Moving from Italy to Australia on a Spouse Visa
Is travel in your blood? Every year Australia plays host to thousands of young people from overseas who arrive on working holiday visas looking for employment and to experience different cultures.
COVID may have put a hold on people entering the country at the moment, but in 2015 Gaia from the island of Sicily in Italy was one such traveler.
It was during her young person’s working holiday visa that she met her now husband Jared. While her partner visa application was relatively straightforward, it had to be done incredibly swiftly because of the government’s tightening of migration laws. Through our support she successfully obtained her Partner (temporary) subclass 820 visa.
New Year, New Beginning
Gaia was undertaking regional farm work in Northern New South Wales when she was invited to spend time over New Year’s Eve with friends in Byron Bay.
As she said goodbye to 2015 and welcomed in 2016, she met Jared, an Australian, who shared Gaia’s love of travel. When Gaia’s time at the farm finished, Jared suggested they tour Australia together.
They ended up in the Northern Territory where they stayed in Cairns for a year. When Gaia’s two-year visa came to an end, she flew back to her native Italy. Jared decided to get a working holiday visa to Italy to be with her.
Life in Italy
It was during the trip to Italy that Jared proposed. The wedding took place in a historic square in Sicily and the couple settled into married life. They planned to stay in Sicily long-term but struggled to find work.
‘’I love Sicily, but it’s such a small island there aren’t many job opportunities and salaries are low.’’ So a decision was made to live permanently in Australia.
‘’Initially I didn’t really want to go. I am close to my family; there’s just me, my parents and my brother. I loved living in Italy and with other European countries close by, it meant we could travel a lot but we needed good jobs and a regular income.’’
Migration Law Shake-Up
Gaia arrived in Perth on a tourist visa and they lived with Jared’s brother in Perth. They hadn’t been back in Australia long when they learned that the government was tightening its migration laws.
‘’There were rumours that the partner visa requirement would be changing within a matter of days. The changes could have led to me submitting this visa offshore. It would have meant we’d be separated once again,’’ explains Gaia.
Time was not on their side. Gaia realised she’d have to enlist a migration agent to have any chance of success. As luck would have it one of the first companies she rang was Home of Visas.
“Zahirah and Fizah knew the government was thinking of making changes in April, and that left us with just over a day to submit everything or risk being caught by new legislation. They acted quickly and gave this submission their full attention.’’
We knew that Gaia could move to a bridging visa once the partner visa was lodged. We used a secure client portal and a private shared drive, so we could exchange information easily and worked at breakneck speed, as Gaia testifies.
“That was the beauty of having a migration agent acting on our behalf. We were phoning and texting them well into the night. They checked all our paperwork so our submission would be the best it could be. They offered valuable information – even about the length and type of words used in my declaration.’’
Calling Australia Home
The visa application was lodged and Gaia moved onto a bridging visa. Seventeen months later the partner visa was approved.
Gaia’s application took longer than most of the other partner visa applications we’ve dealt with. Their extensive travel history meant there were police clearances required from several countries. During the later stages of their application process, the effects of COVID was well and truly felt. We’ve all had to work patiently as many international government offices were closed or had limited service.
Reflecting on what she’s been through, what advice would she offer to anyone investigating partner visas?
‘’If you’re short on time or lead a busy life, use a registered migration agent. We were fortunate to find Home of Visas. Fizah and Zahirah were so flexible and accommodating. I knew I could text them with a query at any time and that they’d get back within minutes. We couldn’t fault their commitment with our application.’’
The visa process and the journey to bring loved ones together can be overwhelming, daunting and confusing. Home of Visas is a Perth-based migration agency specialising in partner and family visas. We offer a level of service which is exceptional, where we leave no stone unturned, so you have the best chance of success.
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