I’ve been fortunate enough to have been brought up for most of my life in Australia – Melbourne in particular, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My parents both emigrated from Poland to Australia in the early 1980’s, in fact they just celebrated their 30 Years in Australia last week. They were escaping the post-war communist structure in a Soviet-occupied Poland, and like thousands of other Poles, they wanted to start a better and safer life down under.
It’s hard to imagine what life would have been like if they didn’t decide to come to Australia.
Life wouldn’t necessarily have been better or worse, just different.
Fast-forward 30 years and everyone seems to have gone their separate ways. My mother has moved up north (and consequently so have my two beloved kitties), Dad moved out west, my older (and only) sister moved to New York and now more recently to London, and I seem to be the only one still left in Melbourne. The rest of my extended family remains in Poland to this day.
So it seems that I have a bitter-sweet situation on my hands. Whilst I miss my family like crazy, I’ve been lucky enough to visit everyone very regularly (almost monthly) and even luckier that I also have an EU passport which is now coming in handy with my move to London.
My boyfriend (who is moving with me) also has a British passport, as his father and extended family immigrated to Australia (by boat of all things) from the UK back in the 1950’s. So all in all, I know that we’re both really lucky that we have the opportunity to move overseas with no work or time constraints, so it’s almost our duty to make the most of it.
However, this doesn’t cause me to turn a blind eye to the majority of people who aren’t as fortunate. I have many friends who have moved overseas, fell in love with their new city and country only to have their visa expire and have to move back home and start again. It can be really hard, but in the end everyone is grateful for their experience – even if it was limited to a few months or a couple of years. After all, it’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all, right?
I managed to catch up with my sister’s boyfriend last week who was in town organising his UK visa, and it made me realise just how much of a pain a visa can be. They don’t make it easy for us, that’s for sure! He’s been living in London for 10 years and simply forgot to renew his ancestry visa before its expiry date, forcing him to leave his job in London, fly back to Melbourne and re-apply, then continue to wait around for over 3 weeks for the visa to arrive in the mail before flying back to London. I can only imagine how stressful and expensive such a situation would be, especially when you have to leave your job and partner behind for an unknown period of time, and wait around for the postman every single day, hopeful that today will be the day.
This has inspired me to explore the visa situation in greater detail, and even though I don’t need to apply for one myself, I’d love to provide others with this information as it’s really important to get it right.
Also, I strongly encourage anyone who is thinking about moving overseas to ask your parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles about your family history. For all you know, you may be eligible for a dual citizenship with another country; it’s worth a try. Just make sure you do some serious research before you go applying for any other passports – you don’t want to be asked to give up your Australian citizenship, or worse, be forced to enrol into the other country’s army – it has happened!
I’ll post up some more information on Visas later this week so stay tuned.
The London New Girl