Taking Up Residence

expat issues

Yesterday when I left work, I looked at my phone to find seven missed messages from Partner-in-Crime. I panicked for a moment, thinking someone must be dead or incapacitated or at least in jail. Though, I guess you’d only get one phone call if you were in jail, not seven.

Turns out that P-i-C had gone to the post office for me to pick up a registered letter. Seeing that it was from the Department of Immigration, he got pretty excited and wanted permission to open it, not seeing how he could sit quietly in the same room with said envelope for 3 hours before I made it home. We’d recently applied for my Permanent Residency and, as we learned when I finally gave him permission over the phone to rip the letter open, the Australian government had done a remarkably fast job of turning my application around and granting it!

This is my fourth (and final) visa during my time in Australia. First, I came over to visit on a tourist visa. Then, I arrived on a fiancee visa, which gave us some time for me to be in the country before we got married. Then, we had to tell the government that we’d gotten married, and I transferred to a Temporary Resident, which gave me most of the benefits of residency (Medicare, working rights, etc). After two years, they want to make sure that you and your spouse still like each other and that P-i-C did not intend to drop me off at the nearest Centrelink office and say g’day. This visa allows me to stay indefinitely.

The paperwork for this phase was not nearly as extensive as what we had to do for my fiancee visa, but we did still have to get police checks, have a couple of Australian citizens write statements about our relationship, and we both had to write our own statements that we planned to make our marriage work forever and ever. P-i-C is a paperwork junkie, so he handled most of the organization and stayed on my case for my parts, hence his excitement when the letter arrived.

I must hand it to the Australian government for what I’ve seen as an unbelievable level of efficiency. Each one of my visas has been granted in record time. This one came through just over a month after we applied. Our police checks arrived less than a week after we submitted our paperwork. I have even been issued a new Medicare card without even having to ask for it. I know not everyone’s Australian visa experience is so seamless as mine, but I am grateful for the lightning speed at which these agencies have moved in my case.

I am relieved to be able to be here without further paperwork looming over my head, knowing that I don’t have to explain the contingencies of my residency to employers, government agencies, or anyone else any longer. And, I don’t have to explain the nature of my relationship on any more official documents.

Next step … one day … citizenship.

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