Interview with Natasa Shelley, registered migration agent from Sunshine Coast, Australia

When did you move to Australia?
I moved to Australia in June 2003, with my husband Bob, who was born in Australia. We lived together in Slovenia for two years while I was working as a legal consultant in Ljubljana prior to relocating to Australia.

Why did you move here?
We decided to settle in Australia, primarily as career opportunities for Bob at that time were limited in Slovenia. Also, the Australian lifestyle I believe was for us more attractive. We wanted to make home in both countries, therefore we still live between two countries, Slovenia and Australia. 

What were you doing in Slovenia before you came here?
In Slovenia I am a lawyer (univerzitetna diplomirana pravnica). I have worked as a legal consultant for a small private company In Ljubljana.

What is your own experience of being a migrant in Australia?
Immigrating to another country is not an easy step. When I relocated, I felt that my life started all over again. Every beginning represents challenges and I believe that one's attitude in times of struggle will determine the outcome. I am always positive and optimistic, this is how I approached the relocation to Australia and succeeded. It is important I believe to have an open mind and not to be overly disappointed if plans do not realise instantly. I found out that persistence and effort are the key.

What prompted you to become a migration agent in Australia? 
I enjoy law and legal consulting. My Slovenian legal qualifications were not automatically recognised in Australia. With Bob we wanted to start a family and I was looking for opportunity to start my own business and work from home, so I could devote time to my family. At that time I really wished to obtain an Australian qualification and to improve my English skills. I completed a management degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast and gained valuable knowledge to start my own business.
Every time we travelled overseas or lived in Slovenia, people were asking me about how to migrate to Australia and shared with me their experiences of trying to gain information and advice regarding their eligibility and seeking available migration assistance.
I prepared and lodged my own partner visa in 2003 and found it easy to meet partner visa requirements.   I guess that once I started reading about immigration law and visa types I was hooked and started to look for opportunities to do this myself. The path to registration was around 6 months long and costly. I studied online at Victoria University to obtain a Certificate in Australian Immigration Law and Practice and then proceed with registration at the Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). It was all smooth and I commenced working in early 2008. 
I really enjoy my work. I have an office at home and a wonderful lifestyle with excellent work/life balance. I regard myself extremely fortunate.

What is your experience with Slovenians who wish to settle in Australia?
Naturally, as I am Slovenian myself I started advertising my business first in Slovenia. Today the majority of my clients are still Slovenians or have a Slovenian connection (e.g., partner or sponsor). Slovenian clients are wonderful to work with. As we are able to use both languages and have the same cultural background, it seems we have good understanding of each other. Slovenia is such a small country and the word of mouth spreads quickly. Slovenians are happy to refer our services to their friends and relatives and are loyal to our business. If we start to work with them for a temporary entry to Australia, they will continue with us until their permanent visa is approved. We try to stay in touch with Slovenians after their arrival to Australia and offer advice on settling into the Australian way of life. 

Can you describe the whole procedure?
Initially clients contact us to find out more about their eligibility for a visa, our services and processes involved in the  visa application process. We provide a free initial service during which we check for the required documents, such as CV and education documentation to assess their eligibility for a visa. If an individual or a family is found to meet the minimum requirements for a visa then we proceed to an online interview through Skype and after signing the contract and initial payment for our services, we commence to work on their behalf. We usually work on client’s case between 1 month to 8 months depending on the visa type and their ability to meet all the components of the application process.  There are usually more steps to the application depending on the visa type. For majority of visas it is a requirement to have sound English skills, suitable qualifications and work experience. The Australian Government charges and fees involved in the visa application are high, although after arrival those initial costs are recovered quickly especially once the job is obtained in Australia, as wages are generally much higher in Australia.

What do you see as the main problem?
Most problems arise in relation to meeting eligibility requirements for a visa. Clients would prefer to enter Australia on a permanent visa, which provides one with the status of permanent resident and related rights. Permanent entry to Australia initially requires candidates to have very good English, suitable qualifications and long-term employment in a skilled occupation that appears in demand in Australia. Most problems arise when qualifications and experience are not closely related to the occupation that appears on the Australian skills-in-demand list or when candidates fail to obtain suitable English test results. These problems can be overcome by additional education in Australia, either by up-skilling in the English language or by obtaining additional qualification and working experience in Australia. This means higher initial costs, but it is worth the effort to commence a new life here. Lately many choose this path as the Australian government made it possible for international students on higher levels of education (Bachelor Degree and higher) to stay in Australia for at least 2 years on unlimited working rights in Australia after at least 2 years of study.

What are your plans for the future?
This year we are celebrating 6 years of We have excellent reputation and success with all our visa applications. I will continue to provide professional immigration advice for those who wish to relocate to Australia. We are preparing to provide advice for NZ. In the future I am looking into expanding the business and to provide further immigration related services in regards to education and employment.
I am excited about the future of Australia Needs P/L. I invite anyone who is interested to receive professional and honest advice from a registered migration agent in Australia to contact me at

1 comment:

  1. Just found this great blog while searching some helpful tips to proceed on for migration..Thank you so much..