Head Down Under and yap about bloody Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Determine the best place to buy a car, how to get a working holiday visa and the best route for travelling the east coast of Oz and around the Kiwi Islands.

American working in Australia

katieann

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  • Added on: February 10th, 2006
I am american, and my boyfriend is Australian. We are trying to find a way for me to work in Australia without going through bunac because it seems expensive ($600 for a visa that costs $180?), and without getting engaged/married. So just wondering if anyone has ideas for us. Also wondering if i go on a tourist visa, how long I have to leave Australia before I can come back. The other thing, I work in a hostel right now in the US, any chance of getting (legal) work in an Australian one and getting a visa that way?
thanks so much!

Squashy

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  • Added on: February 10th, 2006
Hi katieann,

I completely understand your situation, although I married my Aussie guy so it made things a bit simpler.

There is a forum I belong to that might be useful for you: http://p3.forumforfree.com/yanksdownunder.html - most of the people on this site are Americans with Aussie partners.

I hate to break it to you, but I'm pretty sure BUNAC is your only option to work in Australia unless you are "highly skilled". You can check out this site: http://www.immi.gov.au/ and there is information on that program.

How long have you and your boyfriend been together? If you can prove you have been together for at least 2 years you can get a de-facto visa without getting married or engaged.

Another idea would be to go to New Zealand, but this would depend on whether your boyfriend is in a position to move jobs, etc. You can get a year working holiday visa directly through the NZ embassy for free, as opposed to BUNAC, who charges a hefty fee. As you probably know your partner can work in NZ because he's Australian. Then after being together for a year in NZ you might be closer to being eligible for a defacto visa or you might get married, whatever.

Here's the link for getting the NZ working holiday visa: http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/stream/work/workingholiday The main catch is there are only a few offered each year (when I got it, it was 500) so you need to move fast if you are considering it.

Lastly, have you thought about maybe studying in Australia? Did you know you can use some U.S. student loans overseas?

Well, good luck. I know what a tough position this is. Like I said, the first forum I mentioned is really good one and they might have some better ideas.

Jennifer
Jennifer

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gonorth

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  • Added on: February 11th, 2006
Jennifer has given you a good run down on the immigration requirements and links there Katie.

Just further, hostel work will not do anything as regards being able to get legal work and a visa.
There are tourist visas for 3 - 12 months and you will normally be expected to be able to show funds available to support yourself to the tune of $1000/m tho they may make some allowance seeing as you could have accomodation support in Oz.
Most likely max period they would grant you a tourist visa for is 6 months after which you could apply for an extension, but before the visa ends. They could also expect to see a return flight being held.
There is also the ETA which is free, valid for twelve months but only allows stays of three months at a time.

The NZ idea of Jennifers is a good one if it suits you both or just you and applications for the now 1000/year available to Americans opens on May01 each year.
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Justine

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  • Added on: February 13th, 2006
Jennifer, GREAT info and links. As an American newly married to a kiwi (and us living in Oz for a bit before we came to the US to marry), that forum for Yanks down under is a great resource I didn't know about. Do you happen to know if there's something similar for "yanks in New Zealand" in a similar situation or is the forum you mentioned open to that variation as well?

We're in the STates for a bit, probably long enough to secure his US citizenship and a passport to easily travel back and forth with, and look forward to returning to New Zealand or Oz in a few years. I also have an American friend I met while travelling in New Zealand who's recently become engaged to an Aussie friend I introduced her to and I'm passing along your links and information to her.

Thank you for all the great information!
"From this hour, freedom! From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master, total and absolute." –Walt Whitman

Squashy

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  • Added on: February 13th, 2006
Hi Justine!

I'm glad I was able to help.

quote:
Do you happen to know if there's something similar for "yanks in New Zealand" in a similar situation or is the forum you mentioned open to that variation as well?


I'm sure you'd be welcome ;o) There are also a few Australians on there as well. Your hubby might want to check out http://www.matesupover.com/ - it's sort of the reverse of yanks down under (although, I know, Kiwi not Aussie....)

You mentioned staying until you hubby gets citizenship and a passport. Doesn't he have to be there for 7 years to do so? I just wondering because it would be nice for my husband to have U.S. citizenship, but now I've actually heard that I'll have a hard time even sponsoring him to get a greencard, since I'm not physically in the U.s. - meaning that if we wanted to go back I would have to go alone first so that I could sponsor him over. (Don't know if this is true).

So any of your advice on that side of things would be appreciated. We're not actually planning to go over now, but we do want to eventually.
Jennifer

www.followjenslife.com

katieann

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  • Added on: February 14th, 2006
Thank you all for replying... i appreciate your time.
I will definitly check out that site, Jennifer.
Thanks again!
~Kate

katieann

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  • Added on: February 14th, 2006
also, Jennifer (or anyone else reading this) I am curious if you have done BUNAC, and if so how was it? (was it easy to find work, worth it, etc.)
Thanks so much,
~Kate

Squashy

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  • Added on: February 14th, 2006
Hi Kate,

I've done BUNAC in the UK and Ireland. The UK was fantastic, I found a job really quickly and had the best time of my life. Ireland wasn't as great, I arrived in the middle of the summer and had a really hard time finding a job and the one I ended up with was crap.

As far as Australia, well I live her now but it's not through BUNAC, it's b/c my husband. I haven't had too much trouble finding work - the key with these sort of things is being flexible. If you can type and have some knowledge of office functions, temping is the best option. Just register with agencies and they find you work. I'm pretty sure if you want to work in a restaurant you will usually need a RSA (responsible service of alcohol certificate, I think?), but I'm not really sure about that. There is also the option of fruit picking along the "harvest trail" - it's not as bad as it seems. I did it in NZ and it gives you a lot of freedom if you are going to be traveling around.

If you want a "proper" job, you'll have a hard time because you only have 4 months on your work permit (although I haven't checked this recently, so it might be more now), so unless you have some connections, you'll just be doing casual work.

I'd say it's worth it. Even if things didn't work out with you and your partner, any overseas experience adds something to your life in the long run.

About the costs - if you are going to be serious about a relationship with an Australian, you're going to spend a lot of money no matter what. Flights, visas, phone calls, all add up a lot. Applying for my spousal visa cost me nearly $1300 USD (including the visa fee, health checks, police checks, photos, etc). To be honest, my husband and I have probably spent nearly $7000 USD to be together.

Let me know if you have any other specific questions about BUNAC or anything.
Jennifer

www.followjenslife.com

Justine

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  • Added on: February 15th, 2006
I'll second that mention of the expense! Smile I haven't had to go through the immigration process in Oz, but it's similar in NZ and I'll probably be doing that in a few years. We've "finished" securing my husband US permanentt residence, which we probably paid millions worth of STRESS to go through. Smile And the associated fees were similar to what Jennifer has expressed about the Oz process.

Jen, to answer your US immigration questions...marriage is the quickest/simplest way to earn one's residency over here. There's no wonder why there is so much fraud along those same lines. A married spouse is the only relationship/situation that requires just 3 years of residency in the US (once your US permanent resident status begins) to qualify/apply for US citizenship. And that's not 3 full years necessarily, because a little time out of the country for trips still counts toward the complete three years.

I also don't know if you two went through the Oz process alone or hired an immigration lawyer to help you through it all. I'm the anal type that likes to know/research everything and took care of the entire process for my husband over here myself. And we had no problems at all and saved ourselves thousands in extra expense. So, if you haven't done so yet, I highly recommend hopping on the US immigration site and reading the very clear materials about how it's all done. You can look things up by your relationship type to see what forms and processes apply to you guys as already married and living outside the US right now. From what I recall, you'd be applying for a spousal-type visa while in Oz and that means doing some of the paperwork over there to get that visa. Then, you two fly over together to finish up the rest of the process to make him a permanent resident and get that coveted greencard.

Read up on it, because I remember it being simpler than you mention: US Citizenship & Immigration Services

If you have more questions, feel free to email me. Like I said, I went through the whole US process alone...just using the wealth of information on the site, downloading all the forms I needed, and doing everything through the mail until it was time to have actual interviews and things. I highly recommend starting the process as soon as you two are ready and have finished up the immediate things in Oz...all it'll take is 4-6 months to finish the permanent residency process (he can also secure a work permit during it to go ahead and start working) and then the 3 years after that to get a passport. Then, you two can go all over the place with more ease and better choose where you want to live. Wink
"From this hour, freedom! From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master, total and absolute." –Walt Whitman

Squashy

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  • Added on: February 15th, 2006
Thanks Justine -

We're pretty much doing the same thing here - waiting until I get my Aussie passport and then we'll head to the States for a bit.

That's good to know about the citizenship. It's the same here, 3 years, which sucks because it just changed from 2 years which would be soo much nicer...

I've already planned my first trip with my Aussie passport, Cuba! I'm pretty sure there are ways to get to Cuba with a U.S. passport, but I'm a wuss and I'd be scared of having troubles when I came back to the U.S.
Jennifer

www.followjenslife.com

Justine

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  • Added on: February 15th, 2006
Ah, that's one benefit to having a non-US passport I hadn't thought of! I'm looking forward to reading all about the trip in your blog. Wink
"From this hour, freedom! From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master, total and absolute." –Walt Whitman



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