Making it Legal

Sydney Travel Blog

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Here I am, living in Sydney, Australia patiently awaiting my temporary residence visa to be approved.  I've got a Bridging visa A as my previous visa, the ever so popular Working Holiday, has recently expired.  Legally I'm allowed to live and work in Australia while I await the decision on my application.  Leaving the country, however, is another matter.

Funny how there's a lengthy process for deciding whether or not I'm allowed to stay in Australia, but while I wait for said decision, the government insists that  I not leave this country.  But it's Christmas and since I spent the holidays in Australia last year, clearly I must find a new country to party the merry season away!  So off to the immigration office I went, application for my Bridging visa B in tow.

A Bridging visa B is really no different than a Bridging visa A, except that you're allowed to leave and re-enter the country within the dates of the visa.  And the $90 service fee.  Can we say "money grab"?  After all, I've been told that it only takes about 5 minutes for someone to print off a nice little sticker to put in my passport and I so I can get it while I wait.  At least, that's what the rude immigration chick told me the first time I attempted to apply for this Bridging visa B.

Originally, when I asked the immigration officer who handled my temp residence visa app about leaving the country on my Bridging visa, I was told to apply in person, one week in advance, and he handed me the multi-page application form complete with instructions.  No problem, I thought.  Sounds easy as!  So just to be safe, I filled out the form as per the instructions and showed up at the immigration office 2 weeks in advance just to be certain.

After waiting around for almost an hour, it was my turn in line.  The previously mentioned rude immigration chick took one look at my form and asked me for my passport.  Passport?  Hmm, I suppose that would have been a bright idea to bring, but at the time it actually didn't occur to me.  You see, I read the instructions on "How to apply for Bridging visa B" and no where did it say I needed to hand in my passport.  Not even under "How to lodge your application" did it mention bringing my passport.  And, in my defense, the other 2 visas I've held for my stay in Australia were granted on a computer print-out and not stuck in my passport.

Still, shame on me.  Should have known better! 

Alas, my shame was confirmed when the immigration officer laughed at me.  Laughed at me!  That BITCH!  I took a morning off from work only to waste my time at the immigration office to get laughed at.  If you've ever been stuck in the waiting room of the Sydney immigration office, I tell you, it's no ball of fun.  Why do they always play episodes of that cheesey, emo-vampire teen drama in the waiting room when I'm there?

In any case, she handed back my application and told me it didn't matter anyways because I was applying too soon for the visa.  She told me to come back 5 days before I leave.  5 DAYS?  Does that mean 5 calendar days or 5 business days?  Because 5 business days really only means I'm 10 days ahead of schedule.  And what if I was rejected?  Didn't have the right documents if I only showed up 5 days in advance?  I've already booked my airfare.  Seems to me they figure no one gets rejected and so they don't want people showing up too far in advance from their departure date.  So it's just a red tape formality is it?  Smells like a money grab to me.

I had to go back a few days ago, a.k.a. 6 business days in advance.  I brought my passport this time.  I was told to come back in a few days as I was still lodging my visa app too soon.  TOO SOON?!  Jesus Christ, what a load of crap!  I don't think so, I thought.  No way did I take off another day from work to get sent home.  "How is it too soon when I depart next week?" I asked. The lady looked at me and said "Next week? The 22nd is only next week? Well okay then, here's your number in line". Childish, public tantrum averted!

In the end, I managed to walk out with my Bridging visa B safely stuck in my passport. I spent a lovely 10 minutes chatting with a different immigration officer about my home country Canada, about how his mother just spent several months there and raved about the place, and about how maple syrup, REAL maple syrup, tastes excellent on a salmon fillet. He said he loves salmon and loves real maple syrup, but never thought to put the two together. It's quite popular in Canada though. He said he'd give that pairing a try that night for dinner. Now why can't all government employees be so nice?
sofi917 says:
Did you ever get your temporary residentialship? and how did that go ? :)
Posted on: Sep 20, 2011
wade5000 says:
Awful! No way, it was awesome! I just got off a 14.5 hour flight and he unintentionally gave me something to laugh at....him!
Posted on: Feb 01, 2010
Connie says:
Wade: What?! That's awful! Why does immigration hire such grumpy people?
Posted on: Feb 01, 2010
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