Visa … the word now conjures an expensive and confusing process with as many facets as a brilliant cut diamond …. WOW that sounds quite posh!

Which visa is the right one? Why are there so many and what is the difference between a visa and a permit?

I chose a Work To Residence visa (WTR). It has advantages and disadvantages. The details are long and boring but it seems to be the most appropriate.

To get the visa you need to:

1, Spend time, effort and money getting a job offer (in our case, I needed to head south).

2, Spend more money on getting Police checks.

3, Spend a huge amount of money (close to £1,000 for the family) on medicals, x-rays and blood tests.

4, Send or take the whole lot to London.

So far we have completed 1 and half of 2. Lisa has her Police check back, I don’t (was I really that bad?). Our bodies have been examined, x-rayed and bled. Our Doctor, no not our Doctor but a ‘panel’ Doctor (jobs for the boys and for speed we had to go from Ramsgate to Chichester to see one) has been chasing the lost samples of blood at their local hospital. He reliably (how do I know that?) informs us that they will be here on Tuesday or Wednesday. Now there are a few potential potential problems. If the bloods do not ‘turn up’ then we have a big delay. If they need re-doing, are they mine or Lisa’s. This is a concern because Lisa is poorly and in hospital at the moment (hopefully home tomorrow, Monday). It would also mean a trip to Chichester again. I have no problem with the town (except that it’s full of ‘wrinklies’) but it’s another delay / expense.

If all goes to plan then on Thursday or Friday this week, I will be taking a train to the city of smoke to hand deliver some of the most important and expensive documents that I have had the ‘pleasure’ in acquiring. For the ‘pleasure’ of doing this I need to cross their palm with silver. I’ll also try to open a NZ bank account.

The good thing is that things are getting done. The bad thing is I’m running out of time!

The house is up for sale … any takers? The movers have quoted (close to £3,500) and my notice has ‘gone in’!!??!!?? This is all due to the fact that I’m needed in NZ on the 28th October! That’s 34 days from now (and today is almost over too), I have to fly there …. that’s 24hours in the air, and recover from the flight in time to give that all important 1st impression. In reality that’s about 1 calendar month.

Stress …… what’s that, if I had hair I’d have pulled it out and the bank manager would have helped I’m sure.

I must remember the rule: YOU DON’T GO TO NZ TO GET RICH, IT A RICHER LIFESTYLE. I think that you can’t get rich in NZ because your skin trying to get there.

Getting the job

Again it was time to get my ass over to the other side of the world and get a job offer. This time I was armed with the information that if I could get a job offer in Auckland then things would be more positive for a visa. This is because they have a staff retention problem in Auckland. It’s long and complicated and I don’t fully understand it but it was enough to get me over again.

I had applied on-line and I’d been short listed and asked to attend for assessments and interviews …. So I did. Lisa looked after or now larger family (3 boys) whilst I was away for 2 weeks this time. I had driving assessments (very quiet roads compared to the UK), a physical and many written, psychological and team tests. In with this was an interview, practical and map reading tests.

I must have bluffed my way through as they offered me position! Initially the offer is for Ambulance Officer. This is somewhere around STS ECA in the UK. I hope the progression is quick.

The other problem and the one we are facing now is …. The VISA!

The begining?

Hi, well for those who don’t know me, I’m Colin, a paramedic and father of 3 great boys who get called allsorts (you know what I mean?), and husband (only just recently) of Lisa. I’m the crazy guy who thought that it would be good to up sticks and move to the other side of the world! Things would be difficult, I knew that and some things near impossible but I also know that if you apply yourself, you can do most things.

Life is full of surprises and the thought of emigrating was only in my mind after I met Lisa …. let me justify that! I didn’t want to move away from her, far from it I wanted us to better ourselves and especially our surroundings. We went to Australia on holiday to see if it was the place for us ….. it was and we had some informal interviews that gave us an offer of employment if we could get into Australia …… we couldn’t (at the time). I looked at New Zealand and it seemed ok ….. then throwing caution to the wind I arranged some job interviews. That meant that I had to go …. so I did for almost a month. This meant not only the logistics of going but Lisa staying at home with our 2 children. That would be a job I wouldn’t envy anyone! New Zealand is not ok …… it’s Bloody Brilliant!

I had an official job offer in the place that I thought was the best ….. Cambridge which is a small town (10,000 people) just outside Hamilton. I applied for a work visa whilst I was out there ….. the answer was NO! The chief ambulance officer got involved …. the answer was NO! This is because of a great ruling that they have. The position must be granted to a Kiwi if a suitably qualified person has applied. Imagine that happening in the UK! There are always going to be suitably qualified people over there by way of the structure of the service. My quest was over.

I was pretty frustrated about the ultimate aim being quashed by re tape, good as it is (why don’t we in the UK do that?). Toni at work got in …… but she is also a nurse and went down that route after seeing the potential problems with the Paramedic route.
Word got around at work ….. ‘he’s failed’ is how it seemed but that would not be the sentiment that it was given in. Someone recommended talking to a guy at Lydd station, also called Colin (and Emma … I mean his wife is Emma not Colin at the weekends?!?) …… he was and still is my mentor and guide in all things Kiwi and a general good egg.