A shopkeeper who helped his customers experience the thrill of piloting a jet airliner while Australia’s international border was closed will now be forced to leave the country after his Global Talent Visa application was rejected.
Aviation electrical engineer Ahmed Abdelwahed Saied Nasreldin tells SBS Arabic24 that since media outlets caught wind of the Airbus A320 flight simulator in the back of his EzyMart convenience store on Elizabeth Street, hundreds have taken the opportunity to live out their dream in the pilot's seat.
He assembled the 2000-piece simulator himself earlier this year, at the cost of $100,000, to keep his aviation career alive in the country he moved to in 2018.
- Ahmed Abdelwahed Saied Nasreldin says he will be forced to return to Egypt after his Global Talent Visa application was rejected.
- He built an Airbus A320 flight simulator in the back of his EzyMart convenience store, which has attracted new customers.
- He says the rejection was "unfair" as he says he provided all the right documents.
However, despite his newfound fame and the aviation credentials he holds from working in Egypt and Europe, his hopes of remaining in Australia with his family were dealt a significant blow on Friday when he lost an appeal to overturn a decision by the Department of Immigration to reject his Global Talent Visa application.
As his temporary visa will expire in a month’s time, he fears that the “big sacrifices” he has made to carry on with his career may have been for nothing.
His application was rejected on the grounds that Nasreldin did not meet the requirements of the visa, a move he denies.
“They didn’t find my work and expertise compelling enough ‘with no professionally recognised records at the international level’ as well as not having exceptional and outstanding achievements,” he says.
“I applied for this visa about a year ago, knowing that I submitted all the right papers, documents and links that prove my internationally and locally recognised experience in Egypt.”
He applied for the visa, "Because it suits my qualifications and is distinguished itself from others in that the information and identification papers can be updated electronically after submitting the visa application”.
He feels he ticked all the boxes to be approved, especially considering his previous work with Egyptair, where he was deployed to various European stations to maintain plane safety before take-offs.
“Among the conditions of this visa are two main conditions, the first is that I have an international certificate in my profession to be able to work once I arrive in Australia, and the second condition is that I have a work contract with a high salary.
“Also, [I’m required] to obtain a recommendation from a person working in the same profession holding Australian citizenship or permanent residency, and recommend that ‘Ahmed is a qualified, specialised person with proven proficiency’.”
He says the application also required the presence of an achievement that has been reported on by a media outlet.
He explains that he possesses international certificates in addition to certificates approved by Airbus and Boeing in Australia, but says he wasn’t able to commence work because he does not hold Australian citizenship.
Adding to his frustration, Nasreldin says he was offered a job at an aircraft consultancy company in Australia after he applied for the visa and laments that his proof of the offer which he sent in a follow-up email – as well as the links to media reports relating to his flight simulator – were not taken into consideration by immigration officials.
Flight simulator ‘testifies to my professional competence’
Nasreldin explains that the job offer in 2020 would’ve qualified him for a sponsored visa, but he would've had to apply for it from abroad.
He explains that it was difficult for him to travel out of Australia due to the pandemic restrictions, and re-entering would’ve also been difficult as the country’s international borders were closed for most of the past two years.
Furthermore, he did not apply for a visa for skilled workers because he says the conditions of that pathway became harder in terms of the points needed by applicants to fulfil the application criteria.
“I am 37 years old, [that would] affect my points significantly.”
Despite his decisions, he says he sat language exams to prove his English proficiency and passed.
He believes the initiative he showed by installing the flight simulator should've been proof enough of his abilities.
“This proves and testifies in favour of my professional competence and that I fulfilled all the conditions, especially when I learned that I can individually install and assemble 2000 pieces on my own.
“I considered it impossible to implement, but with God's help, I accomplished this. In addition, one of the conditions for obtaining the visa is that this work achieves a reputation that the press has talked about and gained popularity, and this is what happened, and I sent all the links of the visual, audio and written media."
He now plans to return to Egypt but hasn't ruled out returning to Australia in the future.