Vanessa & Paul & the Girls share their move to Perth, and Australia immigration experience below.

They made their aussie move to Perth in October 2003 on a 2 year Temporary Sponsored Visa (457).

Like most immigrants that I have spoken to Vanessa, Paul and the girls moved to Perth looking for the better life style.

Vanessa was working long hours at the hospital in Torquay & Paul was Manager & Licensee of a local wateringhole & working in excess of 100 hours per week. Between them they were juggling work & looking after their two lovely girls Emma & Chloe.

“we had reached a mid-life crisis” Van told me. “All we seemed to do was work, we had no time to enjoy life and spend time together with the girls. OK so we had the nice detached house and the new BMW in the drive but we were working all hours to have it all We were missing that family life you just dreamed of. We decided we needed to do something with our life and so with a view to emigrating we came over on a holiday to Australia to see if we would like it.

We quickly dismissed Sydney because it was a very busy and expensive City (no change from the (UK) and did not offer the kind of lifestyle change we were looking for. We liked Brisbane because it was a busy and cosmopolitan city which was near to some very beautiful beaches, it felt right and initially we planned to migrate to Queensland, I even applied for my nurse registration to work there. Unfortunately at the time Brisbane had a freeze on recruiting Emergency Department qualified Nurses. This left us unsure what we were going to do.

The Visa Application

Then one day the Agency (Health Staff Recruitment) contacted me to tell me that Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth was having a big recruitment drive in the UK.  They wanted to know if I would be interested in putting in an application for a Temporary Visa to work in Perth?

Of course I said “Yes……….” the idea of immigrating to a new life in Perth was just great.

The agency submitted my CV, made all the necessary reference checks and passed my details on to the hospital.

Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital called to give me a telephone interview.  The interview was full of clinical questions, they wanted to make sure that I understood that the Emergency Department nurses in Australia did not operate in the same manner as in the UK.  In Australia they used different skills and nurses did not always have the autonomy given to nurses in the UK.

I passed the interview and was offered a position on a 2 year temporary visa.

The sponsorship included my husband Paul and the Girls.

Did you use a Migration Agent?

No we did not need to use a migration agent, the agency looked after everything.

All I needed to do was let the hospital know when I would be ready to move to Perth. The agency and the hospital sorted everything else, I did not need to organise a thing. They even sorted out a bank account and a TFN Number.

Yes we still had to fill out the pages and pages of an application form but the Agency provided us with example answers so we clearly understood what was required. The hospital even gave me $1000 on arrival to help with our move to Perth expenses and would have helped to organize temporary accommodation and have someone meet us at the airport if we had wanted.

The temporary Visa was processed real quick the Hospital contacted DIMIA with details of my family and I. They had to show that they could not find an Australian to fill the position I was being offered. DIMIA gave the Hospital a migration number which they passed on to me to use on my visa application form.

The hospital covered the cost of the Agency fees which left us to pay for the DIMIA application, police checks, medicals and getting all official documents verified.

In Australia each state has its own Nurses Association which you have to become a member to practice. As our initial intention was to migrate to Brisbane I had already joined the Nursing Association over in Queensland but I also needed to join the Nurses Board of Western Australia .

Leaving family is always difficult but once we told them of our plans to move to Perth they were very supportive & did not want us to hold back. I guess it made things a little easier that we didn’t live in the same town as our parents (in fact they lived about 200 miles away).

I can understand those who find it difficult to leave family behind when the family all live close together & they rely on each other as a safety net. As difficult as it can be when you have a family of your own to think about they should come first. What is the best for them? Of course if the need arises then we will offer our support back home and I would fly back if need be.

Where Did You Stay When You Arrived In Perth?

We arrived at Perth Immigration in October 2003 and spent the first few weeks at Sorrento Beach Resort. It was costing us small fortune so we were eager to move out and find a place of our own as quick as we could. By the end of the second week we had moved into unfurnished rented accommodation.

The long term rental was costing us $225 a week and we had to sign a contract for six months. We signed up for the deal because we wanted out of Sorrento Beach Resort it felt too much like being on holiday and that was how we were treating life.

I was due to start work in November and the girls wanted to start back at school. We had already started to look at buying a property even though we had signed a rental deal for 6 months so we asked for a one month break clause which we gave us the flexibility to still move out in to a place of our own.

What Suburb Do You Live In?

Our friends Del and Wendy who lived in Woodvale advised us on areas to avoid, I guess if we hadn’t had their guidance I don’t know were we would have started to look.

It was Important to us to choose an area to live in which had good schools and there had to be a swimming pool in the back garden as we had promised this much to the girls. It can be overwhelming when you don’t know a place. Choosing a school was a priority for us as was an easy commute to work and the shops and beaches close by.

In the end we purchased a home in Woodvale, the schools had a good reputation and the house had a swimming pool.

Because we wete on a temporary visa we needed approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) before proceeding to purchase our first Australian home. That was no drama and we moved into our home in Woodvale in December 2003. The house had previously been rented out so a little TLC was required but we have it looking like home we wanted now

So we have swapped the detached house in Torquay and BMW that we had to work round the clock to afford. for a much larger detached home in Perth with a swimming pool and BBQ in the back garden and a 10 min drive to the beach. OK we don’t have the BMW but share an old(ish) 4×4 instead (no need for two cars). We work part time (max 36hrs per week) hours compared to the hours we were working in the UK. In fact if we needed to we could survive on just my income.

How Long Did It Take To Find Work?

Because we migrated to Australia on a temporry sponsored visa I had a job to go to. I work at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in the Emergency department working 3 x 12 hour shifts a week.

Paul is assistant manager at The Dome Café down at Hillarys Boat Harbour.

How Was Settling In To Your New Life In Perth?

Between us we can now look after the girls full time and still find time to spend together as a family. It is just great I would never swap it for our old life back in the UK.

Life in the UK was very materialistic and that sort of stuff is just not important to us now. (we have a big house but that is the norm over here). You can live a good life without spending a fortune, when the weather is good there is so much that you can do outside for free. I am happy to pop down the shops in my shorts and thongs (flip-flops to you Brits) no need to put makeup and heels on first.

We are happy that we didn’t move to Brisbane, we have since learnt it can get very hot and humid and we are really pleased that we ended up in Perth which has a much better family culture. Perth is an ideal place for families with a lot of life being lived outdoors. The coast is full of beautiful beaches, there are lots of picnic areas and even outdoor cinemas. Most mornings we will go down to the beach for a picnic breakfast and a snorkle then if the girls are not at school they will spend the rest of the day playing in the garden and the pool.

The girls have really settled well following the migration to Perth they both go to North Woodvale Primary School. I must admit schooling was a concern for me to begin with and I spent ages looking on the internet back in the UK to find out what I could about the schools. Woodvale was one of the few schools I found who had internet sites I could access.

The girls love it they both go dancing once a week and recently appeared on Australian TV in the Telethon. They also love to swim and swim locally in classes every week. Emma who is 12 is the eldest of the two is in the swimming squad. She has regained her childhood since moving to Perth which is great.

Permanent Australian Residence

In July we applied for Permanent Residency in Australian and once more went through the immigration process as we put in our application for a Permanent Residents Visa. We had been in Perth for 9 months on the temporary visa which was the required time before applying for permanent residents status.

The hospital sponsored us once more, I was very surprised at how quick the process was we had our perm visa within a few weeks. We had to go through the police checks (both in the UK and Australia) and medical checks again and needed to obtain the necessary amount of points for the skilled migrant visa .

In hindsight I would have applied for a permanent  residents visa in the beginning. It would have allowed for us to access family allowance, the $7,000 grant for first homeowners towards the purchase of our house and other benefits like Medicare, Health Insurance and Life Insurance as these are much easier to obtain as a permenant resident.

Do we miss the UK?

No Australia is our home now we are very happy here and have no intentions to return permanently back to the UK. The lifestyle is just great we can live like a family should and get to make several trips down to the beach each week.

Of course we miss family and friends and especially old school and college friends at times the ones you can just pick up the phone and call and meet for a coffee and a girlie chat and moan. But hey I can still pick up the phone & call

Mum will be coming to visit in April and I am really looking forward to seeing her, I know she will be thrilled with the life we have over here we are all so much happier.

Both my parents will be retired in a few years so it will be much easier for them to pop over for long holidays and the retirement Visa is always an option