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Migrant Corner

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Welcome to our Migrants Corner, have a look at what these members had to say about their migration experience.

Names : Gaynor and James Kirkpatrick (Morgan and Josef)

Occupation (in UK and now):
I was a Primary School Teacher in UK with 20 years’ experience. I am actively seeking employment in Perth with a career change a possibility. James was a Self Employed Approved Electrician in the UK and is now an A Grade Electrician working for a family run company in Malaga, Perth.

When did you arrive in Perth?
We started the State Sponsorship Visa  process in January 2010, and received our Visa in May 2011. We came to Perth for a 2 week validation visit in April 2012 and arrived for good in October 2012.

What drew you to Perth initially?
We came to Perth because of job opportunities, weather, work life balance, outdoor lifestyle and a better place to bring up our children.

Where did you live in the UK, and where do you live now?
We lived in Kirkcudbright, a small fishing town in South West Scotland and now live in Butler, Perth after an initial 6 week stay in a holiday rental in Clarkson.

What made you choose the area where you live?
After a lot of research on suburbs in the UK, we lived in Butler during our validation trip, and liked the suburb but basically the rental we choose came down to availability and price. There is a lot of competition for rentals in Perth and as we came just before the festive period I was afraid we won’t get a rental at all but fortunately we managed to secure the first rental we applied for.

Were you very familiar with Australia before you left?
We hadn’t visited at all before we came in April. I had done loads of research on Perth before coming out and although I won’t say we were familiar with it we certainly knew the areas we wanted to stay in, places to visit etc. The internet is a wonderful research tool .

Has it been easy becoming part of the community?
It’s been easy being part of the Expat community due to making friends through forums and groups such as A Piece of Perth, we  haven’t yet broke into the Australian community but this will come with time.

What preparations did you make before you emigrated?
James sat his Approved Electrician Licence through a company called DownUnder Tradies who organised his final assessment to tie in with our trip in April. This then allowed him to apply for his licence once we arrived in Perth in October and inturn allowed him to work as an A Grade Electrician straight away.

What was the most stressful part about migrating?
The most stressful part of migrating was patience!!! Waiting patiently as all the paperwork was put together by our agent OE Visas in Edinburgh, patiently waiting for the visa to be granted, waiting again for our house to sell (which took 13 months) and then everything seemed to fall into place.

Would you do anything differently if you had the chance now?
No, we think we’d still employ a migration agency to help us through the process. We were both working full time when we started the application process and feel that full time work and filling in all the paperwork would have increased our stress levels.

What’s been the hardest thing with your migration?
The usual aspects of leaving friends and family behind are very hard. I was very fortunate that my parents came out with us for the first 3 months of our adventure and my brother is migrating in April so I will have my family around me but James has found it difficult some days without his family and friends around him.

What are your plans for the future?
We plan to stay in Perth! We are in the process of looking at housing options – new builds v established houses in Butler and surrounding areas. Now James has electrical experience he hopes to apply for jobs closer to the northern suburbs, children are settled at school so this will determine where we buy. There’s even talk about buying a boat!!! But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves now!!!

What’s your advice for other British people wanting to move to Australia?
Do it. Research as much as you can before you start the process. Know what you want and don’t give up. There are some months in our case that we never heard anything and this was very frustrating. And one last thing don’t forget your passwords for the bank, email etc because it causes huge problems.

Did you find A Piece of Perth’s membership service helpful?
We have found the help and support given to us by A Piece of Perth excellent. Before we arrived no questions was ever unanswered and no question ever deemed silly or stupid. Since we’ve been in Perth we’ve attended two sausage sizzles and from these events we’ve meet lots of people. Some of these people have now become our close friends. A Piece of Perth is a support group which have played a huge part in our integration into life in Perth.