Sunday, 15 May 2011

Immigrating to Australia: How hard could it possibly be?

Ok, so having made the decision that we’re going to get married and live in Australia we need to organise my (now pregnant) girlfriend’s paperwork and visa. A pretty straight forward proposition you’d think…how hard can it be? (famous last words)
A quick check on the internet outlined basically what we’d need to do…
1)      Get a passport
2)      Get a prospective marriage visa
3)      Book a flight
4)      Enjoy a happy life
Easy! Until that is you start to break the first two items down…
Getting a passport in the Philippines isn’t quite as straightforward as it first seems..or more accurately meeting the requirements for getting a passport isn’t as easy as you’d expect. 
The documentary requirements are confusing and depending on whom you talk to inconsistently interpreted. Add to that the appointment system, which at times will offer you a time slot 2 or 3 months away and almost perpetually busy enquiry line that cuts you off every few minutes  and you’ve got a recipe for confusion and delay.
As for the visa, while the documentary requirements are much more clearly outlined and you can actually get someone to talk to on the phone it seems that immigration and pregnancy are not compatible, at least if you’re in the Philippines. One of the key requirements for a Filipino (or Filipina) applicant is a Medical and Chest X-ray. The x-ray enables a check for TB, which is fairly common in South East Asia it seems. Unfortunately neither the Dept of Immigration nor the Philippines panel doctors (certified to perform a visa medical) are too keen on x-raying you if you’re pregnant (fair enough I guess, better safe than sorry).
 Anyway first things first, we need a passport …so we do our best to check we have the right ID’s, call the booking line…talk to the operator  and make a booking….the appointment time…two months away, but at least the operator confirmed we have the right ID…
In an upcoming post I’ll detail how the appointment went..but next finding and OB/GYN given we’ve got at least a few months to go we need a baby doctor (that’s a doctor who deals with babies, not a baby that is a doctor).
Living and Working in Australia: A Survival Handbook (Living & Working in Australia)

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