Yesterday I got a call from the kind folks at the Australian Consular General here in Ho Chi Rock City, informing me that my application for a spouse/partner visa has been approved. Now this is pretty killer for two reasons, one being it came much faster than expected and I don’t even need to go in for an interview with the immigration officer, and two, all the effort of months of paperwork, planning and effort finally came to fruition.
So, for those of you thinking of moving to the land of Vegemite and flies (not even to mention sulking cricketers) in similar fashion, here’s my "No-fail sure-fire visa guide for Saffas":
1) Use your good looks and bubbly personality to charm a beautiful Aussie lass. Erm…easier said than done, especially if you’re blessed with an alluring and totally seductive Souff Effrican accent.
*Mental pick-up line picture*: “Howzit maai cherry, smaak ‘n tjop and dop at maai porsie? Oh sorrry, I forgets you call them a baarbie.” Okay, that’s a bit extreme, in some cases and geographical regions of SA (read: everywhere south of the Vaal River).
2) The next step involves convincing her that the two of you should move in together. A dozen Long Island Ice Teas, duct tape and a big hessian bag should do the trick. When she wakes up, you’ll need one of those Men in Black memory-erasing neural neutralizer and Bruce’s your uncle (make sure you’ve got some strategically placed photos of the two of you together around your pad).
3) Now it’s time to convince her that your relationship has moved to the next level and you should move to that historical haven of thieves, murders and general up-to-no-goods (not Parow – the other one). If all else fails, produce a list of successful South African emigrants who have moved to Oz and promise you’ll be topping that list in the future.
4) Sharpen those scissors because it’s time for a little bit of bureaucratic tape snipping. Before you apply, you guys need a few things.
a) Certified copies of every bloody piece of paper that has your name on it. This includes passport, ID, bills, notices of eviction, ransom letters and any graffitied material with your tag on it (remember scratching your name into the underside of grandma’s coffee table in Standard 5?).
b) Proof that you’re not a complete idiot, vagrant or fugitive. Thus, copies of any qualifications you’ve earned/bought and criminal clearance checks from every country you’ve lived in for more than six months. If you’re not in possession of any of these and you’re living in South-East Asia as I am, a quick trip to Khao San Road in Bangkok, the world capital for all your nefarious shopping needs, will suffice. For a fistful of Baht you can pick up uni degrees (under- and postgraduate) and police clearance certificates to your black little heart’s content. While you’re at it, arm yourself with a International Driver’s License, Reuters Press Card and PADI Master Scuba Diver certification.
c) Confirmation that your relationship is “true and genuine” (thank god for that brain-numbing neutralizing earlier, huh). Write a few testimonies (in different styles and fonts) and bribe some randoms off the street to sign on the dotted line. Something like “I’ve known blablabla and blehblehbleh for three years and can attest to the fact that they are in a loving and authentic relationship” will do. Next, go to a photo studio with some nice backdrops like palm trees, a jungle and the New York Skyline and get some pics taken. Add some info like “This is us at the Great Wall of China in 2006” and “This is us at the Ruins of Zimbabwe 1998-2009” and make sure to wear different clothes or even cut your hair for the last few photo shoots so it looks like you’ve been together for a while. Photoshop in your families and you’re sorted.
d) Fill-in the application forms. You may want to prepare for this one. Ask your physical trainer for a number of wrist and finger strengthening exercises as you’re going to have to sign your name about 21 gazillion times. Alternatively, get one of these bad boys.
e) Ahhh, the medical (violation) check-up, including a full-body cavity search. Be prepared to be poked, prodded, pricked and provoked by a bevy of white-coated evil people. They check your mental state too, so if they ask you which rugby or football team you support do not under any circumstances, no matter how dear they are to you, say the Stormers or Newcastle United, as you’ll soon be wearing a white coat too, albeit a slightly tighter, less-snug version.
f) With a clean bill of health and all the paper work filled in, all that’s left is to line the pockets of the Man with about AUD$1500 for some more CCTV cameras and research into fire-resistant Eucalyptus trees (or exploratory studies into breeding out retarded pyromaniacs from the gene pool).
5) Okay, it’s out of your hands now so crack open a cold one, sit back and wait for the Officialdom to make their decision – it’ll happen surprisingly fast in comparison to what you’re used to back home. If they come to the conclusion that you’re not worthy to bless their hallowed shores , hide in Andries Bekker’s rugby boots on their next Super 14 trip Down Blunder.
And that, my dear friends, is how you do it Saffa Style.
*Disclaimer: This is all rubbish and I take absolutely no responsibility for any of it. There are proper channels and procedures in place when applying for an Australian visa which will ensure accountability and impartiality on behalf of both parties. I didn’t have to abduct and brainwash my girlfriend, for some indefinable reason I think she actually likes me. Oh, and Aussie cricketers aren’t too bad actually.