“Ok, now do it on the other foot. Now reach behind your back with your left arm. Good, now with your right arm. You’re right [Oz for OK]…now go get a blood test.”
These were among the instructions we received from a physician here in Wagga recently when we had our medicals for our Permanent Residency applications. It seems that PR status is only granted to people who can do things that kangaroos can’t.
When we decided to look into PR status, we spoke to an immigration lawyer about our options. It seems that the rules are constantly changing; we know someone who got it before they moved here a few years ago, based on being a desirable professional (same field as Lisa). When we moved, all we could get was a 3 year, temporary visa; between the time of our applying and our arrival, however, it was changed again and anyone moving to regional (the Aus term for rural) Australia can get PR status without the usual two-year waiting period…so, if we had been two months later, we might have been able to do all of this from Canada.
The nice thing is that with this new regional migration scheme, you have to be sponsored by your employer — and that means with the Uni, they also arrange a lawyer and pay all the fees (well, the government fee and the lawyer, we still have to pay for incidentals like medicals).
So now we are going through a process similar to, but more complex than, the one for our original work visa (completed last year around this time). As we said, this has involved a series of medical checks:
- Chest x-rays: where we found out that Dan has long lungs…the first one they did didn’t actually get all of them so he was nuked again. Hopefully, the radiation from this doesn’t affect any of the later tests.
- General physical: eye exam, blood pressure, hopping (yes, seriously; first on one foot, then the other), squats. And touching your hands behind your back. You have to be nimble to live in Australia.
- Blood test: taken by a big tattooed bikie-type guy who really wanted Dan to cry when he poked him with the needle. He said women are better at having blood taken than men. He closed the door to the extraction room when Lisa was getting her vial taken, but left it open when Dan was in there so Lisa could watch him wince. Being Wagga, it was pretty quiet, so there were no other clients in the office at the time, so no privacy concerns.
We also have to get a bunch of documents certified by a justice of the peace, which isn’t that hard here – it seems that CSU has a bunch of them on staff. We work with someone who is qualified, and he is happy to sign off on copies of our degrees, our birth certificates, our passports, etc., so they can be submitted with our application.
The really challenging part of the application is that they want to know a lot about your life history:
- Where were your parents and all siblings born? When? (A long time ago in the bush in Ontario isn’t a sufficient answer!)
- Where did you go to school? When? What were your grad/convocation dates (right back to high school…and then Lisa’s 4 degrees!)?
- Where have you worked your entire life? When? Wow, try remembering the dates of every job you have ever had! And not just the month/year… but the actual start and end dates. (At one stage in the process, Lisa had to email the University of Western Ontario to verify some work dates from the early 1990s… how many of you can remember where you were then?)
- Where have you traveled in the past 10 years? When? And for how long? OK, that’s a tough one! For Dan, it wasn’t too hard going back 10 years (Aus a couple of times, UK a couple of times, Sweden, France, Germany, Chile, Argentina…); but for Lisa, Queen of the Airport…OMG!!! They actually want entry and exit dates of all international trips. Not hard for going in, because we were smart enough to keep all of our old passports, which have date stamps for each time she entered a country. But sometimes – many times – they didn’t stamp them on the way out. At Heathrow airport, coming out of the UK, for example, they don’t stamp it. So we had to think hard about how long we were away; and did we come back on the same day? Usually, but not always. And many of the US trips she made in the last 10 years also don’t have a detailed record of when she came home, so there was a lot of looking back at her CV, figuring out why she was there (conference or meeting) and how long she would have stayed. Ughhhhhhh! But, in the end, we think we have it as accurate as possible.
And that’s not all. Yes, these parts have been tough, but wait for the next post about the most horrible part of the process, yet!