Ren’s Quest for a Permanent Home & How You Can *Maybe* Help

The Winding Road to Finding Home

No Through Road sign on an Australian road

This page chronicles my arduous 12-year endeavor to find a lasting place to call home – a quest that ultimately led me to Australia, a land that has enthralled me since childhood. Despite deep ties to and contributions within the startup and innovation sectors, the door to permanent residency has remained elusive.

What happened when my first Expression of Interest for the Global Talent Visa was unexpectedly rejected? How did a key political figure rally behind my cause, only for me to receive a surprising response? Uncover the highs and lows of this quest, the emotional resilience it demands, and the crucial role you can hopefully play in shaping how this story ends. Dive in to see how your support could turn the tide and help me finally achieve the dream of calling Australia my forever home.

A Lifelong Enchantment with the Spirit of Australia

From childhood, I was captivated by Australia – its natural wonders, innovative spirit, and strong sense of community. But my fascination extended beyond the pages of books and scenes on film. In 2007, a trip to Queensland allowed me to experience this “Land of Oz” firsthand, solidifying my interest in potentially making it home one day. To better position myself as a valuable future resident, I undertook two university degrees despite the toll they took on my mental health. Yet my passion for Australia’s egalitarian values never waned.

It was during my Master’s studies that I discovered and was embraced by the nation’s vibrant startup and innovation communities. This newfound sense of belonging and having my capabilities truly valued was a turning point, firming my resolve to contribute to Australia’s bright future permanently.

While those around me had only known my professional pursuits in adulthood, the seeds of my enchantment with this country were planted long ago. The following story traces the winding path that transformed that childhood wonder into an unwavering determination to make Australia my permanent home against all odds.

The Story in Six Parts

These pivotal moments capture the essence of my arduous quest for a permanent, safe home in Australia – a journey filled with both promising paths and unexpected setbacks.

Chapter 1: A Promising Path

In 2012, I moved to Melbourne to pursue my studies, not knowing that it would lead me to play a significant role in Australia’s startup and innovation ecosystem. My expertise in immersive education and entrepreneurial spirit enabled me to thrive at organizations like BlueChilli, Inspire9, WeWork Labs, and BDO Australia. Despite my successes, each short-term employer-nominated visa failed to transition into permanent residency eligibility. The lack of long-term innovation roles meant my dream of a stable, permanent home remained out of reach. Encouraged by colleagues in 2021, I began the arduous journey towards an 858 visa invitation, designed for individuals with exceptional, internationally recognized achievements. With the support of my nominator, Sarah Moran, I finally submitted my first 858 EOI in late 2023, hoping to finally open a path to permanent residency and my first forever home.

Chapter 2: An Unexpected Setback

The first few months of 2024 were a whirlwind of prepping and speaking at international conferences and accepting the awards I’d won to support my 858 EOI. When I finally had a little down time to relax and visit my mother, who I hadn’t seen in person for over 5 years, the email response from my EOI landed in my inbox. My months-long effort to build the strongest case I could that I fit their Global Talent criteria was extinguished in 136 words with no clear justification or explanation. Despite my extensive achievements and contributions, my EOI was closed without an invitation by the Department of Home Affairs. To say that I was disheartened by this correspondence would be an understatement. With seemingly nothing to lose, I began to explore avenues for a second chance, but only if I could ensure my next application received the fair consideration it deserved.

Chapter 3: A Glimmer of Ministerial Hope

I was determined to have my achievements and professional value properly evaluated by the Department of Home Affairs, so I reached out to the Hon. Ed Husic MP, the Minister for Industry and Science to see if he could help in this effort. Given my significant contributions to Australia’s tech and innovation sectors and the main reason I want this to finally be my ‘forever home’ is to keep growing that contribution, I hoped Minister Husic would appreciate this and advocate for my fair evaluation of an 858 EOI. It was incredibly encouraging and confidence boosting to know that Minister Husic’s office acknowledged my situation and referred it to the Hon. Andrew Giles MP, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, for further review. 

Chapter 4: A Disheartening Response

Three weeks later, while incidentally undergoing inpatient treatment and support for severe mental health challenges caused by the stress of this situation, I received the response from Minister Giles’ office. To say the least, it was NOT the supportive response I had hoped for. The letter attempted to reiterate the eligibility criteria for the 858 visa but was actually incorrect in some aspects. The most disrespectful part of this formal letter from Minister Giles’ team was the incorrect assumption that I was requesting an ‘automatic’ permanent visa purely based on my time spent living and working legally in the country. In no way was that communicated in my correspondence with Minister Husic’s team. Key portions of both correspondences are available for your perusal on this page should you wish to see what was included in any of them.

Chapter 5: Trying to Not Give Up

While I was honestly severely emotionally impacted by this setback, I remain committed to securing a fair go at a second try for an 858 visa invitation or eligibility for any permanent residency pathway. I firmly believe that my achievements, as evidenced by my work over the past decade, as well as global collaborations and awards, demonstrate my “exceptional track record and international recognition”. With my strong professional network, in-demand skills, and deep ties to the Australian business community, I am very confident that given the opportunity to earn unrestricted work rights, I’d have no problem securing employment and continuing to grow as a leader in tech education.

Chapter 6: The Call to Action

So where does that leave me now? The next steps from here aren’t clear but one thing is: I need to make it crystal clear what Australia would be losing should my quest to have a forever home come to a heartbreaking end.

Rallying support for my second EOI is crucial to ensure it receives the proper consideration it deserves.

Your support is vital. By signing this petition and sharing your experiences with my contributions, you can help demonstrate the depth of my impact on Australia. Let’s show the Department of Home Affairs that my second EOI merits a thorough and fair evaluation based on my actual achievements and potential.

Their Assessment of My Value:

  • I do not work in a suitably future-focused sector that would transfer valuable skills or promote innovation
  • I do not have the potential to create meaningful job opportunities for Australians
  • I do not qualify as an asset to the Australian community or economy
  • I do not have the ability to establish and support myself financially in Australia
  • I did not demonstrate an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding professional achievement

If you disagree with this assessment,
I need your support.

The Petition

Your signature alone helps demonstrate that my work has positively impacted you, Australia’s innovation ecosystem, and created broader value for the community.

Any personal story or examples you can provide showcasing the positive impacts of my work will further strengthen the case for a fair, evidence-based evaluation recognising my globally-recognised achievements and value to Australia’s innovation ecosystem and communities.

However, simply adding your name is a meaningful act of support – so please sign even if you cannot leave a comment.

Please note that the confirmation email to confirm your signature may take up to 30 minutes to arrive in your inbox.

​​​​Global Talent 858 ​Pathway Goals

The Global Talent visa is a permanent visa for exceptionally talented and prominent individuals who can raise Australia’s standing in their field. The program offers a migration pathway for individuals with outstanding achievements, particularly high-earning individuals in future-focused sectors. This creates opportunities for Australians by:

  • transferring skills
  • promoting innovation
  • creating jobs

Education Sector Definition

This sector includes, but is not limited to, the following specialisations:

  • Senior leaders in universities and higher education institutions
  • Educators and executives with notable achievements in:
    • Developing digital education platforms, tools, and digital data
    • Designing curricula
    • Creating innovative platforms for humanities, arts, and social sciences
  • Experts in research commercialisation
  • Individuals involved in Edtech

Exceptional Candidates: Executives experienced in forming global partnerships

Strong Candidates: Executives specialising in research commercialisation and education policy design

The Crushing Ministerial Response

The personalised letter from Minister Giles’ office crushed my hopes, effectively communicating: “You are not special. You are not valuable.”

While I eventually found comedic irony in the situation, in that initial moment, the disrespectful condescension stung. Thankfully, I was in a supportive environment when I received that demoralising correspondence, because reading it truly hurt.

Below is a side-by-side of the outreach letter I sent to the Minister for Industry and Science, likely forwarded verbatim when he advocated on my behalf to Minister Giles’ team. Their dismissive response doubled down on claims that I do not demonstrate the exceptional value and criteria they outline, doing so in an extremely disrespectful way.

Thank You for Your

Invaluable Support and Belief