Of late, more and more Indian migrants are choosing to migrate to Northern Territory as they settle in the area after securing regional or state-sponsored visas.
Indian-origin migrant Gagandeep Singh Ralh moved from Melbourne to Alice Springs in Northern Territory back in August 2013.
Mr Ralh, who came to Australia as a student nearly fourteen years ago said the prolonged agony to secure a permanent residency in cities is pushing young migrants like him to resettle in regional areas.
"It was relatively easy to get residency in NT as compared to what it takes to secure a permanent visa in big cities like Sydney or Melbourne,” he said.
- Gagandeep Ralh came to Australia as an international student from India
- Mr Ralh moved to Alice Springs from Melbourne in August 2013
- He secured permanent residency through NT's state sponsorship
- Many Indian migrants are choosing to migrate to NT using regional or skilled visas
Mr Ralh secured a state nomination from the territory government and became a permanent resident in 2016.
"I came here to study social welfare and then easily got PR while working in the same field," he said.Known as a cultural and artistic centre of the Aboriginal community, Alice Springs is a tourist attraction that has a lot to offer said Mr Ralh.
Mr Ralh who enjoyed the hustle of Melbourne said he initially found it hard to call Alice Springs home because it was "too quiet" for his liking.
But as he spent more years in the quiet town nestled in nature, he couldn't help but fall in love with the place.
"Initially, it was a tough choice to make. But once I knew the better side of Alice Springs I couldn't stop falling in love with this area," he said.
"It became a lot easier once I had my social life happening here. But most importantly, what I liked the most was the work-life balance!"
Mr Ralh, who works as a disability care worker, said regional areas like Alice Springs have more job opportunities to offer which is another incentive that attracts migrants to the heart of the Australian outback.
"There is no shortage of jobs for skilled and hardworking people."
I had moved to the Northern Territory as an international student, but I was never out of a job.
"When I came here, my friends used to say that if you don't go to work within three days, it means you either don't want to do a job or you haven't searched it well," he added.
Mr. Ralh said he has now formed a 'strong bond' with the area and its people.
"I am very attracted to Central Australia, which has a unique indigenous character. There is a lot to learn from the natives who love nature and flora and fauna associated with it."
"They also hold many similarities with our culture as they tend to have strong family connections with their siblings, relatives, and their extended families, which is also quite common in Indian culture."
Mr Ralh said that like many other new migrants in the area, he also felt enticed to return to life in big cities, but a "strong attraction" and his love for the area prevented him from abandoning Alice Springs.
"It is all about the choices you make in your life. If you wish to live a peaceful and prosperous life in harmony with nature and its creation, Alice Springs is the place to be," he said.
The area is known for its cultural and artistic connections to the Aboriginal community, iconic landscapes and rich cultural heritage that attracts a lot of domestic and international tourists each year.
Mr Ralh said that while people often come to Alice Springs to enjoy its natural beauty and experience outback camping, things are likely to change because of the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis and pandemic-induced travel restrictions.
He said regional areas would need more help than the metropolitans to restore their tourist footfalls.
"People often come here for long vacations to enjoy its natural beauty, the sky which is full of stars, the desert and outback camping, hiking and mountain biking in and around the West MacDonnell Ranges, and much more.
COVID-19 has severely impacted tourism activities. But I would urge everyone to explore this part of the world once the travel restrictions are over.
Mr. Ralh said the Indian community in the region has considerably grown in the past ten years, with a majority hailing from the northern state of Punjab and the southern state of Kerala.
"We have a place of worship for our Sikh and Hindu populations. The community often comes together to celebrate many cultural and religious festivals including Vaisakhi, Diwali, Holi, etc," he added.
According to the last census, over 7,000 people of Indian origin are currently living in the Northern Territory.
To know more about this migration story, click on the audio player above to listen to the full interview with Mr Ralh.
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