Published on July 1st, 2016 | by john.weir


We swapped Birmingham for sunny Perth !!

Darren & Victoria O’Neill and their family emigrated from Solihull in the WestMidlands to the town of Attadale, just outside Perth in Western Australia. Here’s their story…

My parents had recently moved to Perth, and after enjoying a fantastic holiday there ourselves the year before we thought we would make the move as well. I had visited Perth a number of times, and had also been to Adelaide in South Australia to visit my husband’s sister and her family.
We left the UK on 14 September, 2001, and moved straight to Perth. Our son was 10 months old at the time we moved. We didn’t use an agent as I was born in Australia and have dual British and Australian nationality, so my husband Darren, who is British, applied for a spouse visa. I didn’t know there were migration agents out there then!

We lived with my parents for the first three months whilst we looked for a house to rent. After renting a house for six months we then found a house in the suburb of Attadale, near Fremantle, and we moved there in August 2002.

We financed our migration from the sale of our house in the UK and savings, and this went towards our shipping costs, flights and visa.
We applied for the spouse visa in March 2001, and we had the visa granted the week before we left, in September. Immigration asked for additional information, which we sent to them, but after not hearing from them for a short time I followed this up to see what was happening, as our flights were booked and everything was in progress for the move. Immigration advised me that they hadn’t received anything, so I faxed the case officer a copy and he approved the visa in time for us to leave. It was a stressful time! At the same time as migrating we were planning our wedding, selling the house and arranging a christening for our son.

We chose to live in Attadale as it was an area close to where my parents lived, and after looking at a lot of areas it was somewhere with a house that we could agree on after nine months of looking.
Our house cost us A$455,000 (£247,204). It has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a study, swimming pool and outdoor entertaining area.
Our house has at least doubled in price since we got here, but this is only going to be a benefit if we sell and move somewhere cheaper.
The weather in Perth is fantastic. The summer is a guaranteed summer, with months of beautiful weather. The winter is cold, but only because our houses are built for the warmth.
Our lives have changed a lot since moving here. For a start, I am now helping others to make the move to Australia. For the past eight years I have been working as a Registered Migration Agent and have now set up Sure Migration.
Our family has grown since moving here, which would have changed our life wherever we lived. We all love the outdoor lifestyle in Perth. We often spend our weekends on the jetski in the summer, or catching up with friends and family at the local park. We love to eat out as a family at our favourite restaurant in Fremantle, Sandrino’s. It is a great restaurant with good food, a great atmosphere and it is child friendly.
I work from home, and around my children, as I have a 13 year old, 10 year old and a 22 month old. Harry is in secondary school, Ellie goes to the local primary school, which is across the road from our house, and Hollie goes to daycare two days a week, so I can work.
On the days when Hollie is not in daycare, I will work when she is asleep and in the evenings. Our weekend normally starts on a Friday afternoon, down at Point Walter, catching up with friends and their children.

We found it easy becoming part of the community here. With having children it was easy to meet people. We met some of our friends through different activities we did when the children were young, such as playgroup, swimming and later through their schools.
My son was diagnosed with osteosarcoma when he was nine, and now he is 13 and doing okay. A lot of our spare time is taken up by fundraising for Sock It To Sarcoma and I have organised a few charity skydives to raise money to help improve research.
I do find that I miss shops such as Marks and Spencers and Next in the UK, but now that they deliver to Australia it isn’t so bad! We also miss being so far away from some of our family. I haven’t been back to the UK for over six years, and we have just planned to go back next March to visit the family as most of them haven’t met Hollie yet.
I would recommend anyone thinking of a move to Australia to use a registered migration agent. Pay someone else to do all the work and worrying for you!
Immigration change the rules so often, that whilst there are costs involved in using a migration agent, they can save you money in the long run.
When you get to Australia, give yourself a reasonable amount of time to settle. Some people come over and decide after six months that they want to go home, which is not long enough to get used to the changes.

You could join the O’Neill family in Australia – why not come to Down Under Live at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull on the 29th & 30th October – book your tickets now!

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