Thousands of migrants leaving Australia

Growing numbers of young migrants from a non English speaking background are deciding to leave Australia. 

(Transcript from World News Radio)

They may arrive in Australia full of hope about finding a good job and settling into a new country.

But statistics from the Immigration Department show that growing numbers of young migrants from a non English speaking background are deciding not to stay.

As Michael Kenny reports, it's part of an international trend to a more mobile labour market.

Indian-born cardiologist, Dr Yadu Singh thinks Australia is in increasing danger of losing some of its most talented young migrants.

The Sydney-based medical specialist migrated to Australia over 20 years ago and is now the President of the Indian-Australian Association of New South Wales.

Dr Singh says he has come across many cases of Indian-born migrants deciding to leave after relatively short stays in Australia.

He says in many cases, it's a result of frustration over employer demands for Australian-based experience.

"The employers when they are looking to employ somebody, they do seek out any Australian experience. Of course they want to have an employee who knows the system and who can fit in very well. The problem is a Catch 22. If I have come from overseas, how am I going to have Australian experience?"

Dr Singh says many migrants end up working in low-paid jobs for which they are over-qualified.

He says often they can see better prospects by migrating a second time.

"And some of the economies, particularly in Asia are booming and they see better prospects both in career advancement as well as in salaries in those countries compared to Australia."

Figures from the Department of Immigration show more than 90,000 people emigrated from Australia in the previous financial year.

The average age was just over 30, and professionals made up more than 40 per cent.

Just over half were born overseas, up from 30 per cent of the total number of emigrants less than a decade ago.

Almost 9000 were born in Hong Kong or other parts of China, and another 1500 were born in India.

Associate Professor Val Colic-Peisker from RMIT University in Melbourne has conducted extensive research on emigration from Australia.

She says like workers in other countries, Australian workers are becoming increasingly mobile - and those who may speak languages other than English have good opportunities.

"The global labour market is truly global these days, especially for professionals and those who once they've migrated to Australia and who acquired permanent residency, that does not mean any more that they really will stay in Australia permanently. In the 1950s and 1960s, people were arriving on ships, settling in Australia and they didn't travel back and forth a lot of times because it was incredibly expensive."

Immigration Department figures show almost three-quarters of the overseas-born people who left Australia last financial year had lived in Australia for more than five years.

The Chinese-Australian Forum says it has come across growing numbers of first and second generation Chinese-Australians leaving the country for better employment opportunities overseas.

The forum's Vice President Tony Pang believes this is being largely driven by more favourable taxation systems.

"The Asian tax system is very different from Australia. When you compare the tax scale in Hong Kong or Singapore or Malaysia- it's a lot lower so your savings are a lot higher. So a lot of Asian graduates from Australian universities tend to go back and work for a few years over there."

Tony Pang, who works in the finance sector in Sydney, says a number of Asian banks are seeking out Chinese-Australian recruits to work overseas because of their bilingual skills.

In the medical field, he says many Chinese-Australian medical graduates are travelling to countries like Singapore for work because they can earn more.

Dr Colic-Peisker from RMIT University says there are many benefits from a more mobile global labour market.

"Not just trade links, but every other link- educational links, creativity links if you like- it's a global world. We exchange not just capital, but people and ideas, technology and everything and the more people move, the more of that happens."

Tony Pang from the Chinese-Australian Forum says he believes many young Chinese Australian citizens who are working overseas will end up returning to Australia.

"Their loyalty is still to Australia to be honest with you. I speak to them and ask them what will you do? And they say- 'We'll come back to Australia'. That's eventually, but we don't know when yet. They're still young and they're quite adventurous. So I would say eventually they'll come back here because basically they think Australian, they are Australian. It's in them because I think Australia looks after them pretty well, gives them a good education and eventually they'll come back here."



Source World News Australia

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