How did I get to Australia – getting the Work and Holiday visa

This post will be about my (Evie) dream… staying in Australia. As anybody living as an expat in Australia know, staying in this beautiful country is not that easy…

WORK & HOLIDAY VISA

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There are few ways that you can choose. The best solution for the beginning is to come with Work and Holiday visa. It lets you to work full time for one employer for mx 6 months but you can stay in the country for 1 year. If you do the “farm work” for few months you can extend it for next year. In my case the second year visa was not possible, therefore, I can’t write much about it.

In my case getting the Work and Holiday visa was the mixture of luck and determination. 🙂 The program just opened for Poland and I found out about it when I watched news.  They informed that the document between my country and Australia was  just signed. But there was no information when it will start, what documents do I need etc. I knew that it was possible for any Polish person who was between 18 and 30 years old…and that there is only 200 spots a year. I was 30 years old…it meant that it was the first opportunity…and the last.

I remembered that this type of visa is already available for entering New Zealand… and I knew it is almost impossible to get it since they disappear within few hours! I knew I need to be focused and check when the program opens almost everyday….which I did… 🙂 It took few months….and no news… nothing…not even a small note about when the program starts.

During that time I ended up changing my life a bit (leaving 9 to 5 job and moving to Cyprus to work as a hotel entertainer – I definitely will write about it some other time). It was a bit of distraction, I had limited internet access and simply no time to check if the news about Australian visa appeared or no. 🙂  And…one day…at the end of the summer season…the time when all hotel staff are getting ready home or thinking what to do for winter when the tourism in Cyprus is not that great…I decided…ahh..i haven’t checked the visa information…I better do it. And of course…I realized that the program is already opened for over a month!

I knew I had to act fast! I called the embassy and they informed me that they can’t tell me if I have the chance but they can say unofficially that there are still some spots left.

And then I had to start the whole process….that I guess everybody applying for Work and Holiday visa has to go through.

You have to have few documents prepared:

  1. I had to apply to The Polish Ministry of Trade for document that I am able to receive the visa – you get it after 7 days (which was stressful for me since I was already pretty late). This step is easy, you just have to send the letter o the Ministry and they send it back. DONE!
  2.  Form 1208 Application for Work and Holiday visa – you can download it  here: http://www.border.gov.au/forms/Documents/1208.pdf
  3. The visa cost was $440  at that time so when you are giving them your credit card number on your form you have to make sure that you have those money on your account 🙂
  4. Copy of your ID and passport
  5. 2 passport photos
  6. Copy of your school degree (visa is for poeple who have education degree or at least 2 years of bachelor). I had masters degree so simply just provided a copy – in english of course.
  7. You also have to have at least $5900 on your account (to show them that you can survive there in Australia). You just have to send the copy of your account statement.
  8. English language certificate – TOEFL iBT, IELTS or OET, You need to simply send a copy of the exam results. I had a different certificate which wasn’t allowed which brought me the most stress. You wait few weeks for the results and I was already late! I had to look for any option to take this exam ASAP…I was in Cyprus for another few weeks and then I was going to London for 2 weeks before going back to Poland. So I quicklu searched for options to take the exam in Cyprus (almost impossible dates and locations), London and Poland. Poland was too late and I didnt want to risk it so I took the exam in London. Without any studying before I actually was surprised how good were my results. YAY

All those documents (including the letter from the Ministry of Trade) I had to send to Australian Embassy in Berlin. So I had everything prepared by my mom and my sister (before I arrived to Poland) and was just waiting for the exam results. Finally when they arrived I sent it with very expensive express delivery post service to Berlin…and hoped for the best! It was already 2 months after the program opened!

After few days I received email that I got it!!!! I was talking to my mom watching some tv and then I got email…and I said…mom….wait…i think I’m going to Australia! Its funny how I knew I’m applying for it…I knew I might get it…but I kinda was shocked I actually got it….shocked…scared…excited all those feelings at once!! and now I know…it was the best thing that happened to me!

I have to admit I was lucky it was the first edition of the program, later after the marketing of visa programs started, the work and holiday visas disappear within an hour! Just like with New Zealand. I’ve heard the best way is to go to Berlin with your documents and wait before they open the office or use an agency that helps you with it…its additional cost but they do have someone who goes to Berlin with pile of documents and gets there when they open and spots are filled!

I, so far ended up staying in Australia, but even if you are thinking only about coming for few months or a whole year…this is the best experience ever! its definitely worth it.

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