If you are considering applying for a partner visa, one of the ways of getting an idea of what you are in for is to ask someone who has been through the same or similar process. Here, we talk with Will Noble, a British citizen and now also a proud Australian citizen, who started the process of applying for a partner visa while back in the UK. He prepared and lodged the initial temporary visa application himself, without the support of a migration agent. Once the visa was granted and he became eligible for the permanent residence visa, he used an immigration lawyer and registered migration agent to manage the whole process for him. Here he talks about his experience and his insight into the whole process.
1. Will, why did you choose to apply for a partner visa?
I have a Kiwi partner and we were planning to move from the UK to Australia. I had decided I wanted to wait until I was living in Australia before applying for work and did not want my visa to be tied to a future employer. I understood speaking to Australian friends it would be easier to find work if I was not also seeking sponsorship. These things considered, the Partner Visa was the only option available for me. I was taking a sabbatical at the end of my time in the UK, so I had the bandwidth to dedicate a lot of time and effort to the process.
2. How long did each of the steps take?
The first step, the temporary visa, took a lot of time and effort as I was doing it myself and I was anxious to ensure that I did everything correctly. I had no reassurance from anyone else and the process was quite complicated and time-consuming, lots of forms to fill and detail to provide. I had to arrange the police checks and health examinations, working out, as I went along, what I needed to do or not do as part of the process.
I went through the second step two years later once I was in Australia and eligible for the Permanent Residence (“PR”) visa. I was working at that stage and had less time available so for this application I used professionals to shoulder the burden of the process for me. The Migration Agency assisting me was efficient and I found it so useful to have someone to guide me through every step. I didn’t have to do any research myself, I was given clear and concise instructions and everything was done in a timely manner.
3. What aspects did you find particularly difficult and do you have any tips to deal with them?
Fully understanding the process, which parts of the many forms needed to be completed, were challenges for someone who is not a trained lawyer. The immigration department checklists were useful but at times confusing. Having someone who understands the forms, who walks you through it, is very reassuring.
4. Would you go through the process again? Would you change anything about it?
I wouldn’t do the process by myself again. Having done the first part myself, I would definitely use a professional if I had to do it again.
5. How using an Immigration Lawyer helped you with your process.
Using a professional, I had the assurance that I only had to do it once. Someone else would follow up, answer the queries, etc. I received regular updates and knew it was being handled safely. The reassurance and confidence I had of knowing that my application was being done right was invaluable.
My advice would be to save yourself the hassle and worry - use a professional!