A possie in Aussie

February 13, 2010

Canada looks set to win the brain drain from India with fast track citizenship

Canada is bidding for the ‘brains’ that are now draining out of Australia and Britain.

Australia has made things harder for foreign students to get PR (permanent residency) through their studies by ending rorts that used study simply as a visa opportunity and encouraging the growth of shonky ‘colleges’ and shady ‘education agents’. International students and temporary workers suffer because of Australian immigration mess

This, along with the recent focus on attacks on Indian students, is drastically reducing student visa applications to Australia. The ‘Indian Issue’ is creating racism

Students from Northern India, Bangladesh and Nepal are also now facing a temporary ban on entry to Britain, which feared foul play after it faced an alarming increase in student visa applications.

Taking the opportunity, the province of Quebec is giving out “certificates of selection” to foreign students who graduate from universities there, putting them on a very fast-track to Canadian citizenship. Quebec Fast-Tracks Citizenship for Foreign Students . Any student who secures a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from any university in Quebec will in effect be awarded citizenship after undergoing security and health checks.

The premier of the province, Jean Charest, told Times of India that

“Our vision is that of an open society. Globalisation is not just about economy and numbers; we need to put a human face to it.’’

This ‘globalised human face’ is not just about people, but about exam scores and qualifications.


January 22, 2010

What are your earliest memories of people from other countries, or other ethnicities?

Filed under: Integration,migration,race relations — Nayano @ 3:20 pm
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What is your earliest memory of meeting someone from another country or of a different ethnicity?

I was intrigued lately by a couple of posts on Larvatus Prodeo.

The first one that got me going was ‘What are your earliest political memories? People responded and talked about knowing the names of Prime Ministers and that they were ‘bad’ or ‘good’, of hearing of the death of famous political figures, of the ‘Dismissal’ (the event, not the mini-series!)

This was followed a few days later by ‘What are your earliest Computer memories?’

That got me thinking about my earliest memories of people from other countries.

I remember my best friend in school who was Greek, and discovering olive oil and garlic and all sorts of delicious things at her house – and also discovering the institution of arranged marriage from her mother, who told me that husbands and wives simply learned to love each other in these situations. I also learnt that if a house had its front garden cemented over, there were Greek living there.

I remember the twin girls who wore long blonde plaits and some sort of clothes like German dirndls, who turned up in grade one.

I remember people calling Italians ‘Ities’ quite un-self-consciously – and of course we knew ‘wogs’ and ‘wops’ but were not so casual about those words – until the fabulous Wogs Out of Work loosened us all up.

I remember the boy from Malaysia who came to live in our house and go to high school, with me when we were both in our early teens, and discovering  the magic of prawn crackers cooked from those strange plastic looking chips. (His parents sent him care parcels – there was no-where to buy Chinese ingredients in Adelaide in those days).

My memories are quite cosy – and certainly benign.

Perhaps yours are too – or not? My friend told me that his memories of growing up in Singapore were of discrimination and insults because of his dark skin.

Please share your memories in the comments!

October 17, 2009

Funny racist commerical

Filed under: humor,humour,racism — Nayano @ 2:18 pm
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I really needed a laugh after this week of  hysteria about the ‘Invasion of the Boatpeople”.

This commercial did it for me – I hope it gives you a laugh too, for this Sunday Funday.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Funny racist commerical“, posted with vodpod

October 6, 2009

An “inevitable cycle of bloodshed and multicultural street festivals”

Friend A: “I like Adelaide better than Melbourne. When you walk around some parts of Melbourne you don’t even feel like you are in Australia, with the mosques everywhere. I think the government is letting in too many people who are different to us.”

Friend B “We are peaceful and hard working. Not like a lot of the other groups.”

The first quote is from a conversation I had during last weekend’s Moon Festival (in Adelaide!)  with Friend A who migrated some years ago from China.

Friend B is an Afghan Muslim immigrant. From a conversation during Eid. (See What has religion to do with belonging and diversity?)

As Ben Pobjie recently summed it up on New Matilda:

“Do we want to accept any old hoodlum without regard to the havoc they will wreak upon our well-ordered life? Do we really want to precipitate the inevitable cycle of bloodshed and multicultural street festivals that will surely follow any moves to make citizenship laws less discriminatory?

“How hard should it be to be an Australian? “Very very hard”? “A little bit harder than that”? Or “Impossible”? It’s a difficult question for any patriotic citizen.”

October 5, 2009

Pass the IELTS? Do not learn English if you want a visa

Why do so many international students have problems with the level of English language they need for their studies?

Why do so many people on skilled visas not get jobs in Australia, even though they are highly qualified?

Because it is possible to pass the IELTS at a high level with barely a word of English.

International students and skilled migrants are required to have high-level IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores to get Australian visas.

In a submission to the senate inquiry into international student conditions, the University of Melbourne Graduate Student Association advocacy service argues that more funding should be allocated to language support for international students and that it is the responsibility of the University to provide this support.

In another submission, N. K. Aggarwal raises the question “do the students really come to Australia to study or simply use the Governments’ permitted method to attain permanent residence? Nearly 95 % of the overseas students attending vocational courses, settle down in Australia permanently”.

Study and employment are indeed secondary goals for many, whose primary aim is PR (permanent residency).

It is because of the PR Holy Grail that many scams have developed, including the one I was made privy to this weekend – books published in Chinese that give all of the questions that a candidate will come across in the IELTS exam, with the answers. Imposters. Secret documents. That’s the Australian visa business

There are for example 200 Reading texts used for the IELTS, which cycles through those randomly to produce each ‘unique’ test.

Chinese candidates can learn to look for two or three key words in the texts which alert them to which answers to give. This of course requires a lot of dedicated rote learning, but is much quicker than trying to actually become proficient in English at this level.

It would be a good idea to find a better testing system, rather than spending millions on remediation once the students and migrants are ion Australia.

Post script: A quote from Andrew Bartlett’s submission, which I wholeheartedly approve, but also want extended to the Chinese who arrived in 2005-2006 on 457 visas:

“It is grossly unfair to encourage international students to come on the promise of permanent residency, and then change the rules after they have arrived.”

September 14, 2009

Which goods are produced by children and slaves?

Filed under: 457 visas — Nayano @ 8:03 am
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(I am breaking my own rule here, because this item is not about maginalised migrants- but I felt it was too important not to publicise as widely as possible. And, indeed, the Australian 457 visa has come dangerously close to producing forced labour Chinese slave labour in Australia )

Change.org reports that the US Department of Labor has released a document about goods that are produced by slave labour- and more goods were found to be made with child labor than forced labor. List of slave-made goods

The most common goods which have significant incidence of forced and/or child labor are cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, coffee, rice, and cocoa in agriculture; bricks, garments, carpets, and footwear in manufacturing; and gold and coal in mined or quarried goods.

Here are some of the worst offenders for forced labor or slavery:

Bolivia: nuts, cattle, corn, and sugar

Burma: bamboo, beans, bricks, jade, nuts, rice rubber, rubies, sesame, shrimp, sugarcane, sunflowers, and teak

China: artificial flowers, bricks, Christmas decorations, coal, cotton, electronics, garments, footwear, fireworks, nails, and toys

India: bricks, carpets, cottonseed, textiles, and garments

Nepal: bricks, carpets, textiles, and stones

North Korea: bricks, cement, coal, gold, iron, and textiles

Pakistan: bricks, carpet, coal, cotton, sugar, and wheat

Note: This doesn’t mean all goods from that sector in that country were produced with exploitation.

September 3, 2009

In India Gillard bears gifts, Crean wags a finger; in Australia Indian students march

Thousands of overseas students marched in Sydney and Melbourne yesterday, watched by by-standers, riot police and an international television audience.

Indian and Chinese media followed the marches across Australia, airing the grievances international students have over safety, accommodation, visas, shonky institutions and travel concessions. Denial of equal rights brings students to the streets

Meanwhile, Julia Gillard is in India, on what Amanda Hodge of the Australian calls a five-day Indian charm offensive. Gillard announced a 300,000 rupee ($7300) donation for the purchase of school books to the ASHA foundation, as she ‘tiptoed her way good-naturedly over open sewers and smiled at bare-footed urchins’.

Additionally, the Australian Deputy Prime Minister launched a new Australia India Institute, and a collaborative online teaching program at the Indira Gandhi National Open University. Gillard bears gifts for slum-dwellers.

The Australian Treasurer is also in India, but was somewhat less charming than Ms Gillard.

“Let’s be clear, we are offering a quality education in a safe environment,” Mr Crean said yesterday. “The quality of our education is what we are promoting, not the visa attached to it.

“For this to succeed, we also need the co-operation of the Indian government. The fact that politicians in both countries have been forced to focus on the issue improves the odds of coming up with a better system.” ‘We’re selling education, not visas’

Rupakjyoti Bora at Online Opinion, who formerly lived in Australia, recommended pre-departure briefing for Indian students.

“Indian students should also make sure they undertake proper enquiries before going to Australia to pursue courses at some of the lesser-known universities and institutes.

Some of the recent attacks may well be racial in nature, but such incidents have happened in other countries too, including India (remember some spectators in India taunting Andrew Symonds, or for that matter targeting Lewis Hamilton?). It would therefore be unwise to brand Australia as a racist country. There will always be some bad apples (in both Australia and India), but they should not be allowed to spoil the barrel.” Rebuilding trust between Australia and India

August 29, 2009

Union asks for ban on foreign students in trade jobs

The Australian Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) is concerned that international student students will work for very little or for nothing to get the experience that they need to apply for permanent residency. Calls for review of Australian visa holders work rights

The Union wants the Federal Government to examine the effect visiting students have on the job market.

The ABC quotes union boss Bob Kinnaird:

“In order to qualify for a permanent resident visa, which is what a lot of the 45,000 people on these work visas are really after, they have to establish 12 months’ skilled work experience in the occupation that they’re nominating.

“We [know] from research and our own experience that some overseas graduates are so desperate to get permanent residence that they’re prepared to take low and in some cases to take no wages at all, in order to qualify for the 12 months.

“Overseas students must be treated with respect and dignity, but we are concerned by the rights of Australian workers and young people in particular. Foreign students ‘competing for Australian jobs’

The CFMEU has told a Senate inquiry that all trade occupations should be immediately removed from eligible occupations for overseas student graduates.

Professor Chris Nyland from Melbourne’s Monash University and Professor Simon Marginson from Melbourne University say the benefits of a $13 billion international student industry balances out such labour market concerns.

The honorary president of the Australian Federation of International Students, Wesa Chau, says it would be unfair to prevent overseas students from working in Australia.

But the point is not that the students are being engaged as workers – rather, they are being exploited for low pay or even no pay because of their desperation to get Permanent Residency. Shonky Australian training courses lead to PR, bashings and death. It is this rort that must be stamped out – not legitimate jobs for overseas students.

August 15, 2009

457 visa numbers drop

Filed under: 457,457 visas — Nayano @ 8:30 am
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The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Evans, released a summary report for the subclass 457 business (long stay) visa for June 2008-09 this week.

  • Primary applications lodged in 2008-09 were 11 per cent below as compared to previous term
  • Primary applications granted also slipped by 13 per cent below last year
  • Primary visa applications in June 2009 were 45 per cent lower than June 2008 and 40 per cent lower than in September 2008
  • Of the top 15 occupations for primary applications granted, only registered nurses rose up by 18 per cent
  • There were 77,330 primary visa holders in Australia at 30 June 2009, compared to a peak of 83,130 at the end of February 2009
  • New South Wales recorded the biggest decline in use of temporary skilled overseas workers with a 24 per cent drop in primary applications, Western Australia reported drop by 9.5 per cent, Queensland by 7.5 per cent drop and Victoria by 7.1 per cent.

Perhaps this will keep the unions happy? Rudd sweetens unions with 457 hints

August 11, 2009

Australia on trial in first Southeast Asian Court of Women

The first Southeast Asian Court of Women on HIV and Human Trafficking is being held in Bali. More than 20 Southeast Asian women have narrated their personal stories of exploitation and abuse.

I have been concerned about the 457 visa because, whatever controls the government may put in place, the worker is still beholden to the employer, and therefore reluctant to speak out Chinese slave labour in Australia

The stories sometimes do emerge, but most wait until they are out of the country.

Danton Remoto of ABS/CBN News reports the story of a Filipina woman exploited while on a 457 visa in Australia:

“Amalia was a call-center agent in Manila who wanted a better life for her child, who has learning difficulties, and herself. She was being beaten up by her husband, so she left him and raised her child alone.

“She applied for work in Australia as a Restaurant Duty Manager on a 457 visa. Her sister told her that it was a lopsided visa, since she could work for only one employer, her sponsor, and could not leave even if they were maltreating her. But she did not listen to her sister.

“She flew to Australia, only to discover that she is more of waitress and janitor than manager of the restaurant. She stayed in a cramped apartment with three other Filipinas and had many mysterious deductions in her paycheck. When she and her fellow Filipinas banded together with the help of Migrante and Buhay Foundation and asked for better treatment and just wages, the restaurant management fired them, citing the economic crunch as a reason.

“She returned to Manila and has filed a case against her employer, speaking out against the ills of not getting full information about the contract, culture and context of one’s foreign employment.” Filipina workers testify in Southeast Asian Court of Woman

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