I never thought I would be so happy to be back on Australian soil! This is a long post so get some popcorn or a cup of tea 😜.
If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll understand my visa situation is a bit complicated. I want to stay and work but I can’t with my current visa and the only way I’ll be able to stay and work is to have an employer sponsor me. I’ve been on the hunt for work since September and still nothing. I can only do what I can and that’s apply for jobs and follow up with people when they present me with potential leads. In the last three months I’ve had more people approach me about work opportunities than I did in the first 12 months I was here. That should be encouraging right? Well it would be amazing if a job came out it but I sit here still unemployed. Funny enough I wouldn’t change all that I’ve learned and the situations I have to face. God knows what He’s doing even though some days I would prefer a more direct path. LOL. This picture sums it up perfectly.
Anyway, to abide by my current visa requirements I had to leave the country again so I took a quick trip to Auckland to see my friend Joy. I wasn’t able to do much because I used the last of my money to buy my plane ticket. Going back to Auckland (rather than going back to Canada) was my faith offering. I believe that God called me here (still trying to figure out why) so I’m just walking that out as best as I can. However, buying the plane ticket put me in tight financial situation so I’m so dependent on God to provide for me…and He has 🙂
On my way back to Melbourne I knew I’d be questioned by immigration. I was questioned the last time so I anticipated this to be a bit more difficult. For me to be let back in the country I needed to show proof of a ticket out of the country and finances to support myself (no less than $5000). I had neither but I know I am supposed to be here so God was going to have to work a miracle.
I maintained my composure when I was directed to speak to the immigration officer but as soon as I walked up to her she was berating me with questions and wasn’t friendly about it either. She was aggressive and wanted to know my intentions of staying, why I stayed the three months the first time around, have I been touring around Australia (because that’s what my current visa is for), where I have been working, how I have been supporting myself financially etc. I could barely get a word in to answer her. She reminded me that I needed to show her proof of finances or a plane ticket. I told her I didn’t have a ticket out of the country and when she asked about finances I just didn’t really answer the question but I mentioned my visa (which they don’t take into consideration). She then tells me if I wasn’t able to produce proof of finances that I would not be allowed back into the country. At this point I’m shaking and then she confiscates my phone to look for evidence (yes, they are allowed to do that). She tells me to sit down and walks away. I’m just a ball of nerves at this point. All I knew to do was pray. So I did for the 20 minutes she was gone. If I was going home, fine. But I could not deal with her aggression or attitude again. So that was my prayer, “God, just let this woman be nicer to me.”
When she came back I was looking down into my purse and she accuses me of hiding something else in there from here (already we are not off to a good start). Then she asks me about a text that said I had less than $100 in my account (which was true at that time) so I tried to explain that to her but she just wasn’t having any of it. She had an iPad in her hand and asked me to sign into my Australian bank account to show her how much money I had in here. I laughed to myself because I didn’t have enough funds to meet the criteria. I took out my bank card and was trying to sign in but the webpage was asking for a client number not my bank card number. I’ve never signed in with a client number and explained that to her. I thought she would just get my phone and ask me to sign in on the app but she didn’t. Then she asked me to sign into my Canadian bank account to show her how much money I had. I laughed to myself again because I had locked myself out of my account and had yet to call my bank and sort it out. How convenient especially in this moment! I explained that to her and she gave me a blank stare…
“She’s going to send me home right now,” I thought.
Her tone and demeanor changed and she was much more gentle with me as she explained to me why they would not allow me to stay in the country. I couldn’t get upset because I didn’t produce proof of finances or a place ticket out of the country. I understand why they are doing what they are doing because there are so many people who stay and work illegally and do bad things. Obviously I don’t fall into that category but she doesn’t know me. Then she asked me if I want to stay in Australia and I told her that I do want to stay but I’ve been trying to do it the right way by not working under the table. I know she read a text about someone offering me a job and I would get paid cash but I turned it down because I didn’t want to jeopardise getting sponsored. That definitely added credibility to my story (thank you Jesus).
She looks hard at me and tells me what the next steps would be which is being sent to a detention centre and sent on the next flight out of the country. Yup. I had a mini freakout and told her that I haven’t done anything to go to jail. LOL! She calmly explained to me that it wasn’t jail but more like a hostel for people on their way out. I would also have to get someone to bring my belongings to me as I wouldn’t be allowed to leave. I looked at her and said I’m not going to argue that and I’ll abide by whatever they ask me to do. So she got up to speak with her supervisor and told me she would be back to confirm what would come next.
I was so calm after that conversation. Even though the situation wasn’t in my favour I had peace which is what I prayed for. Plus, the immigration officer was almost like a different person. She was SO nice! So to my surprise (and relief) she came back to me with my passport and my phone, handed them to me, and said:
“I just went to bat for you with my supervisor and we are going to let you through.”
Her reasoning was that I seemed like a genuine person and there is no evidence that I worked illegally since I came back in September. They were just going to look over the fact that I didn’t show proof of finances or a plane ticket. And then! She ended by saying that she hopes sponsorship works out for me and I end up staying in Australia.
I’m still flabbergasted. I was NOT supposed to be let back in and yet here I am. I do have a firm deadline of March 15 so if I don’t get sponsored before then I have to leave the country. That’s plenty of time for God to whip up something amazing!
Seriously… I still can’t believe I’m here. Praise God!