I would like you to meet Shaun and Susan O’Toole who's migration to Perth, Western Australia was on a Senior Executive Visa . They arrived to settle in Perth on Australia Day in January 2002 the couple has since traded in their Temporary Business Visa to become Australian citizens.

Susan and Shaun are a little different to the migrant stories I have shared with you so far, they are both in the mid 50's.

Shaun applied for the Senior Executive Business Visa when he was a few years over the age of 45 (a milestone age for the Skilled Migrant Visa which many migrants move to Australia on).

Initially they thought they would move to Perth on a Retirement Visa but the Senior Executive Visa opened the door for them to become Australian Ciitizens which was even better. Australia is where their home is now but they have the flexibility to travel between countries.

Susan & Shaun Australian Citizenship Ceremony

So you see if you are a little older and would like to make a permanent move over to Australia then the business skills route is an option that may be open to you.

Since the O’Tooles migrated over to Australia Visa requirements have changed a little and the age limit for unsponsored Business Skills Visa is less than 45 years. However, if you obtain State/Territory Government Sponsorship then you need to be less than 55 years old unless to meet the Visa criteria (unless exceptional circumstances exist when the upper age limit may be lifted).

Susan and Shaun had planned to spend some of their retirement years over in Australia, spending 6 months in the UK and 6 months in Australia each year. A well traveled couple they had holidayed over in Australia many times over the years and enjoyed the lifestyle and climate to be found in Australia. When it came down to selecting the City to settle in then Perth was the favorite. Although they liked Sydney, it was dismissed as a busy city. They preferred the lifestyle and climate to be found in Perth.

The retirement plans changed a little though when on one of the last holidays they took in Western Australia before making the permanent move over here to live. It was during this holiday that Susan, a food professional spotted an exporting business opportunity whilst reading an article about the unique qualities of lake salt.

Shaun was an investment banker specializing in foreign currency trading an area of business that felt the impact of 9/11. It was at this point they decided to act upon the business opportunity and they left behind their jobs in London to establish Lake Crystal

Shaun explained to me that the salt they retail and market at Lake Crystal was unlike seasalt. It is remarkable for its purity and that it can only be harvested at certain times of the year. Lake Crystal is the Australian Supplier of the finest pure and natural food products... featuring organically certified natural lake salt harvested from Lake Deborah near Koolyanobbing Shaun went on to say that setting up the company has been a challenge and seen him working many 18 hour days but that the lifestyle change from the UK was a fabulous move to make.

The move from the UK to Perth was much quicker than they imagined with the migration process taking a little under six months. They choose to use a migrant agent to handle the process, like many migrants it was an easier option than doing all the paperwork yourself and after all migrant agents have the experience. We were please we took the business skills route they told me as now they have the freedom to go backwards and forwards as they please without ever having the worry of having the renewal of a temporary visa renewed.

Susan & Shauns back garden in Attadale

Susan and Shaun have set up home in the suburb of Attadale which, is just South of the City close to the banks of the Swan River. They started the ball rolling on finding their home on a holiday to WA too. Susan told me that they happened to read a section in the weekend paper on migrant stories and were particularly interested in that of a Chilean gentleman who migrated over to Australia some 30 years ago.

Anyway to cut a long story short he was a builder and they decided to get in touch with him before they returned back to the UK at the end their holiday. They knew that as they would be migrating to Australia on a Business Skills Visa that they would be restricted on the property they would be able to purchase by the FIRB (Foreign Investment Review Board).

They built an instant rapport with the builder and he spent time with them showing them areas that would be suitable for their requirements. It was important for Susan and Shaun to be close to the City but they needed to purchase land rather than a property (not an easy thing to do in established areas). Well they returned to the UK leaving their builder friend to find the perfect location for the home of their dreams. Well within a few months he had found a place for them in Attadale.

It was a block of land with an old property on it in need of a major face lift. The plan was to get approval from Canberra to have the house pulled down and build a new one. (the Contract was subject to FRIB approval). Unfortunately approval was declined so it was back to the drawing board.

Luck was in their favour and a short while after the disappointment of the first property the builder found another block of land in Attadale, again with an old property on it. Susan told me the builder was fantastic he took pictures and a video of the house, land and surrounding area and sent it over to them. They were in agreement so it was back to Canberra for approval which, this time was a success and they were given permission to have a new property built there.

As Susan and Shaun still lived in the UK the builder started work and looked after everything for them. The time difference made the operation a seamless one as he could send an e-mail at the end of the day and by the next morning they would have responded. Once the building was nearing completion Susan and Shaun flew over to Perth to choose all the fixtures and fittings. The build took 6 months and the results were fantastic.

Home ready and waiting Susan and Shaun traveled over to Perth a little earlier than initially planned to take up residence in their new home in Attadale. They used Doree Bonner for their removals and found the service to be excellent. The only disappointment was the Company Doree Bonner used Grace Removals Group to handle the shipment once it had arrived in Australia. They had little care for the possessions of Susan & Shaun and several things got damaged during the course of the unpacking.

They left behind their only son Ben who was a cadet at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst. It had been the intention to remain in the UK until Ben had finished his time at Sandhurst but the changes in the financial industry following 9/11 meant the move was a little quicker than planned.

Susan does visit family in the UK frequently, a luxury she is in a position to afford. They sold the family home and replaced it with a two bedroomed apartment in London. This meant Susan had a bedroom for when they returned on visits to the UK and also Ben has a place to live.

Susan and Shaun consider Perth their home now. It’s a relaxed lifestyle they have grown to enjoy. They have a home that’s close to the River, the City and Freemantle.

Susans parting comment to me which is a good tip for any migrant is “Don’t come over here with the attitude it is easy to return back to your home country. There will be knock backs and you will miss family and friends but it will pass. Remember why you came to live here: - )

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