What makes our line of work here at Visa Solutions Australia so interesting is that we get to meet people from all walks of life and there’s real satisfaction when we can help them achieve their dreams of moving to Australia. Andrew Emmott, our Director of Immigration Services here at VSA, has helped thousands of people since he became a Registered Migration Agent in 1997.
“What I love about this job is the variety and the mix of people you deal with. As Director of Immigration, I carry out the initial assessments, and take responsibility to ensure that each application meets all the relevant criteria for the grant of a visa. And as you can imagine, I’ve lodged thousands of applications in my career,” he says.
Every person has a story
Andrew was born and raised in England but came to Australia in 1992. He studied a marketing and commercial law degree at Curtin University, and trained to become a Registered Migration Agent through Victoria University of Technology.
“People come to me and say we’d like to emigrate and I look at their occupation, age and work experience, as well as a range of other factors. If skilled migration is not an option, I consider employer sponsorship, partner migration, business migration and all of the other various visa categories that may be viable. It’s like a puzzle putting everything together to see what’s the best way to ensure they can stay in this country.”
And of course he never knows from one day to the next who will need his help.
“I love dealing directly with people and finding out about their stories, what drives them and impels them to come to Australia. I am very inquisitive. I migrated myself in 1992, and sponsored my wife, who is from Indonesia. I understand what people are going through, especially if a loved one is on the other side of the world.”
The changing face of Immigration
“Sometimes you just get a casual enquiry. Many underestimate the time and effort involved with any visa application. Maybe they have been watching Neighbours in England and it’s cold and wet and it’s an off-the-cuff enquiry. On the other hand, you get people on a working holiday visa who want to stay here, or those from countries like Zimbabwe where personal safety is a major concern who want to move to Australia to start a better life for themselves and their families,” he explains.
What Andrew has noticed is that migration patterns can change year on year.
“A couple of years ago, I was doing hundreds of applications for companies who wanted 160 people or more for a particular project, so I was dealing with lots of 457 visas. Now those on 457 working visas are facing the risk of redundancy so they are looking at transferring to permanent residency – we are definitely seeing a significant increase in demand for conversions from 457s to permanent residency. That means there are more family migration and partner visas than we have seen for a few years, and less enquiries from employers sponsoring 457 visas. But it is all cyclical, and will change again soon. Since 1997 this is the third downturn I have experienced. When oil and gas projects or mining exploration pick up again, companies will start bringing people back to Australia.”
Outside of work Andrew likes to spend time with his son who is now 19 and enjoys photography and wildlife spotting. His biggest thrill recently was swimming with a 12 metre whale shark on Ningaloo Reef off the North West Cape of Western Australia. He goes back regularly to the UK to see his relatives, but he enjoys his life in Perth.
“I moved around a lot in the UK. I was born in Sheffield so technically I could play cricket for Yorkshire. I’ve also spent long periods of my life in Cheshire, Staffordshire and on the Isle of Man. But my home is definitely here in Perth. I’ve set down solid roots here, and I love this job and all that Perth has to offer”.
If you want to make Australia your home, speak to Andrew or one of his colleagues at Visa Solutions Australia on +61 8 9328 2664.