if you cannot find the place.   I was a bit irritated with myself the next day when we had to be out of the airport hotel by 11 and could only check into the airbnb at 2.  We basically sat on a heap of luggage for more than an hour in front of the building.  Your story makes me think I did make the right decision.  

Good luck !

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Tntaglia

Welcome to Oz! So glad you made it. I love your writing, please keep it coming!

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