38 Comments

Why do I do this?

I am sure many people, especially those late to our saga, wonder why I continue to publish, why I am editing my manuscript, why I don’t just give up now our personal battle is over and “get on with life”.

I’d like to share two experiences of the last 24 hours to help explain why I do this.

Yesterday another Australian commented on this site.  A person who holds a very similar perspective to mine.  So far it has taken her and her partner five years to get to the point they feel they can afford to battle the system.  She wants to drive change.

This morning a woman in a shop asked me if I might be able to give some support to her sister, a woman fighting to have her husband and the father of her child granted a partner visa.  I gave her the URL of this website and my email address, stressing I am not a migration agent.  If nothing else, the poor woman may feel not so alone which is all her sister is seeking for her, from me.

One article I wrote early this year, about Form 888, has now passed 6,600 page views.  Most readers don’t comment, but a few do, thanking me for providing information.  As you can see the readership has gradually grown since January.

Stats for Form 888 Article

Stats for Form 888 Article

Another article, detailing exactly what certified copies are, is fast becoming a regular read as well.

I have marked up manuscripts back from two beta readers and am madly editing.  158 A4 pages (single spaced) is a lot of editing!  Once this editing pass is done, the manuscript will be sent to the people mentioned in the book for their approval.  I don’t anticipate any changes from them in relation to my depiction of them in the book, but one never knows!  I’ve been surprised.  I expected the editing process to be horrible, but it isn’t as bad as I envisaged.  My beta readers haven’t slaughtered my efforts and while I expected to be hyper critical of myself, I find, so far at least, I didn’t do too bad a job to start with.  That opinion may not last to the end of the edit!!

I have received valuable suggestions and feedback from published authors interested in our story.  One person reading the manuscript at the moment is someone I am very excited about!  I haven’t been sworn to secrecy or anything, but I will wait for permission before saying anything!  Just this morning I had another published author offer to read through the manuscript for me.

The person who contacted me yesterday wrote, in part:

I would very much like to see a huge movement to change things, but this can’t happen until more Australians know how things are. This does have the potential to affect anybody these days, and if not people themselves then their children who are travelling more and more. I think if we started a campaign of information, getting stories published in newspapers and on current affairs programs, there would be a lot more outrage from everyday Australians.

I agree.  I have often mentioned the increased mobility of the global population and the resulting increase in cross border marriages.  What we DO see in the media is more often the sort of reporting I highlighted in Emotive reporting, perhaps?  Negative beat-ups.

These are all reasons I do what I do, why I continue the work.  I feel I am somewhat uniquely placed to highlight the flaws in the system, to highlight the pain and trauma we who dare love across borders go through.  I hope I also manage to show, in some small way, that asylum seekers are real people.

Mr O hasn’t written another article, the children haven’t written for ages either.  Life is busy!   We are parents to four lively (I am a master of understatement sometimes) teenage children.  We have jobs. We sometimes feel like ships passing in the night as it is!

I hope this update explains in part why I do what I do, why I continue, why I believe in our book.

Now if I could just get a damn synopsis down I’m happy with, the writing world would be a better place! :cry: :lol:

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38 comments on “Why do I do this?

  1. Keep going and know that we all support your effort. More grease to your elbows! ;-)

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  2. I was intrigued by the title of this post, “Why do I do this?” I’ve only recently made your acquaintance Robyn, but I have to say I think it is a fine thing indeed that you are doing, and before I say any more, in the interests of full disclosure, I have a confession to make. I am only in Australia as a result of falling in love with and marrying an Australian. So why do I call it a confession? Well, for a few reasons:

    Firstly, I didn’t really want to come to Australia. It had never been a country that particularly interested me. Gayle was on the classic young Aussie round the world trip when we met in London. I also badly wanted to travel, and we managed to do so around Europe a bit in our first year, but only enough to whet our appetites. We wanted to do much more, and go much further, but for that we needed more money. We would BOTH have preferred to keep London as our base, but this was Thatcher’s Britain. It was impossible to earn enough to save anything there (I had moved from Glasgow to London because there were literally no jobs AT ALL there). Soon we would have exhausted our resources and been stuck in Britain. So in a way I was really an economic refugee from Margaret Thatcher.

    Which brings me to the second reason: we were both highly political, we were both atheists, and neither of us actually believed in marriage. After much soul, no, I don’t believe in those, heart, no, I really should say mind-searching, we reached the conclusion that our only chance of getting our big trip, and ultimately staying together (because eventually her British visa would have run out and I simply didn’t have the money to get a tourist or work visa for Australia) would be to put our politics aside and get married. We kept it low-key, but we did choose a cool place – Marlybone Registry Office. Amongst previous marriages there were Paul and Linda, Mick and Bianca, it was the rock stars registry office.

    And that brings me to the third reason, the one your story makes me feel guilty about, the one that makes ME do what I do, in refusing to shut up about Australia’s duty to have more humane refugee and migration policies – it was ridiculously easy for me! I had to fill in some forms we got from Australia House, they made me watch a video about snakes, spiders and sharks, and have a chest x-ray to prove I didn’t have TB. I tried showing them my vaccination scar, but they said everyone had to have one. Then we had the big interview, the one where we expected to be quizzed to ensure ours was a genuine relationship, and to be questioned about each other’s distinguishing moles and detailed preferences in breakfast cereals or interior decor. As it turned out, the consular official was, like Gayle, from Ballarat. They spent half an hour reminiscing about the place, at the end of which he stamped my passport (not a partner visa, permanent residence, right there and then), proffered his hand and said, “Welcome to Australia Mr Macpherson.” That was it.

    I arrived in the dying days of 1984. I now had only 12 months to wait until I could apply for citizenship. As it turned out I didn’t even have to wait that long, as I got a job in the public service just before they changed the rules so that public servants had to be citizens. They waived all waiting periods and fast-tracked all non-citizens already working in the PS. I was not required to relinquish my existing citizenship. I recently passed my 27th anniversary as an Australian. So that’s it. My confession, and the perspective from which I view Australia.

    Now I know all this was a long time ago, the laws have changed, etc. But I can’t help but feel it was so easy for me because I was a white, European English speaker, and that offends me. When I hear people like me, or even people whose parents or grandparents were like me, wanting to pull the ladder up after themselves it disgusts me. When they talk about ‘queue-jumpers,’ and how their parents had to do it the proper, hard way, I can’t help but call bullshit on them. If I had it easy, and I did have it fucking easy, the generation before me had it even easier. They got 10 quid passages! How dare these people compare themselves to refugees fleeing war-torn countries? It’s utterly obscene. This country has taken in and given a better life to a lot of people, so much so that the vast majority of us living here now are benificieries of that generosity. How dare we now be so mean-spirited?

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    • Thank you BabelFish for your comment, i feel the same and you put it exactly right. My husband is from Panama, though he was brought up in the States, by having a Panamanian passport is considered third world, (he was told that by Customs when he was here last time on a tourist visa, so now we provide a copy of his previous passport with a copy from the wiki page with all the countries Panamanias can travel to without a visa, which is more than Australia!!) and because he is black it makes it worse, i think we need to start looking at the individual and what they can provide instead of their colour of their skin, or what country they come from, because each person is different with different circumstances. And as you put it there are alot of skonkys around, and by putting up prices its just going to make it easier for the rich white person to come to Australia.

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      • Yes, Yolanda. While I generally try to steer clear of highlighting the colour issue, I am reasonably confident had my husband been white, our whole situation would have been different. It is sad and it is discriminatory and I don’t like it one bit.

        I do think BabelFish is very correct and I applaud him for saying so.

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      • Yes unfortunately the “colour” issue is a touchy one, but fact is we live in a racist society and no one likes to admit this. Australia is supposed to be a multicultural society yet i still find so much racism its quiet disgusting and i think bringing it out in the open like this just highlights the issue.

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      • Having travelled to a few places around the world, Yolanda, I don’t believe that most Australians are racist at all. I have seen much worse in other countries. That is NOT to say we can’t be better than we are! I DO believe there are some racists, most definitely, and they tend to be vocal, and some are in the wrong positions of power. I’ve run into a few myself! :D

        I believe the majority of Australians are not racist. Have you seen Welcome to Australia? http://www.welcometoaustralia.org.au/

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      • No i havent had a chance to read that link yet, have been so busy with work, my son and getting all this paperwork in order as well as my husband is now moving to Thailand to be closer, its just so hectic i dont have time to even breath sometimes, but i guess that is a good thing, because if i did have time to breath i would be sitting here missing my husband :(

        I am thankful for your website, dont ask yourself why you are doing this, because it is people like me and the others on here reading your blogs that are very appreciative of the work you are doing, we are looking for honest answers for a long term solution, not just a quicky costly solution that is not going to work out in the long run. I have found your blog extremely informative, even though you keep reiterating your not a migration agent, you have provided far more information on here than most migration agents do in a 1 hour consult costing minimum $200.

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      • Thank you so much Yolanda!

        Yes, if you were not so busy, you would spend more time being sad. Busy is good!!

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      • You might be a good one to ask! What else would you like to see me write about under the Partner/Spouse Visa Menu?

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      • In my humble opinion, i think the Statutory Declarations and Relationship Statements would be good. I, myself found that alot of people dont know what to write. When i sat down the other day and wrote my Relationship statement, i started writing and didnt stop, because i kept thinking i should put this in or that, or what if they ask me about this and it just kept going.

        My husband on the other hand is even more direct than me, he kept it simple and to the point.

        With the Stat Decs, i have had people asking me what i want them to write, i keep telling them just to write what they feel about us and our relationship. I think if there was a template for these things it would much more easier for people to use and write their own experiences.

        i tried searching for templates online but i could not find anything, and i looked on the Immigration website they talked a little about it but not enough. I got alot more information from your site than any other.

        So they are my thoughts :)

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      • Wow wonderful work, i wish i had read this before doing my relationship statement. I find it so increadible that they asked you direct about sex, i personally will be telling them its none of their business, because whether i have sex or not has nothing to do if we have a genuine relationship or not, nor does it matter who does the washing or the cooking, because in my opinion we live in a world were both people ‘normally’ work, and for example myself and my husband, we both do cooking, (even though my husband is a Chef he likes to relax sometimes).

        It is also great that you posted the actual example of Statement of Relationship, that will be extremely helpful for people starting out with it.

        We also used the DIAC website example as our template, so that was also good that you added that in formation.

        You are extremely thorough in your work and i really commend you. You should become a Migration Officer and get paid for this!!

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      • NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I will not become a migration agent! I am only sharing my experience to hopefully assist others. I am too old for a career change!

        You share the cooking – that is EXACTLY the sort of thing you should write about! Why would you not tell them that? Better to tell them than face the expense and emotional cost of waiting for an MRT appeal date!

        I am sorry, but the reality is the question of sex goes to the heart of a genuine relationship. If there is no sex, you are just two people sharing a house. I am not suggesting you include a direct statement on the topic, but you can allude to romance. :)

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      • lol i am not saying we dont have sex, but i am saying its not their business, the cooking and other stuff i dont have a problem with telling them about that, but i think some things are just too personal and shouldnt be shared. That is my husband and my personal time together, i dont want to share that with them.

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      • I agree 100 and 10 percent! I don’t think it is any of their damn business either, but the fact of the matter is, it is evidence.

        I am just telling you they can be damned nosey! So be prepared for it! If you think about it, it shouldn’t be too hard to write something that IMPLIES you have consummated the relationship without going into detail!

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    • Thank you for your “confession” and for your perspective.

      There is an article I wrote some time ago that you may not have seen. http://teamoyeniyi.com/2011/03/17/attitudes/ The strong accent I refer to is Irish.

      Not only is the asylum seeker situation a disaster, the partner visa situation is being made more and more expensive and harder. Our decision maker in Pretoria was from a country that doesn’t particularly like Africans at all and was living in an African country that dislikes Nigerians (generally speaking). She had in fact bought her own husband into Australia on a partner visa from her ancestral land. Very different situation to your case officer! :D

      I know of a couple, like you from Britain, who applied twice. Rejected the first time, they reapplied a year later and were successful. In the meantime the woman (Australian) spent a very tough year as she desperately wanted to come home, but couldn’t bear to be away from her partner for that long.

      I know of someone here who, in the early easy days, married and had a child with a Dutch woman who was effectively illegal – a visa over-stayer. A problem arose when a family member back home was ill – the woman had no passport. A few quick phone calls and the problem was resolved.

      I arrived in Australia without even a passport!

      How times have changed.

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  3. I think with your blog you have provided a lot of people with information, hope and probably a shoulder to lean on for many people hoping to get a partner visa. Being an immigrant in Australia I also found the minefield of visas, rules and regulations is daunting and costly. And a lot of the success relies on having a good agent, which costs a whole lot more than some people can afford to pay!

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    • If they raise the fees yet again, as Yolanda believes is scheduled, the fees plus an agent could top $10,000 for an on-shore application. That is just ridiculously expensive, especially for young people who may have been traveling.

      Then there is the minefield of making sure the agent is legit and not one of the shonky ones!

      It is a nightmare, Sami!

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  4. Your work is so important inspiring and supporting many people. You’re not a bottomless pit though so remember to take care of yourself :-)

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  5. What you have already done and continue to do is important…. but look after yourself too :)

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    • I try, Helen. Not sure I get the balance right though, I agree.

      Once the editing is done, I will be happy. Send it off to all the involved professionals for their comment will give me rest time! :)

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  6. “Why do I do this?” To give others hope and the fact there can be light at the end of a very long tunnel.

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    • Yes, indeed, Pip! Thank you for stopping by. I know I have been remiss lately and I do apologise. You, Elizabeth and Nancy to name just three I haven’t been visiting regularly.

      I miss you all very much!!!

      Love the new pic in your icon, by the way!

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      • Hey TO I’ve also been remiss not because I don’t enjoy reading your posts but because I’m praticpating in NaNoWriMo which is a lot harder than I expected. feel absolutely exhausted.

        Having said that, I feel for the Assylum seekers those who are fighting the system. I only discovered the people and the suffering behind the tag thanks to your blog. They are the people who are REALLY exhausted just trying to get through everyday life.
        Pipx

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      • :lol: I was too scared to ask about NaNoWriMo! I know a few people participating. Best of luck with it!

        I am glad you learnt about asylum seekers. Each person we reach is one more voice to speak for change, compassion and humanity.

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  7. I commend you in continuing with your website. For me it has been invaluable. I work in a law firm, im also a JP so i do have a little knowledge about how the system work, but i find it increasingly annoying when if you pay between $2000 to $5000 to a migration agent your paperwork is passed no problem.

    Yesterday i was extremely frustrated as i spoke to a man who has brought in 4 women to Australia in the past 2 years all using an agent. Firstly i was under the impression there was a waiting period between partner visa applications, he assured me he didnt have to wait.

    Also it seems to me that it seems easier to get your partner visa approved if your a man applying for your female partner than vice versa, i believe this needs to change.

    I agree with you that it all needs to change as its extremely difficult for the average person who is in a genuine relationship and trying to survive on a daily basis to pay all the fees required and still maintain a normal life let alone your sanity.

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    • Thank you so much Yolanda. It is encouraging to receive comments such as this!

      Yes, as far as I understand it there are limits. I believe it is 5 years between partner sponsorship with a maximum of 2 in a lifetime.

      I quote from the DIAC website:

      Limitations on sponsorship

      There are limits on the number of partner visa category sponsorships a person may make and the time-frame in which they are made:

      There is a limit of two approved sponsorships or nominations that can be made, with a minimum of five years apart.
      If the sponsor was sponsored or nominated to Australia as a partner, they must wait five years before sponsoring a partner or fiancé.
      Approved sponsorships or nominations are those which result in the applicant being granted a partner or Prospective Marriage visa.
      The limitations may be waived in compelling circumstances, including:

      if the previous fiancé or partner has died or abandoned the relationship, leaving young children
      if a new relationship is formed that is long-standing or involves dependent children of the relationship.

      http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/30partners.htm

      If you know of someone who has brought in FOUR partners, something is seriously wrong! Compelling circumstances have to be VERY compelling!

      I have heard yesterday the fees are set to increase yet again on January 1, but have not yet been able to confirm this.

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      • Yes i thought there was something wrong but he has given me the name of his agent and i will find out tomorrow how they do it.

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      • And if their hicking their fees its going to be near impossible to apply for a honest visa and there will be more people trying to get into Australia illegaly, thank you again Julia.

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      • Good for you. If you detect fraudulent activity, there is a fraud section in DIAC that I am sure would appreciate a tip-off.

        This sort of thing is not helpful to any area of immigration, partner or otherwise. Just makes it harder for everyone.

        As for hiking the fees, what it means is partner visas will be available only to the rich. That is not how it should be. Love should not be the right of only the rich in society.

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      • Yes it sure does and i know for me i certainly dont need this ANY harder than it already is. I have been away from my husband for 7 months and i want him to get home as doon as possible.

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      • We were apart for most of 14 months (apart from my trip to Qatar and the wedding trip) and we hated every minute of it.

        I am in contact with another poor young woman at the moment who is very distressed. The trauma is unbearable.

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      • Yes its terrible the separation can sumtimes seem endless, i spent a week with my husband after not seeing him for 7 months only 4 weeks ago and it seems an eternity all ready, were organising our next holiday now in Thailand thats a bit closer and im very excited and cant wait.

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