Friday, 28 February 2014

The Missing Link

This blog gets about a thousand hits a day, but rarely do we come across genuinely thought-provoking comments. I am going to re-post one such comment made by 'Renard' in response to my previous post. Hope the discussion below will benefit other readers in his shoes.
Hello A & S,

I was brought to this blog after reading your exchanges with LIFT (those who know, knows). Kudos to the two of you for documenting your journey to the land of Oz and of course, for articulating the disappointment and resentment of many Singaporeans. I am one of the 'silent majority' who feels the brunt of everything wrong with this society and never have guessed that I would be making a comment on a blog or on any platform for that matter. Well, it took me this long.

Admitedly, I did not read the entirety of your blog and only managed to skim the highlights but I gathered that the two of you are now gainfully employed in Australia after crossing the immigration hurdles. Congratulations.

Having done a little research on the criteria for making the move a few years ago and after reading some blogs on the process (including yours), I'm still perplexed how the average Singaporean could have successfully migrated to Australia, university educated, no less. Allow me to elaborate on my doubts: the SOL clearly indicates a shortage in fields such as metallurgy, dentistry, rheumatology and welding among many others that we would normally consider 'niche' in Singapore. After all, how many metallurgists do we personally know of? Considering that job-search visas would not be granted for people who wish to 'try their luck' for a few months, how on earth do people actually set foot in Australia, let alone find a job at all?

Which brings me to the next question: we have obviously heard of people who are permanent residents of Australia working in jobs that are evidently not listed on the SOL, for instance, marketing (the infamous Amy Cheong comes to mind). I am going to assume that Amy Cheong obtained her PR the legitimate and legal way so it is all fair play here but I am quite certain office-based positions such as marketing, branding and what-nots are clearly not what Australia desperately lacks, so what gives? And I am not going to speculate that Amy Cheong was 'flexible' enough to retrain as a welder before receiving rights to remain in Australia and changing jobs thereafter. Obviously not.

The more I read about how people land in Australia without first having a job on the SOL, the more I feel something is not clearly explained; like the missing link in mankind's evolution for lack of a better analogy. It is almost as if a plumber told you he was elected to chair the committee of Genetic Research in Australia. We would be applauding and lavishing compliments for him having achieved that, and only to be struck by the realisation that something about the story is not quite complete. Not totally implausible for that to happen but you get the idea. What I am asking is, how would the average university-educated non-metallurgist non-cardiologist non-super-niche worker be able to gain entry into Australia? Would you like to shed some light here? Thank you.


 Hi Renard,

Thanks for the comment and the depth of thought put into it. You raised quite a few points and asked valid questions. 

1. Occupation Shortages in SOL

Besides metallurgy, welding, carpentry and other trade jobs on the SOL (which are admittedly not terribly glamorous and therefore 'niche' occupations in SG), there are also many jobs/fields listed on the SOL that Singaporeans could already be qualified in. These include:
  • Teachers of all levels (the number of staff in MOE is more than half the ENTIRE civil service)
  • Nurses
  • Accountants
  • Internal and External Auditors
  • Solicitors and barristers
  • Engineers (some more specialized than others)
  • Scientists
  • Many, many other occupations in the healthcare industry
Anyway, I'm guessing there are probably hundreds or thousands of already qualified / eligible Singaporeans who have thought of migration to Oz but keep holding back for various excuses reasons. I've spoken to quite a number of them when I was still in SG (mostly teachers, because of my background). After all, migration is not for the faint of heart, and certainly not everyone's cup of tea.

2. Job Search Visa

I'm not sure what you mean by 'job search visa'. If you are referring to working holiday visas, of course the chances will be slim because the employer will need to sponsor you if they hire you. If you are referring to tourist / visitor visa, I believe it is illegal to try to gain employment without first converting your visa to 457, which requires sponsorship.  There are plenty of locals/PRs who are already in Oz and qualified - cold knocking with the wrong type of visa is highly unlikely to achieve sustainable results. If you are referring to 457, then the comment doesn't make sense because those on 457 already have a job to begin with? Admittedly I have not 'studied' all the visas so there may be an option for job seekers I'm not aware of...?

3. The Missing Link

In response to your reading about how people land in Australia without first having a job on the SOL, let me state that my previous job in Singapore was on the Australia SOL, so I obviously do not belong to the special category you mentioned. I do believe at least one person in a family must offer an occupation on the main SOL or any of the State Nomination Occupation Lists (SNOL) in order to gain entry as a skilled PR under 189/190. Those who married PR / citizens or are children / parents of PR/citizens could also gain entry without being specially qualified (after a very long wait, but possible).

It's what you choose to do when the odds are stacked against you that defines you. If your job is NOT on the SOL or you are not married / related to any Australians and you wish to migrate, what would you choose to do about it? S and I personally know a fair number of people who belong to this group and they chose status quo - to do nothing. We also know a very small number who are in the midst of taking IELTS, switching their careers or considering further study in Australia. Which group are you?

From the perspective from someone who has already migrated, I would say you can only complete the story when you are on the other side. The intangible missing link for us is faith in the unknown, living with uncertainty, determination to make it work and shattering the deeply ingrained Singaporean mindset. Each migrant's story is so different so each migrant's perspective after coming over may be quite different. Please do ask other migrants for their opinions!

I hoped I've answered your question(s) to some extent. To put it very bluntly, the average degree holder who is not particularly skilled/talented nor married to an Australian nor working in a job on the main SOL/State's SOL will find it very difficult to gain entry as a Permanent Resident or Temporary Resident. The average person is unlikely to migrate. The average person will find excuses and complain about his circumstances. The average person will probably not change his occupation to gain entry into Australia. The average person will live an average life and wonder why he is unhappy.

The extraordinary, however, will find a way. 

- A


  1. Immigration is not for everyone. I agree with A that it involves quitting one's job, familiar environment and family to move to a new place with so many unknowns and foreign faces. At the same time, many people do it because they feel that they need a change in environment to be happier. I have known of people who have successfully settled overseas and also those who returned to their home countries feeling disillusioned after a while.

    We may not get the jobs we want overseas. Those who are flexible usually take up a lower paying job and work their way up or go back to school and retrain to get a job in demand. With all this in mind, it is important to have done sufficient homework and saved enough before moving overseas. One needs the money to tide through the period in which one is back to school or haven't obtained employment.

    Also the immigration regulation changes all the time. While one may be eligible for immigration in the past previously, it may not be so now.

    overseas sinkie

  2. My occupation for state sponsorship was recently removed after applying for it 2 years ago, I was lucky to catch the last boat to Australia. It is always better to apply for Australia PR visa earlier than later or when you are younger and eligible.

    1. Hi there,

      Completely agree with you on the time aspect. Time waits for no man. In addition, I've also mentioned before that the application and related fees can only go in one direction -- up.

      Too bad some realize only after the door is closed and it's too late...

      - A

    2. If I had applied for my PR visa one year earlier, I could have saved A$500 and A$1k via migration agent.
      In fact I was eligible to apply for it 10 years ago, it would be much cheaper at least by half and alot more easier but unfortunately circumstances were not the same and push/pull factors were rather less then.
      Anyway be late than never and glad that I still make it eventually though at an older age.

  3. You can also work for an MNC and request for a transfer then convert visas if they are willing to sponsor. This is the easiest route if it is available.

    1. that's like striking double lottery..
      1st, to get into MNC in Singapore, is not easy, if you are not already in. (Probably need a good degree in a valid field. If you already have such a degree - can directly apply for Oz PR.. why need to join a MNC first?)
      2nd, to convince them to post you to Australia with a valid visa, is also not easy.

      Can't imagine why you consider this the easiest route.

  4. The easiest route to get Australia PR visa is probably to marry a local Australian.

    1. Whilst mixed marriages are relatively common in Oz... Aussie women marrying foreign Asian men are rather uncommon. How can this be a easy route to getting Asian PR?

      The easiest route is still getting a PR via SOL.

    2. Many Aussie women are Asian Australians now.

      If your occupation is not in SOL, you can say goodbye to your PR visa unless you start taking up nursing course.

  5. Hi, i hope you will post up my post.

    The missing link is that you are there working on a job that are not the same job when you have applied for PR plus yr hubby is added on as secondary applicant.

    I hope you can be clear on these to your readers. Thanks.

    Your regular readers.

  6. Hey Alvin, you are right.

    There's absolutely no requirement for anyone to work in the same occupation as their SOL. Surprisingly I can't find any clear mention of this before.

    But let this comment put down on record that you can choose ANY job you wish after you get your PR. Call this a loophole if you want, but there are no implications.

    Once Australia lets you in and you enter, you are a free man at last. Unless you are on 190, then you are obliged to fulfil the 2 year residency requirement in your nominated state (again, you can change occupation)

    From what I've read, they don't really enforce or monitor where you stay, though. But anyway we are on 189.

    Btw it was made very clear that I was added on as a secondary applicant. Thanks for pointing that out.

    And I can't "up" your post. This is not Sammyboyforum! I can and will publish any comments from anyone, as long as it is not racist or discriminatory in nature, and does not contain advertising links :)


  7. I am on 176 visa aka 190 visa now, my wife has since been working in the state which is not our sponsored state.

    She was also a secondary applicant but she was lucky enough to find a job in Australia while she was still in Singapore.

    She just took a "free ride" to Australia without going through skilled assessment and IELTS test, and was not points tested.

  8. Hi A & S,

    My wife and I are Singaporeans who migrated to Melbourne 8 years ago. We were in our early 30s when we arrived. It's good that you guys came here while you are still young. Welcome.

    I chance upon your blog and found it very informative and candid. I like it. So, I hope you wont mind me sharing my 2 cents worth here with everyone who is eligible and 'thinking' of migrating.

    I agree with Overseas Sinkie, migration is not for everyone. You need to plan and take risk when migrating to a new country. Should you decided to take the plunge, you need to be prepared mentally:

    1) Be determine to succeed and settle in. Returning should not be an option.
    If you are thinking of just trying out and at the back of your mind you are ready to catch the next flight back to Singapore the instand you face challenges, dont waste time and money. A long get away is all you need, not migration.

    2) Be open-minded. Learn to embrace new perspective and new way of life in a new country.
    Remember you are coming to a country with its own rich and unique history, culture an didentity. Do not complain and compare. Learn, adapt and embrace in this new environment as it too, is trying to learn, adapt and embrace you. Learn your rights, cherish them and exercise them wisely. Remember never to exploit it.

    3) Be prepared to be flexible - Survival is key. If you can get your ideal job, good. Otherwise, you might need to retrain and do something completely different. Set you goals, focus on your strenghts. Prove your worthiness through result.

    4) Be prepare to be independant and patience. Convenience is a luxury here. Every errants required to be done needs to be done during office hours most of the time. Most business closes after 5pm - although things are changing in the retail sector. It will take much longer time to complete compared to where you came from.

    5) Lastly, be positive. You are given a chance to stay and work here, make the best of it. Enjoy the journey. Always remember where you came from and why you choose to come here.

    If all else failed, well, at least you have given it a shot. I am sure Singapore will always welcome you back with open arms. Will you?

    A & S - We should catch up and touch base since we are all in Melbourne. Do you have an email?

    1. Hi Anon 6 March.

      Yes we have an email, but obviously not publicly available.

      What you can do, is share a bit more details about yourself, provide an email and facebook contact which I will screen through before deciding whether to contact you. We never publish comments with personal details like that..

      So.. It will be a leap of faith on your part. Your privacy will be respected and protected, and we can safeguard ours and our interests as well.

      Ultimately we leave it to you.

      Btw, you are completely spot on in your comment. Agree 99% and I just need to say that there are 24 hour Kmart, Asian eateries that open till wee hours (don't think it's 24 hours), probably 24 hour fast food, but only in selected suburbs of Melbourne. In some suburbs you do get that "dead town after 5pm" effect. Which we like. We never felt a need for the 'conveniences', and never bothered. Different country, different mindset, and different lifestyle.

      I have a few packs what used to be one of my favourite treats here. Instant mee goreng. I think I have it about once a month now, or less often. Used to have it every week or two.

      But most people I know do not have such a radical change of mindset, nor would I even advocate it as a necessary prerequisite to migration...


  9. Hi A and S,

    I am a former Sgrean teacher who has left Sg and migrated to Adelaide via SOL. My husband and I will be moving to Brisbane in a few mths time. Do you have an email accnt? I have some questions to ask you. Teaching jobs are so hard to come by over here.

  10. Hi Daljit pls see my above (belated) reply to the anonymous commenter. Leave your contact details including social media info (not log in info! but info for me to find you and verify your authenticity). That comment will not be published


  11. Hello, happy new year! Somewhat delayed greetings since I only just chanced upon your blog while doing my (countless) research on a move to Melbourne.

    Pull factors - dating an Aussie (whom has moved home) / getting a more balanced lifestyle there

    It's been such a rollercoaster ride finding out about the migration processes / costs (SGD10K if i go through an agency under the CSOL). But basically, my skills sets / occupation does not fall under the list of the SOL which is a huge pain in my a**. I fall under the CSOL and have to score top scores in each of the assessment categories..

    Besides researching on the CSOL, I have also explored working visas with my current employer (an MNC) but it will cost them too much (work visa costs) and justification of why my role is needed there..

    It's tough because I really want to be there.... but at the moment, the odds are against me.

    Agree with you on your pointers in the mindset / difference between SG and Aussie. I did my tertiary education there 10yrs ago and I've seen the difference in values of each country / efficiency, etc.

    However, one of the biggest push factor is being able to get away from the 'rat' race.. now, I hope I don't sound like a lazy fook (because I am not). I am doing well in my own stead. But.. yeah ive ‘lived’ there before and I enjoy the things that this country cannot give me.

    I recognize that there are skilled jobs that are recognized in Aus (but not in SG) that can give you an equally fulfilling and reasonable remuneration! It is fair.

    I’ve heard of oh-too-many stories about PRs in SG whose family members (i.e. newborns) not accorded the PR status which makes things abit odd isn’t it? Not sure how it works, it is not transparent.

    Sigh, ok enough, but just wanted to say thanks for starting & keeping the blog alive. Appreciate your candidness, there’s no need to fluff things up.

    Take care & happy CNY! (i assume u guys 'celebrate' in your own way or another..)

    1. Hi Mich,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and for you wishes!

      We don't actually celebrate CNY, though thus far we have visited some of A's folks who have migrated here way before we did. We don't decorate our house for any festival (and if we did, wouldn't be CNY!!!)

      Strangely enough, for the past few weeks, I've seen one or two paper lanterns in my neighbour's back yard. Now my neighbours are 100% "white aussie". But one of them is into arts and crafts so maybe that explains it...

      Btw we don't even know when exactly is CNY (as you would know, it's not a PH here), though I expect FB to announce it any moment now... :p


  12. Hi S & A, where have you been and how are you folks? We are fast approaching the end of year and I thought I would drop you both a liner :)

    I wrote to you sometime in Feb and later on in the year too. My then-bf proposed and now we are married (registered in Singas). Still sorting out the paper work and big move but the initial plan now is for him to come live here first. In either city we decide on, housing is going to be a pain.

    Things aren't as simple but we can take one thing at a time!

    Take care guys, you HAVE in reality moved ahead / away for a longer period than you guys probably imagined. :)

    No motive in writing I guess, except to say hello and that I do check in on the blog to check on you two :P

    - MICH -

    1. Hi Mich, apologies but the only comment from you that I can see is in Feb this year. We're very well, thanks for asking :). Been quite engaged at work and with life outside work, there's not much to talk about to an audience we are increasingly disconnected with.

      We have made a few new friends through our blog, but it's not something we'd advertise and we are very cautious and selective of who we contact (and stay in contact with thereafter).

      Hope it all works out well for both of you guys. If you like, you may drop us your contact along with some personal details (to demonstrate authenticity, nothing juicy or salacious required :p). Comments of this nature will not be published.

      I'm not sure if you've asked questions which you indicated that you do not wish to be published. Our practice is that we do not publish such comments, but we also do not reply to such comments.