A One Way Ticket to Australia….Literally

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) provides a service that allows you to travel on a one way ticket to Australia for a reduced fee (R7800.00 per adult) that is inclusive of airport taxes and service fees.

There is also the baggage allowance of 2 pieces (2 x 20kg) per person which helps a lot when having to move country.

When I did arrive at the O.R Tambo International airport and proceeded to Check-in I found out that on my ticket I did not qualify for the extra baggage allowance because of a typo error. Nevertheless I agreed to pay for the extra weight and would have to ask for a refund later.

The flight to Australia was good and that I had ample room in front of me as I was located in t he middle row upfront where they have the baby beds.

Passing customs was a breeze as I didn’t have anything to declare unlike those people you find on Border Patrol.

I arrive in Australia November 19 2012 having left on the 18th.

PS Here in Australia they sell 600 ml Coke bottles instead of 500 ml found back in South Africa. Also they sell 375 ml cans instead of 350 ml. 2L bottles remain the same. 


How It All Started

Visa Perseverance…..

Without wanting to waste such a rare opportunity that not even medical professionals are eligible for I soon realised that the 476 visa opened another doorway to Permanent Residency via the Subclass 885 Skilled Independent visa.

So what is this 885 visa and its eligibility? Simply put as of November 2012 when I first applied for it:

  • This visa is for you if you are in Australia and you are one of the following:
    • an overseas student or former overseas student
    • a holder of a Skilled – Graduate (subclass 485) visa or Skilled – Recognised Graduate (subclass 476) visa
    • a holder of a Trade Skills Training (subclass 471) visa
  • You are under 50 years of age
  • You have at least a competent level of English language ability
  • You must nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL)
  • You must provide a positive skills assessment completed by the relevant assessing authority (Engineers Australia) for your nominated occupation before your application
  • You meet the location requirement i.e. be onshore before you lodge your application
  • You meet the Health requirement i.e. conduct a medical test before your application onshore
  • You meet the Character requirements i.e. obtain a Police Clearance Certificate from Australian Federal Police before your application either onshore or offshore
  • You meet the Australian Values Statement requirement

With all of this said you also had to meet the Points Test scoring 65 points or more. If less, your application would be refused.

You would have noticed that I use the word “before” often and it is important to realise this as it is easily over looked when making an application. Without doing this you not only make it more difficult for the Case Officer to make a decision but you delay the outcome of the application even more.

If you are successful in not only reading but understanding English you will be able to get a quick and positive response to your application. In fact when I applied 22 November 2012 I was granted my Permanent Residency 3 December 2012. This is in comparison to a year or two for a decision to be made.

I should stress that for both my visa applications (476 and 885) I did not use an agency but purely read what was available:

  • on the immi.gov.au website as well as
  • consulting on forums such as expatforum.com
  • I had also used beupdate.co.uk/ as they have a very useful excel sheet layout where applicants indicate at which stage they are and you can also judge how long a certain visa takes to get processed

Since the 1st January 2013 you will not be able to apply for the 885 visa because of a new visa system that came into effect from 1 July 2012 named SkillSelect. In brief SkillSelect requires you to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) and only after you receive an invitation from Australia will you be able to lodge a visa application. This new system has greatly reduced the number of visa applications because it works on the principle of “supply” and “demand”. The “supply” being the EOI and only the “demand” will allow you to acquire a visa.

A simple explanation of SkillSelect is if you produce 100 milk cartons at your diary farm but only 10 customers buy a carton each you will be left with 90 milk cartons. Those left will remain on the dairy farm until the next day when less or more customers come to buy a carton of milk. And in essence you are left with Skill(Select).

I have only touched briefly on SkillSelect because I do not have first hand account of it but what I can say is that it makes getting a visa extremely hard. How hard? Well let me leave you with a thought. If those 90 milk cartons get an additional 100 cartons added to the stock pile the very next day and you again have only 10 customers buy a carton each you will be left with 180 milk cartons. That is a staggering 90 (100%) more EOI added to the ever increasing list of people wanting to immigrate to Australia.

Thank goodness I did not have to go this route.

How It All Started

A Courageous Fool?

My journey first begins with having graduated with first class honours in Mechanical Engineering from a leading university. Having graduated during the time of global economic downturn obtaining a job was not such an easy endeavour and I started to wonder if there really was a skills shortage of engineers in the workforce.  In addition, the ever increasing unemployment rate of South Africa was a looming testimony that hard times would lay ahead.

Fortunately after four months of looking I was head hunted for a position as an Engineer-In-Training in the heavy industry. Starting off in my first job was no easy achievement but after a couple of hurdles I started to settle down.

Life was starting to look good. To add to life I had also met a wonderful companion to share stories, laugh about friends and cry about family with all in a couple of months of knowing her. She had recently moved back from Hong Kong and was in the beginning not interested in a relationship but I guess things turned out well in my favour. Or did they?

Taking a few steps back I had earlier applied for a Subclass 476 Skilled Recognised Graduate visa for Australia as I wanted better opportunities such as health, education, lifestyle and travel that South Africa could not give me. I must confess though that living in South Africa all my life I did not explore as much as I should have. But in my defence I had only started to become more independent and adventurous having received my own vehicle after graduating from my wonderful and supportive parents. In addition, I did not have the finer things earlier in life to go exploring and events such as end of High School Vacation down in Cape Town or Plettenberg Bay or my 18th or even 21st Birthday was non-existant. Sad and introvert it may seem but burdening my parents with demands was simply not what I would have intended as I knew very well the amount of sacrifices that they had made for the benefit of the family.

So what is this 476 visa and its eligibility? Simply put as of April 2012 when I first applied for it:

  • You must be under 31 years of age on the day of making your application
  • IELTS Test Report Form (TRF) Number to show you have a band score of at least six on each of the four components – speaking, reading, listening and writing
  • In the two years immediately before the date of making your application, you must have completed an eligible degree qualification in Engineering
  • You must have completed your Engineering degree at a recognised institution in the last two years
  • You may be in Australia at the time you apply for a subclass 476 visa unless you have either condition 8503 or 8535, or another condition on your current visa that prevents you from making a further application to remain in Australia. Unless you are an eligible New Zealand citizen, you and any secondary applicants included in your application, must be outside Australia at the time that a decision is made on your application
  • You and all secondary applicants must have a health examination
  • You and any secondary applicants must be of ‘good character’
  • If you are aged 18 years or over, you are required to sign an Australian values statement

The end result is if you are granted this visa you are able to live and work in any part of Australia and engage in any type of employment for a period of no more than 18 months.

Having applied for this visa in April 2012 my initial expectation was that it would have been granted in more than a years time as it was not on the Priority Processing Agenda of Immigration Australia. Having said that I was surprised to find that my visa was granted July 2012.

Having spent the majority of my time before I was due to depart, April 2013 that I had decided on before the expiry date of the visa, I soon started to realise that job opportunities were non-existent for holders of the 476 visa and that either citizenship or Permanent Residency was needed. (Such a visa should be brought into question as to its validity as most employers in Australia would not recognise it)

To be continued….