Gerrit (Jerry) and Karin Bezuidenhout – Carpet retail business
- Name: Gerrit (Jerry) and Karin Bezuidenhout
- Nationality: South African
- Family members: Two dogs – Dingo and Jess – and two sons, who emigrated on their own visas to New Zealand and Australia
- Visa type: 188 and then 888
- Location: Tinbeerwah in the Noosa Hinterland
- Why choose this location: We loved the natural beauty and the peace and quiet. It has the perfect balance of people: not too many and not too few. It is also close to the most magnificent beaches in the world.
First steps and experiences in building a new life
Q: What were you doing before you moved to Australia?
A: We had a small property development and construction company in South Africa. Our two sons had just left home and we decided it was time for a change. Although we loved South Africa, we had become disillusioned with the crime and political instability. We believed there was no future for our sons, or their potential new families, and we needed to move. We were looking forward to a new challenge.
Q: What were the biggest challenges?
A: The most difficult thing is leaving your family and friends behind. Our parents are older and it was difficult leaving them when they’re in their twilight years. We have a lot of acquaintances now, but it will be some time before we have the same friendships we had. Obviously, starting and running a new business is a challenge as well.
Q: What were the greatest successes?
A: We have finally been able to buy a home, settle down, and meet new people. The Sunny Coast is really starting to feel like home.
Migration Queensland nomination process
Q: How did you find out about Queensland nomination and why did you choose a state-nominated business visa?
A: We heard about it through our immigration agent. We could have chosen New South Wales or Queensland, but we loved Queensland’s beauty and relaxed lifestyle.
Q: What was your experience with the application process? Do you have advice for prospective applicants?
A: While the application for our 188 visa was complex and extensive in terms of requirements, it was very efficient, quick, and easy to actually get through. We had our approval six weeks from application.
Q: What businesses and investments do you have currently in Queensland?
A: We have one business in Kunda Park on the Sunshine Coast: Kelwin Coastal Carpets.
Q: What do you consider your biggest business achievement in Queensland to be?
A: Our business has shown tremendous growth. It’s more than doubled in size and we’re employing far more people than when we started. It has been wonderful to give back to the community in that way.
Q: What are the most positive aspects of doing business in Queensland?
A: The support from the state has been fantastic. From the very beginning, the people at the Queensland Government have been approachable, knowledgeable, eager to assist, and friendly. The web-based resources are also intuitive, comprehensive, and easy to use. In short, they’ve been a breeze to deal with.
Q: What are your next steps?
A: Our business plan is to open another branch and potentially more stores, assuming the business model works. There is a shortage of experienced staff in our industry, and we’re finding it difficult to recruit. Our current approach is that we need to employ some less experienced staff and invest our resources in training.
Last published: 7:06 AM, Thursday, 21 October 2021