After 3 months of reading and absorbing everything I can off this forum, I thought I might just jump in and join properly! I'm only kind of a pom, but I figure since I have lived here nearly 10 years (SW London), I kind of qualify (I am originally from Zimbabwe and South Africa).
I have been in the process of trying to get to Oz for over 3 years. I applied for a 176 Family Sponsored visa in Feb 2009 (my brother is married to an Australian and lives in Newcastle) after 6 months of paperwork / IELTS / vetasses etc. At that point 176 visas were being processed in 8-12 months. 6 weeks after I lodged, it changed to 12-18 months. 6 months after that it was 18 months plus.... and then as many of you may have also found, when my occupation (Business Professional, I'm an PA/EA) dropped off the list, I dropped to Priority 5 in the new system and was advised it would be a very long wait, and so it has been.
I used an agent (only because I felt my occupation wasn't 'clear-cut') - in August of last year she told me that I may have to re-evaluate my situation and then suddenly at the end of September, a ray of light - South Australian State Sponsorship! I have been to Oz many times, spent a year there as a backpacker when I was 23, had an ozzie b/friend and went back a few times with him, have many friends there but the one place I do not know is Adelaide... go figure, of course that's where the universe is taking me! I spent a week of frantic researching before deciding to go for it, and 5 weeks after applying, received my SS on Dec 1st.
I got my case officer 10 days later and did my medical and police checks the week before Christmas - what a great early Christmas present! My medical and UK police check are through but I also need a South African police clearance and that takes 6-8 weeks so I have to be patient for a little while longer, though it is killing me!
I am BEYOND excited - I am lucky to know one person in Adelaide, I used to work with her here in London, and she has been awesome, offering me all sorts of advice and somewhere to stay when I first arrive. I have been ready to leave the UK for a long time and although there's a lot to be done still, I cannot wait. The more I read about Adelaide, the more excited I get. I am sure there will be moments where I feel a bit sorry for myself, but the good thing is that having moved countries before, this is just another adventure and brings me back to the southern hemisphere and closer to one member of my family (and my 2 nephew.
I wanted to say thank you to everyone for the information I have got off this forum, it really has been invaluable. I'm sorry this is so long-winded, but I thought it might be nice for anyone else who has waited a while to know that your patience will (eventually) pay off and not to lose hope that one day your dream will come true! :-)