Yellow Brick Road. Part 2.
From the sidelines I have watched many a visa game play out. Seems like a lot of people would like to call Australia home.
I wrote a statutory declaration testifying that the relationship between my sister and her Northern Irish partner was true love and not just a scam to get him into the country.
I have witnessed up close the trials and tribulations of being sponsored by a workplace and the barrel that one can be held over – for when you rely on an employer for your right to remain in a country, they really own you in a significant way. The greatest power that an employee holds – the ace up their sleeve – is the ability to say:
“Take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more “ – Jello Biafra
When your right to remain in the country rests on a company sponsored visa, you just have to cop it sweet.
And I have even known someone whose visa was revoked and they were asked to leave the country. The old fake relationship game requires much trickery – shared leases, shared bank accounts. It is easy to fall apart when the two people don’t actually live together and barely see one another.
And now Mattie and I have signed up for the visa game. It’s the first and most important step in starting a new life in a foreign country. Unfortunately you can’t simply choose which country you want to live in and show up on the metaphorical doorstep. So many refugees have learnt this the hard way. We are in the extremely blessed position of already having the winning numbers in the visa lottery. Australian Citizens with all of the glorious rights that still entails. But now we are tasked with convincing the US Government that they really, really want us to come live with them. It’s a little song and dance routine with all the braggadocio of a Kanye West rap. Which really goes against the grain of the Aussie personality. Bragging about all the good things you’ve achieved in your career is just kind of…embarrassing.
Which is why I have taken on the role of Mattie’s Visa PR Chick. I am harnessing all my powers of the superlative to convince the US Government that he is a man of Extraordinary Ability. Our amazing Immigration Lawyer (first time I have ever mentioned a lawyer with “our” as a pronoun…it’s not like we keep one a retainer or anything) will add a further layer of hyperbole and pull together the entire application on our behalf. The thing is, I do believe that Mattie has Extraordinary Ability and I do believe that America would be lucky to have us (Kayne, pipe down) – but it is a struggle to trumpet all that is usually downplayed.
However, the process of ordering Mattie’s career milestones into a dossier and gathering evidence of his achievements has been a wonderful trip down memory lane and given me renewed respect for his talent. Parallel to our normal life of raising kids, making a living, watching shitloads of TV and occasional partying, Mattie has slowly built his own mini media empire with Unbelievably Bad.
Beginning with nothing more than a hand me down computer in corner of our bedroom, he has breathed life into a concept that is more than just a magazine, or a website or a YouTube channel – it’s a cultural stance, an attitude that is recognised as having a life of its own. That’s extraordinary.