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Moving to Austraila, may not all be Sun, Beach and Barbecues.

Moving to Austraila, may not all be Sun, Beach and Barbecues.

Old Apr 29th 2014, 4:48 am
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Unhappy Moving to Austraila, may not all be Sun, Beach and Barbecues.

Hi All,

I have pondered over writing this article for over 36 months and have decided to do it just to ensure that as many people as possible who wish to migrate to Australia clearly understand the full implication of their decision to move to Australia.

Australia scenery is beautiful, an outdoor society with the beaches, wide roads and beautiful weather, barbecues every day etc but please don’t be fooled into believing that is all you need to lead a happy life over here.
I moved to Australia with my family of three (two kids and my wife) have had the most horrific experience moving to Australia and to get some perspective, I need to provide you with some details of our background.
My professional background was as a senior/executive management in investment banking; I have a master’s degree from a leading university in the UK and also studied in Harvard Boston. I was born and have lived permanently in the United Kingdom for the last 22 years.

I am of African descent, worked and lived in the UK, USA and Africa and modestly put; I developed in the UK a reputation for turning around contentious or very difficult issues or problems, because I work very hard, always studying, improving myself and never back down till the job is done to a very high standard. I have a mixture of an African, English and American accent; sometimes it sounds either or one of the three.

In the UK, I had been a consultant since 1999 and never been out of work that is not of my own accord, instead in most of my contracts, when I have decided to move on or not renew it, I have been offered a higher rate to stay on, which I will normally turn down, as the primary reason that I always opt to move on, almost always is the challenge, the contract rate was always secondary (and I mean this sincerely, this is not cliché). Prior to becoming self employed I was C level manager at a leading investment bank in the UK.

My wife is half Caucasian and half African and is in the medical profession; pretty good at her job also, genuinely loves helping the sick and people in need.

From when we got married in 1998, I travelled a lot, spent a lot of time trying to improve myself to the detriment of our family life, because I was very determined to succeed and cater for the family, naive but true. Anyway by 2009/2010, I had realised that we needed a change of environment/location as a family to work on our marriage, improve our quality of life, especially for the kids etc. In the UK we had saved up about $250,000 pounds and we had three properties, two rented out and one that we lived in, we were fairly comfortable, but the price of being that comfortable had taken its toll on our family life and marriage.

In Feb of 2010, I got the opportunity to do some tender/bid proposal work for an individual/small firm in Sydney Australia and started nursing the idea of moving over there. Discussed it with my contact over there, who was all for the idea, painted a very rosy picture and even got me involved in the tender for a government institution based in Canberra ACT – the state capital.
My partner decided on the basis of all the above, to look for work in Australia also and she was immediately offered what we thought was a fantastic opportunity, pick your own hours provided you complete your contracted hours within the week etc. It sounded like a pretty good opportunity, all turned out to be untrue.

We were told professionals were high in demand, certainly in both our fields which was not entirely true and I will come back to this point later on.
Anyway to cut a long story short, we applied and were granted the 457 visa and October 2010 we were heading to Australia.

We had agreed as a family, to avoid me having to travel all over the place again that I will stick to the work I was doing with the individual mentioned earlier (bids/tenders), set up an additional business locally and focus on running/managing it.

We decided to set up a restaurant/bar in a so called exclusive neighbourhood in one of the states, was the best option, I used to own a bar in the UK with a partner prior to finishing my Masters degree and it seemed like the right choice.

We did our research, set up the Restaurant/Bar, was lied to by the landlord/centre manager of shopping precinct, other business owners in the area, suppliers, potential staff, everyone was dishonest and eventually we sunk the 250,000 pounds, borrowed another 300,000 pounds and sunk in when the business started struggling from day one, after 18 months, we had to shut down the business.

Things were so bad that we reminisced on the life style we had in the UK and all this affected both our health. We were in an isolated, lonely country with no friends, no family, everyone around us told a lot of lies in a rather very desperate manner to get as much money as possible out of us, very deceitful, manipulative, dishonest, aggressive, rude, unexposed, ignorant and racist. It was clear to us that most of the patrons had never meet a black person of African descent who could afford to set up an establishment such as ours which was frankly quite surprising. My partner was also going through a similar experience in her own field.

People walked up to me and asked me if I sold drugs, as their way of trying to understand the source of my investment in the business. During the construction of the Restaurant/Bar, I was not provided with the full picture, in terms of cost, by the time I was in the middle of it, the costs started to skyrocket and by the time, the restaurant had been furnished or fully fitted out, I owed over $150,000. The owner of the fit out firm particularly his wife threatened me with physical violence (with Bike gangs and all kinds of feral characters were sent to threaten me). Anytime my phone rang I lived in perpetual fear.

There were three attempts within 6 months of opening the restaurant to declare it bankrupt, through the courts; we had to start borrowing money to pay off debts and keep the place afloat.

In the UK, I had never been physically threatened by any one or gone to court for anything, so this was all a new experience for me, in a very strange land. I had worked and conducted business in some parts of Africa that the press portray as rife, with fraud and scams etc but never fallen victim to any such behaviour. Within six months of arriving in Australia, I had been defrauded, scammed and lied to in every conceivable way, to include the individual I was meant to be doing some tender/bid proposal work for.
If you have a major legal dispute and it has to go to court, you will need to have a minimum of around 100,000 to 150,000 dollars to be able to get appropriate representation which in effect discourages anyone who can’t afford it (which is the majority) from taking up any disputes even when the other rich party/company is clearly at fault or in breach of the agreement or contract.

Also a rival rich restaurant owner who had gangster and bike connections reverted to orchestrating fights every week in the restaurant to see if we will get closed down by the Liquor regulatory authorities, even to the point that I always felt physically threatened. I reported to the police but nothing was done about it.

So as of date, I have gone back to my normal profession and take work when I can get it, still faced with racism, ignorance, old boys/personal contacts club which I obviously don’t belong to. Positions are not awarded based on competency alone, they awarded based on contacts, if your face/colour/accent fits and the relevant people are your cronies.

We are now paying off debts of over 200,000 pounds, which could take a few years to pay off, if I am continuously in work which at the moment is not looking promising. We have sold all the houses, as there were mortgaged to the hilt, and we are still have not finished paying off the debt.

By the way when you read about professionals of all kinds, lawyers, bankers, nurses, doctors etc wanted in Australia, please take any such news story with a pinch of salt, as this is not really the case Australian born and trained professionals cannot even find work. A large percentage of British migrants are going back to the UK, check out the following articles
1) http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...alia-be-warned
2) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15799571
3) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...ding-home.html
4) http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2...ving-australia
5)
We are looking to relocate back to the UK any day now because of the kids school etc, we are having to plan it quite carefully.

As I mentioned I am aware that not everyone will have a similar experience such as ours and I am also aware that people prefer to highlight the positives only about immigrating to Australia, good weather, barbecues all week, outdoor culture etc. But I have decided to write this article for the following reasons;

 To serve as a guide for anyone else thinking of relocating to Australia, to at least conduct even more in-depth on the ground research before immigrating to Australia. Perhaps do a trial run first may be for a year or at least not move the whole family in one go.

 Our family went through a very difficult period/time and strain almost got us to a breaking point, I would hate to see anyone else go through a similar experience.
I understand a new business can fail, but the level of dishonesty, lies, deceit we experienced contributed quite a bit to the overall unpleasant experience we have had in Australia as a whole.

I am also aware that some of our experiences were not purely down to racism but more out of ignorance as the same treatment is meted out to other Caucasians. The average Australian in my view, do not like foreigner’s migrating to their country, regardless of whatever contribution you may be making to their society.

They see Australia as our hidden piece of paradise not to be shared with anyone else, which is really surprising considering the fact that in certain sectors, Australia is probably ten years behind the rest of the western or developed world.

To grow the Australian economy you need, controlled but consistent growth in population particularly encouraging and attracting the required skills and experience. To be able to compete both as a manufacturing, service and consumer based economy Australia needs to grow its population by at least 30 to 40% over the next 10 to 15 years with the right calibre of immigrants from all over the world. And there is really no reason why this can’t be achieved especially since the uninhabited land mass in Australia is quite a big one and probably more than any continent on the planet.

Finally the cost of living in Australia is nowhere commensurate to the wages received, particularly in cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
A two bedroom flat in an area about 20 minutes from the Central Business District will cost you over 1 million dollars to buy in a city of less than a million people out of which probably less than 30% earn over 100,000 dollars a year. Property value in my view is overvalued particularly in Sydney and will eventually crash.

I know that if I had read anything similar to this article before immigrating, we would have done things differently ourselves. For what is worth I have told our own story and if it serves to guide any one or at least to get you thinking about confirming certain things before you immigrate to Australia, then I have succeeded in the desired objective of writing this post in the first place.

John

Last edited by moneypenny20; May 1st 2014 at 11:19 am. Reason: Sorry, but that right justifying is way too confusing to read.
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Old May 1st 2014, 1:07 am
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Default Re: Moving to Austraila, may not all be Sun, Beach and Barbecues.

First of all the formatting on that makes it hard to read...

Sorry you had such bad experience but my experience (and that of my family) is very different to yours.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like you did not do enough research before you went through with your business venture, and the bad experience has probably tainted everything else.

My mixed race husband has never had any racial taunting- well except for teasing about his weird accent, which is neither British nor Australian.

I think people on these boards do try and give a balanced view. I am happy here but would not say its paradise. We still have bills to pay, tricky workmen, school issues, traffic jams...all the same minor daily irritations as most big cities.
For us on balance, this is where we want to be, but it is not for everyone. Most of the people who are happy with their lot are off enjoying themselves rather than on this board (I am meant to be job seeking and am procrastinating! ;-) )
I hope you find contentment on your return.
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Old May 1st 2014, 10:32 am
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Default Re: Moving to Austraila, may not all be Sun, Beach and Barbecues.

Oh dear that does sound like you've been through a lot (I do agree, it's a bit difficult to read due to the formatting).

All you can do now is put it all behind you and start afresh somewhere new with your family. It's a shame and absolutely horrible turn of events and I hope you're able to move on.

There will be people on this site who have loved the fact this happened in Australia and will be trying to figure out how to cleverly write a passive agressive reponse however, to be fair your story could have really happened anywhere in the world. It's just a huge amount of bad luck and mix of unfortunate characters and unfortunately it happened to you. I'm not saying I condone any of this by the way, and wish you a brighter future. Your story is a very individual one so although it's good to get good and bad info, it doens't mean that it would happen to someone else. Just like a great experience might not happen to someone else.

I've said it before and will say it again... countries on the whole are not racist, people are. I won't go into it, however I personally have experienced horrible comments and racism myself in the UK. All I can say tho is I haven't met every single person in the UK and have lovely friends from all over the world, so I refuse to tar everyone with the same brush.

The "average Australian" you speak of doesn't really exist if you look at the high figures of people living in the country who were not born there. 1 in 4 people in Australia were born overseas.

You've given very good advice on "at least conduct even more in-depth on the ground research before immigrating to Australia. Perhaps do a trial run first may be for a year or at least not move the whole family in one go" A lot of the time comments on this and other expats sites are about unrealistic expectations and how moving to foreign countries will somehow magically fix any problems the expat feels they have, and of course on many occasions this does not happen! A great yellow ball in the sun and blue ocean don't have any more powers than in any other country, changes must be made by you.

I hope you're able to move on, put it all behind you, find happiness and start afresh somewhere. Wish you and your family all the best.

Last edited by Still Game; May 1st 2014 at 11:59 am.
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Old May 1st 2014, 11:26 am
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Default Re: Moving to Austraila, may not all be Sun, Beach and Barbecues.

Edited the formatting, should be easier now.
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Old May 2nd 2014, 6:23 am
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Default Re: Moving to Austraila, may not all be Sun, Beach and Barbecues.

So sorry that it has all gone pear shaped for you! You were lucky to avoid bankruptcy as Australia won't let bankrupts leave the country (I once had dealings with an elderly American gentleman whose restaurant experience almost exactly mirrors your own, compounded by a disastrous and exploitative relationship. He wanted to return to USA where he had support but was doomed to spend his declining years in Aus because of his bankruptcy).

I hope the way forward for you is much more positive!
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Old May 2nd 2014, 9:14 am
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Default Re: Moving to Austraila, may not all be Sun, Beach and Barbecues.

One thing I don't quite understand is how you opened up your own business when you came over on a 457 and how you continued to be here without being employed by the company who sponsored you.
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Old May 4th 2014, 3:12 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Austraila, may not all be Sun, Beach and Barbecues.

Hi John. That must have been a difficult post to write, good on you for being willing to share your experiences in Australia. I think it's great that people take the time to do this, whether their experiences are negative or positive (or, as is often the case, a bit of both).

I'm sorry that your move to Australia hasn't gone as planned. It certainly sounds as though you've been extremely unfortunate in your business dealings, which will of course affect how you feel about the country as a whole.

I think you've been very successful in your stated intention of highlighting the need for people to fully research such a move. Reasons for emigrating, employment prospects, cost of living - tons of work to do even before applying for a visa. Of course, it's not possible to research every aspect and detail, but if the big issues are sorted there's a far greater chance of successfully navigating the others.

Re
To grow the Australian economy you need, controlled but consistent growth in population particularly encouraging and attracting the required skills and experience
this link may be helpful to you
http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/20planning.htm
I'm not sure what you mean by 'the right calibre of immigrants', but I'm assuming that you mean people who are skilled. You'll see that skilled migrants are allocated almost 68% of places, family migrants 32%. The comparatively small number of places allocated for humanitarian migrants is better left to another discussion.

Yes, much of Australia is uninhabited but for balance, it's probably important to mention that 40% of it is uninhabitable

I don't really know what to say about your summation of 'the average Australian', that they don't like foreigners and want to keep Australia to themselves. As an Australian, I'm really sad that someone is leaving with this impression. For me, once people arrive 'they' become 'we'. I like Still Game's take on this - there are racist people in Australia (and yes, everywhere) but to give people the impression that this is the norm for Australian people is, in my opinion, incorrect.

Thanks again for your post, John. I'm really sorry that you've had to deal with some fairly rotten sounding people and that it's been such a stressful experience for you and your wife. I wish you both the best of luck for the future.

Last edited by spouse of scouse; May 4th 2014 at 3:16 pm.
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Old May 6th 2014, 3:12 am
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Default Re: Moving to Austraila, may not all be Sun, Beach and Barbecues.

Originally Posted by moneypenny20 View Post
One thing I don't quite understand is how you opened up your own business when you came over on a 457 and how you continued to be here without being employed by the company who sponsored you.
I think the OPs wife may have been the main visa holder.
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Old May 7th 2014, 12:46 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Austraila, may not all be Sun, Beach and Barbecues.

Originally Posted by Jilliebee View Post
I think the OPs wife may have been the main visa holder.
Could be, he mentions the medical profession. However she should not have then been involved in his business - she should only work in her own job, for her sponsoring employer.
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Old May 15th 2014, 4:11 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Austraila, may not all be Sun, Beach and Barbecues.

Originally Posted by moneypenny20 View Post
One thing I don't quite understand is how you opened up your own business when you came over on a 457 and how you continued to be here without being employed by the company who sponsored you.
That was first thing that occurred to me, one of them was certainly working illegally. I don't understand why anyone would make that kind of an investment in a business on a 457 visa, even if it the 457 holder didn't work in the business. Far too much at risk if the 457 came to an end. Sounds like just poorly thought out from the start.
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Old May 18th 2014, 3:24 am
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Default Re: Moving to Austraila, may not all be Sun, Beach and Barbecues.

Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
Hi All,

I have pondered over writing this article for over 36 months and have decided to do it just to ensure that as many people as possible who wish to migrate to Australia clearly understand the full implication of their decision to move to Australia.

Australia scenery is beautiful, an outdoor society with the beaches, wide roads and beautiful weather, barbecues every day etc but please don’t be fooled into believing that is all you need to lead a happy life over here.
I moved to Australia with my family of three (two kids and my wife) have had the most horrific experience moving to Australia and to get some perspective, I need to provide you with some details of our background.
My professional background was as a senior/executive management in investment banking; I have a master’s degree from a leading university in the UK and also studied in Harvard Boston. I was born and have lived permanently in the United Kingdom for the last 22 years.

I am of African descent, worked and lived in the UK, USA and Africa and modestly put; I developed in the UK a reputation for turning around contentious or very difficult issues or problems, because I work very hard, always studying, improving myself and never back down till the job is done to a very high standard. I have a mixture of an African, English and American accent; sometimes it sounds either or one of the three.

In the UK, I had been a consultant since 1999 and never been out of work that is not of my own accord, instead in most of my contracts, when I have decided to move on or not renew it, I have been offered a higher rate to stay on, which I will normally turn down, as the primary reason that I always opt to move on, almost always is the challenge, the contract rate was always secondary (and I mean this sincerely, this is not cliché). Prior to becoming self employed I was C level manager at a leading investment bank in the UK.

My wife is half Caucasian and half African and is in the medical profession; pretty good at her job also, genuinely loves helping the sick and people in need.

From when we got married in 1998, I travelled a lot, spent a lot of time trying to improve myself to the detriment of our family life, because I was very determined to succeed and cater for the family, naive but true. Anyway by 2009/2010, I had realised that we needed a change of environment/location as a family to work on our marriage, improve our quality of life, especially for the kids etc. In the UK we had saved up about $250,000 pounds and we had three properties, two rented out and one that we lived in, we were fairly comfortable, but the price of being that comfortable had taken its toll on our family life and marriage.

In Feb of 2010, I got the opportunity to do some tender/bid proposal work for an individual/small firm in Sydney Australia and started nursing the idea of moving over there. Discussed it with my contact over there, who was all for the idea, painted a very rosy picture and even got me involved in the tender for a government institution based in Canberra ACT – the state capital.
My partner decided on the basis of all the above, to look for work in Australia also and she was immediately offered what we thought was a fantastic opportunity, pick your own hours provided you complete your contracted hours within the week etc. It sounded like a pretty good opportunity, all turned out to be untrue.

We were told professionals were high in demand, certainly in both our fields which was not entirely true and I will come back to this point later on.
Anyway to cut a long story short, we applied and were granted the 457 visa and October 2010 we were heading to Australia.

We had agreed as a family, to avoid me having to travel all over the place again that I will stick to the work I was doing with the individual mentioned earlier (bids/tenders), set up an additional business locally and focus on running/managing it.

We decided to set up a restaurant/bar in a so called exclusive neighbourhood in one of the states, was the best option, I used to own a bar in the UK with a partner prior to finishing my Masters degree and it seemed like the right choice.

We did our research, set up the Restaurant/Bar, was lied to by the landlord/centre manager of shopping precinct, other business owners in the area, suppliers, potential staff, everyone was dishonest and eventually we sunk the 250,000 pounds, borrowed another 300,000 pounds and sunk in when the business started struggling from day one, after 18 months, we had to shut down the business.

Things were so bad that we reminisced on the life style we had in the UK and all this affected both our health. We were in an isolated, lonely country with no friends, no family, everyone around us told a lot of lies in a rather very desperate manner to get as much money as possible out of us, very deceitful, manipulative, dishonest, aggressive, rude, unexposed, ignorant and racist. It was clear to us that most of the patrons had never meet a black person of African descent who could afford to set up an establishment such as ours which was frankly quite surprising. My partner was also going through a similar experience in her own field.

People walked up to me and asked me if I sold drugs, as their way of trying to understand the source of my investment in the business. During the construction of the Restaurant/Bar, I was not provided with the full picture, in terms of cost, by the time I was in the middle of it, the costs started to skyrocket and by the time, the restaurant had been furnished or fully fitted out, I owed over $150,000. The owner of the fit out firm particularly his wife threatened me with physical violence (with Bike gangs and all kinds of feral characters were sent to threaten me). Anytime my phone rang I lived in perpetual fear.

There were three attempts within 6 months of opening the restaurant to declare it bankrupt, through the courts; we had to start borrowing money to pay off debts and keep the place afloat.

In the UK, I had never been physically threatened by any one or gone to court for anything, so this was all a new experience for me, in a very strange land. I had worked and conducted business in some parts of Africa that the press portray as rife, with fraud and scams etc but never fallen victim to any such behaviour. Within six months of arriving in Australia, I had been defrauded, scammed and lied to in every conceivable way, to include the individual I was meant to be doing some tender/bid proposal work for.
If you have a major legal dispute and it has to go to court, you will need to have a minimum of around 100,000 to 150,000 dollars to be able to get appropriate representation which in effect discourages anyone who can’t afford it (which is the majority) from taking up any disputes even when the other rich party/company is clearly at fault or in breach of the agreement or contract.

Also a rival rich restaurant owner who had gangster and bike connections reverted to orchestrating fights every week in the restaurant to see if we will get closed down by the Liquor regulatory authorities, even to the point that I always felt physically threatened. I reported to the police but nothing was done about it.

So as of date, I have gone back to my normal profession and take work when I can get it, still faced with racism, ignorance, old boys/personal contacts club which I obviously don’t belong to. Positions are not awarded based on competency alone, they awarded based on contacts, if your face/colour/accent fits and the relevant people are your cronies.

We are now paying off debts of over 200,000 pounds, which could take a few years to pay off, if I am continuously in work which at the moment is not looking promising. We have sold all the houses, as there were mortgaged to the hilt, and we are still have not finished paying off the debt.

By the way when you read about professionals of all kinds, lawyers, bankers, nurses, doctors etc wanted in Australia, please take any such news story with a pinch of salt, as this is not really the case Australian born and trained professionals cannot even find work. A large percentage of British migrants are going back to the UK, check out the following articles
1) http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...alia-be-warned
2) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15799571
3) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...ding-home.html
4) http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2...ving-australia
5)
We are looking to relocate back to the UK any day now because of the kids school etc, we are having to plan it quite carefully.

As I mentioned I am aware that not everyone will have a similar experience such as ours and I am also aware that people prefer to highlight the positives only about immigrating to Australia, good weather, barbecues all week, outdoor culture etc. But I have decided to write this article for the following reasons;

 To serve as a guide for anyone else thinking of relocating to Australia, to at least conduct even more in-depth on the ground research before immigrating to Australia. Perhaps do a trial run first may be for a year or at least not move the whole family in one go.

 Our family went through a very difficult period/time and strain almost got us to a breaking point, I would hate to see anyone else go through a similar experience.
I understand a new business can fail, but the level of dishonesty, lies, deceit we experienced contributed quite a bit to the overall unpleasant experience we have had in Australia as a whole.

I am also aware that some of our experiences were not purely down to racism but more out of ignorance as the same treatment is meted out to other Caucasians. The average Australian in my view, do not like foreigner’s migrating to their country, regardless of whatever contribution you may be making to their society.

They see Australia as our hidden piece of paradise not to be shared with anyone else, which is really surprising considering the fact that in certain sectors, Australia is probably ten years behind the rest of the western or developed world.

To grow the Australian economy you need, controlled but consistent growth in population particularly encouraging and attracting the required skills and experience. To be able to compete both as a manufacturing, service and consumer based economy Australia needs to grow its population by at least 30 to 40% over the next 10 to 15 years with the right calibre of immigrants from all over the world. And there is really no reason why this can’t be achieved especially since the uninhabited land mass in Australia is quite a big one and probably more than any continent on the planet.

Finally the cost of living in Australia is nowhere commensurate to the wages received, particularly in cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
A two bedroom flat in an area about 20 minutes from the Central Business District will cost you over 1 million dollars to buy in a city of less than a million people out of which probably less than 30% earn over 100,000 dollars a year. Property value in my view is overvalued particularly in Sydney and will eventually crash.

I know that if I had read anything similar to this article before immigrating, we would have done things differently ourselves. For what is worth I have told our own story and if it serves to guide any one or at least to get you thinking about confirming certain things before you immigrate to Australia, then I have succeeded in the desired objective of writing this post in the first place.

John
thinking of you all lots and lots wishing you all the best for the future <3
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