The Australia Reality

As per the latest data, 15,552 Bhutanese have got visas to Australia in a 12-month period from July 2022 to June end 2023. This is almost as much as Bhutanese moving out in the last seven financial years.

It should be clear by now that we have a full scale flood of people heading to Australia.

While there has been a lot of analysis done on the reasons for their movement and also its impacts here, we have not delved into the future of now a Dzongkhag sized population of Bhutanese in Australia.

The harsh reality is that the overwhelming majority of Bhutanese have joined the underclass of Australian society taking up jobs that most Australians do not want to do.

Only a few Bhutanese like nurses, engineers, lecturers, IT etc have joined or are joining the Australian middle class with stable pay, stable work hours, good benefits and a pathway to get a permanent residency.

The vast majority of Bhutanese are in blue collar jobs that pay the minimum wage there. The ironical thing is that they were teachers, officers etc in Bhutan, but are just another worker there.

Australia has dignity of labour but it has a class system too like everywhere else.

It must be asked how long will their bodies allow them to work 12 hours a day or in some cases even 16 hours a day. This cannot be a career plan.

While money can be made and saved the living expenses are shooting up in Australia driven by the high rent and jobs are not as easy to get as before.

The Australian dream can turn into an Australian nightmare if either of two things change. The first is the so far liberal visa and work policy of the Australian government. This seems to be changing as Australia is flooded by ‘temporary permanent’ immigrants mainly in the form of working students and as tougher measures are planned to deal with it.

The second more serious issue is what will happen if the Australian economic boom comes to an end. During COVID, foreign students were badly hit and many lined up outside food banks.

Most of the Bhutanese blue collar jobs are highly temporary and highly dependent on a booming economy.

Any shrinkage means that they will be the first to be let go.

“We work to become, not to acquire.”
Elbert Hubbard

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