Saturday, February 16, 2013

I now pronounce you…

After living in Perth for more than four years, we finally reached one of the big milestones of migration.  We attended a citizenship ceremony at Wanneroo city and were formally pronounced to be Australian citizens.


A multicultural group of people started lining up at 5pm and slowly entered the room where the ceremony was going to be held.

People were divided into groups of about 14 or 15 at a time and then repeated the words

From this time forward, under God,
I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people,
whose democratic beliefs I share,
whose rights and liberties I respect, and
whose laws I will uphold and obey.

At the end of this pledge, the deputy mayor would say

“I now pronounce you Australian citizens.” 

We found this a little funny because you keep on expecting the words “…man and wife” to follow the first part of the phrase!

So, here we are.  Five years ago I started investigating the options of moving abroad and started applying for jobs in Australia.  I prepared heaps of paperwork and spent thousands of dollars during this whole process.  This included:

  • Applying for unabridged birth certificates, which meant I had to travel to different towns in Namibia and South Africa because the lines of applicants in Windhoek were already snaking out into the street at 7 in the morning.
  • Applying for Namibian Police clearance – a minimum processing time of four months and only valid for 6 months…
  • Applying for our South African unabridged marriage certificate
  • Getting my Engineering degree recognized by Engineers Australia.
  • Applying for Military release forms from the SA Defence force.
  • Going for expensive medical tests for the Permanent Residence application
  • Writing the IETLS language exams
  • Writing a citizenship test
  • Being forced to do a practical drivers licence assessment even though I come from a country where we also drive on the left hand side of the road – even though Americans (who drive on the wrong side) do not have to do an assessment!
  • Leaving Australia for ten days to get our permanent residence approved.

The list is not comprehensive but what I can say is that every action, every dollar, every major obstacle I had to overcome was worth it.

Advance Australia Fair.