Archive for the ‘Migrant Experiences’ Category

Aug 2007 – Our Interview

10 Aug

First an update about Wauzi – things have been quite in our area for the past two weeks so I hope that these criminals have realized that we are too awake for them and have taken their evil elsewhere. Wauzi has fully recovered and is running around as normal.

Now onto the good stuff :

We have had an offer on our house at R10 000 less than what we originally wanted for it, so we have accepted the offer. We are now waiting for the agent to come around so that we can sign the offer. Because of the long weekend, I presume it will only happen next week.

We then drove to Pretoria yesterday for our long awaited interview with NZIS at the IOM. Our case officer was Adelle Curtis. She is a lovely lady and we immediately felt at ease. She obviously asked most of the questions on the checklist, so we were pretty well prepared, but let the answers flow naturally. If we forgot to say something we just left it at that. The interview was very informal with her asking a question, then we would basically have a chat between the three of us. When she was happy that we had answered her question, she would pause to type a summary into her laptop.

We were probably about half way through the interview when Adelle suddenly blurted out – with me in mid-sentence – “You have your All Black shirt on!!!” with a huge smile on her face. Boy, I had long forgotten that I was even wearing my AB shirt, she caught me so by surprise that I could feel myself turning blood red. All I could get out was : “Of course, why would I not have my AB shirt on”. I am sure she had a good giggle at my expense afterwards because of the stupid look that must have been on my face.

The interview took just under an hour and although you could never call any interview a breeze, we did feel that it went well and Adelle said it was unlikely that we would be turned down at this point, it was just a case of deciding whether we would be granted a Work To Residence or full PR. We are obviously over the moon and are now holding thumbs that they are happy that we have done our homework and can grant us full PR immediately. But if they grant us WTR, that is great, it will just mean that we will have to wait for full PR until after I have been working for three months.

Her estimate was that we should have an answer by end of September – we can’t wait, but have so much to do now, that I’m sure the time is gonna fly past……


July 2007 – Black July

28 July

Last Thursday night, or rather Friday morning at 2:10 am we are woken up by Wauzi (our dog, long story about the name, maybe I tell it one day) barking like crazy. Now Wauzie has been barking often since we got back from holiday, so we know that there are bastards roaming around our area breaking in. I get up to see if I can see anything, without any luck, but continue to watch anyway. We have a drive through driveway (not as fancy as it sounds) and Wauzi is barking at the right gate the whole time. At around 3:30am he starts running from the one gate to the next barking at both gates in turn. This usually means there is somebody right in front of the yard, but as I have been watching the whole time I knew there wasn’t anybody hiding behind the wall in front of the yard, so I was pretty confused at that stage. A short while later I see my neighbour on the left hand side climb in the car with his father and ride off towards the right, so I presume that is why Wauzi was barking there. But Wauzi continued to bark by the left gate this time. About 30 seconds later two bastards come dodging past that left gate. I open the window and shout to them in my best English to please be so kind as to leave the area and they start running down the road. I storm out phoning the police and the area security on the run.

Outside I can just glimpse them running out of sight. Shortly after that the neighbour comes hurtling around the corner in his car (they had circled the block), I point him in their direction and he speeds off to see if he can catch them. For a change the police actually pitch up soon after that and start to fine comb the veld in front of the house, etc.

The neighbour comes back up the road and we start chatting. Next minute I see something move in the bushes a few houses up (towards the right hand houses where Wauzi was originally barking), the neighbour makes a U-turn and speeds off in that direction to see if he can see anything. Neither they nor the cops find anything so we all decide that they have got away and call it a night.

Next morning Mel is on her way to take Candice to school and the neighbour three houses down (to the right) stops her and asks if it is our Golf, she answers yes. He says come look here : they had stripped his Golf down to the body. It literally looked as if it was going in for a re-spray. There was just a body and the wheels left, even the roof upholstery inside the car and window panes were gone.

So there were two groups roaming our area at the same time robbing everybody blind.

Last night (early Friday Morning again) at around 4:30am Mel wakes me up saying that Wauzi is barking again after a quite week. I jump out of bed to see the same two bastards that I had chased the week before walking past our yard. Again I open the window and shout at them in my best English to please be so kind as to leave the area and they start running, actually shouting F-you back at me in the process. Unbelievable!

Wauzi however doesn’t stop barking in the direction they ran (left gate) in so I stay awake to keep an eye out. Now I know when Wauzi’s tail stand out horizontal with the ground he can actually see who he is barking at but I couldn’t, so they were hiding just behind the wall. This continued for an hour when next minute I hear talking – here come two joggers blissfully unaware of the “stand-off” taking place, chatting away merrily.
It goes quite after that. As it is now 5:30am I just stay awake and start working.

At 7:30am Mel opens the front door to take the car out and Wauzi doesn’t come running like he normally does. Immediately she knows something is wrong and runs to call me. I get outside and immediately KNOW what has happened. The bastards had poisoned Wauzi and were waiting behind the wall for my poor dog to die so that they could break into the neighbour’s car / house / our house. I call the vet and rush him there. By this time the dog had been poisoned 3 hours ago and should have been dead already. He legs were as stiff as a gumpole and he was shivering like crazy. Out the back there was just blood coming out. I know the description is a bit graphic, but I need to tell it so that everybody can realize what monsters we are dealing with in this sick country. These are not hungry people looting for food money, they are organised criminals!

The vet immediately said that Wauzi should be dead as it normally only takes about 5 minutes for the dog to die from the poison they use – a very potent rat poison normally used used by the farmers. Apparently you can buy it freely at the taxi ranks, and not for killing rats. They put the poison, which looks like poppy seeds, into a piece of wors (sausage) or cook a stew of meat and potatoes with the poison added in. They then just toss some of this poisoned food over the wall so that the dog can eat it. The poison dissolves very quickly in the stomach and then eats up the insides of the dog and attacks the nervous system, hence the blood and shaking.

He gave Wauzi an injection to make him vomit the remaining poison out and then injected him with a stimulant to calm the shaking. There is no antidote for this poison, so after that you just hope for the best. I left Wauzi there thinking that the last memory of my best dog ever would be of him in a cage at the vet leaning against the mesh grating using his last inch of strength to stay upright while vomit was oozing out the front and blood out the back. I can honestly say that at that point I realized that South Africa is a very sick place and to say that it has gone to the dogs is an insult to the dogs that put their lives on the line every day to keep us alive in our houses.

When I got home I saw a piece of wors about 5cm long riddled with the poison lying on the grass. Wauzi had bitten it in half and swallowed both pieces whole. He obviously didn’t like it and had soon vomited it out. That is when hope started returning that he would survive his ordeal. Wauzi returned home that night, very weak, but alive. I have vowed that these criminals will never be in a position to do that again, so I now wake up at 2am every morning and stay awake until 5am as this is generally the time these bastards rape, murder and pillage after dark.

Despite the fact that we are almost about to leave South Africa, until yesterday I would still have left the country with a grain of sadness in my heart. As of today however I will leave South Africa with a sigh of relief and a good dose of , I am desperately sad to say, bitterness. Relief because we have survived this hell hole. Bitterness because the dream that was the New South Africa has become a haven for corruption, incompetence and crime, because one racist government was replaced with another, because I cannot even get a nights rest anymore in my own home.

When I climb on that plane it will be good bye and good riddance – I, and many other before and after me, could have helped to make this place the best country on earth, but you (the criminals and government) wouldn’t let us!

July 2007 – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Whew, hectic, is not the word

Have been waiting a long time to add another post, then when I have some great news, things are so hectic that I don’t have the time to add it.

We have been working very hard to get the house ship shape – we have revamped the kitchen from top to bottom, revamped the bar, tiled the front and side stoep as well as the bathrooms. Painted the inside of the house. Then a bunch of smaller jobs here and there that seemed to take forever. What made things worse is that I had somehow managed to book up most of my weekends, so most of the work was done at night and during spare moments. To top it all I somehow managed to sprain my ankle too. No not from all the hard work, but innocently sitting at my computer with my foot skew. Ai Yai Yai, as you dom is moet jy sukkel. At least everything is done now and the house has never looked this good.

There are a few agents that have the house on their books, still need to phone the rest. The house has also been shown twice already, but no takers. Currently the house is booked by various agents for show every Sunday during August, so hopefully the right person will walk in soon.

Okay enough jabber – we found out on the 11th July that we have been granted our immigration interviews. They are scheduled for 9 August 2007 in Pretoria. Needless to say we are VERY excited, yet a little scared too as you could blow your future in half an hour if the interview doesn’t go well. Having said that, everybody that has been for interviews before says that it is very informal, so we will just do our best to relax and be ourselves.

Then two weeks ago we are driving on the highway towards Pretoria and some idiot comes spinning across the lanes towards us. We may have been able to stop – I think – but the guy in the lane next to us couldn’t avoid him so he ended up pulling in front of us and hitting the guy anyway. In the process our stopping distance disappeared and we ended up in the back of him.

The end result is that the insurance wrote our car off because it supposedly cost too much to fix. We now still owe R11 000 on a car we don’t own. I am needless to say pretty ticked off about that and the fact that we now have no car. Luckily my sister had just bought a new car and was kind enough to let us use her Ferrari (blood red VW Chico)

May 2007 – No News from NZIS, but…

20 May

I have been holding back on adding another entry thinking that I would have a good news entry to add soon saying we have interviews, but alas, no such luck.

Seems like since they decided to move the interviews to July / August, they have put the SA applications without job offers on the back burner to try and get rid of some of the backlog

So now we wait and wait and wait ……..

It seems however that we did use our time productively though (excuse the pun) as we have recently found out that we are preggies again. We are both seriously excited at the prospect of a brand new Clark in the family. Now we are holding thumbs that it will be a boy so that nobody can say I don’t know how to weld , but I have never claimed to be a good handyman, so a second girl will do just fine

28 May

We went for our first scan today – wow the kiepie is almost a centimeter already (one month). What surprised me was that you could already clearly see the heart beating, even though the baby is only the shape of a jelly bean !

Exciting and emotional stuff

This news however has had a knock-on effect as far as our emigration plans go.

We had planned the baby around the April round of interviews, so that Mel would still be mobile and able to help with the moving when we get to NZ. The whole immigration process puts a hold on your life, but this was one part we could not delay any longer as I am now 37, which means by the time the new kiddie is 21 I will basically be a 60 year old fart in a wheelchair <– that’s me at 60 wearing binoculars for glasses.

Since NZIS had moved their dates to July / Aug for interviews, we had decided that we will then hang around till March ’08 for Mel’s Gran’s 80th birthday celebrations in Feb and my parent’s 50th anniversary in March. Now however we have a baby due on 14 Jan ’08, which means we have to make other choices, like -
a) Do we stay and have the baby here, then leave around May / Jun when baby has had a chance to see the world and settle in a bit or
b) Leave earlier, while Mel is still allowed to fly and have the baby in NZ

Each has it’s own pro’s and con’s, but we have decided that it would be easier to leave before the baby is born for these reasons :
1) We will then get ‘free’ delivery as we are not on medical aid here in SA
2) I have been trying to get the hell out of this country for over six years already and quite frankly am not prepared to wait another year +
3) It is easier to travel with a pregnant wife than with a newborn baby, and I presume cheaper.
4) Our container will probably only leave SA when we do, so at least then by the time our container arrives we have only had a month, maybe two without our stuff coping with a new baby as opposed to three – four months if we wait.
5) It makes it a bit easier to get yourself settled if you are able to sleep through the night and wake up fresh for the fight the next morning.
6) I can just roll Mel around Auckland while we are getting ourselves settled in , whereas having a newborn in tow will take ages getting nappies, etc. packed.

So with the second drum roll of the evening :

We are leaving for NZ latest 6 Nov ’07 – Doctors orders

Even if I have to go and find a job initially to do this, we are gone by 6 Nov ’07 ABF !

March 2007 – We do a Deal

Okay, so we are now two months into our wait after sending in our ITA and it is starting to kill us….probably because we know our turn is coming up and time is starting to drag.

At this point I think I am happy with our preparation, although I still want to do a lot more… set up the checklist for when we arrive : convert drivers licence, get tax numbers, etc. so that we don’t miss anything there.

I also need to look into the details of starting a business in a bit more depth so that we don’t make any mistakes there.

Over the past month we have been meeting up with other folks on their way to NZ and also been very busy designing heaps of websites. We are hoping that the scorcher of a start to the year will keep going as every cent extra we earn now is going to make life easier when we arrive in NZ.

We have also been replacing a lot of older goodies around the house as it is pointless paying R30 000 for a container full of worthless apparel . We are also busy getting quotes to have our kitchen revamped. Once that is done we will be fixing the gremlins around the house that should have been fixed years ago so that we can hopefully get the price we want for the house. If time and budget allows we also want to redo the master bathroom as that along with the kitchen and bathroom sells the house.

Last week we did a cool deal with a customer – we designed his website and he gave us one of his products – a GPS . While we were chatting about what he wants for his site, Mel was kicking my shins to pieces underneath the table  to ensure that I do a barter with him . I think we both immediately realised the HUGE benefit of the GPS once we arrive in NZ – we see a lot of customers every week and the GPS will take the stress of finding them in a strange city away completely. It is however still going to cost us another R2000 for the NZ maps but we reckon it was a good deal.

That is about all that is happening our here at the moment, hopefully next time the post will be about our interview date

Feb 2007 – Another Month has Passed

Hard to believe, but another month has passed, which means one month closer to our new life in New Zealand.

During the past month I have been working hard on getting the SA Going To NZ site promoted and busier and not doing as much of my own research as I would like to do, but it is all for a good cause.

The reality is definately setting in though as we tend to think in lasts at the moment. The last time we go to this or that place, the last time we will do this with that person, etc. Sad, but what can you do? We are however rock solid on our decision to move with every crime that makes the news acting to cement our decision even more.

On the 13th Feb I received an email from NZIS. They are in a trial period of helping find work for those with skills and experience in the IT field. The email has a form that I can fill in with some basic info that they will make available to potential employers. We had a good discussion about whether to participate or not, but decided against it. If I was to get a job in New Zealand now, it would leave Mel to sell up everything here alone. Now normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but with two businesses in tow, it becomes a nightmare at the best of times.

Then there is also the issue of having double expenses, in SA and NZ. If I leave for New Zealand, my art studio would have to close which means we can’t sell it and that income would dissappear, so logistically we cannot take up the NZIS offer, even if we wanted to. It does however bode well for everybody in the IT sector though as it means they are still desparate for IT professionals. To us it comfirms that there is lots of work for us when we get there.

I obviously check the NZIS site every single day as you never know….but so far no change. At least we know that somebody somewhere has looked at our ITA info in order to send us the job search email so I suppose it represents progress of some sorts. :

We are now hoping that NZIS will start to process the SA applications faster in order to get as many interviews as possible for when they come in, hopefully, April / May. No date has been given for when they will be in SA yet.

Till next time…..

Jan 2007 – Application in the Queue

Jan 24

Since sending our ITA we have been checking the NZIS website everyday to see if there has been any movement.

Our ITA was received on the 15th Jan 2007 and the NZIS website was also updated to say so the same day.

The next day they sent a letter, which we received today saying that they have accepted our application for consideration. I presume it is a standard letter sent to all applicants. We now no longer use our EOI number as we have been allocated an Application Number. Maybe I should tattoo it to my arm for good luck?

It also says that it will take about four months before we are allocated a case officer who will then process the application. Once allocated it will take another one to three months to do the actual processing. We are obviously hoping to catch the SA interviews which we think are going to be around April / May. This means they only have 2.5 to 3 months to process it. So we are holding thumbs that they will push to get as many SA applications ready for interview.

They also say that if there are any medical, character or other issues that need clarifying, then things could take longer. Let’s hope that is not the case.

When we got our ITA package to fill in there was a discrepancy with how much the application fee is : the cover letter said GBP 525 and the checklist said GBP 585. So we authorised GBP 585.

They sent us a receipt with today’s letter and whoo hoo it was only GBP 525 (a cool R864 less than expected, we will keep that for drinks when we get our blue stickers ).

Please excuse me now, I need to go and check the NZIS website for the 50th time today to see if there is any change since 2 minutes ago……….Eish

Jan 2007 – ITA on it’s Way

Finally with 3 days to spare before our ITA expires UPS came to collect it today.

Hopefully everything is okay and what they want. Our blood retests after Xmas were still slightly raised so it is possible that NZIS may ask for another set one of these days, we are holding thumbs that they don’t as expenses are building up at a rate of knots. At present we are just under R19 000, including the ITA fee. We haven’t even worked in petrol or drinks, etc., during all our travels. So I would put our emigration expenses at over R20 000 so far taking into account all the trips to Pretoria & Rosebank, etc.

Luckily this should be the worst of the expenses. The big ones left before we can move are the possible follow up medical tests, courier of original docs back to SA (about R600) and the Migrant Levy (about R4500 for the three of us)

I have added a pic of our completed ITA below to give you an idea of the amount of documentation required by NZIS.

Dec 2006 – Medicals

13 Dec

We decided to book our medicals in Rosebank as they were a little cheaper than Arwyp and the waiting list was a week as opposed to more than a month.

They quoted us R2820 for the three of us. We are booked in for 13 December.

The medical is not so bad. It is best to print the forms off the NZIS site in advance and fill them in where asked beforehand as this saves some time. They checked our height, weight, heart, tonsils, blood pressure, breathing. He presses here & then to check for what ever. He even checks if both family jewels are there – God knows why, he could see my daughter is perfectly normal and beautiful so everything down there is clearly working just fine . Then a quick eye test.

Our doctor, Dr Cobb was a real chatterbox, made Candice feel quite at home, but you never get a word in.

Then you wee in the bottle, they syphon some blood and send you for X-Rays.

This all took around three hours for the three of us and R3003 later.

As expected there were many other folks doing the same process as us, for New Zealand and Australia.

Now we just hold thumbs that there are no unknown gremlins that show up so that we can tick this off the list.

If our medicals and qualification assessments come back fine then we have almost everything required for our ITA.

All we still need to do is get reference letters from customers – eish.
Financial statements from our accountant to prove our business is viable and that our work experience is relevant to my qualifications then hopefully we are all stations go to submit our ITA.

20 Dec – Medical results back

The doctor gave us a call today about our medical results. All came back fine except our liver function tests. When we went for our medicals he repeatedly told us that these tests often come back high so we were sort of expecting it. We will now have to cut out the alcohol and eat lots of fresh fruit & veggies as well as drink tons of water for the next week. He will then test us again

Pretty boring Xmas for us then.

27 Dec

We were woken up this morning with a hooting at our gate. It was DHL with my qualification assessment.

As they were supposed to email to say that all is okay and the assessment time has begun, this was quite a surprise. At least the assessment was positive and we can now tick that hurdle off the list.

After our dry Xmas period, we went back for our repeat liver function tests today as well. It cost another R850 and we should know in a day or two – let’s hope everything is okay this time round. We really hope so as New Year is on us and the thought of spending our, hopefully, last New Years Eve with all our friends and family without a beer or two in sight is pretty depressing. But we will do it if that is what it takes.

Dec 2006 – Ag No, Not Again

1 Dec

Just as we thought that we had seen the back of our documentation trips to Pretoria, we ended up slogging off there again.

This time it was for a translation of my Matric Certificate. When you have a certificate translated, it needs to be a SWORN translation. The only person we could find to do this was a lady in Pretoria.

At least her service was real fast. I faxed her the certificate and two hours later it was ready.

Hopefully now we have all we need to get my qualification assessment in on Monday. As it is we are going to have to fast track the application as our time is running out to get the ITA in and Christmas & New Year is zooming towards us with a hell of a speed. This means dead time as far as getting anything done for our application is concerned.

10 Dec – NZQA in the post

After all the running around to Pretoria and the Vaal Triangle, I finally got DHL to come and collect all the paperwork for my qualification assessment.

DHL charged me R434 to send the documents to Wellington and it would probably cost the same to add a reply envelope to the package. NZQA charges NZ$36 to have your original documents sent back which is around R180. They also use DHL to send their documents, go figure.

Must admit it was pretty stressful putting all those original documents, that you have worked so hard to earn, into the envelope. All you can do is hope they come back in one piece. I made sure that you can’t miss the ‘DO NOT FOLD’ notice on the steel-hard boards that my Diplomas are wrapped in!!!

Now we are just holding thumbs that there are no hickups and the assessment goes quickly as we have paid extra to fast track the assessment.