Shiva's Migration Journey

"I would like to say, that it worked out for me. I had tremendous support from my parents, brother and Mehlika’s family, to whom I simply owe my life. They are the Catalyst for our migration journey to Australia."

Shiva Rethinam

What was the catalyst for your migration journey to Australia?

I came to study in Australia on a student visa and completed my Masters with Honours in Media production (Film and TV) specializing in sound production at Griffith University, Brisbane QLD Australia, with an absolute intention of going back home (India), to join Bollywood or the TV sector, which was booming in 2004. Though it boomed like none other, so did my love life and the rest is history.

I met my wife, Mehlika in 2003 - also from Griffith and a Scientist (yay…lucky), at a popular Indian Restaurant, called Sitar based in Brisbane. We both worked for pocket money, me as a dishwasher and Mehlika as front staff. Man…it just clicked.

After dating for a year, I decided that we could wait no more so wanted to get married. I completed my studies, while Mehlika returned to Turkey after completing her studies and waited. We were distant for about 10 months (hard), however the hardest part was convincing my parents.

“Modern complexities” (1st or 3rd world) that define everyday living in…. us “humans” include religion, jobs and migration or simply just a combination of it. Without divulging every detail (which I believe could translate to a very successful Bollywood production), I would like to say, that it worked out for me. I had tremendous support from my parents, brother and Mehlika’s family, to whom I simply owe my life. They are the Catalyst for our migration journey to Australia.

To cut the story short, Melhlika and I got married in Turkey and I returned to Australia with just one month left on my student visa. That flight was my worst flight due to anxiety and fear that I could get refused at the border and sent back.

I later applied for an employer sponsored work visa and included my wife, Mehlika as a dependent and patiently waited another three (3) months for the visa to be approved. During this time, I was promoted to Operations Manager and managed supply chain of 27 restaurants and takeaway express shops over the next 2 years. I am proud to say that the employer’s business chain grew from 3 to 27 during my tenure.

We progressed to becoming Permanent Residents (PR) in Australia. Our experience with the PR visa process 12 years ago was tough. Our PR application was initially refused by the Department of Home Affairs but as my work visa was still valid, we relodged and it was subsequently approved. Refusal of PR gave Mehlika and I a tone of strength and determination that we could make it anywhere in the world, if not Australia. However, it just ended up being a “Bitter Sweet Symphony”.

“I must say… after which (that is getting our PR) we never looked back. Now here it goes……………

- Mehlika completed her PhD

- I got my first ever office job (migration)

- became a registered migration agent

- had our first son (Uday) in 2014

- Mehlika got accepted at Harvard University in 2015

- had our second son (Surya) in Boston (2018)

- Mehlika completed a very successful post-doctoral study at Harvard and got a great role within the Industry

- came back to Australia just before COVID

- Mehlika continues to successfully practise as a Genomicist advising all over the world

- I continue to spend time with my Children and beautiful family

- I continue to associate myself with the Migration profession, thanks to Phi.

Yes………………all this because of Australia. What a ride…..”mate”.

Tell us a bit about what you do and your interests

I am currently working as a Migration Analyst at Catalyst Migration. I should say that working in this area happened purely by accident but I have really enjoyed it as I have been through the visa process myself.

I am obsessed with sports and music and of course my family & friends (Australia, Turkey and India) without which none of this would be possible.

What excites you about your future in Australia?

As I continue to primarily look after my young children (7 and 3), I just can’t wait for them to be 10 & 6 😊, after which I plan to use my talents to contribute to the greater good of the underprivileged and underdeveloped societies around the world.

Mehlika and I are passionate about devoting our time and resources to help the poor in underdeveloped nations around the world. This is the ultimate goal and we will continue to strive to achieve this in whatever shape or form possible. Mehlika and I consider ourselves to be “nomads” as we would love to travel around the world in the future and experience different communities.

We whole-heartedly believe that “Australia” has given us this power to express, to learn and to give without fear. Although we passionately associate ourselves with India, Turkey and United States, Australia will always be a special place in our hearts as what we are today is because of this wonderful nation.