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Manon’s story

Raadj and I met while backpacking in Australia. Fast-forward a few years and when we were ready to lodge a skilled visa, the point pass mark increased and at the same time we lost points for our age. It meant we could not apply for a visa to Australia! Our diligent Migration Agent asked us to stay put as she knew a new visa would be introduced soon.

In 2005 we arrived in Australia on a Skilled Independent Regional visa, this meant that we needed to live 2 years and work 1 year in a regional area to meet the eligibility criteria to apply for permanent residency. We arrived with a backpack and $10k in our pockets and after purchase of a car, a fridge, a washing machine and a bed we had little left for cost of living. Our skilled visa meant we could not access any services, no Medicare, no Centrelink, no job assistance. Of course we are not complaining that we could not access services as we think it is fair, however, it meant we had to do everything on our own without any support.

We were lucky to secure a rental as it can be challenging to find accommodation without prior rental history.  In the mornings we kept busy applying for jobs and in the afternoons we went out to focus on our new surroundings and settling into our new life. On one of our walks to the Bay we bumped into a lady and after an hour chatting Raadj gave her his phone number. A week later she rang to inform that a chicken grill restaurant in Pakington Street was hiring. Raadj applied and the owners gave him a go. This was our beginning! The part-time earnings hardly covered rent but were grateful to be employed. Through the owner’s network in Geelong and a local recruitment agency Raadj secured fulltime employment in March 2006.

I on the other hand was ready to give up after so many applications without even a reply. On a Skilled Migration seminar arranged by the City of Greater Geelong I met important stakeholders in Geelong. This started my career in Australia; networking resulted in securing a volunteer position at the former Migrant Resource Centre. Only 3 weeks later I rolled into a paid position and 4 weeks later to be permanently employed as a WPP Consultant, assisting newly arrived skilled migrants securing employment. A few years later Raadj and I obtained permanent residency.

We are eternally grateful for our wonderful friends and colleagues who made Geelong our home.


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