The Reality of Student Migration to Australia

Today is the 26th of January. Today is Australia Day.

Well, I know many friends from Malaysia who are considering of migrating to Australia. Many of them hope to get a PR or a permanent resident status. Many view the PR as a passport to greater prosperity.

But is it so?

On Friday afternoon, as I was reading the Sydney Morning Herald, one column caught my attention. That column was written by Tanveer Ahmed. Now, Tanveer has written a sobering account of the reality for those international students who are hoping to get the PR status.

Here is some of his writings:

A Bangladeshi student I saw recently attempted suicide after failing to pay his tuition fees. On closer questioning it turned out his parents had sold off almost all their land and taken out a sizeable loan from a moneylender at an extortionate rate. They were banking their future upon him completing his degree in Australia and gaining permanent residency.

And this is some more of his comments especially about foreign students:

Some universities have been the target of allegations that their degrees are little more than extended migration schemes, with the qualifications useful for only the points on the residency application but almost worthless in the employment marketplace.

But what is less commented upon is that overseas students are fast becoming one of the most vulnerable groups in our society. Working in mental health, I see more and more each month and their situations are often horrendous. Suicide attempts, self harm or drug overdoses are the most common way they present, usually in relation to financial and study pressures. It is complicated further by language and cultural difficulties and lack of adequate health insurance.

No spin needed on desperation for residency by Tanveer Ahmed @ Sydney Morning Herald January 25, 2008

I wonder how many Malaysians studying in Australian universities are now considering to migrate to Australia? How many want to obtain the PR status? And how many are even thinking of becoming an Australian citizen?

I wonder if Tanveer Ahmad’s column in the Sydney Morning Herald would make an impact on their decision process.

Just to think about it, the Australian press certainly do have a lot of coverage for the late Heath Ledger. Can you believe it, the day his death was reported, all of the major TV stations’ current affairs programs ran exclusive scoops about him….. Perhaps we can contrast the treatment given to (the late) Heath Ledger with the treatment given to the Bangladeshi student who committed suicide and the recent deaths of 3 Indian students at Melbourne suburbs recently. Do readers see the difference(s)?

Whatever it is, I would like to wish to all Malaysian students in Australia – Happy Australia Day!


About this entry