Archive for May, 2011

Visa Situation

I am very fortunate to have so many friends who care about me and what’s been happening over the last few months.

For those of you not in the know, well… I have been waiting for my student visa to be approved for over 3 months now.

Atrocious?? You betcha!

To make a long story short, there were some issues with my medicals whereby I had to go to my GP and get a blood test done. The urine test I did at the Health Services Australia (HSA) place that you go to when you want to apply for a visa, was not satisfactory, so they gave me a letter to give to my GP explaining that I needed further tests.

Let me explain.

I was in such a rush to get this student visa sorted that I had made my appointment with HSA on the first available day and time they had available (they were pretty much fully booked except this ONE day, a few days away frm when I made the phonecall).

The problem is… that day happened to be the day before I got my period.

Now we all know what periods do to urine tests right?

So, yeah.

Anyways, what ensued was your typical Government Bureaucratic BS / Red Tape wild goose chase, all summarised in an email I sent my ‘case officer’ after I had been sent on a merry-go-round of sorts. Please keep in mind I had been sending a few very mild-mannered and downright pleasant emails to her asking, among other IMPORTANT things, how her Easter/ANZAC day break was. Naturally I got automated, robotic responses in reply, instead of an actual human saying “Thanks, I had a lovely holiday, now I am back and working hard to get you your student visa pronto!”

Email below (warning: long and possibly mind numbingly boring for those of you who aren’t going through what I am going through):

Dear Kylie,

I received in the mail a reminder from HSA / Medibank Health Solutions (dated 28/4/2011) that I was to undergo further assessment and supply the following information for my student visa (immigration purposes):

Urine Microscopy & Culture and serum creatinine

The thing is, when I was told in person at the HSA office in Perth CBD on the 24th of February that I needed to undergo these further tests, I immediately scheduled an appointment with my GP at Garden City Medical Centre in Ardross for a couple of days later, and did exactly as the staff nurse told me with regards to the referral. I handed this all to my doctor, Dr Gary Fernandez, and had the tests done. I was told both by the doctor as well as HSA / Medibank Health Solutions, that once the results were finalised, they will be sent directly to HSA / immigration. I was under the impression that I need not conduct any follow-up activities, and to await the approval of my student visa.

However, the arrival of the letter a few days ago was alarming. It stated that if the information is not received by their office (Medibank Health Solutions in Perth CBD) by the 19th of May, they will dispatch my papers without a recommendation! I had been under the impression, all this time, that the results had indeed been forwarded to the relevant authorities and were being evaluated.
The letter states otherwise. Despite my repeated efforts to contact the immigration department (I spoke to a few people over 4 or 5 phone calls made in the last 2.5 months, as well as several emails sent to you, my case officer), I was NOT told at all during this time, by anyone, prior to the reminder from Medibank, that the results had not been sent through.

Upon receiving the reminder, I first called HSA/Medibank and spoke to Thomas, who confirmed with me that the results had in fact NOT been received. He gave me the fax number as well as email address that the results should be sent to, and advised me to ask my doctor to have them sent over as soon as possible. I then called Garden City Medical Centre to speak to Dr Gary Fernandez who was not available, and will not be available until Friday (please note I have been trying to contact him on and off the whole time, calling about once a week and leaving messages for him to call me back, but to no avail). I explained the situation to the receptionist, who then instructed me to contact Kimberly at Clinipath. 

When I spoke to Kimberly and explained the situation to her, she informed me that she did not have any results with her and was unable to help me. She advised me to call my doctor and speak to him: I then explained that he was unreachable, and also told her what I had been instructed to do. She then gave me the main number of Clinipath, to call them and ask them as they handled the results. I called and spoke to Kate, who finally told me that she could not send the results without HSA/Medibank first requesting them. This was apparently a new procedure they had put in place.

So, I had to go back to the beginning and call HSA, this time speaking to Priscilla and explaining the whole thing to her. She took down all the names, numbers and information from me, assuring me that she would pass it all on to Thomas to sort out.

Let me just say how disappointed I am in the system for making things unnecessarily complicated. Also, why did nobody inform me of the system/procedure? I was told that all I had to do was drop by my GP with the referral from HSA, and the rest will all be taken care of. Not so. There is a severe lack in cohesion between the different departments/groups involved in the process.

The fact that I have been in contact with you over the last 2.5 months without any information or reminders (until the one I received in the mail from HSA) regarding this matter is also alarming to me as to just how things are being managed. I would appreciate if, once the results are finally sent in, you could help in somehow expediting the process, which has been severely delayed through no fault of my own. 

I will be contacting HSA again to see if they have requested the results, and I hope that once you’ve received them, you can contact me as soon as possible with the news.

Thank you & best regards,
Inayah Ariffin

The reply I got?
“Thank you for your feedback.”

And some other quoted text that they’d sent me before several times (the automated responses) about how the medical results will need to be evaluated and to basically sit down and be patient. And why don’t you spend this time twiddling your thumbs?

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