Obtaining a Permanent Residence in Australia is not an easy, cheap or short process. We interviewed Sofia Frigerios, a Chilean creator of the blog “De Chile al Mundo” (From Chile to the World), to tell us about her experience getting her permanent residence in Australia. Although each experience is different and very particular, you will surely find in Sofia’s answers, good tools, advice and hope if you want to plan your stay in Australia in the long term. Read to the end!
When did you first arrive in Australia, and what visa did you have?
I arrived in Australia in May 2015 with a Working Holiday visa.
When did you decide that you wanted to stay in Australia for the long term?
The truth is that my original plan was to come only for 3 months, but after living in Australia, I learned to value even more this beautiful place. After three months in Downunder and after travelling another three months through Southeast Asia, I realized that I wanted to go back to Australia to do some farmwork and extend my visa for one more year.
After doing the farmwork and having lived in some countries in Europe – such as Spain and Iceland – I realized that I wanted to return in my second year to extend my visa again, but this time for a couple of years.
How was the pathway to obtaining your PR visa?
Difficult, long and expensive, but achievable! When I returned to visit Chile after my first year of Working Holiday, absolutely everyone told me that it was impossible to stay in Australia. I even spoke with people from the Australian embassy in Chile who recommended that I go to rural areas to work. In Sydney, they said, it was impossible to find PR with a Working Holiday visa. But I’m very stubborn, so I decided to take a chance and try.
When I got back to Australia, I sent infinite CVs, updated my LinkedIn (they use it a lot here) and focused all my energy on finding some opportunity. The living costs in Australia is high, so I decided to look for a Baby Sitter Job in the meantime to cover my expenses. I finally ended up finding two jobs. In one of them, the children’s mother had a marketing company, so I used to talk to her about Marketing issues and concepts to make her realized I was a professional in that industry. One day she asked me if I knew how to make PowerPoint presentations, so I accepted very gratefully. Long story short, I was hired part-time as a nanny and also as a Marketing assistant. I was earning the minimum but showing her that I could work hard and committed to working with her for a long time. A few months later, I asked her if she could help me with a sponsored visa. We ended up Contacting an attorney, and we began applying for a Skill Visa with her company nomination.
What studies or previous experience did you have, and how do you think it helped you obtain your PR?
Having had experience in Chile helped me infinitely! I studied Commercial Engineering at the Adolfo Ibáñez University, with a Master in Marketing. These two facts made it possible for me to apply for the Marketing Specialist Skill Visa, which had as requirements to have studied some degree directly related to the occupation I was applying for and at least 2 years of experience in the industry.
I worked in Chile for the Esteé Lauder company, for the perfume brands and Mac Cosmetics in the Marketing area.
What benefits you have in Australia by having a PR?
The truth is that having a PR opens many more opportunities. It is not true that you won’t find good opportunities if you are not a Permanent Residence, but it will be more difficult. By having PR, you can opt for free health insurance. It is easier to find work in the professional field; having experience in the Australian market is very important if you want to succeed as a professional in this country. Many job seekers websites like Seek.com will ask you at the first instance what visa do you have? But again, this doesn’t limit you; it just makes the road a bit more difficult. I know friends who have no PR and found work in eCommerce or Marketing, so never give up hope.
In what area do you currently work? Can you tell us a little about your work?
Now I am working in the eCommerce area for a Danish company known for its jewellery and decoration; the name is Georg Jensen, and I have been working with them for a year and a half now. I currently manage and develop online channels, working with 4 web pages since we sell in Retailers and Marketplace. We have other brands called Alessi, Kosta Boda and Orrefors. The company is growing very fast, especially online, so it is very challenging. When I started working in the professional area, I was very insecure about my English, but little by little, I started to let go, and I feel much more confident now.
What would you recommend to someone who is thinking of extending their stay in Australia for the long term?
I recommend, first of all, patience. The path to finding a long-term visa is not easy and cheap, but it can be achieved with perseverance. Save a lot of money because visas are costly. Don’t be put off by negative comments about some visas being impossible to get because it is not. Each person has different opportunities, abilities and situations, so it is never good to compare yourself with the one next to you.
If you liked Sofia’s experience read this article where she tells us in more detail how she started her journey to Australia, her fears and challenges, and some adventures! Would you like to live, work or study in Australia? Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive free advice on courses and student visas. Also, you can send us a message on WhatsApp at +61 410 085 993.