Kunal Trivedi says he was asked to pay $50,000 to $70,000 by some established Indian-Australian business representatives and recruiters to get permanent residency of Australia.
Recently, after reading SBS Hindi’s story on the 457 visa and permanent residency scam, Kunal Trivedi from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, contacted Amit Sarwal.
Kunal’s story, like most of us, is same!
He came to Australia with a dream – to study hard, show dedication to work, explore the global market, and one day take-up Australian citizenship.
Kunal says - “My father had a dream that my son will study in abroad and work in the finest firm in years to progress.”
To achieve this Kunal’s father took a loan against house mortgage and sent him to Melbourne in 2009.
“I had adapted the culture of Melbourne. I have never heard of footy but started liking it and go and cheer for the favourite team with thousands of people in MCG. I worked part time at McDonald's to get through my expenses. It was steady and great start towards my dream. But, everything shattered when I graduated,” says Kunal.
In November 2011, Kunal graduated with good grades in Bachelor of Information and Business System from the University of Ballarat.
He says his University days were golden days – “study, work and vacation - explore new places – was my motto.”
Then Kunal started applying for jobs in his field.
“I have been called up by most of the medium size companies. I went through all the interview process. But at the end they ask you a simple question are you a Permanent Resident of Australia? If not then we are sorry,” laments Kunal.
He says that it wasn't the company’s fault.
“I should have researched and inquired about this before I came to Melbourne,” add Kunal.
One day, as his patience to find a job ran out, Kunal got a call for job vacancy by the reference of one of the finest and established consultancy firm in Melbourne.
“I called the firm based in Brisbane - spoke to the person who said he was the company representative,” Kunal notes.
Kunal promptly forwarded his resume with my graduation certificates and references.
The person acknowledged the documents but surprisingly wanted to know if Kunal would be interested in sponsorship?
Kunal remembers - “He said - we have basically space for people who want sponsorship.”
“I said yes that would be great!” adds Kunal.
But, then came the twist in this perfect job offer!
The company representative asked Kunal to call directly on his given mobile number in the evening.
Kunal says the representative of the firm nonchalantly said – “I can help you out with the sponsorship. You just need to pay me AU$70,000 in 2 years of time. And by then you will be eligible to get PR.”
Shocked at this sudden reversal of fate, Kunal couldn’t believe that he was being asked to pay a sort-of bribe to achieve his dream of Permanent Residency.
“I was shocked. I told him that I will give him a call later on, which I never did! As I was ethically against using any shady means to achieve my dream and also did not want to push my family into the dark well of more loans and mortgages,” says Kunal proudly.
Kunal then started applying to other companies.
But the scenario never changed.
Kunal says - “Whenever I applied to firms owned by Indian-Australians or people from Indian subcontinent they will ask AU$50,000 to AU$70,000$. The demand never stopped. Even some reputed stores did that and it was too shocking for me.”
Kunal remembers sitting one whole day at Federation Square in Melbourne looking at people wearing suits - going to work and returning home.
“Soon, I lost my hope and decided to go back to India. I think, I realized that paying such a huge amount to achieve my dream is not value of your degree,” says Kunal.
Kunal got a job within one month of landing in India based on his Australian education.
Today, working as a Project Manager (lead) in an IT firm for the last 2 years and 8 months , he says - “I am happy that here I am able to share my Australian knowledge.”
Kunal says, “People who pay an xyz amount for PR are not vulnerable victims as the story highlighted. They are part of the racket. It is like bribe – both taking and giving it is a crime!”
“I have shared my story with SBS Hindi, to alert other people in Australia to be aware of these representatives who especially target Indian students to fill their own banks and get rich,” says Kunal.
He further adds that “These people are scary and can be dangerous at times. They can do anything to you once you are in their trap.”
Kunal feels that by opting out he has saved himself from this Australian permanent residency trap set-up by his own fellow countrymen.
“Whenever in life I have a chance to come back to Australia I would never miss that opportunity. It is still a dream and I would follow it legally unlike some who choose to pay and use shady means,” says Kunal emphatically.
Finally, Kunal feels that he has achieved his dream of being in Australia with the support of his family, especially wife.
Today, Kunal has applied for permanent residency and based on the additional experience and points of his wife Darshana Trivedi the happy couple would be back to the land of opportunity by the end of this year.
“Drashana has supported me in my decisions and now we are eligible to get the PR,” says Kunal.
To know more about Kunal’s story and struggle, listen to his conversation with Amit Sarwal.