Our first person to be showcased on our new Business Insights feature is a pillar of the South African migration community, Joey Barnard who owns Call Australia Home Migration.
Tell us how you first got involved in your industry.
I did our visas in 1999 (my husband is a GP) and were then asked to help other GPs, then students, and partners etc.
What does a typical day in your role/business look like?
My typical day starts at 6am, checking emails, planning the day. By 8am it is full steam. Often my day would end around 11pm, sometimes 2 to 3am the next morning. If there are critical dates, we’d get about 2 to 3 hours sleep. I generally plan my week en then my day, but seldomly will it work out as planned. There are always unscheduled requests for assistance, phone calls, emails, some urgent case. Often the cases are complex and compelling, we hear some very sad stories, but also good ones. Quite an emotional roller coaster.
What has surprised you most about working in your job?
What surprised me the most is how emotive immigration is, for clients, and for agents. We get involved in the lives of the people who immigrate, we cry with them, laugh with them.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
People may be surprised to know the hours I work and that in spite of the constant risk of burnout, I remain passionate about my job.
If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing instead?
I cannot see myself doing anything else, it’s as if everything I did before becoming an agent, was in preparation for this job.
What book are you reading now?
I read a lot because of my ongoing studies and job. Just started reading: The rise and fall of Australia (Nick Bryant), the Mystery of the Shemitah (still getting into it), Talent Intelligence (how to identify and measure talent); Government Accountability (about administrative law), & The boy from nowhere (Kerry Stokes story) (am always reading 4 or 5 books at a time preferring ebooks & my Kindle).
If you could live anywhere in the world (not South Africa or Australia) where would you live and why?
If I could live anywhere apart from RSA or Australia, I’d probably choose a culture rich in history, e.g. Scotland.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up and in a way I am teaching, I love imparting my knowledge about migration law. Knowledge is power. I like to empower people.
What’s your worst habit?
My worst habit is probably that I give too much of my time and then become vulnerable for abuse. I’d forfeit sleep to work on a case, that’s not good for my overall health.
What’s the most adventurous thing you have done?
About 4 years ago I started a scary list, things that would stretch my comfort zones. Climbing Kilimanjaro was on the list – I do not like camping and want to bath each day. I do not like heights and the cold. Climbing Kilimanjaro the first time was probably the most adventurous thing I had done, and now I’m hooked on the challenge of the mind/body conflict. I go back each year and face that mountain and the challenge again and again. I still do not like heights, cold or camping and still want a bath each day, but it is interesting to ‘walk beside myself and observe myself’ to see how much I can be stretched when all my wants and needs cannot be met, and it is just me, my mind and physicality on that mountain. When I summit, I feel I can come down from Kili and face anything that life throws at me.