Indians at Home in Australia

Although some say the first Indian came to Australia on Captain Cook’s expedition, Indian migration to Australia has been an ‘on again, off again’ phenomenon. But if you look at Melbourne, second city of Australia and capital of the State of Victoria, it’s definitely ‘on’ now and is likely to stay that way. More than 182,000 migrants, including 47,000 Chinese and Indians, have poured into the city over the past five years.

Suburbs such as Clayton and Dandenong have become Little Delhis and Beijings. Last year, the Indian-born population in the City of Monash was up 54 per cent on the 2001 Census, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Similar increases were found in the City of Greater Dandenong, while the leafy eastern streets of Boroondara welcomed 2620 Indians, an 80 per cent jump over five years.

Following in his sister’s footsteps, Muralai Shastri, 38, settled in Clayton with his family in 2005. The business development manager said he and wife Lakshmi are very happy.

“We like the opportunities, the great education system and the wonderful lifestyle, especially for our son,” he said. “We feel at home, we get everything available in India like the food, and there is a community from our home region of Karnataka.

Indians also came to Australia from countries like Kenya, Uganda, Fiji and so forth, after being forced out by discriminatory regimes. Indian migrants from those countries often brought commercial expertise that helped them succeed in Australian business. The silicon chip revolution, brought many Indian Computer Software professionals to Australia from the mid seventies, and recently, many teachers and doctors have also settled in Australia.

Some years ago, Soubhagya Das, left Odissa, India, to build a better life for his family, overseas.

After trying Canada and Norway, he arrived in Australia with his family on a temporary business (long stay) subclass 457 visa, sponsored by his employer, under the Employer Nomination Scheme in 2005.

The family soon decided Perth, Western Australia, was their new home.

Soubhagya said ‘I have been working with a highly competent, highly skilled work force who can take on any challenge.’

‘Perth is a wonderful place to live,’ he said. ‘I can drive anywhere in half an hour. I could never do that where I lived before. There is so much to do here and so much opportunity.’

When it comes to education, Soubhagya is equally happy.

‘In Perth, we’ve been welcomed with open arms. Everyone has been cordial and kind. Everyone in my family is happy we moved to Australia.’

Given that Australia is experiencing an acute shortage of skilled workers in the trades and professions, it is certain that an ever-increasing stream of compatriots will join Muralai Shastri and Soubhagya Das, whether direct from India or from the UK and other countries.