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THE WAY of Life in Australia (EN)

Updated: Jul 25, 2022

Every month on WOMENCANFLY.CO’s blog series, The Way, we introduce inspirational women who live abroad.

In this segment, we meet Yuka Shimizu, a florist living in Sydney. At age 29, she came to Cairns, Australia on a working holiday visa to figure out what she wanted to do with her life. After emigrating for two years, she quickly obtained permanent residency (PR) within ten months of applying.

It generally takes more than four years to get PR but how did Yuka manage to get it in two years? We’ll share Yuka’s process of receiving her visa, how she found her calling to become a florist and her struggles before landing a job.

Yuka Shimizu with one of her bouquets

At 29 years of age, Yuka came to Australia on a working holiday visa as her last chance

Yuka worked in the hospitality industry for about ten years after she graduated from a hotel management school. She was good at her job but the whole time she never felt like it was her calling. That’s why she backpacked around the world during her 20s and visited 25 countries including India and Nepal.

Even though she met various people and went to a variety of places, it was hard to find a place where she felt like, “that was it”. Not being able to find her place in the world has always been something she has struggled with.

In order to change this, at age 29, she decided to come to Australia on a working holiday visa.

“I felt like it would become harder to move the older I got so I took the plunge to apply for a visa. After researching plane tickets, they happened to be $100 at the time which made me think it was a sign.”

It took courage to take the first step but after she did it, the second and third steps came naturally. It is said that sometimes, it’s important to take action before considering any implications.

Her close friends strongly opposed her decision and said things like, “If you have any hopes of getting married, you should date in Japan,” or “You’re nearly 30!” However, Yuka has always trusted her intuition whenever she has felt lost.

The fact that Yuka was able to remain unswayed by her friends’ remarks makes her even more inspiring.

A photo from a trip to Kenya
Yuka on a trip in Kenya with some locals

From doing a working holiday for two years to getting PR

To lengthen her stay after moving to Cairns, Yuka started a farm stay as soon as she arrived. In Australia, you can apply for a second visa which allows you to further extend the duration of working holiday.

During the first two years Yuka planned to go back to Japan but the people she met in Cairns advised, “You can speak English so why don’t you try to get PR?”, so that’s when Yuka decided to go for it.

“I hadn’t felt like I’d accomplished anything at this point in my life so I wanted to build my confidence up by taking on this huge challenge.”

There are various approaches to getting PR. Each case is different and the information is constantly changing so she recommends seeing a professional like a lawyer or visa agent.

Yuka decided to apply for restaurant management positions because she had a lot of experience in the hospitality industry. At the time, the conditions for her visa were that she had to score above 6 on all subjects for the IELTS test, find a workplace that would sponsor her and have three years of experience as a Restaurant Manager.

Luckily, she already met the requirement of having at least three years of experience as a Restaurant Manager in Japan. As a result, Yuka was able to concentrate on getting a sponsor and passing the IELTS test.

Yuka applied for a Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (known as the RSMS Visa subclass 187). This is a visa for staying in rural areas whereby there is an exemption for what would normally require a compulsory two years of work experience. The rules have significantly shifted since a system change in 2019 so if you are interested, please check the latest information.

A photo from her farm stay
Yuka’s experience working at a horse ranch farm stay