Natasha, Brian and their 4 children, the twins Katie and Kyle who are 13, Becky 15 and Harriet 8 years migrated to Perth in June 2004. They have just celebrated their 1st anniversary of living in Perth.

Natasha told me they were not new to Australia or Perth prior to their move as Australia was a country they had grown to love over the years. In the fortunate position of being able to take long holidays they had travelled to Australia every year for the 7 years preceding their migration.

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.

That is one of the longest waits I have heard of. Brian applied under the trade of a Pastry Chef, a trade he entered after leaving school. Sure he had done all the qualifications at college and worked as a Pastry chef for Air Canada’s in-flight catering before leaving the trade to continue with Air Canada as a Baggage Handler.

Because Brian was applying for a sponsored migrant visa he did not need to meet the point system (although they would have accumulated enough points) but in order to get his Australian visa Brian did need to have worked as a Pastry Chef for 6 months prior to submitting his application. So on top of his full time job working for Air Canada at Heathrow airport he also moonlighted at Sainsbury’s as a Pastry Chef. The hard work did the trick though and as soon as his trade had been assessed and accepted he was able to concentrate on his full time job until the time arrived to leave the UK behind.

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 during this holiday that they stayed at the Mindarie Keys resort in Mindare, an area that Natasha fell in love with. She especially fell in love with a particular house that they looked round. It was close to the beach and had sea views from the kitchen and second floor. At the time they had yet to sell their home in the UK so they made no attempt to buy a property.

Pool Room

Within a month of arriving back from Perth to the UK they were fortunate enough to sell there home and eager to rent or buy a place in Mindare, Perth (the place they had decided they wanted to live). Natasha wanted to minimise any disruption to the children’s education so buying was the best option. Anyway she contacted the agent that had been selling the house she fell in love with to be told that the sale had fell though and it was back on the market. This was just fantastic news for the family and Natasha got straight ahead organizing a mortgage. Yes that’s true you can get a mortgage while you are still in the UK, it was something I learned about once I had arrived here so it was a little to late.

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.

Finding work has been no problem for Natasha or Brian although they have both been a little disappointed in the wages over here. Natasha told me that having holidayed over in Australia for the past seven years they have been used to spending the English wages, which with a favorable exchange rate goes a long way. Wages in Perth are not as good and although the cost of living is more in line to the Aussie wage it does not buy as much as the pound does. Its true I have noticed the same to but then there is no way I would have had a home in the UK like I can afford in Perth and the outdoor lifestyle means you do not need to spend as much anyway.

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.

After being here for a year they are now beginning to feel settled and could not even begin to imagine living back in the UK again.

The other thing that Natasha did ask me to share with you was if you buy a car when you move over here be careful if they try to offer you finance. In Perth once you sign that form you are tied in to the deal. This caught her out, she signed a form believing they would not get the finance. However, you can get loans if you are a new migrant it is just that they charge a high interest payment. Natasha managed to move her finance from the Company the garage where she got the car saving about 4% on the APR but there was no way she could get out of the deal when buying it. So if you apply for finance to buy a car be sure you want it.

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.