When one visa closes, another visa opens its doors. That is the old expression right? Well for me, I wish it was. January 8th 2020 I arrived in Australia to start my second working holiday visa. Excited at the prospect of working a bit with MCI and then traveling to all the places I missed my first year. Cue March.
Australia took on this pandemic head first which mostly meant I have not left my state of New South Wales. Unless you count Canberra which I am sorry Australia, I do not. So as 2020 came to an end and my second working holiday visa was about to expire I thought dramatically – I cannot go home yet! I was cheated! I spent all of 2020 working and not holidaying! I did actually consider going home to be honest. It has been over a year since I have seen my family and I am tired. It has been a year as we can all attest to. But there are some factors that took a higher precedent.
In no particular order but it is summer here right now. Returning to below freezing New York doesn’t really hold appeal. Also there is that pesky pandemic literally ravaging America. Add the fact that I don’t have health care it really doesn’t sound like the safest option. Finally, I have no interest in returning until after the 20th of January at least. To quote the great Britney Spears, Biden and the dems better work bitch.
Now there are a variety of visas you can choose from, an overwhelming number actually. Some require regional work, like waitressing which is what I did to qualify for this second year. Some require you to work in certain fields like health care or agriculture or whatever they need most at the time. Some require you to study something. All of the above were not possible or uninteresting to me so I thought I should apply for what I want to do: be a tourist.
I applied before Christmas anxious but excited. But January 8th came and went and no response about my visa status. Not abnormal since it is a pandemic and everyone is basically freaking out about leaving this country that is managing this virus so well. Since I do not have a response yet I have a bridging visa. This visa is basically an extension of my last working holiday visa. I can do everything I could do on that visa with this bridge, except leave the country. Fine by me, seeing as that is exactly what I am trying to avoid doing.
The odd part of this is that at any moment the government could decide to deny or approve my visa pushing me from having working rights to not, which makes it hard to find an employer. In the worst case scenario they could deny me and require me to leave immediately. Unsure what immediately would mean in terms of time. This adds another level of pressure as I cannot plan too far in advance for fear the government is going to be like “yeah, nah, goodbye”.
On top of all of this anytime there is a whiff of the virus (aka 1 case) entire cities and states shut down. This happened over Christmas and although we are tracking low with daily cases (>5) from NSW one month later you are not really able to go to many other states. Two days before I was to leave for Melbourne and Tasmania everyone shut their doors to Sydneysiders. Whole trip canceled. As a tourist this really slows down your ability to yah know, tour.
So here I sit, in Byron Bay with a 2 week plan. With 2 weeks in regional NSW I can apply for a permit to cross the state lines and enter Queensland. Then I’ll post up there for 2 weeks to make sure that first, I have a visa still and second, I can actually leave that state and travel to Victoria. If I thought I was a spontaneous traveler before this I was kidding myself.
It is bound to be an interesting potentially 7 months, yes that is the processing time for my tourist visa from the government’s webpage so stay tuned.