Yesterday, Jase and I both went to the Australian Embassy as part of their skilled migrant programme.
I can't remember if I've talked about this before, but after Jase was made redundant (see my post and his post) I spotted this advert in my industry journal.
The advert said that Australia were actively trying to recruit professionals from overseas to try to fill job shortages in Australia. I was quite surprised because for years I had been told that Australia had trained too many doctors so therefore no hope of migrating there.
Anyway, turns out that my job is on the list of professions that they are especially keen to recruit. Since Jase's job was also terminating at the end of this year, we thought it wouldn't do any harm to apply. After all, we had always said that we would return to Sydney some day, since we have loved it so much the first time we lived there in 2002.
The photos were all taken by me when we lived out there in 2002; brings back some wonderful memories!
We were really surprised when we were both invited to attend their expo over the weekend. We were told it would be an opportunity to meet potential employers and immigration officers to talk about living and working in Australia.
This came in the same week as I was told by work that they've secured the funding for the consultant post next year so would definitely be in the position to offer me a job if I were to apply. So you can imagine that we had slightly mixed feelings about our futures.
However, yesterday brought clarity to the situation. Jase and I were told in no uncertain terms that we would have no difficulty in applying for their skilled migration programme, and that once we have this 5 year visa, we would have the right to work anywhere in Australia we wanted (and not be tied to any particular job or location, unlike the employer sponsored migration).
Jase's old boss in Sydney emailed him to say that he could help Jase find a job in Sydney within the group. I spoke to the director of Medical Workforce development in New South Wales, who gave me her email address and told me that she could get me across to Sydney and a job as soon as I want, because of their severe shortage of people in my profession.
All quite a shock. But in an exciting way.
We both feel that we can also offer Lauren a better way of life in Australia too. After my time up north in Middlesbrough (OK, not a very attractive town but really nice, friendly people) I came to realise that we have really not settled well into London. I still find it dirty, aggressive, unfriendly and a hassle. It's not child friendly either. We would continue to find life tough here. It's also really expensive; I don't think we can really afford a bigger house in London, and schooling for Lauren would cost me £12000 per year (from the time she turns 3).
Of course, we would miss our parents and Lauren would miss her grandparents. However, Jase's parents are retired and my parents are getting closer to retirement. I would hope that they would be able to come out to spend some time with us every year in Sydney, and we would certainly come back to the UK for visits.
We also have friends and family out there. Some of them have already said how excited they would be if we were to go back to live in Sydney. So we wouldn't be going into the unkown.
Sydney is calling and it is impossible for us to resist the call. Once I get my exam, we are going to start the application process unless something major intervenes in the meantime. It takes 9-12 months to get the visa, so we would plan to go in late 2007 or early 2008. Plenty of time to get sorted until then.
Today, Lauren and I are at home having some time together. She's been playing on her nest of cushions on the floor and we've been watching the Teletubbies. It's been lovely to have some time together after all that studying. I need to hit the books again soon, but in the meantime, we're having some quality time together.