Saturday, 29 August 2009

The Checklist

So having selected what I think to be best visa for my situation (Partner Visa Offshore: Subclass 309/Possibly 100), I found two other documents on the DIAC website to help me in my quest.  The first: Partner Migration, as the name suggests is an application guide for the different types of Partner Migration visa.  The second (reproduced and commented on below) is the Application document checklist which again as the name suggests is a handy checklist of the the items that need to be submitted as part of your application.

Having reviewed the checklist, it is clear that the application process is going to take more than an afternoon and is quite a project - I need to get myself organised and get some help.

The checklist for a Partner Visa Offshore application looks like this:

Forms and Charges

Form 47SP Application for migration to Australia by a partner
A completed form 47SP from you including all dependent children. The form must be signed in all the relevant places and each person included in the form, who is aged 18 years or over, has signed the Australian values statement. Eeek!! first shock of the day, this is a ginormous 29 pages!

Form 40SP Sponsorship for a partner to migrate to Australia - A completed form 40SP from your sponsor. Phew!! this one is only another 12 pages.

Form 47A Details of child or other dependent family member aged 18 years or over - A completed form 47A for each dependant aged 18 years or over from you and/or your partner, whether or not they are migrating with you (if applicable).   Thankfully, not required in my case.

Payment of the visa application charge. See: Partner Visa Charges Currently a whopping £870.

Personal Documents – Sponsor
Evidence that your sponsor is aged 18 years or older and is an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, such as:
• certified copy of birth certificate
• Australian passport or foreign passport containing evidence of permanent residence
• evidence that your sponsor usually resides in Australia
• for New Zealand citizens; evidence of length of residence in Australia and of continuing links with Australia.
See: Sponsor Eligibility

Photocopies of one of the following documents to show your sponsor’s employment during the last two years:
• Australian income and/or overseas tax assessment notice
• a letter from their employer confirming length of employment and annual salary
• payslips
• if your sponsor is self-employed or self-funded from other sources, business documents or a letter from your sponsor’s accountant.

A statement from your sponsor regarding:
• any other person they have previously sponsored or nominated for a Spouse, Partner, Prospective Marriage or Interdependency visa.
• any other person for whom your sponsor has signed a maintenance order and/or an Assurance of Support.

See: Fact Sheet 34 Assurance of Support
This statement must:
• indicate your sponsor’s relationship with this other person or persons
• when, why and how the relationship(s) ceased
• specify the dates of lodgement of any sponsorship or nominations (including any current sponsorship or nomination), maintenance guarantees or Assurances of Support.
Note: If you are married to your partner and your partner is under 18 years of age, he or she cannot be your sponsor. If your partner is aged 16 or 17 years, he or she may be able to nominate an eligible sponsor. If applicable, you should contact your nearest office of the department to find out what further documentation is required by the department.

Personal Documents - Applicant
Certified copies of the passports or travel documents of all people included in your application (particularly biographical data pages).
Documents to prove your identity – a certified copy of your birth registration showing both parents’ names. If you do not have a birth certificate and are unable to get one, you must provide a certified copy of the identification pages of at least one of the following documents:
• passport
• family book showing both parents’ names
• identification document issued by the government
• document issued by a court that verifies your identity.

If you are unable to provide one of these documents, you must provide other acceptable evidence that you are who you claim to be.

Four recent passport-size photographs (45mm x 35mm) of yourself and any other person included in this application. These should be of the head and shoulders only, and should show the person facing the camera and against a plain background. You should print the name of the person on the back of each photograph. Note: Only two recent passport-size photographs are required if you are applying in Australia.

Two recent passport-size photographs of your partner.

If you, your partner or anyone in your application is or has been married, certified copies of the marriage certificate(s).

If you, your partner or anyone included in your application has been permanently separated, divorced or widowed, a certified copy of the statutory declaration/separation certificate, divorce decree absolute or the death certificate of the deceased partner (as appropriate).

If you, your partner or anyone included in your application has changed his or her name (for example by marriage or deed poll), a certified copy of evidence of the name change.

Certified copies of birth certificates or the family book, showing names of both parents, for all children included in your application.

Certified copies of documents to verify custody and access arrangements, for children under 18 years of age unless it is the child of both you and your partner. See: Evidence of dependency

If any child included in your application is adopted, a certified copy of the adoption papers.

Evidence of dependency for any dependent children aged 18 years or over or any other dependent relatives included in your application. See: Evidence of dependency

If you have served in the armed forces of any country, certified copies of military service records or discharge papers.

Provide evidence that your relationship with your partner is genuine and continuing. See: Evidence of a genuine and continuing relationship

Form 888 Statutory declaration by a supporting witness relating to a partner visa application
At least two statutory declarations, preferably from individuals who are Australian citizens or permanent residents and who have personal knowledge of your partner relationship and support your claim that the relationship is genuine and continuing.

If you are applying on marriage grounds, you will need to provide a certified copy of your Marriage certificate.

If married in Australia, the certificate should be issued by the responsible State and Territory registry office.

If you are applying on de-facto partner grounds you will need to provide one of the following:
• evidence that your de facto relationship has existed for the entire 12 months before lodging your Partner visa application See: Fact Sheet 35 One-year relationship requirement
• evidence of compelling and compassionate circumstances of why you are applying before the 12 months have passed (for example if you have children with your partner).

Health Documents
Details of whether or not you have undertaken your health checks and, if so, details of the dates and location your health checks took place. See: Health Requirements This fills me with a little dread, if I'm honest I can't say I've looked after myself as well as I should the past few years.  I eat and drink too much of the wrong things and I don't excercise enough.  Haven't been to the doctor in years; can't bear to think what they might discover.

Character Documents
Include any results of character checks. See: Character and Penal Clearance Requirements More on this later, I have an ...erm... colourful past.
Form 80 Personal particulars for character assessment
A completed form 80 is required only if requested by the department.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Choosing which Visa to apply for?

As mentioned before: my partner is an Australian and me a Pom. Our little boy is therefore entitled to both Australian and British passports and citizenship by descent.  Me on the other hand, needs a visa before I'll be allowed to work and reside in the lucky country.

A quick google takes me to the Australian Government - Department of Immigration And Citizenship (DIAC) website which advises that there are a number of visa options available to me, either as a skilled migrant or as defacto partner.

The overall list of visa categories the prospective traveller to Australia has to choose from is:

    * Workers
          o Employer Sponsored Workers
          o Professionals and other Skilled Migrants
          o Business People
          o Specialist Entry
          o Doctors and Nurses
          o Regional Employment
          o Australia Needs Skills Recruitment Expos
          o Air and Sea Crew
    * Migrants
          o Family Members
          o Returning Residents
    * Visitors
          o Tourists
          o Working Holiday
          o Retirement
          o Medical Treatment
          o Transiting through Australia
          o Event Organisers and Participants
    * Students
          o Student Visa Options
          o Student Guardians
          o More Information for Students
          o Student Visa Assessment Levels
          o Sponsored Training Visas
          o What's New?
    * Employers
    * Refugees

Luckily, to make things easy a 'Wizard' is provided to help you make the correct choice.

Friday, 7 August 2009

The Decision

To be honest, the decision was made long before he was born. Like all parents to be, we promised our son a better life and all the opportunities we'd missed. And although previously unspoken, both of knew that we'd want him to grow up in Australia.

My partner is an Aussie and me a Pom. So moving back down under had always been a possible option. Life had just always got in the way. Both being terrible at long term planning we made a pledge, to relocate before our son (then only in his first trimester!) was old enough to go to school.

Roll on two years, our little boy is now eighteen months old.  Just need to pay down the credit cards, get the bathroom done, figure what to do with the house and apply for a visa - then we can move to Melbourne.