A few weeks ago I wrote about writing a memoir when the memories are fresh.
That was before the physical books arrived for distribution. The eBooks are somehow not quite as real, I understand why some of our readers waited for the paperback, the physical book. Even our Mr O Jnr 2 fanned the pages in front of his nose and said, ” Oh, the smell!”
The Managing Director of my employer bought a book yesterday. Many co-workers have also bought copies. Even my local bottleshop bought a copy. As I said in my previous article (link above) it is scary. I am the same person these people knew yesterday. I haven’t changed, but there are things in the book they did not know about me. For 40 years I rarely mentioned my parents both committed suicide. Now it is “out there”. Will people think it is hereditary? For the record, my GP tells me I am past the age for that to be a risk! Just in case you were wondering!
You see, some days I feel strong. Proud that I’ve had the strength to put it out there, to tell it as it really is.
Other days I feel scared. Today was a “scared” day! What will people think? Will they think less of me because I was driven to the point of wanting to drive my car through the doors of the Melbourne DIAC building in sheer despair? Or will they understand? Will they feel it?
In principle, I have no problem with the concept of user pays. I have a major problem if someone takes money and I get nothing for it.
There are costs involved in applying for visas. Here I am looking at Partner Visas for Australia. The current fees are set out below (current as at January 1, 2013).
The fees booklet is found at http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/pdf/990i.pdf
We still do not actually have a copy of the bill, but it is coming. Despite the fact we are in no way liable for this $208, we paid it. Sorting it out with the Red Cross and DIAC could take months, which really doesn’t help anything.
Believe it or not, it goes like this. The bank pre-approve the car loan, subject to us paying the $208. I can understand this – it is not the bank’s decision to make about whether we are liable or not. I try to pay the bill. I CAN’T!!! The bill is too old, there was no way on the electricity company’s systems that I could pay it!
At that point I I cried. It was like being back 20 months ago. The tears just ran down my face. I couldn’t stop them. All the pain and fear just seemed to come rushing back. This should not be happened kept ringing in my ears. Again I felt I was drowning.
The young man who manages the electricity company’s Twitter account was wonderful. I have no idea about the rest of the company, but he was lovely. He organised for the company to open a new account so we could actually pay, then sent me a confirming email I could forward to the bank. Of course, all this took so long we still do not have a final approval stamp from the bank! He also confirmed the advice I received last night that these things drop off after five years. I knew nothing, of course: I’ve never had such a situation.
In May last year I wrote about Ranjini. Ranjini is still being held in detention and is about to give birth to her third child. Ranjini may already be in labour as I write this. Edit – Ranjini gave birth to a lovely baby boy January 15th!
I want to stress, this is NOT about the whole “detain without right of appeal” issue – this is JUST about Ranjini’s case. In THIS case, ASIO can take action.
Damian Spruce, refugee researcher, adviser and lawyer who teaches Law and Social Theory at the University of Sydney, says:
It sounds like a positive step to ask ASIO to review it voluntarily & could be quicker than waiting for the independent review.
For those wanting a detailed legal perspective of this case, I refer you to Julian Burnside’s excellent article “Jailed for life but not told why”, where he said:
They may remain in detention for years, perhaps forever. How can that be, in a free democratic country like Australia? It is the result of two court decisions which most Australians have never heard of.
First, if a person is adversely assessed by ASIO, they are not told what facts ASIO took into account in forming its views, so it is virtually impossible to show that ASIO was wrong.
David Manne launched a High Court challenge and it seems to have been a partial win which is absolutely terrific, because change will come. It doesn’t immediately assist Ranjini or her children. The Government is also challenging the ruling of the court in relation to those who arrive by boat.
I like to keep things simple. It seems to me, a mere simple citizen, the simplest way to resolve the Ranjini situation is for ASIO to review the findings of the security assessment. We know Ranjini has no right of appeal; surely ASIO have the right to review their own findings. Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees: we overcomplicate everything. Let’s take the simplest approach.
Recently I asked a regular reader of this website what else she would like to see me write about as she expressed how helpful she had found other articles I had written.
She responded, on Why do I do this?:
In my humble opinion, I think the Statutory Declarations and Relationship Statements would be good. I, myself found that a lot of people don’t know what to write. When I sat down the other day and wrote my Relationship statement, I started writing and didn’t 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.
I also receive a LOT of search terms seeking examples of Statements of Relationship, so given Yolanda’s request, here are my thoughts. As usual, I must remind all readers I am not a migration agent and these articles DO NOT constitute formal or legal advice. If you have any concerns about aspects of your application, you should seek professional advice. My articles are merely intended to assist those trying to understand the bureaucratic paper warfare and point to references that may be useful!
This article also does NOT necessarily apply to arranged marriages. I have no idea how a Statement of Relationship for an arranged marriage should be approached. Also, this article is about the statements for the initial application, NOT the Statutory Declarations for the second stage processing (the final grant of permanent residency, sub-class 100).
While I have mentioned the Relationship History before, in Applying for a Partner Visa? (Suggestion Number 2), I haven’t gone into a lot of detail. The reason I haven’t is because every relationship is unique. What I wrote about my own relationship would be entirely irrelevant for Yolanda’s relationship, for example.
Yesterday I received an email (published below) from a reader. She did not provide the photo! While I can see the writer was clearly given bad advice at points in the process, I can understand their stress levels. The father/husband missed out on the pregnancy and she is now paying course fees as an international student, just as we did for Mr O. The sub-class 309 visa is, as I have said before, a “here but not here” kind of visa!
Hello! I came across your story while I was trying to google whether or not it really takes 6-9 months for the DIAC to process the Subclass 100 permanent visa. Just as in your situation, I am also an International student and cannot wait until I become a permanent resident because I will be able to use public transport concession. Also, since I am working on my Research Doctoral Degree, I can’t wait for my status to change as I will be able to study under the Research Training Scheme for free and on top of it, I will be able to apply for a research scholarship that pays you a stipend to cover some of the living costs to ensure I concentrate on my research rather than on earning money to survive in such an expensive city as Sydney! So, I cannot apply for any of these benefits until I remain my International Student status.
I am really sick of this system and how hard they make it for people who are legitimately creating a family. I was married overseas to my Australian husband and it took us 1.5 years before I and our baby could arrive to Australia to join my husband. This all was because we did not want to do a chest x-ray during my pregnancy and we did not want to compromise our baby’s health. We hired an agent who was suppose to help us with an exemption from the x-ray due to me being pregnant, but after trying different ways to fight the system, she could not do anything about it. The Australian Embassy made us wait until our baby was born overseas. Then it took another 6 months until we finally joined our daddy in Australia. We were so upset my husband could not experience such a special time of pregnancy as this was his and mine first experience. Not to mention, we paid a fortune to that agent and she could not help us in any way.
Last night Miss O 1 was cooking stir-fry for dinner. I wasn’t as late as I might have been, so we were all home.
I had checked my emails earlier in the day as I had received a phone call from DIAC last Thursday which gave me the impression we might hear something soon. There had been no email at that time and I hadn’t had time to check again.
Mr O commented, “I’ll just check my emails.”
Over the chatter of eating children there was suddenly lots of noise. Mr O leapt out of his chair and started dancing around the diningroom!
“We got it, we got it! I love you, my forever wife!”
Lots of hugs and kisses followed. We are not sure the children really understand the importance, but we do! Attached to the email was a copy of the formal letter, which we will receive in the snail-mail shortly.
Although I have mentioned before it is stressful waiting, I don’t think we realised just how stressful until that stress was gone. We did not expect there to be a problem with the final grant of permanent residency, but no matter how confident one is, until it is signed, sealed and delivered, there is always that nagging fear. It hangs there like a cloud, blocking the sunshine of life.