Trust your instinct and follow your passion

2 minutes read
Posted 21 June, 2024
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Alexandra Jannetto

Like many others in this town, I often sit at my desk and gaze at the breath-taking views of Queenstown. In those moments, I can’t help but reflect on the winding path that led me here.

Born in Arizona, I moved to New Zealand during high school. From the moment I set foot in Queenstown as an 18-year-old uni student wearing Barkers sweatpants, I knew I would settle here. Fast forward 20 years, and here I am, living my dream and contributing to our vibrant community by running my own law practice, the Visa Shop.

My career began in Melbourne, where I landed my first job in the field of food law. The subject intrigued me, but the ethical dilemma of “what can we get away with” clashed with my values. Facing pressure to endure, I trusted my instincts and quit after six months, leaving behind food labels and my boss’ penchant for sardine lunches in my office.

Enter the turning point – following my intrigue, I began volunteering with a community legal centre. The brightly coloured walls, the sense of purpose – it was a stark contrast from my previous work environment. My passion for immigration and refugee law ignited. Thus began my 15-year odyssey of advocating for refugees and migrants.

From private practice to NGO’s, from legal aid commissions to management roles – my diverse career has afforded me many opportunities around the world. It hasn’t always been easy, but I always find solace in the wisdom of my late mother, a former judge, who taught me that helping just one person is enough.

The Visa Shop was born out of the challenges of Covid-19. Marooned in New Zealand, I had to say goodbye to a job offer in Sydney and pivot. Encouraged by my partner Andy’s sage advice: “Launch your own business! Once you taste the freedom, you won’t look back. You can always get a job if it doesn’t work out’. I took the leap, and well, he was right. I’ve never looked back.

Having my own business allows me to do the work I love on my own terms, while balancing motherhood and family life. I assist businesses and individuals with Australian and New Zealand visas and citizenship. I continue my refugee work, which these days focuses on Afghani refugees, including reuniting children separated from their parents. I’ll forever cherish being able to do all this from the snow-capped mountains of Queenstown.

If you’re in need of Australian/New Zealand immigration assistance, please contact me, Alexandra Jannetto: | 021 208 5894


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