A lack of permanency can be a draw as equally as it can be a damper. I’ve jumped from Working Holiday Visa to Working Holiday Visa to escape the mundane yet welcome the reality of adulthood and career building. Going through the motions in a foreign country adds a unique flair to life.
Moving to a new place can be scary, exciting, eye-opening, and character building, but then you adjust and it all seems normal. You find a place to live, start feeling confident in your new job, develop friendships, build a network, and potentially meet someone special. When your life starts to fall into place and your new country becomes home, the anxiety of the countdown commences. You have one or two years to make a place your home before you are forced to leave.
For the adventure seekers, it’s onto the next! I find myself still an adventure seeker, but it gets to a point where you want time to build a life amongst that adventure.
You could do the song and dance of working towards sponsorship, but the stress that uncertainty creates can be debilitating. Do you continue to build a substantial life for yourself, assuming the sponsorship will work out? Or do you wait, to avoid a hardship if you can’t get sponsored in the end? It seems like a no brainer to make the most of your time and truly establish relationships and an integrated lifestyle. But with the everpresent reminder of the ticking clock, it’s hard to commit yourself fully to your new life in the country.
Falling in love with a city is tough when you’re young. It’s typical that on a Working Holiday Visa, your career isn’t established enough yet for sponsorship to be an option. You need to be at a certain level, on a certain salary, and the company that you end up with needs to be legally able to do so. It’s more than a mutual agreement between you and the employer.
Where I Stand Now
In February, I was told the company I’d been working for could not sponsor me (due to certain corporate circumstances), so I went on a job hunt for one that could. By the time my six-month contract ran up, I only had five months left on my visa to work for a new employer. This proved hard to find a company not only willing to take me on for a short period but to also guarantee I could be sponsored in that time.
I then made the unfathomable decision to do 88 days of farm work in regional Australia; a requirement in order to be eligible for a second-year visa. First of all, how ridiculous is it that Canadians and Brits aren’t allowed to work in Australia for two years when Australians are given two years in Canada and the UK? Second of all, to be forced to do farm work in the middle of nowhere and risk a range of abuse (worse for women) seems inhumane. Third of all, finding specific regional farm work that qualifies for the second-year visa turns out to be the hardest part of it all!
So why the hell am I doing it?
I need more time.
I love living in Melbourne, I’m growing exponentially in career, it’ll be a major personal growth opportunity, and (for the readers who enjoy my dating stories) I have a special someone in my life. Two years with no dating luck in London, who would have thought it’d take one week in Melbourne to meet the British man who I now call my boyfriend.
Once my 88 days of regional work is complete, I will be granted another year in Australia and another shot at working to get sponsored.
I’ve gone through this living in London, but that visa at least allowed two years. I also realised that I was too young, too unestablished, and too poor to live the fantasised version of the city I longed for; therefore I accepted that my London chapter could end there and when the time and circumstances were right, I would move back.
Australia is where I feel I need to be for the next few years. Working on my career, working on myself, working on my goals, and working on my relationship. So I shall continue the sponsorship dance.
If any of you have been in similar a circumstance, how did you cope? Did you move on or persist for a longer stay?