Ron and Roni Dagan – Australia

A year ago we departed for a honeymoon trip to Australia. My wife Roni had previously toured Australia for several months.

During our visit, I feel in love with the lifestyle, the breathtaking views, the mentality and friendliness of the people, the possibility to advance my career and gain invaluable professional experience.

During this trip to Australia, we began the complex immigration process. I wrote a 100 page report for the Engineers Australia Association. In addition, we consulted a solicitor specialising in immigration matters and received advice that in hindsight turned out to be incorrect. At the conclusion of our trip we returned to Israel.

In Israel, we sought an attorney who clearly understood all of the immigration laws. We met with Advocate Lisa Segelov and she immediately explained to us that we were not able to immediately submit a permanent residency application since we had traveled for too long and as a result thereof we did not have enough recent and continuous professional experience. It was at this point that Advocate Lisa Segelov’s vast and impressive knowledge and experience as a veteran advocate in this area came to light as she found a suitable visa for us in South Western Australia. This visa is a preliminary step towards a permanent resident visa and allows us to reside in South Western Australia as temporary residents for up to a period of four years.

We completed all the visa application process and in addition, I began to intensively search for employment in South Western Australia. Advocate Lisa Segelov greatly assisted me in preparing my curriculum vitae and drafting letters showing my accumulated professional experience in Israel in a manner that was suitable for presentation in Australia. I sent out my curriculum vitae to hundreds of companies in Australia seeking mechanical engineers. After two months of searching, the expected offer arrived. Advocate Lisa Segelov assisted me greatly as she understands the Australian mentality and helped in the negotiation of my salary package with the representatives of the Australian company who sought to employ me. In addition, she carefully scrutinized the employment contract sent by my prospective employer.

The time to depart arrived. We landed in Perth – the capital city of Western Australia. From Perth, we took a bus to the city of Bunbury. During our first few days in Bunbury we purchased a car and began looking for a house while temporary living in an apartment on a temporary contact. In the end we found a comfortable classic Australian house with a big back yard ( a pleasant change from a three room apartment in Ramat Gan ). I began working and integrated quickly in spite of the language difficulties and differences in mentality. The work pace is alot slower than in Israel yet Australians are extremely pedantic. Every project has much longer implementation timetable from what I am accustomed to and in addition it takes time to get used to the slang and the Australian accent. I will shortly be flying on behalf of my employer to Northern Australia on a business trip to assist in the management of a project there. My job is very interesting as it includes dealing with both managerial and engineering challenges.

My wife Roni found work quickly enough to be entered into the Guinness’s Book of Records. She is employed by a financial consultant company and was very busy in her first two months converting her Israeli Financial Consultancy licences to the Australian system. Advocate Lisa Segelov greatly assisted us whilst we were still in Israel in gaining Roni’s professional accreditation as an economist in Australia.

Roni is very happy professionally and is working with a friendly team.

We integrated into a sailing club of kayaks with 5 people per boat and there we have made friends. Finding friends is difficult but possible, although it takes time. We are still in the process of integrating socially. 99% of the people we have already met ( our neighbours, people in the bank, in the car sales agency, or the real estate agents or just locals ) are very willing to help new immigrants and they were friendly and have made our integration to date very smooth and pleasant.

The difficult thing is the distance from our close family in Israel. But the price is very, very worthwhile!

Today after one year of working in Australia, I have enough points to make an application for a permanent resident visa for myself and my wife. Lisa is assisting greatly in this process and in the regard I feel we have the advice, support and assistance we need.

After one year of living and working in Australia, we can say that things are easier- the language and the “ slang “ are clearer as is the Australian mentality. I am beginning to be trusted and relied upon more and more at work and I am now in charge of large–scale projects that demand a considerable amount of responsibility. It is important not to approach Australian employers with an Israeli “ sabra” attitude, that is, not to try and show that you know more than everyone else. In addition, you need to blend in with the work environment and not to try and change the work process or display an excess of motivation. The way to work with Australians is to passively integrate and learn. Intensive work from the beginning and an attempt to lead from the first stages of your integration at work are recipes for failure as they are perceived as rude and threatening. One can certainly try and influence the work procedures in a company but only at a much later stage. In addition, manners and respect are very important as they are an integral part of the Australian culture especially in the work environment.

I stay in touch with my family in Israel via Skype – this is an outstanding solution. In addition, Australian employers allow a three ( 3 ) week long vacation each year enabling one to be able to visit Israel on an annual basis.

My wife is working as an investment advisor for a financial services company. After one year in this position, she is beginning to work independently with clients and receive more responsibility. The process for receiving a financial planning certificate in Australia took almost one year and included the passing of examinations and the submission of assignments. Her colleagues at work greatly assisted with her studies and with generally integrating into the work environment.

Even from a social point of view, life is now easier. We are beginning to establish more social contacts after work hours. The social integration into Australian society takes time and requires patience. As one integrates more and more into society, one has more energy and desire to meet new people and form friendships. A good way to establish friendships is to join social frameworks after work hours. Sport is very popular in Australia and for those who like sport there is are many options and choices. In the near future, I will be joining a bicycle riding group.

In conclusion, we have had a successful year which has been full of diverse and interesting experiences and never-ending challenges. Life in Australia is wonderful and easy-going so for all those who are interested in a change of pace and lifestyle – I definitely recommend that you try it!

Ron and Roni Dagan