As this gorgeous flow chart shows, it feels like a loop. An endless loop. A loop that seems designed to deter you from even entering. I have spoken to people who know about this and they recognise the loop and tell me to go for something else - a working holiday visa. These things are a lot easier to get by the looks of it. They last a year and help you find work. There is one catch though - they are only a limited amount and they are released at intervals a couple of times a year. The next ones come out in January. Not ideal of course but better than the loop.
But! An even better way has presented itself, courtesy of a bloke called Gareth I met in the pub the other night. Gareth is an English musician with a Canadian girlfriend. He told me that it only took him three months to get his 'spousal' visa and all he had to do was prove he had a legitimate relationship with his girlfriend for a minimum of a year It just so happens that my girlfriend were out that night celebrating one year together. So now, armed with Gareth's advice and a years worth of relationship evidence, I'm going for that visa. Anything but the loop.