Living the nomadic life means that you are always planning your next adventure to foreign horizons. For me, my next stop is Australia, where I will meet up with my boyfriend who is already there. He went to Australia on a working holiday visa straight from Thailand, whereas I thought it would be a wise idea to come back to the UK for a bit. I thought that I could earn some cash, get some new working experience, and see my family. So far, all of those reasons have proven to be pretty futile – so the first lesson of this post is:
If you are considering going home before you head to Aus, make sure that you definitely have a contingency plan in case things don’t go as planned!
Due to the fact that both my boyfriend and I have been living out of the UK for over three months, in countries that are considered ‘at risk’ of Tuberculosis (Thailand and the UAE), we both had to have a medical examination. If you are asked for one, it can include a number of different tests depending on the countries that you have been living in. Ours only included a chest X-Ray, urine test, and normal check-ups such as blood pressure and heart rate, however they may also ask for a blood test.
As James was going from Thailand, he has his examination done at RAM hospital in Chiang Mai. There was no need to book, and the whole process took about 45 minutes, costing him a grand total of about $50, or £30. Sadly, we made the decision that I might as well wait to apply for my visa, as I was wouldn’t be entering the country for a few months. This was a terrible idea:
You have one year to enter Australia after you have been granted your Working Holiday Visa.
I knew this, yet I still decided to wait. Fast forward one month and I have applied for my visa from my home in the UK. After about a week, I received the email asking for a medical examination, again no surprises there. This is when issues started to arise.
Firstly, you have to have the medical examination done at a hospital that is wired in to the Australian Immigration Network, as they send your test results directly to Aussie immigration. Not every hospital is on this network, so you might have to travel quite far. My local was about an hour away, and I had to take a morning off work to get there.
Secondly, the hospital were only open to Aussie medical examination appointments one day a week, so I was pretty limited in when I could have it done.
If a medical examination is requested, you have 28 days to have it done and have the results sent to immigration. If you miss this deadline, then your visa application is scrapped and you lost the £230 that it costs.
This time deadline might affect you more if you are a girl. As part of the examination you will have to give a urine sample. Urine samples are rendered useless if they have any trace of blood in them, i.e. you can’t do it if you are on your period, so for most girls that takes away a week of your time, which is AWESOME, yay for Mother Nature. This is not worth risking, as if your urine has blood in it, or is too concentrated (drink water!), then you have to do it again which means that they will charge you again.
Aha, yes, the charge. This is the most sickening part of the process. As I mentioned, my boyfriend spent $50 on his medical examination for the Aussie working holiday visa. Unfortunately, if you have it done in the UK, you will have to go private. Visa medical examinations cannot be done on the NHS. Therefore, guess how much the medical examination cost me?
It cost me a grand total of £291, that’s just under $500.
I nearly cried when I discovered this. If only I had applied for my visa and done the medical from Thailand! It’s tragic! To top it off, it also will take longer for the results to be processed and sent to Aus than it did in Thailand. I obviously can’t fault the Doctors, they were great and very efficient, however knowing how much it was costing me was not fun. It’s cost me over £500 ($750) just to get into the country, disregarding flight costs.
So, the main message of this post is:
If you have the option to have your Australian Working Holiday Visa Medical Examination from another country, do it.
Have any of you had a similar experience? Was it for Australia or another country? Please let me and the other readers know, so nobody ends up in the same situation!