Every year thousands of Filipino skilled workers try to come to Australia for better opportunities, regardless of the challenges that they may face. One of them is Mark Anthony David who landed a job as a cook in regional NSW.
The former chef from the Philippines considers himself lucky to have arrived in Australia before the pandemic started. Mark David was granted a Subclass 457 Skilled visa in 2018 to work as cook in Tamworth, regional northwestern New South Wales.
"I was one of the last batch of skilled workers to be granted 457 visas before it was abolished and replaced with the subclass 482," says the chef-tunred-cook.
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- In 2016-2020, around 5,000 Filipinos were granted temporary skilled visa each year.
- Registered nurses, welders, software programmers, mechanics, cooks and chefs at farmers are among the top jobs for Filipinos.
- Cook Mark David chose Australia because of its higher salary offer and health care benefits and opportunity to bring your parents once you become a permanent resident.
Path to permanent residency
The chef from Cavite, Philippines has moved three times from one restaurant to the other in search of the right company able to further sponsor his working visa. Despite initial uncertainty, Mark David is grateful he continue to have a job.
He chose to migrate to Australia because of "the offer of higher wages for cooks or chefs compared to other countries in the Asia Pacific".
"There's also the health care benefits and assistance the government gives its permanent residents and citizens and the opportunity to bring my parents and family to Australia," says Mark.
In 2016-2020, approximately 5,000 Filipino workers are granted temporary working visas each year.
Along with cooks and chefs, registered nurses, welders, mechanics, software programmers and farmers are among the workers from the Philippines granted with Australian temporary working visas.
The Central Coast cook hopes that eventually he will fulfill his dream of permanently living in Australia.
Be patient and persevere
It wasn't an easy and smooth sail for the former cruise ship crew. His first few months in regional Australia had been rough but he persevered.
"Adjusting to the extreme hot and dry weather had been challenging especially when I arrived in Tamworth it was summer and the temperature was extremely high," says Mark David.
As he used to live in Cavite just a couple of hours away from Manila, he needed to get used to living in a regional area. "Tamworth is very quiet and it's also a farming region."
From Tamworth, the chef-turned-cook moved to Newcastle prior to landing a job in the Central Coast region.
Mark now happily works in a small café in Avoca Beach.
The 31-year-old believes that despite the challenges of a new place and being away from family. he needed to be strong to pursue his residency dream.
"I also felt sad as I was far from my family but I need to be strong and patient and I thought to myself that I have to endure everything because I know every challenge can be overcome and that I will succeed."
His words of advice to those who like him dreams of permanently residing in Australia, "wait for the right time. Everything will come when it is for you and if it's time".
"Now that Australia's borders are open again, there's a greater chance people will be able to apply again and come here [Australia].
"Just focus on your goal and what your dream is. There will be difficulties and struggles but we just have to be patient. We will achieve that ultimate dream," ends the bachelor