Steve is a hairdresser and migrated to Perth back in 1987 on a skilled migrant visa. He lives with his wife Anne Marie and their children Amy (14) and Dan (10) in Padbury, a coastal suburb north of Perth.
They have a 5 bedroom 2 bathroom home with a pool in the back for the kids and have a great family life together with plenty of surfing, fishing, camping or anything that allows them to live the outdoor life.
The Swan River and Indian Ocean provide a wonderful escape from every day life and the beautiful Perth climate means that all this can be enjoyed for most of the year. Even in the winter months there’s always a good chance of a picnic or barbeque by the water or in the bush.
Padbury is an established family suburb 15mins north of Perth with 3 primary schools and a high school. The surrounding suburbs provide opportunities for both government and private schooling. There are lots of parks and open spaces for all the family to enjoy although Steve’s children spend most of their time surfing in the beautiful Indian Ocean.
OK so why Australia and why did you migrate to Perth? Steve told me that Australia was a place that he dreamt of living back when he was in his teens. It was so far from anywhere else he explained that it just had to be done.
So having trained as a hairdresser from school and worked for many large organisations he took advantage of the flexibility that the trade offers to work outside the UK before making the migration to Perth.
Steve worked in the hair industry for 10 years before coming over to Australia. The Australian lifestyle was calling though so in 1987 he packed his bags and made his way over to Sydney with wife in tow.
He chose Sydney because it was the bigger City and they already had friends living there. When you are travelling so far away from home sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of familiarity. They did not stay in Sydney for long though and when they made it over to Perth for a holiday a year later. They had packed their bags and migrated to Perth within six weeks of the end of the holiday.
When Steve made his move to Australia it was nearly 20 years ago when the migration process was much easier and quicker. Steve recalled it probably took about 2 months to get his visa and around 100 points and some good referees to secure Permanent Resident status. As soon as they were able Steve and Annemarie took Australian Citizenship so they now have dual passports. This has opened up more work and travel opportunities.
Of course waiting times are very different today but one thing that has not changed much over the years is the appearance of hairdressers on the Skilled Occupation List. Oh and as part of the process having to write down details of your work and qualifications and provide copies of certificates to the skills assessment authority.
Steve told me there was no such thing as an agent to help you migrate to Perth when he came out. You just requested a pack from Australia House and did it all yourself. You can still do the application yourself but with the increased competition unless you have a straight forward visa application that is a certainty its probably worth investing the £600+ for a migrant agent to do the work for you.
When I asked Steve how he felt about leaving his family behind when they migrated to Perth. He told me "leaving the family behind is always a wrench and although there were many times when we missed family in England, the outdoor life and opportunities for us and our children in Perth far outweighed this the decicion to migrate to Perth is one they are pleased they made.
The fact that my wife and I already lived some distance away from home for many years meant the migration to Perth was not too difficult. There was always the phone and the option of going back if necessary.
We did make a move back to the UK in 1995 for family reasons but returned migrated to Perth in 1999 and have remained here since. As our parents are getting older we are ready to have to go back if needed but life in Perth is great and we plan to keep Perth as our permanent residence."
As for working, well Steve still cuts hair, (you can see him pictured here giving Gareth a trim)in fact that is how I met him. Looking for a new hairdresser having left Mark at Mark Scotts behind, my hairdresser from the age if 14, I spotted Steve’s advert in the local paper.
Steve works as a mobile hairdresser working his hours around his wife so that they could care for the children between them. It works great for me as I much prefer to have my hair cut and coloured at home rather than loosing a Saturday morning down at a salon. Its been great for my friends too because when they have been visiting and Steve has been round cutting my hair they have had theirs done too.
Steve loves the flexibility of freelance hairdressing as it gives him time to enjoy his favourite pastime, fishing.
Steve is a really big fishing fan and for the past three years has been writing for the top selling Fishing W.A. magazine, his monthly column is aptly called "Pom on the Swan", the Swan is the river that Perth is situated on. He recently oganised and ran a very successful "catch and release" fishing tournament that he is very pround about. It had 35 teams competing for a prize pool of over $10,000.
Overall Steve believes that he would never have had the opportunity to do the things that he and his family have done if they hadn’t migrated to Perth. Life for a family is particularly good, especially if you love a healthy, outdoor lifestyle.