Saturday, February 20, 2016

Moved to Australia with a Permanent Resident Visa

Kangaroo Land

I did not mention on my blog as to what was going to happen after I moved back to Sri Lanka from Japan. Now you know. I decided to move to Australia.

Why? I have my own reasons, which I do not wish to talk in this post. I will address that topic on a later day. More than anything else, I need to convince myself that I made the right decision.

This post is about the whole story of applying and getting the PR. It is quite a bit of a long read though.

The start

We, obviously, applied for the Australian Permanent Residency while we were in Japan. We applied through Skilled Migration. The whole process started in April 2014, not too long after my kid was born.

I was first going to go through an agent, because I did not want to mess it up. My friend Saman referred me to the agent he used. I talked with him, but there were some issues that I was afraid of which might pop up half way through. The main problem with using an agent is that as he does everything on behalf of us, we have to send him money to his account using some way. We cannot pay him via a credit card, and Japanese banks aren't that easy to deal with. Heck, sending money back to Sri Lanka is a pain, and there are large bank charges to deal with. I could send money to my dad using my NRFC account, and then give him LKR, but it is too much work. But that was probably the way to do it.

But that's when I contacted one of my senior colleagues who had also moved to Australia. She told me that there was no reason to use an agent; everything can be done online, and she had documented the whole process; which was almost identical to mine. Almost, because she did not have to take her family as she was single. However, this not only could saved me some time & money, but I could actually use my credit card to pay for everything. So I decided to drop the agent. He was not too happy about it, as he had to devote some of his precious time to discuss matters with me, and I was not paying him for his time. Well, it was unfortunate and I wish it did not have to happen that way. If he could have suggested me a reasonable way to send the money, I would have still gone with the agent. I hope I did not cause too much of a loss to him anyway.

Skill Evaluation

The first thing I did next was to apply for Skill evaluation. As I had work experience in the field of Software Engineering, I decided to apply as a Software Engineer. To get the skills evaluated, I had to apply to the Australian Computer Society or ACS. They didn't reduce any points for my education as I have an IT degree as well. Even then, the Engineering degree from the University of Moratuwa probably would have qualified fully, as it had many modules in the ICT field. It took about 3 months to receive their evaluation results. This cost me about JPY 50,000. Sadly, they only approved me as skilled for 4 years. You get 5 points for 3 years, 10 points for 5 years and 15 points for 8 years. So I got only 5 points for my skills.

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