Brian had the Aussie connection with an Auntie in Adelaide, a cousin in Brisbane and his best friend Jimmy in Perth. Natasha told me that they had had a taste of some of the major cities in Australia and that they finally chose Perth over Brisbane because of the climate (Brisbane had a tendency to get humid), the property prices, which, are more affordable in Perth meant they could afford to have a two storey home close to the beach with spectacular sea views.
Sea Views from the Natasha & Brians Retreat
In fact it was the dream of a bigger home and the Perth lifestyle that led to thr decision to imigrate to Perth. They lived near Heathrow in the UK and both Natasha and Brian had jobs they enjoyed and that allowed a comfortable standard of living in the UK. This said with four children growing up fast, the family home in West Drayton was just not big enough. To move to a new home big enough for them all would have left them watching every penny. They had been holidaying in Australia for a number of years and so they decided that they would look into making a move over too the country and the lifestyle they knew they would enjoy.
Becky, Kyle, Katie and Harriet
It was Brian who applied for the Permanent Resident Visa (BQ Resident Sub Class 139) He was sponsored by his Auntie in Adelaide and his cousin was their assuror (Brian & Natasha provided his cousin with the necessary funds, which was $5000 to stay in a nominated account for 2 years from entry to Australia). They applied for their Visa in September 1999 and had a 3 year wait until they had their Visa approved in May 2003.
Natasha and Brian chose not to use a Migrant Agent, instead they did it all themselves.
Natasha said that they had been told that agencies sit on applications right until the last minute and it would have been quicker for them to do it themselves. Unfortunately it was Sydney Olympics that delayed their application. The Olympics led to a vast amount of applications being received, which, were then prioritized with IT and communication being the first in line. Finally after a long wait they received their Visa in May 2003.
When they moved to Australia they couldn't leave their pet dog Fizz behind so they contacted relocation service for assistance bringing Fizz with them. Natasha told me she found them very helpful.
Now the initial intention was to make their way over to Perth in Sept 2003. Like all good plans it got delayed and instead they found themselves coming over to Perth in February 2004 to get their Visa stamped.
It was all go following the sale of the house in the UK, but for being taken for a ride by the removal company (Crown Relocations, who charged her for a 20ft container giving her the impression they had filled it to bursting point only to find on delivery to our house in Perth that is was only half full. We disputed this with Crown, purely because we would rather have filled the container and paid slightly more, than leaving a lot of things in the Uk, giving things to friends and family and bringing a container half full. I have spoken to many people who have had containers shipped over and they have had the container delivered directly to their house to fill so you can see how empty of full it is, with us we were all packed up and the items were taken in a lorry to be put in the container at Crowns warehouse. Otherwise, their journey over to Aussie land was sweet.
Natasha, Brian the children arrived in Perth in June 2004 and spent the first week with Brian’s best mate Jimmy before they moved into their Mindarie home. Once in, the priority was sorting out the schools for the children which, living where they are were private schools. Public schools are available close by but they don’t have the best of reputation. One thing worth noting here is that you are paying a lot less to go to a private school in Perth than you would in the UK. It is something that could well be within your reach.
A kitchen to dream of
The one drawback moving from a UK to a Perth school is that you are a year behind in the school year (although this can be seen as an advantage at times as it gives the children chance to settle in). It has been known for children to start in the year above their age when moving from the UK so it is worth asking the question if you have a bright child that you don’t want to have to repeat a year. The schools do teach the same stuff over here although the teaching methods differ from the UK.
I mean how often would you get the opportunity to your spare time down playing sport or at the surf club in the UK? Natasha and her family have a very active outdoor lifestyle with Becky and Katie playing in a netball team (Natasha coaches) and Harriet playing soccer (that’s the name for English football over here).
When I asked Natasha about leaving the family behind she told me it was difficult, although the fact that her mum had moved to live in Spain a few years before had made it a little easier. In fact if they ever leave Perth then it would be to move to be near her mum in Spain. Not that that is on the cards.
The car business all said and done Natasha’s parting words on moving to Perth where very difficult to begin with, you feel like you have jumped back 15 years, trying to be strong for the children, but it is well worth it in the end, you just need to ride out the bad because it does get better, and enjoy the fantastic lifestyle, beaches, house and outdoor way of life as best you can, which is not hard considering we have 9 months of fantastic weather, and the other 3 months aren’t so bad either.