Journey to the Land Down Under

updates on my application for Skilled – Independent (Migrant) Visa Subclass 175


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Andrew’s Journey: IELTS Examination

Andrew had a hard time with his IELTS examination. The main reason was probably his nervousness. I know the feeling coz I’ve experience that too before. Luckily, I was able to survive the first time.

He had a total of 2 takes:

First: April 27, 2013
> Speaking exam was scheduled 2 days after the exam date.
IELTS Scores:
Listening – 9
Reading – 8
Writing – 6.5
Speaking – 7

I was surprised that he got a low band score in writing. He writes a lot better than me and I even let him revise some of my “official” works. Since I don’t have any idea what happened, I asked for the help of Coach Jon of Highpoint IELTS. He gave Andrew a writing exercise and evaluated his results afterwards.

Hopefully, he’ll do better on his IELTS re-take.

Second: June 8, 2013
> Speaking exam was schedule 3 days before the exam date.
IELTS Scores:
Listening –  8
Reading – 8
Writing – 7
Speaking – 7

After 2 weeks of waiting, finally the results came out! He made it!!!

Finally he can lodge his EOI already coz he already got the required score. :) I hope his application will go through smoothly.


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CFO Stamping

Sorry it took a while to update this blog, I’ve been busy packing and sorting out things.

Anyway, sharing with you my experience when I got my passport stamped in Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO) Office. I actually went there with Andrew on my first try but unfortunately, we got lost and it was already past 2:00pm. By the way, the schedule for Aussie bound emmigrants are Tuesdays and Fridays at 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. NOTE: Late comers are not allowed to enter the premises.

On my second try, I asked my mom to accompany me since I’m not familiar with the area. It is easier to commute riding the MRT-LRT and Jeepneys to reach the place. Their location is hard to find for those not familiar in Manila like me.

Anyway, I arrived around 1:30 pm and went inside the building. You have to bring the necessary documents to get your passport stamped:

  1. Original and photocopy of passport (must be valid about six months before date of travel)
  2. Original and photocopy of visa
  3. One (1) 2×2 or passport-size photograph
  4. One (1) valid identification card with photograph (eg., SSS ID, GSIS E-card, PRC ID, driver’s license, postal ID, ARC, etc.)
  5. Printed copy of Visa Grant Notification Lette
  6. Duly completed registration form for Emigrants
  7. Payment of P400.00 registration fee
  8. Attendance in the PDOS, guidance counseling or peer counseling session

I used the Online Pre-Registration facility so I don’t need to bring a 2×2 or passport-sized photograph.

The orientation started on-time but was a bit boring for me since I already know majority of the things he said. It is basically all you need to know about migrating to Australia. A handbook was also given to help new migrants start their lives in Australia. It is however VERY HELPFUL if it is your first time to travel to Australia. We were less than 20 in the room and only few were first timers to Aussie.

The information that was new to me was the importance of CFO Stamping. They said that it’s like the POEA for the workers.

After almost 3 hours of orientation, the passports were given to us and a survey form that should be mailed to them weeks after you arrive in Australia. That reminds me that I haven’t filled it up yet. hehe.

The stamp looks like this:

cfo

CFO Stamp bound to Australia

NOTE: You have to make sure that your name is spelled correctly and it is bound to Australia and not Austria. This might be one of the reasons that you might be hold at the Philippine immigration.

Make sure you get your passport stamped in CFO because you won’t be able to leave the Philippines if you don’t have one.

P.S. On the contrary, I knew of some migrants who didn’t get stamped but still were able to go to their country of destination. I’m not so sure what happened there. Hehe! :)


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Andrew’s Journey: ACS Results Received

Finally, got a word from Andrew and he already got the results from ACS. I hurriedly looked into the status of his application and found out that it was “Case Finalized”.

ACS Status: Case Finalized

ACS Status: Case Finalized

However, when you look at the image of the Application status, it still says in “Stage 4″ even if it’s already finalized. Maybe they just forgot to update it. Haha!

acs-process

ACS Process image is still in Stage 4.

Now, he must concentrate and put all his efforts in taking the IELTS exam.

Goodluck to all who are in the waiting game like us. :)


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Andrew’s Journey: ACS Application

This year, my boyfriend decided to try and apply for a PR/Work Visa in Australia. Since the requirements differ every year, some of the thins I know are now outdated. We have to check the ACS website and read the guidelines once again just to make sure.

Basically, it has the same requirements but differ in the following areas:

1. Online Application
All applications for ACS skills assessment should all be done online. Before, paper application is still necessary. Thus, “Stage 3” is somehow skipped if you submitted all required documents.

2. “Certified True Copy of the Original” statement should be available.
Last year, it was not stated that it should have that statement. Only signature of the Notary Public is good to go. However, this year we had to bring the documents back to the Notary Public to let them stamp again the “Certified True Copy“. I hope there won’t be an issue if it doesn’t say the exact “Certified True Copy of the Original

I think those are the major difference from the time I’ve applied for my skills assessment.

He submitted the documents Feb 25, 2013 and was acknowledged by Feb 26, 2013. After 2 days, it was already on Stage 4! If it progress the same way like it used to be, after a month, he should be able to get the assessment. Well, I’m still giving ACS their maximum days of processing which is 3 to 4 months. Still hoping that it would be sooner though. :)

stage4

 


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Concession Fares with IOM to Australia

What are concession fares?

Concession fares are competitive air fares with additional benefits as negotiated by IOM with a wide variety of airline partners worldwide.

— from IOM’s website

Upon getting the Visa Grant from DIAC, you will receive a number of important documents needed for your migration. There are a LOT of information you need to read and understand as you continue your journey to their land.

One of the notable information is the Concession fare available at IOM. I personally didn’t look at their website but now, I really have a hard time how to land to their page regarding airfares. I’m lucky to know some PinoyAu friends who went to Aussie before hand and informed me how to make an inquiry.

So I’m sharing with you how I did it.

      1. Email Kent Madarcos or Anna CruzKent Madarcos
        Operations Unit
        International Organization for Migration – Philippines
        tel: +632 2301757
        fax: +632 8481257
        email: kmadarcos@iom.intAnna Avegail L. Cruz
        Jr. Operations Assistant
        IOM Manila Operations Unit
        Telephone #: +63.2.230.1762
        Fax #: +63.2.848.1257
        Email address: ancruz@iom.int
      2. Inquire about the tickets offered by IOM. My inquiry looks like this:

        Hi Kent,

        Good day.

        I would like to confirm the Special Rate for first time immigrants from Manila to Sydney.
        Kindly advise the steps to purchase ticket.

        Thanks!

        Best Regards,
        Kath

      3. He will reply to you a detailed requirements on how to purchase a ticket with them. You will have to request for a flight booking/reservation with them and he will inform you of the rates of your chosen dates. He will also inform you that the allowable baggage for each FIRST TIME migrant would be 46kgs instead of the usual 23kgs. The partner airline is Qantas so you have no choice but to book a flight with them. By the way, you are not allowed to choose what flight to take, you ONLY can select what DAY you want to fly.
      4. Once a reservation is made, you have to pay the ticket in 2 weeks or they will give the slot to other applicants
      5. The rate is in US$ and exchange rate will depend on the day of purchase. So you have to ask them first beforehand before paying the quoted price.
      6. Once confirmed, you will be given the bank details and you have to scan a copy of the deposit slip and send it to them as proof.
      7. They will send you the electronic ticket and you’re off to go

 

Pretty easy right? Another things, if you want to save money on shipping costs (I heard PhilPost charges P7,000 for a 20kgs box from Manila to Sydney), you can buy prepaid luggage from Qantas similar to that of Cebu Pacific’s baggage feature. All you have to do is purchase the bags online at least 3 hours before your flight and print the receipt as proof of purchase. You just have to show the receipt upon check in so they will know that you’ve pre-purchased extra baggage. Cost per 1 pc. = 23kg baggage is AU$90. Upto 5 extra baggages are allowed per person.

I’m booked on May and already have my electronic ticket ready. I’m still contemplating on how many extra bags should I get going to Sydney since I’ll be the only one going there. I’m not sure if I can carry more than 3 pcs of 23kg baggages at the same time! Hahaha! :)


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Visa 175 – Approved!

After one day, I can’t believe I got a response from DIAC. It’s a Saturday and I was expecting reply from them on a weekday.

Anyway, GOOD NEWS! My Visa 175 was approved.

My initial entry date is June 1, 2013. So I have to fly to Australia before the said date.

Thank you Lord for this wonderful gift. ^_^


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Submitting Requested Documents to DIAC [final]

After getting my NBI Clearance, 3 days after I scheduled my eClearance and finish my medical exams, I’m ready to submit the final documents.

I am due to submit the documents on June 2 and during that time, we had our family vacation in Coron. So I decided to upload the documents before our flight to Palawan. Unfortunately, uploading took more time than expected. So what I did was I continued uploading the documents when we arrived in Coron. Good thing there’s a computer shop near the lodge we’re staying. God is good! :)

The remaining documents were as follows:

1. Employment Evidence such as ITR and payslips

2. Medical Exams

3. Police Clearance or NBI Clearance

Since the NBI Clearance and Medical Exams are both on hand, I have no worries. I was really worried about the Employment Evidence since I didn’t get the Statement of Account from BPI that I requested almost a month before the deadline. I was so disappointed with BPI but I need to think of another way to prove my employment.

I asked my previous employer to provide me COE again but with salary compensation. This document might suffice.

I did upload everything I had to support my claim. I also informed the Case Officer regarding the bank’s statement of account and just submitted the COE with compensation in lieu of that.

All I have to do now is to pray and wait for the response of the Case Officer.

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