28/05/2015

HOME - NO MORE GOODBYES

This post has been sitting in my draft folder for a while now, because it is about something really special and close to my heart:

Last Thursday, I received the long-awaited and fantastic news that my visa (for permanent residency in Australia) has been granted! After 13 months that consisted of many tears, sleepless nights, fear and anxiety, the business-like email from the Department of Immigration was like a love letter to me. It was such an overwhelming moment that when I broke the news to Steve, I started crying like a mad woman that he thought I was about to be deported.

More than being overwhelmed, I was relieved. Since the day I met Steve, I was constantly faced with the fear that someday we may have to face the possibility of a long-distance relationship, or worse, being separated. Even though I graduated from a university here in Australia, my skills did not qualify for a skill-based migration. So my options were slim. But perhaps due to our relationship, I could qualify for a partner/spouse visa. However, that visa has the highest rejection rates due to fraudulent claims and relationship breakdowns. In addition, it came with a hefty price tags and an insane amount of paperwork to demonstrate that our relationship is true and genuine.

So we sought advice from a migration agent, who advised us patiently on our options and what we could do (while not breaking any policies! No loop holes here) We scrambled and scoured our PC and email inbox for any form of documents that can show that our relationship is continuing and genuine. Thankfully we have special keepsake boxes where we store mementos from each other. In the midst of it all, we faced some bureaucratic red tape that caused delays in some vital documents needed to complete the application. Thankfully, just two days shy of my visa expiry date, my application for a permanent residency was submitted and I received a visa so I can stay in Australia legally.

27-April 2014: The day we submitted our visa application. Faces of hope...and fear.


The following 13 months was bittersweet. It is a long time to be living in uncertainty.  Every moment we had together felt like it could be the last and we just wanted more time together. I cannot count the times I've spent waking up in the middle of the night, anxious and worried about what the future held for us.We put our plans for a marriage, to buy our first home and.. pretty much everything on hold. In addition, we did not dare to make travel plans, in case immigration contact us for more information or to deliver the dreaded news. There were the rare times where I thought rationally and perhaps giving up would be better for us both, but I was so in love with Steve that I couldn't do it.

As the expected decision time came closer, my anxiety level was at an all-time high and I was questioning every single minute details of the application that we submitted. I would be filled with sadness, followed by a random burst of energy to do new things, in a bid to distract myself from what is to come. I remember how I was almost in tears on night while making dinner, because I wasn't sure if I would have the chance to finish using the roll of cling/wrap we have at home.

Who knew a roll of cling wrap can evoke so much emotions..


Finally oh finally, now I can rest easy knowing that Steve and I will not be separated. The world is ours for the taking now - new possibilities, hopes and of course, travel!

I read on the forums that there are many disgruntled applicants complaining about the processing time for the visa, which I kind of agreed. But in the times where fraud is at an all-time high, it is no wonder the immigration department is taking more effort and time to process the applicants. Moreover, while it is difficult for us to put our life plans on hold for so long, Steve and I came out of this experience stronger than ever. Nothing tests a relationship more than adversity and we emerged from it certain that we want to spend the rest of our lives with each other.

Now that I can formally call Australia my home, I am so grateful for all the help and support that was given to me:

The Australian Government and Department of Immigration - Behind every grant letter and request for more information are these tireless (and possibly overworked) people whose good work often go uncredited. Thank you for placing your faith in us and making everything possible.

Our migration agent - Without the advice that comes with their experience, we wouldn't have been able to get everything together so quickly. I am so grateful for their patience while I was at my most anxious.

Friends and family - For all the help, support and kind words. Special thanks to those that helped me out by writing a statement to prove that Steve and I are in a genuine relationship.

Steve - I knew from the moment I met him that we have something really special. I knew of many couples who had to break up because one or the other could not go through the tedious process of applying for the visa. But he stood by me and we made it! No goodbyes and no regrets.

I've always said that home is where Steve is, and I am glad that I am home. Now I can look at this forever:



This is a Grateful Heart linkup with Emily from Ember Grey.

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

1 comment:

  1. AMAZING news!!!! I'm so happy for you, lady!! You poor thing... I cannot imagine the stress you must have felt this past year and I'm so glad all of that is now over. Hope you two celebrate this weekend!!!

    ReplyDelete

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