Be open and honest with your visa application
It’s usually a relatively easy transition for New Zealanders to move to Australia. The lifestyle here is very similar, the weather warmer and there’s plenty of employment and educational opportunities.
Once here, many stay. That was the case for Sonyia, a 58-year-old FIFO worker. Having spent twelve years in this country, she wanted Australian permanent residency.
‘’I had a friend who’d applied online and hadn’t been successful. I did think of applying myself, but my time is precious and knowing that this friend’s application had been rejected, I decided to engage Home of Visas.’’
A short stay in Queensland
Sonyia first moved to Australia in 1989 with her then husband. The pair had always wanted to live in Australia. She had a half-brother in Brisbane, and that’s where the couple planned to establish their home. Eight months after landing in Australia, Sonyia’s grandmother passed away and that was the catalyst for the two to return to New Zealand. It was supposed to be a short trip back, but it ended up being a turbulent period of time for Sonyia and her family in New Zealand.
Sonyia has two younger sisters, four older brothers and a half-brother. While in New Zealand, while she was grieving for her beloved nana, in a short space of time, her nephew passed away. A sister fell pregnant, planning to bring the baby up on her own. Another sister’s husband was involved in a nasty fall and she needed help managing her life through her husband’s recovery. At the same time, Sonyia discovered she was expecting her first child.
All these life events meant the temporary visit home became long-term. During this time, Sonyia also became more involved supporting her mother.
“My mother and father had a tempestuous relationship. Being in New Zealand meant I could try to mediate and be the peace maker when it became really bad.’’
Back again in Australia…in 2009
Ten years later, Sonyia’s father had passed away which meant her mother’s life became less fraught. Sonyia herself had endured a rocky time in her relationship with her husband. Together they decided on a fresh start in Brisbane and moved back to Australia again.
The marriage unfortunately didn’t last. Sonyia decided to remain in Australia with her daughter, while her then-husband returned to New Zealand. As the sole income earner, she started a job as a FIFO worker in the WA mines.
‘’I became a machine operator, and I’m still in that role now. I decided to move to Perth to cut down on the flight times and my daughter moved over as well.’’
Sonyia has a cat and it was while she was putting her into a cattery that she got talking to the owner, Vicki Hutson, a past client of ours
‘’Chatting with Vicki and her husband Ross, I realised I ought to apply for a permanent resident visa. I knew the Australian Government was moving the goalposts about New Zealanders being allowed to stay here, so I thought the time to act was now.’’ On the recommendation of this former client, Sonyia turned to us.
Opening up about the past
After carefully reviewing Sonyia’s circumstances and securing a movement record listing all the time Sonyia has spent in Australia, our migration agent Fizah Ismail suggested the Resident Return visa. It would mean that Sonyia lay claim on permanent residency status, for the time she spent in Australia over 20 years ago.
In under 2 weeks, an immigration case officer came back requesting more information about the lengthy period Sonyia had spent back in New Zealand.
‘’It was only then that I really opened up about my background to Zahirah and Fizah. I was holding onto shame. I’d been supporting others for so long, and that included my mother who was being abused for many years.’’
With this new evidence we submitted a compelling submission letter along with additional information Sonyia managed to pull together. Ten days later, Sonyia’s permanent residency was approved. We were ecstatic.
‘’Learning that I’d been successful was empowering, I saw it as an achievement and proof that I was a strong woman and able to stay in Australia on my own merits.’’
Now, Sonyia’s 29-year-old daughter Samara is making preparation to apply for permanent residency. However, Samara’s application will be different to Sonyia’s as she doesn’t qualify for a resident return visa.
Words of advice
So, if she could offer any advice to others, what would that be?
‘’Don’t ever be ashamed of your past and be honest, consistent and accurate. Use a migration agent as you may not know the routes eligible to you for residency. Neither I nor my friends had ever heard of the Resident Return visa subclass 155.’’
If you’re reading this and you’re a recent migrant, looking back on your journey to live in Australia permanently, is there anything you’d do differently?
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