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emigrating to Australia : how we did it

18 May 2016 by News Desk

Emigrating to Australia - when 700 convicts, 200 soldiers, two greyhounds, six cows and a bull first landed at Botany Bay in Australia in 1787, they faced a new - enforced - life of adversity and uncertainty.

emigrating to AustraliaEmigrating to Australia is the dream of many people. It is often adversity and the uncertainty of life that draws them to consider migrating Down Under.

And the qualities that forged the country that is now the world’s top migration destination can be seen in those who overcome the challenges involved in winning a precious visa and fulfilling a new life dream. Suffolk-based Mike and Su Soanes and their kids Ryan and Amy (pictured) know all about overcoming adversity.

“Our lives were all mapped out and we were just getting on with it, like any other family,” says Su, a nurse. “We had a holiday at Mitchell’s Island, N.S.W and made some good friends. We thought at the time it would be lovely to live there and we thought about emigrating to Australia but never did anything about it”.

The family then hit financial problems and their lives were turned upside down.

“We lost our home – everything”, says Mike, a welder. “It was a major struggle for years. We were totally lost. When you’re plodding along in life you rarely think about having to make big changes. But when trouble strikes you have a choice: give up or fight back. We sat down one night with the children and said, ‘what on earth are we going to do’. They said, ‘let’s go to Australia’”.

The first major challenge the Soanes’ faced was finding the right information.

“Migration is a long and nerve-wracking process and there’s nothing worse than not knowing what’s happening or not having access to the information you need,” says Su. “thinkingaustralia have always been available at the end of a telephone to help us with any question or problem we’ve had. Some undertake the migration process themselves but we wanted the security of knowing professionals were working on our behalf”.

The next hurdle to negotiate is the amount of paperwork involved.

Su Soanes: “You need more information than you could imagine. We spent days and weeks going through paperwork: personal history, qualifications and references, financial info, previous employers, hunting down official forms and checking dates. You must get organized. If you don’t have the right information the paperwork comes back, which can delay your application or worse, refusal”

It took the power of expert help to overcome a major problem with Mike Soanes’ job status. The family applied to migrate to New South Wales under the terms of the Skill Demand List, where in-demand occupations are given preference. Mike is a qualified welder, which helped their application. “It was such a relief to know we could apply even though we had no money from a house sale”, says Su.

Their joy of emigrating to Australia was short-lived when complications arose over Mike’s job category.

“Suddenly, we faced another hurdle,” says Mike. “I’m a qualified welder but the migration category I was listed under was boiler-maker and I lost 20 points as a result. I thought, ‘that’s it, we’ll never get in’. Our dreams of living in NSW were shattered because we were told I would have to be State sponsored and we’d have to live in Perth. We decided to fight to get the points back”.

With help from thinkingaustralia, the family managed to get Mike’s job category changed. The paperwork was re-issued and Mike’s points were re-instated. “It only took three weeks but it felt like forever. We were desperate to live in NSW. It’s the security of knowing that you have the support of friends in the area”.

There are two main challenges involved in migration: getting the visa and finances. While the visa process can be complex it can seem like nothing compared to raising the money needed to fulfill your dream.

“We were convinced we’d never get a visa because we’d lost our home. We didn’t have a house to sell or the money we thought we’d need to be accepted. We only had our savings that we’d been putting aside to help us move. We lived with my parents for six months so we could save every penny. We sold our furniture and even sold the kids’ bicycles”.

Says Su: “We’ve been through some rough times, which is why we’ve fought so hard to migrate. If fate had not dealt us such a crippling blow, we’d never have made the move and in ten years time we would have regretted it, because we’d be too old to change our lives. Of course, there will be challenges to overcome once we get to Australia but given the choice of struggling in cold, wet Suffolk or struggling in sunny Australia, we’ll choose emigrating to Australia every time!”

Emigrating to Australia : Useful Tips

1) Visit Australia, if possible, before deciding to migrate. As good as it is it may not suit everybody.

2) Work with professional agents for help and support.

3) Get organised. Keep all your migration papers and official details in clearly marked folders or files for quick and easy reference.

4) Be prepared for knock-backs. Most applications run smoothly but your circumstances, or failure to complete paperwork properly, could cause delays.

5) Be Honest. Don’t try to hide past financial or personal problems. If you’ve something to hide, the authorities will find out.

6) Plan in advance. Wherever possible, arrange as much as you can before you leave UK.

7) Be Realistic. You’re migrating to start a new life, so don’t take any existing problems with you. Above all, be flexible: you will need to adapt quickly to a new country and a new culture.

Want to live and work Down Under? Click here for more info: Skilled Migration to Australia

Click here for info and help with travel visas: Travel to Australia

Click here for tourist information about Australia: Visit Australia

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