The reality of working in Australia

A former journalist who is settled in Canberra, but did not want to be named, said that what has changed these days with Bhutanese coming to Australia is that even in terms of blue collar jobs Bhutanese have moved up the blue collar ladder, and many young people come and start delivering food in their own cars.

Earlier, many cleaners at the malls would be Bhutanese, but they have now diversified into other kinds of mainly blue collar and other works.

She said a lot of women get into community service, which is dealing with the old, disabled and those suffering from mental health issues.

She said the prospects for nursing is very good, and so a good number of Bhutanese are studying nursing these days, as this can also result in much better chances for permanent residency.

However, she said that the majority of Bhutanese are doing blue collar jobs in Australia, and only a handful have white collar office jobs or own businesses.

She said for a lot of Bhutanese starting out cleaning jobs is among the best paying jobs, even better than a sales person. She said if Bhutanese want to save money then the combination is to do one longer hours job with a mix of a cleaning job on the side.

She said that people wanting to come here should not go by Instagram posts, as people go out once in a while due to limited time and keep posting those pictures for a while.

The former journalist said she notices that the younger generation coming in are better prepared to adapt, and are also open to share their work and other experiences both the good and bad on Tik Tok and other social media platforms.

Unlike the older people moving to or settled in Australia, these Bhutanese youths have less hang ups and openly share videos of them doing cleaning or other blue collar jobs and their struggles there.

She said this is not the case for the older ones and others who find it difficult to adapt from a office job, including senior posts to now taking up blue collar jobs and they don’t like to talk about work, as they have to keep up appearances back home.

She said there are very young people coming to Australia now, and they are very hardworking. She said only a very small percentage of Bhutanese struggle, and it is often to do with alcohol abuse.

Talking about her own experience, she went to Australia with her husband around eight years ago, and her husband first did a two-year course and got two years’ work visa, and before that expired she did a course for two years and got another three years’ work visa.

She said her first job was a 9 am to 5 pm housekeeping job in a hotel where she was expected to clean hotel rooms including the bathroom and make the bed within 30 minutes which was quite challenging for her.

She said they were expected to do around 6 to 7 such rooms in a day each. She was paid around 22 AUD per hour minus taxes, as income exceeding AUD 300 per week must pay taxes.

Her housekeeping income would come to around AUD 4,000 per month for her, which is more than Nu 200,000 per month.

She later did a course in community care, and she now works around 8 hours a day in care homes taking care of the disabled and old, and while the pay is around the same at around AUD 4,000 per month, but it is less taxing than the hotel cleaning job.

The former journalist said that since her husband is also working, and her parents have told her not to send money home to them as they are self sufficient, she could afford not to take a second or third job which most Bhutanese do.

She said that average pay of a 9 to 4 to 5 shift will be roughly around AUD 4,000 per month, and then another part time work of 4 hours will net another AUD 2,000 and for those who want to do a third shift of another 4 hours can earn another AUD 2,000 which is a 16-hour work day with a monthly total pay of around AUD 8,000 per month or around Nu 400,000 per month. The shorter shift jobs are where the flexible cleaning jobs come in handy.

She gave the example of a friend of hers who works 6 am to 3 pm in a restaurant, then 3 pm to 7 pm doing a cleaning job and another job from 8 pm to 11 pm shift and she earns AUD 8,000 by herself. There is more money for those willing to work on holidays too without rest.

She said that unlike her, most Bhutanese take two to three shifts as some have heavy loans to repay and most are expected to send back money home to support their family. She said most Bhutanese come mentally prepared to work hard for their family.

She said in terms of expenses, what helps is she and her husband’s combined earnings can take care of the rent, which is around AUD 2,000 per month, another AUD 2,000 for grocery and AUD 2,000 for college fees and other incidentals, and then they save the money left after the bills are paid.

In her eight years there, she and her husband have been able to buy two plots of land in Babesa which is now worth millions. She said in the first purchase, the money was not enough and ironically she had to borrow money from her father. She said the next big investment is their son’s education.

She said they have not got a PR yet as PR is mainly for technical and financial professions or those like nursing, and moreover she and her husband plan to come back after a while.

However, there are many Bhutanese who are getting PR from various streams. She said the advantage of a PR is that people don’t have to keep doing courses to keep extending their stay in Australia.

She said the business process in Australia is easier, including access to finance based on credit score and no collateral, which is why a lot of Bhutanese in Australia are buying houses on loan with the additional benefit being the lower interest rates.

She said that even though a large number of teachers are coming to Australia from Bhutan, they mainly end up in blue collar jobs as it is difficult to get a teaching job in Australia due to the qualifications, high IELTS score and accreditation that is required.

She said the few that do get teaching jobs are mainly assistant teachers or are involved in childcare at ECCDs, etc. 

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2 comments

  1. I will be really greatful if i get chance to work at Australia

  2. Thank god I was waiting for this kind of opportunitytill now but finally God listenedto .y wish .

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