Tuesday, 27 April 2010

A Nod in the Right Direction

I cracked again and made contact with my Case Officer. My resolve was tested after reading on British Expats about the Defacto Spouse Visa application of another forum poster who had just received his visa, despite applying to Australia House several weeks after me.

This time around, my call was answered on my first attempt after the second ring.  I was half expecting to hear that parts of my file were missing.  Instead I was told that my application was complete, my grant was being processed and I could expect my visa to be finalised in July.  July? Beg pardon?  Some seven months after the forms and evidence were supplied.

Here I must confess that I made it clear to my CO that I had no immediate plans to travel and that there would be no impact in placing my file in a low priority queue - so that the files of those who did have flights booked, could be processed quicker.  Even so, another three months of waiting feels like a big hill to climb.

I realised after the call, that I'd forgotten to ask which subclass of Defacto Partner Visa I was going to be granted, so once more picked up the telephone.  Again, I was answered promptly and advised that a subclass 100 Permanent Partner Visa is to be issued to me.  Phew!! This means I won't need to do another medical in two years time (bring on the donuts and KFC mega-bucket meals!) and won't need to jump through more hoops to prove the relationship is still ongoing.

After the second call, I again realised I had a question un-answered.  Was I free now to start making plans on the assumption I was going to get my visa?  Rather than immediately bother the CO again (and risk her changing her mind) I sent an email: 

Dear Mr xxx,

Thank you for your message. I would like to confirm that this should be fine  - and the application will be granted in early July 2010.

Yours sincerely
xxx xxx
Position No xxx
Family Migration
DIAC London
Australian High Commission
Australia House
London WC2B 4LA

Was the reply.  So there it is in writing.  I will have my Defacto Partner Visa in July, nearly twelve months after we started discussing it as a family.

It is a scary realisation to think that once I have the stamp in my passport, we are free to re-locate to the other side of the world.  Today that feels a long way off.  To meet the conditions of the visa I will have to move to Australia by 25th January 2011 - or alternatively set foot in Australia long enough for passport control to stamp and activate my visa before returning to the UK.

In my mind, I had planned for this eventuality and had pencilled a brief trip at the end of April 2010 (the time of year when flights were at their cheapeast).  As things have turned out, booking a ticket for April in expectation of my visa would have been a bad idea for two reasons 1- Obviously April has been and gone and I don't have a visa, so my ticket would have been useless in its purporse. 2- The non-existent cloud of volcanic ash would like have scuppered my itinerary somewhere along the way.

Anyhow, from speaking to my agent he believes that the slow-down in visa processing has been due to a massive uptick in demand for Spouse visas.  Apparently the visa grant year runs from June-June, so pushing my application into July will take it out of the 2010 figures.  I'm not fully sure I follow how that helps anyone.