Let me start with this little, yet very, very important disclaimer. I am not a migration agent. I am an expat who has been living in Australia for the past, almost, seven years. The information that is in this article is freely available on the web, and all I have done is to google it, and put it in a three step article.
After my previous article When Deciding to Move Down Under (http://marlizeventer.com/2015/04/13/when-deciding-to-move-down-under/) had 2200 views in four days, I also received emails from people asking me where they must start when thinking about migrating to Australia.
This articles is an answer to the question. This is my opinion, which is not a very educated opinion at all, but a googled opinion at best, on the first three steps you must take when you want to migrate to Australia. (Or as many affectionately call it, Oz.)
Know which visa options are available. There are many visa categories, but the one that in most cases will be most relevant to you will be the Skilled Migrations Options. The Immigration website of the Australian Government is excellent and very user friendly. You can read more about it at this website http://www.australia.gov.au/topics/immigration/state-migration-sites
Every state has its own skilled migration requirements and it will serve you well if you visit those sites and read up on their rules and regulations.
Australian Capital Territory http://www.canberrayourfuture.com.au
Western Australia http://www.migration.wa.gov.au
Northern Territory http://www.australiasnorthernterritory.com.au
New South Wales http://www.trade.nsw.gov.au
Skill select is an online service that helps Australia manage the skilled migration programme. Visit them at http://www.skillselect.govspace.gov.au . You can also watch the video clip at http://www.immi.gov.au/immigration/coming-to-australia/ which will also explain the steps to migration.
Read the migration blog (www.migrationblog.immi.gov.au) you can also download Booklets 6 and 9 titled General Skilled Migration and Temporary Business (Long Stay)(Subclass457) at the same blog.
Most of you who want to come over want to come and work here and http://www.immi.gov.au/Work/Pages/work.aspx is a good place to start reading the information available. Have a look at the sidebar for interesting information.
It is important to know whether your skills are in demand here. Look for your skills on the very interesting list on http://www.immi.gov.au/Work/Pages/asri-index.aspx to see whether you have what Australian Government is looking for. Is your skill on the skill shortage list? Have a look at this website – https://www.immi.gov.au/Work/Pages/skilled-occupations-lists/sol.aspx (That sounds a bit like Bond, or is it only me? Or even Men in Black?)
For all other information visit http://www.australia.gov.au/topic/immigration/working-in-australia.
Okey dokey, now that you know what visa may be applicable to you, and whether you have the skills needed we come to –
You will hear many contradicting opinions about the necessity of a migration agent or not. Some will say you do not need one, other will say that they were pivotal to the success of their visa being granted. I can not say yay and neither can I say nay. I can however tell you where to go looking for one.
There is an absolutely awesome facebook page where I regularly post (they are not awesome because I post there… well… now that I say that… just kidding!) and there are eight registered agents who are in control of the group. It is over 5000 members strong and I am impressed by the passion that the agents portray when answering the queries send via FB. I know of one agent who has been having 15 hour work days until very recently, and I do not think she is the exemption to the rule. A word, if I may? Remember, they are human beings, with 24 hours in their days, and families they have to look after. There is a time difference. When you are in South Africa and you send a query through – chances are that they may be getting ready for bed. Please be patient. If they do not get back to you it is not because they do not want to, it is because there is only so much one person can do in a day.
This is the facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/groups/SouthAfricansMigrating2Australia and the agents’ websites or email addresses are:
Bruce MacFarlane firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Kotze email@example.com
And here follows another disclaimer. I am putting only this information here because I do not know other migration agents. There are many others. You are welcome to google them. I do not get anything from any of these agents when I mention their businesses. (Another aha!!! moment – maybe they must hire me to do their blogs? Agents? Any one taking? 🙂 )
VERY IMPORTANT! When getting an agent, they must be registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). Before you give money to anyone claiming he/she is an agent, please check that they are registered and join http://www.facebook.com/groups/aussiekaners and ask whether anyone had dealings with the agent you are thinking of hiring. Word of mouth is a powerful thing.
When you visit MARA’s website you will be able to see what an agent will be able to do for you and what not. It may look fairly uncomplicated on the web, but the reality may be different. http://www.mara.gov.au/using-an-agent/using-a-registered-migration-agent/what-a-registered-migration-agent-can-do-for-you
In Australia there is a term called ‘mates rates’ and it often involves a carton of beer for services rendered. Though most of the migration agents that you will be contacting are fellow South Africans, mates rates are not going to cut it here. They are running a business and though they have empathy with you and will try their best to assist you, please know that the fees they are paid are mostly very reasonable. If you know what you can expect from them, and what the guidelines are that MARA sets regarding fees and contracts, you can make an informed decision. http://www.mara.gov.au/using-an-agent/working-with-your-agent/what-to-expect-from-your-agent
You have heard many things about the great country. Maybe it is time that you start reading about this Great South Land. Every state has its own website. Many of us feel at home in places that resemble our current home. Every time we go somewhere my husband and I will discuss the areas of South Africa that a place reminds us off. Bunbury made us think of the wine regions in South Africa – and rightly so, because that is also wine country. Kalgoorlie had a feeling of Welkom with all the roundabouts (circles), Kimberley with the Superpit (reminiscing of Kimberley se Gat) and a bit of historical Grahams Town with the historical buildings as well as a bit of Thabazimbi when we stood at the lookout in Karlkurla park. Perth on the other hand has a very distinct Pretoria/Bloemfontein by the sea feeling. (That is just me.) Read up on the climate, flora and fauna as well as geography of your area of choice. Know who you are and what you like. (Though in some instances beggars can’t be choosers.)
Visit these websites if you want to get to know the areas of Australia more:
En dit is dit van my.
I hope that this answers some of the questions about where to start. Reverting back to old clichés, but true nevertheless. How do you eat and elephant? Right… bite by bite.
May your googling give you info and may it not overwhelm you. The internet can do that. Then it is important to sit back, make a list of what you want to know and not get distracted with the other information that is out there.
All the best.
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