Those subscribed to my newsletter or follow my Facebook page have already heard the news, but for everyone else out there…
After over a year of constant stress, document chasing, and other administrative bullcrap, my Aussie visa process is finally over. I’M NOW A PERMANENT RESIDENT OF AUSTRALIA!
Hold Up… What Does Permanent Residency Even Mean?
I sometimes forget that most people are not entrenched in the Aussie visa process like I’ve been, so let me explain what this means:
Permanent residency, or PR, is the holy grail for foreigners who come to Australia and never want to leave. There are a myriad of visas one can apply for to be able to stay long term in this country, but most are temporary – and the few that are permanent are significantly harder to come by.
So how the heck did I pull off permanent residency? Well, I spent an inordinate amount of time researching my options and then applying for the skilled independent visa (189). I did the whole thing myself without any professional help (note: I probably don’t recommend this) and start-to-finish, it all took about 13 months.
Hiking in the Budawangs of NSW, Australia.
As a permanent resident of Australia, I can stay here indefinitely, have full working rights, and am eligible for Medicare. I don’t have to rely on any person or company to sponsor me, no longer have to make visa runs or attend school, and can pretty much do whatever I want here without any fuss. This is what I’ve wanted all along: to be able to travel freely to, from, and within Australia while doing my freelancing and blogging thing, forever and ever amen.
And as an added bonus, Australian permanent residents have the right to live, work, and study in New Zealand as well – and if I ever want to travel there, I no longer need a visa to do so. The only things differentiating me from an Aussie citizen are that I don’t have an Australian passport or the right to vote here, and I can be deported if I commit a criminal offense.
My new visa is good for 5 years, but I can keep renewing it indefinitely. I’m eligible to apply for Australian citizenship in 4 years though, so it probably makes more sense to do this instead of renewing the visa.
Stay tuned for a comprehensive blog post on how to apply for the 189 visa! (I’m letting myself recover from the process first before I revisit it for blogging purposes)
Being able to stay put in Australia means I can more easily develop friendships like these!
Notes On Following Your Internal Compass
I keep coming back to the fact that none of this would have been possible if I hadn’t had the courage to follow my internal compass and change things in my life that weren’t quite right for me.
The reason I was even eligible for this visa was because I was deemed to possess so-called valuable skills as an “ICT Business Analyst“, as proven by my education and work experience. I’ve never been called a business analyst in any job I’ve held, and I never studied business or IT. But what I have done is evolve my studies and jobs into ones better suited for me, which just so happened to involve many analyst-like skills and tasks in the tech space.
I changed my studies at Cornell from math to information science, for no reason other than that the classes interested me. I didn’t have any career path in mind, I simply wanted to learn more about psychology, language, and web design.
You know what jobs I was later hired for? Really, these are actual job titles I held: ITI Graduate Trainee, HTML/CSS Coder, Traffic Coordinator, Sales Operations Coordinator. They all sound like amateur hour, don’t they? And they definitely don’t sound like they have anything to do with being a business analyst.
FYI if you hit the Figure 8 pool at sunrise in spring… that water is COLD!
But for every single one of these jobs, I quickly realized that I would be bored to tears unless I took initiative and started taking on different tasks that fulfilled me more while also helping the company. I recognize now that I followed a similar pattern each time and would unintentionally mold my job into something more process-oriented, involving reports, data analysis, and system admin work.
By the end of my tenure, my actual job tasks had NOTHING to do with the original role I was hired for. I always made my own role. And when it came time to chase down job references for my visa application, the roles and responsibilities for each (modified) job closely mirrored the ones associated with the ICT Business Analyst skilled occupation that I was going for. This would not have been the case had I remained a math major, or stayed complacent with the jobs I was originally hired to do.
There’s no way I could have known that a decade largely spent in anguish over what my life’s purpose was and why I never quite found a perfect-fitting job was preparing me for something this good.
If I could go back in time, I’d reassure 20-something Lindsay not to worry, that she was doing the best she could, and that everything was happening as it should be. Sometimes the puzzle pieces of your life just take some time to assemble themselves.
To be honest, I’m not any closer to figuring out my calling – but I’m much more at peace with that these days. And now I get to continue the quest from my favorite place in the world!