I had long dreamed of building a new life in Australia but the skilled migration process was a daunting one for me. It was a minefield of different visas categories, each with different requirements and restrictions. Quite frankly I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of immigration visas on offer. What’s more, the immigration process for Australia continually changed over the time I was researching into it; this was just another hurdle that had to be overcome. In the end I decided to employ the services of a Registered Migration Agent from Overseas Emigration Visas. As a secondary teacher, I was informed that the first thing I had to do before I applied for any visa for Australia was to get my qualifications assessed by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). This process is quite involved and can take anywhere up to 10 weeks, much longer than I expected. My agent was on hand to guide me through the skills application, otherwise I don’t know how I would have managed it. One very important piece of advice I would offer is to check thoroughly all qualification documentation requested from educational authorities, as any mistakes can result in unnecessary delays. The requested transcript documentation for my postgraduate qualification had a few spelling mistakes so it had to be corrected and sent out again; this took time and was frustrating, being outwith my control. Finally, after three months I got my certificate from AITSL, who recognised my teaching qualification and approved me to teach in the Australian education system. Once I had my skills result letter I could start the visa process. This was very nerve wracking, I was filled excitement but also dread as this would there be lots of stumbling blocks. Would my dream of living and working in Australia falter at the first hurdle? However, it was reassuring to know that my skills had been recognised and that I could now move forward on my journey of applying for an independent skilled migration visa. As a secondary teacher, my occupation was on Australia’s Skilled Occupation List (SOL), so my agent advised me to apply for a skilled independent visa (Skilled Independent [Permanent] sub class 189), allowing me to work in any field and in any location in Australia. This would give me the freedom to take alternative work in any area in the short term if a teaching job didn’t come up right away. With a visa strategy in place, the next step in the process was to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI); during this process, your agent will submit your details online and wait for the Australian government to give you approval to apply for a visa. Your agent will keep you on track with what information is required, and they will be your point of contact throughout the application. My EOI was acknowledged within weeks, and I was given an Invitation To Apply (ITA) for my skilled migration visa. At this point, my agent uploaded all required documents to the immigration department (DIBP) website. Thankfully, most of the paperwork from my skills application could be reused for the visa application, so this cut down on the paperwork by quite a bit. Once my skilled migration visa was submitted, I had a few months to wait for it to be processed. During this time, I had to get my police checks and medicals done; it’s recommended that these are done last as they have a 12 month expiry date. The day I got my email to confirm my visa was amazing; my dream had come true and all I needed to do was to get packed and organise myself for my move across to the other side of the world! There’s no doubt in my mind that having advice and support throughout the visa process can make the difference between a successful application and a failed one. Registered migration agents like Overseas Emigration Visas are the experts, and they can guide you through the bureaucratic minefield that is the visa process; there’s no way I could have managed this myself! Is it an emotional rollercoaster? Yes! But worth it in the end. I’m happily settled into my new life in Australia and enjoying every minute of it. You can too. Nicola
Emigrating to Australia: my story
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