This week we meet readers Wendy and Bernard Hinde, a couple in the process of applying for a Parent Visa to join their daughter and grandchildren in New Zealand’s North Island. Here Wendy kindly tells us all about why they want to make the move and how they are finding the application process.
Our daughter, Jacqueline, went travelling when she was 23. From a young age she has always loved horses and when she went to New Zealand she ended up working in a polo yard on the North Island. She returned after six months but hadn’t had enough and jetted back not long after. When she was there the second time, she met and fell in love with her first major boyfriend, Scott.
On the eve of Jacqueline’s birthday, Scott called Bernard and asked for her hand in marriage! Of course we were delighted for them both.
Our first visit over there and our first meeting with Scott and his family was in January 2007 for their engagement party. They were married in March 2008 – which was the same month as our Pearl Wedding Anniversary. It was just lovely to visit again at such a special time for Bernard and I, and also to celebrate our girl’s wedding!
It wasn’t long after that Jacqueline and Scott had their first baby, Eve. She’s our first grandchild and is three years old now! We went to meet her when she was just three weeks old. It was then that we both decided that we wanted to be around to see her grow up. We lodged our application in January 2011 following a visit there over Christmas.
Whilst we were there, Jacqueline and Scott chose Bernard’s birthday to announce that they were expecting again and this time it was twins! That January we all toured around the South Island together and had a fantastic time all being together as a family. It was hard to leave them when we returned to England.
We are using a company called New Life Global to help us to move – we just didn’t want to make any mistakes in our application and delay the move unnecessarily. It is expensive but we both agree that it is worth it.
We are being sponsored by Jacqueline and Scott for a Parent Category Visa, as we are too old to move over there with a job - I am 53 and Bernard is 57. The visa application has cost around £1,000 each. The medical examinations that we had to undertake were around £700 each and police checks were £60.
I have Crohn’s disease which may affect my application as it is a chronic condition. I have worked at a young offenders institute as a teaching assistant for ten years including every day since my surgery, which I hope they take into account when they process my application. If my application is not accepted on medical grounds, I may have to get a medical waiver.
My husband is an engineering manager and he also has been working for the same company for 30 years now. We both intend on working when we come out to NZ. Unfortunately we can’t afford to retire just yet!
We will sell up before we move so we plan on buying a property outright – we will be cash buyers. There will be some money left over as well, which will help us to pay for the move and get us on our feet.
Where we live will depend on where Bernard finds a job. Engineers are in short supply over there so we are hoping that there will be lots of opportunities. If we can’t live with Jacqueline we would like to live in the Hawkes Bay area so that it will be easy to visit at weekends and the whole family can come and stay with us too.
When we first began the application process we were advised that it would take 18-24 months for us to even be assigned a caseworker to deal with us. This has changed and should be around 12 months now. After you are assigned your caseworker it takes a couple of months to find out whether you have been accepted or declined. We’re keeping our fingers crossed!
Gathering together all of the information required to make the application was quite complicated. One problem we encountered was that a lot of our utilities were only in mine or my husband’s name – not both names, which they want to see. We need to prove our status as a couple as well!
We just can’t wait to spend more time with our grandchildren and to see them all grow up. We didn’t want to just see them once a year – we would miss so much.
Our other daughter, Michelle, is staying in the UK. We will miss her greatly but it will be easier for her to travel to us in New Zealand than it will be for us to make the long journey – we’re not getting any younger!
We will miss our great circle of friends desperately, but with email, Skype and Facebook, it is not such a big distance. We have lots of friends who have said they will come and see us. It is an exciting thing for us to do at our time of life, but we feel if we don't do it now, whilst we can, we will regret it for the rest of our lives.
I do hope we hear soon about whether we have been assigned a caseworker. I check every morning before work to see if we have received the long awaited email! Perhaps we’ll keep you updated!
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