Four months of agonising waiting and many weeks of preparation before that have finally come to an end. I got a call this week from my housemates in London who told me the postman I have been waiting for for weeks finally came, with a letter telling me I have qualified for a Highly Skilled Migrant Visa. This means that I have six months to switch into my new immigration category from my current working holiday visa. Which means that my time in the UK has been extended past my August deadline for up to another two years!
It still doesn't seem real since I have been waiting for so long to find out what's going to happen to me this year! I didn't think when I went to see a visa representative a year ago that it would take this long, with this many ups and downs!First I was getting sponsored, then I was made redundant, then I had to quickly (ha!) apply for HSMP, then the criteria changed, then it got rejected, then I appealed...and now I've got it! I still have to apply for my Entry Clearance and pay them a shedload more cash (another £350 or something thanks very much) but it looks like I'm finally on the home stretch. The good news for many out there is that I did my application myself - so you don't always have to pay hundreds for a representative (this really depends on your situation though!). And believe me, it was hard work and lots of research!
Being back home has definitely made me think a lot about what it would be like to move back here and it feels strange now to have so many new options presented to me. I don't know how long I want to stay in the UK, but it is definitely very nice (and a huge relief) to know that I no longer have the deadline of the 31st August looming over me - and no more work restrictions!
I would love to share my knowledge and experience of applying for this visa with anyone who needs help and advice - and I can do this either through this blog or through the forum I moderate for WORKgateways. Even though the criteria has changed since I applied, I still know a lot about it and might be able to help you. So if you have a question, drop in and hopefully I can offer some assistance, or at least tell you where else you can go. Visit the WORKgateways forum.
Lastly, thanks to all the people who have offered their love, support, assistance and advice over the past six months during my visa sagas. To all the people who read over my application, wrote letters for me, posted encouraging comments on my blog or just listened to my whining - I couldn't have done it without you all! Oh, and thanks to UK immigration :)