Moving To Australia – What Was the Process Like? Migration Foxtrotting (AJ) – Part 1 –

Image by Ruth Jalloh shows signage on Beaudesert Road (such a long road).  

Slow, Slow, Quick Quick, Slow

Our application journey was like the Foxtrot, which was made popular by Harry Fox, a migrant to the Americas. Just like the “Foxtrot, the application process began smooth and progressive with long, continuous flowing movements across the dance floor” know as time. The application process seemed to be an endless dance between us and the Australian government, with them being the lead partner and us having to present ourselves as elegant as possible.

My younger sister’s wedding was the precursor to our decision to migrate to Australia because it was the feeling of community and belonging we had felt during the time we spent around my family that helped us to make the decision to move. While in Australia, my wife and I decided to explore Brisbane, as we often do when we visit new places. During our time in Brisbane, my iMac mouse-pad became stuck and while on one of our expeditions to the city, we came across a shop which repairs Macs. At this point, my wife had already decided Brisbane will be where we spend the rest of our days, ‘by hook or by crook’, as my mother often says with jovial determination.

On this particular day, whilst we were out in Morooka, where my parents use to live, meeting with careers advisors, looking for ‘Black Hair Products’ and dropping off my iMac, I happened to look across Beaudesert Road, which incidentally snaked from where my parents currently live and I saw Australian Education Global Advisors – AEGA. But let my wife tell the story and she would insist she saw this agency first! We had already been discussing possible professions we would consider after the move and childcare happened to be one of them, so ventured across Beaudesert Road and met a lady who couldn’t advise us on how to enrol for a childcare course or migrate to Australia, however this chance meeting led to her referring us to someone she knew of, who worked in the city.

Immediately after being referred to a MARA registered agent (George), we raced towards the city, which we had become somewhat familiar with. So at least we knew where to park. Armed with the Sat-nav from the car, we began to scorer the city for ‘Careers Up’ – Edward St, which we missed several times due to the Sat-nav not being specific enough. Finally, like the tourists we were, we decided to use our eyes and just looked up. There, in front of us, stood a dilapidated looking building, which housed several different businesses. We looked at each other before walking through the tunnel-like entrance and for me, it was at that moment I realised that this was going to happen. Knowing my wife as I do, I knew this was not going to be one of her fleeting good ideas that she sometimes mentioned in passing. We pressed for the lift, entered slowly, and as the lift took us up, I could feel my heart pulsing into my wife’s palm and as if tacitly, she squeezed my hand to say, It’ll be ok… this is for the best… We’ll do this together… and everything else I needed to hear at that moment. Even though I looked seemingly unfazed on the outside, I was worried about this new venture. My anxiety rose even further when we met George, who was to become our MARA agent and guide us through the immigration process; George was on his way out of the office for the remainder of the day to see his son play a soccer match. I looked at my wife expecting to see the disappointment in her eyes, however, I was met with “The Look”. As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi puts it, she was in ‘Flow’ – a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to complete absorption in activity and results in the achievement of an ideal state of happiness. Everything was going to be absolutely fine.

The next day, everything seemed to pass by in a series of images. My only recollections of that day are as follows:

1. Woke up and got ready

2. Got coffee; as we did each morning

3. Visited Mum and Dad to leave the children

4. Past the Mac Dr and AEGA on Beaudesert Road

5. Found parking in a car park that was still under construction and couldn’t find our way out. After what seemed like an eternity we finally saw daylight

6. As we entered George’s office, The conversation turned to, where we would live… Where the children would go to school… what jobs we would have and how much we would earn… the fact that we would clean offices if needs-be, so long as we are all together as a family.

“Ruth, Ahmed!” George’s voice invaded our happy thoughts to serve a dose of reality. I drifted in and out of the room, catching only parts of conversations and contributing when I could… initial consultation $165… your options… UK Citizens… both… currently in Australia on SC 651 eVisitor… You both turn 33 this year… both have a degree in Youth and Community… Ahmed… worked as a teacher for past… Ruth… work for a charity for the past… Ahmed’s parents have permanent residency… 2 children… youngest 5… the eldest is 14 this year…

I drifted further into my own thoughts. I recall thinking, wow, when someone else lists all your achievements, you actually realise how much you’ve done in life, especially when you were statistically supposed to fail!

….“Welfare Workers need to be sponsored by either an employer or a state government to apply for a PR visa and the same is true of Primary School Teachers!”

I was back in the office, focused on George’s pen, which looked like it was straining to keep up with the summations of our life stories so far… “Welfare Centre Managers are the same as Social Workers I think, but I’ll do some investing!”

George fired off a list of skills and qualities that qualified us for points and informed us that we had a potential 70 points, which was apparently a good score and would make us desirable candidates.

At that moment, I remember feeling George would have us here in no time! And so, on that Tuesday 11th August 2015, the ‘Migration Foxtrot’ began.

I don’t recall getting back to my parents’ house!

If you’ve reached down here, you’re a trooper, so thank you! 🤗

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