Date 29.01.2016 Interview Questions for Richard Gregan

Richard Gregan is the owner and director of Overseas Emigration Visas. As founder he has a fantastic insight into the visa process in its entirety. We chat to Richard to find out exactly what the procedure entails and to get some handy hints and tips for hopeful migrants…

Can you tell me a bit about your role overseeing the visa process?

My role is to ensure that the potential client has got all the relevant qualifications and meets all the criteria set out by immigration. I also oversee and ensure that the office, staff, procedures, communication and the below listed ‘code of conduct requirements’ are fully complied with:

The client is fully aware of the time frames, costs, risks and stages he or she will go through The legal library must be up to date and staff are kept up to date with any new laws and procedures. Staff training must be kept up to date. The client is fully aware of the time frames, costs, risks Professional Indemnity Insurance is in place MARA and IAA registrations are current Last but certainly not least, and most importantly – the client must feel that they are being looked after in an open, informed, honest and professional way throughout the process. This is such a significant time in any client’s life and can be overwhelming so our staff must be on hand to help the move to Australia along.Are there any specific timeframes that clients must adhere to?

The visa system operates on a point system which is impacted on by the client’s age. There is therefore an optimum window of opportunity and a limited timeframe. Under 25s do not receive any points for their age, however over 25s and below 40s receive points as they are considered the prime age. There are some ages that are too old for skilled migrants – 50 for Australia and 56 for New Zealand.

Clients are also legally required to submit a specific amount of post qualification work experience and this must come with substantial evidence. Sometimes we will slow an application down to a certain date to ensure there is no doubt that this criteria is met.

A rule of thumb; If you qualify today – put in an application today and the maxim is get the visa in your back pocket as soon as you can. We’ve seen various occupations go from “very desirable” migrants to “will struggle to get in” overnight. One example of this is hairdressers, who have found the process increasingly difficult over the last few years.

What are the main obstacles that make the process challenging?

One of the main obstacles we tackle is clients who fail to qualify for emigration. Sometimes hopeful migrants fail to meet or beat the points test.

Another issue that hinders the process is uncommitted couples. The move to Australia can be a challenge to couples when one member does not feel as committed to the move as another. This won’t work well in the long run so commitment, communication and understanding of your partner’s feelings towards emigration is essential.

Of course a major obstacle for many is money. Australian Government fees are high. Language testing, skills testing, medicals, professional fees, insurance, flights, shipping can all add expenses to the list. When I began in this industry a family of 4 could emigrate for a few thousand pounds. It will cost a minimum of £6000 for that family today.

Many people fail to fully understand the legal and procedural requirements of the process as a whole. That is why OE is in business – a holistic migration assistance agency that oversees the complete process to make this easier..

Emigrating is a big decision and a life-changing process that may come with stress, worry and frustration. The process takes time and a lot of bureaucracy which can add to these concerns. There is no use painting the spare room if you are selling the house and emigrating in the next 6 months. There is no point in changing the car for the same reason. Who do you tell and who do you keep your plans private from? Will you be refused for that “drunk and disorderly charge when you were 17? These are the kind of worries that people feel before and during the process – but this is normal! If a certificate goes out of date or the wrong type of English Language test is taken – you either throw the file in the bin and stamp your foot or you patiently get on and get the next part of the application’s “long and winding road” work done. At OE Visas we do these applications daily. We know what needs to be done next and what time frames we have so we shoulder most of that frustration for you!

What kind of trades do you mainly process?

Every single kind of trade imaginable on the SOL and the CSOL. These are lists that note the trades in demand by the Australian government. We do lots of the kind of worker you will find on a building site, as well as engineers, accountants, lawyers, office workers, hospital workers, school and university teachers and many more. We also assist spouses, parents, investors, business people, exceptionally talented people and a whole raft of temporary work positions. The list goes on!

I personally specialise in people with “tricky” cases. Past overstays, previous criminal convictions, medical problems in migrating/ non migrating family members and a disaster recovery service for “DIY” applications which have gone wrong.

Do you have any handy hints and tips that hopeful migrants can take on board? Any final words of advice?

Definitely, there is a lot that you can do to make your application run smoothly and efficiently.

Firstly I would suggest making a decision and sticking with it. Be sure that everyone in the family is committed to making it work. To giving it a couple of years to “settle in”, get “A JOB” as opposed to “THE job” in the first few weeks, find the right house, schools, friends, social circle, recreational activities etc. It doesn’t happen overnight and it is not uncommon to see people return back to Britain – poorer and disheartened. We also get lots of almost evangelical new migrants who want to help other newcomers settle in and take full advantage of all the opportunities that are available to new migrants.

Get yourself out there and get a social circle in your new community. Friends and a social life will really help you settle in. Be sure to mix with the locals and not the just the ex-pats. Get into the new way of life and enjoy the process – it’s all part of the excitement!

Don’t buy ‘The’ family home until you have had at least 6 – 9 months to learn the lay of the land, where the good schools are, how your work commute will be and get a really good idea of the price you should expect to pay. It’s OK to rent for a while until you are clear on these and your own personal list of ‘wants and needs’ before making that big commitment to buy a house!

written by Oonagh Turner