Due to border closure for two years from 2019 to 2021, there has been an increase in the number of people wanting to leave for Australia for further studies. A majority of the applicants aiming to go to Australia are unemployed, quite a number of class XII students and in-service individuals.
Director of Edu Pro Consultancy in Thimphu, Tshering Nidup said there is a rush to go to Australia this time compared to past years, and the reason is because in 2019, the Australian border was closed. For the February intake, about 200 people left for Australia through Edu Pro Consultancy, and a total of 500 people left to Australia altogether from different consultancies in the country.
Many class XII pass students are trying for their studies abroad unlike in the past where they opt for their studies in neighboring states, India. According to their observation, 70 percent of people applying for studies in Australia are unemployed individuals, mostly affected by the pandemic and the rest are class XII pass students and in-service individuals.
There are also College graduates heading there for Masters programs.
Also, the reason people are leaving for Australia is because it has become easier to get the visa than in the past, said Tshering Nidup.
Similarly, Tshering Peldon, Head, Operation of Rinchen Education Consultancy said this time the rush for Australia is much more than in the past. Their consultancy mostly sends people to Canada and now they are also sending to Australia, a preferred destination among the Bhutanese.
Even individuals sitting for IELTS exams have increased. Earlier it used to be 45 to 50 individuals sitting for test. Majority of the applicants are unemployed and class XII pass students even though the students have got into the government colleges, they still prefer to study abroad, she added.
Palden Tshering of Chhundu Enterprises ECPF- Global Reach said every month there are more than 100 people taking the mandatory English language test to study in Australia. There are also individuals who opt to go to Singapore, Canada, UK or US, but Australia remains the number one destination.
The pandemic had put a halt on the people leaving for Australia to study since the English language testing was stopped, Australia was shut for two years, and there were no face-to-face classes, and medical testing required for the visa processing was also stopped.
According to Palden Tshering, just because there is a rush of people going to Australia, it does not mean that the number has increased.
“Australia was shut down for two years and there is already a backlog from 2020 and 2021, 2022 for people who wanted to go. So now that Australia is opened, there is a rush and it may seem there is more people going, but the fact is there are people who have been studying online and now finally able to return to Australia, there are old students that have been here and they haven’t been able to return back and there are new applicants wishing to go, so all these seems that there are more people going to Australia,” said Palden Tshering.
The Bhutanese interviewed a few Bhutanese living in Australia and those who are trying for Australia. 99 percent of the Bhutanese are leaving for Australia to look for better future and to support their families at home with their dollar paying jobs.
A Bhutanese woman, a registered nurse in Perth, Australia has been working in Australia for almost four years now, and earns double the amount in a month than what she gets in two years as a registered nurse in Bhutan.
She said nurses in Bhutan have a nurse to patient ratio of 1:10 or even more, whereas internationally it is even considered illegal to have that kind of number since it leads to errors and is not safe for either the patients or nurses.
Singye Samdrup came to Australia five years ago. He graduated in 2012 and he couldn’t find a proper job in Bhutan where he could even afford to look after his family. He was working in a private firm where his salary was not even enough for his house rent. So that’s when he decided to go to Australia.
Again it was not easy to just go to Australia as a large sum of hard cash is required to process the college acceptance letter, health insurance and visa fees, transportation, etc. He had to take a loan.
He said, “Life is much easier now, although the work is hard, but the job pays well.”