As Shakespeare once famously penned – the course of true love never did run smooth – and never have truer words been spoken than when it comes to my love affair with the land down under. I recently wrote about what it felt like to face deportation from the place I called home, only to discover that – quite fortuitously – things weren’t so black and white.
After discovering that if by registering your relationship, you don’t need to have been with your other half for a year to qualify for the defacto visa, my initial thinking was to wait until my 90 days in Australia was up, before doing a quick trip to Bali and returning on a tourist visa to apply for a defacto visa with my Australian boyfriend. Alas, it turns out – as it often does – that my plan wasn’t so simple. While immigration may state on their website that if you lose or leave your job while on a sponsored visa you have 90 days to find a new job or leave the country, according to migration agent Cath from McMillan Migration, it’s not always the case, and immigration can often take months to cancel a visa.
While for many, the luxury of extra time to secure a sponsored job may come as a welcome relief, it was quite the opposite for me. Having been burnt by three consecutive agencies, with broken sponsorship promises and a God-awful boss in my most recent job, I had made my mind up that I wanted to go down the defacto route in order to be afforded the work flexibility it brings with it. However, in order to be granted Australian working rights, one must apply for defacto when on a tourist visa; as applications made while on a sponsored 457 simply mean you need to be working for a company that sponsors you.
To apply for the required tourist visa in Australia, there’s a fee of $1040, compared to a mere $135 when applying offshore, and with the lower living costs of Bali, it was a no-brainer when it came to choosing where to apply for my new tourist visa. The catch is thus: as well as taking up to thirty days to be approved, there’s also a chance the visa will be refused – due to the oddity of applying for a tourist visa when already on a sponsored one.
And so, and so; in amidst the stresses and strains of the ongoing visa strife and the consequential headaches, I found myself booking a one way ticket to Bali. I arrived five days ago with my boyfriend, but while the pictures may depict an idyllic slice of picture perfect paradise upon this Indonesian island, to paraphrase Toilken – all that glitters certainly ain’t gold.
Yes, Bali is beautiful, and yes; I am unbelievably lucky to not only have options ahead of me but to have the opportunity to spend time soaking up the Balinese sunshine while I wait in hope for my visa to come through. But as a serial planner; and someone that likes to know what I’m doing and when, the uncertainty that lies ahead – and the waiting game of not knowing how long I’m here for, or – if indeed – my visa will be approved – has left me feeling lost.
But with each day that passes, the magic of Bali and its unending beauty is beginning to take hold. From the rice paddies of Ubud, to Seminyak’s stunning ocean vistas to the open generosity of the Balinese people and beyond, there is so, so much to be thankful for in this one crazy and beautiful life we’re given. I’m learning to live for the present; and to stay hopeful for the future; whatever it may bring.