Our Journey To Australia - Part 1

As mentioned before, the initial plan was to go home for good in the Philippines that's why it took us awhile to apply for a skilled visa migration. However, everytime we vacation in the Philippines, I had the following observations that made me think twice whether to go home for good or look for a greener pasture:
  • Business opportunities are there however, when you stay in the province, it is tough due to a lot of factors like customers, competition etc.;
  • Traffic is so bad in Manila;
  • Internet is so slow;
  • When you look at the bigger picture as to education and medicare costs, you need to really save up on it.
Considering all those factors especially the last one, we decided to try our luck for Australia by researching in pinoyau forum  and we would like to take the opportunity to thank all the active members for sharing all their insights and answering all our queries.

There are many pathways to Australia and that maybe through a working holiday visa, student visa, working visa, employer nomination scheme, regional skilled migration (489), partner visa and lastly, the skilled migration visa (190/189). The latter is a permanent visa while the rest are temporary visas. We applied for the skilled migration and it is points tested. Refer to the link provided to know more about the points https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/skilled-independent-189/points-table. 189 visa means you can chose any state to live and work while a 190 visa is a state nominated visa and an additional of 5 points is included if with state nomination.

Since we are a family, we decided to have no agent and have one primary applicant, my husband, to minimize our migration expenses. 

The following were the preparations that we made:

  1. We checked whether the occupation of my husband is in the skilled occupation list (SOL) https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/working-in-australia/skill-occupation-list in DHA's (Department of Home Affairs) website. His ANZSCO code was Architectural Draftsperson 312111 and the assessing authority was Vetassess.
  2. We checked the requirements of the assessing body, fees to be paid and prepared all the documents such as payslips, detailed job description in the certificate of employment, itrs etc.
  3. While waiting for the outcome of the assessment, we booked for the IELTS exam instead of the PTE. Some say PTE is easier since it is computer-based unlike IELTS but I think it depends. Any will do as long as you achieve the minimum score required or a higher score to have additional points in the application. (Note: Secondary applicants are required to provide a proof of functional english in which you can take an IELTS/PTE exam with a minimum of 4.5/30 for each band or you can provide a certificate of medium of instruction in english for your primary, secondary and university degree. Also, don't skip this step as you need this when submitting the eoi or expression of interest.)
  4. Upon receipt of the outcome letter and IELTS result, we created an expression of interest in skill select. For more details, refer to https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/working-in-australia/skillselect (Note: You can have as many eoi's as you can. Your visa will depend on your points. As of July 1, 2018, the minimum required points is 65 (60 from the previous years). You can apply for 189 (any state) or 190 (state nomination with additional 5 points). In the EOI, you can create one for 'any' state, create another for QLD, NSW, ACT or SA)
  5. Because we have only 55 points, we needed a state nomination and that time, QLD was open so we applied for QLD state nomination (190 and 489) and we were invited to apply for Visa 489 (temporary visa). (Points increased effective July 2018 from 60 to 65 points)
  6. We checked the BSMQ website, uploaded all the required documents and paid the non-refundable application fee. (Some state don't have an application fee. Refer to their migration website.) Aside from the usual requirements which are the work experience assessment outcome letter, IELTS results, we were also required to show a settlement declaration fund with bank statements under our name and an essay why do we want to work and live in queensland. (check this blog for more info https://juliatheambitioussoul.blogspot.com/2019/03/queensland-ita-requirements.html)
  7. We lodged our application on August 20, 2017 and got a reply on September 11, 2017 stating that all of the documents were approved except for the Statement of Service which stated that it should be from the employer. We made a feedback on the same day explaining the situations and other documents presented to suffice the requirements. After 2 days upon feedback, our application was approved. We had 60 days to lodge our application.
  8. We created an immiaccount to lodge our visa application (After creating an immiaccount, log in to skill select and click 'apply visa'. It will take you to your immiaccount). Before you can upload the requirements, you need to pay the required fees depending on how many applicants are there.
  9. After uploading all the necessary documents, we waited for the golden email. We lodged our application on September 19, 2017 and had our first contact (November 1,2017) for police clearances for me and my husband. We were able to comply before month-end.
  10. March 13, 2018, we received the golden email. Thank You Lord!
Summary of Expenses:
  • Vetassess Assessment - SGD1,035 (AUD916 inclusive of delivery charges)
  • IELTS exam - SGD1,375 (SGD340 each, Take 2 SGD340, Take 3 SGD355) Need to have at least 7 for each band (0 points)
  • QLD non-refundable application fee - SGD220 (AUD200)
  • Visa payment - SGD7,060 (AUD6,425) (fees increased as of July 1, 2018)
  • Miscellaneous
    • Statutory Declaration - SGD50 plus notary of around SGD5
    • SG Medical (SATA CommHealth) - SGD390.6 for me and my husband / Son's medical - Php10,000 inclusive of transport from the province.
    • SG Police Clearance - SGD110 for me and my husband
    • Duplicate COC - SGD30
    • Fingerprint (for Dubai Police Clearance) - SGD15 plus chop from MFA SGD10
    • UAE Embassy in SG - SGD55 plus courier of documents Singpost SGD9.15
    • UAE Police Clearance payment - SGD322 (with extra due to it was sent to my husband's friend for him to process)
    • NBI Clearance - Php280 (Php115 each plus Php25 service charge via online banking) 
    • Airfare SG-PH (Jetstar) - SGD572
    • Airfare PH-Brisbane (SQ) - USD1,538.32 plus additional baggage of 20kg USD465
    • 3 boxes sent from SG-Brisbane via Singpost (2-9 days) - SGD374 (30kg), SGD295 (20kg), SGD239 (20kg)
    • PDOS fee - Php1,200 (Php400 each)
    • Travel tax - Php4,050 (Php1,620 per adult and Php810 for our son)
    • Transportation and other sundry expenses
  • Pocket Money and reserve money for at least 3-6 months
That's why if you really wanted to migrate whether to US, Canada or Australia, make sure that you have saved a lot of money for the processing fees aside from your pocket money. If you want to know whether you meet the minimum points, you can also refer to this site Immi Calculator.

*All those in blue are linked to their respective websites. Click for more information.
*SGD exchange rate that time was around Php32-Php35. 2018 was the year SGD was at its all time high, Php39-Php40.





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