Journey to Australia : Visa granted, now what?

Sep 2017
When I got the call from an excited agent informing that our Visa is granted, I was surprised. 10 months back we were enjoying our new jobs and doing what every other software engineer does in Bangalore. We hadn't thought about uprooting to any other place, we had no plans at all. The Visa grant opened a new door for us, and we had no idea what lied on the other side of the door.
Source : http://pagosafunzone.com

I'll be summarising a few decisions we had to plan to open the door effectively. I'll categorise it as follows

  • Where to go?
  • When to go?
  • How to go?
  • Do we go as a couple, or one after the other?
  • How much money would we need?
  • What's the strategy for job hunting? - I'll be putting this up for another post

Journey to Australia : Cracking PTE

A test to prove your English proficiency is the only Exam you have to pass to get an Australian permanent resident visa. You have a choice to take PTE or IELTS. In case of PTE, you need a minimum score of 50 for all categories to be eligible to apply for visa. However, this wouldn't help you reach your 65 points as 0 points are awarded for a score of 50 - 65. 65 - 79 gets you 10 points, and 79+ gets you 20 points. If it's IELTS, you need minimum of 6.0. Above 7.0 fetches you 10 points and above 8.0 gets you 20 points. Note : You need to get the score mentioned for ALL the categories i.e., Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Details on the points distribution can be seen here -English Language Test and Points Table

Source : https://www.economist.com
Now why did I take PTE? I never wanted to give a test per se, but unfortunately I had to be the primary applicant as Anitha was an Electronics Engineer doing Software Engineer and things won't be easy if she applies. But then why not IELTS? Because I've been hearing IELTS everywhere, and it was kinda a scary exam for me. I had no idea what it is, but somehow there was a frightening picture painted in my mind. Probably because it has popped up in huge fancy banners as seen in this picture - >

So how did I go about the preparation? As we engineers do in this generation - Google. I collected all the information I could, plus the free sample tests online. Here is a short list of useful information I've collected - Note : This is as per the test format in Jan 2017, things might've changed recently

Journey to Australia : The road to get a Visa

As outlined in my previous post, I'm kicking off my series, which shares my experience in making once in a life time decision. Please note that this is my journey. you are free to criticise and I would be happy to understand your views on this. Feel free to comment.

First of all, thank you to all who took time to go through my last couple of posts. As per the blogger stats, each of my past 2 posts have been viewed over 100 times. There is no better feeling for a blogger, and this is my best encouragement to keep going. I would love to interact with my readers as well - feel free to like, share or comment on my posts - I'd be ecstatic!

Now back to business, my last post ended at me giving a call to Visasavenue. In this post I'll briefly explain

Image courtesy - https://welcome2kuwait.wordpress.com
  • the process to acquire a Permanent Resident Visa to Australia
  • my journey
  • some important info like cost, timeline etc.
The Process
After some extensive Google'ing, we decided to approach Visasavenue as our agent(Note : I'm in no way promoting Visasavenue. Just sharing my experience. The process of applying for a Permanent Resident Visa as per December 2016 was -
  1. Check how many points you get is the Points system. You can do this yourself here - Points Table. When I applied, the minimum points required for application was 60. It has been increased to 65 recently. A point to note, there are hidden points in each of those categories. For eg : if you are doing a job unrelated to your degree, the first 4 years(I think) of your job experience won't count. i.e., if you are an EC engineer doing software, it'll be tough for you. 
  2. Skills assessment - This requires a bunch of documents, mainly your resume. The process is different for Software Engineers(done by Australian Computer Society - ACS) and other Engineers (Done by Engineer's Australia). This step primarily validates your skill with the advertised job requirements by the Australian Immigration. If they are happy with your profile, you an assessment completion letter and you can move to your next step. Usually takes 2-3 months to get it done.

Journey to Australia : The Beginning

As outlined in my previous post, I'm kicking off my series, which shares my experience in making once in a life time decision. Please note that this is my journey. you are free to criticise and I would be happy to understand your views on this. Feel free to comment.

In this post, I'll be briefly jotting down the points that made me decide that it's time to move on. I won't go into intricate details, but will make sure that I paint a good picture of why I(or lot of people out there) tend to do this.

 It all started in 2016. I did not realise that it had started, but looking back I can firmly say that it was the beginning. I was the kind of person who had no intentions to leave India. Anitha being a person rooted to Kerala, and especially the cuisine - was a big reason for that. I remember my relatives asking me why I wasn't trying for opportunities abroad. My answer was - I'm not interested. When I met my professor Dr. Sudheep in 2015, he casually mentioned that he was proud that I was a person who had clear insights of what and where my future lies. This had reaffirmed my decisions and thoughts.

But then what changed? In 2016, Anitha joined Beckman Coulter, and I joined Applied Materials. Both of us got a huge pay raise, and our quality of life started improving drastically. As a first step, we decided to cut-short our treacherous journey through the infamous Bangalore traffic. Within 5 kms radius to Anitha's and my office, we found a perfect place at Marathahalli - Purva Fountain Square. We were paying huge rent, wow-ing friends and family. But we had the money, and it was time we upped our style, so why not? But the story would change soon.

I'm Back!

It's been almost 3 years since I last blogged. Time, priorities, work and life took over. After years of intensive blogging about Tech, my journey with TCS or anything that came across I was bored and lazy to find out topics to type in. Eventhough I tried to muster all my will power to blog again, it died soon.

So why am I back now? As I said earlier - Time, priorities, work and life.! I made a huge calculated risk that gave me plenty of those. I'm exploring something that I never thought I could. And as I did before, I trust that sharing information can help a lot of people.
Over the coming days, I'll be blogging about my journey that started a couple of years back. I'll be trying to share information on these-

  • What did I do?
  • What made me do it? Read here - The Beginning
  • How did I do it? Read here - Road to get a Visa
  • Was I successful, where am I now?
  • What could I have done better?
Now to those who don't know what I did - I, with my wife Anitha moved to Australia in Jan 2018. Starting a new life from scratch.