Meet Joseph Prabhakar, 45, his wife Sagaya Mary, 30, daughter Maria Maithree, 12, and son Chris Varun, 3. The family is set to leave for Glenfield, Auckland, New Zealand, next month.
A diploma in Mechanical Engineering, Joseph quit his job as assistant manager at Kirloskar Electric Co., Bangalore, and got himself a job in a plastic manufacturing company in Glenfield, six months ago. He came home for Christmas and will leave along with his family in January 2003.
"I was looking for an opening either in Canada, Australia or New Zealand because the company where I worked for 25 years was registering losses in recent years. These countries offer open immigration, so they were on the short-list. Finally, I went to New Zealand and got myself a job. Glenfield is clean, dust-free and greener than Bangalore.
"I came to know that in New Zealand, if you are a conscientious worker, the employer will not allow you to quit after you have worked for the company for a couple of years. In my case, though I had put in 25 years at Kirloskar, my resignation was accepted without any hesitation.
"The other thing that struck me about New Zealand is that it is free of corruption and the law is the
same for everyone. People there are a much disciplined lot and are peace-loving. The life style is also very
good. It is also easy to buy a house there. If I had worked there for 25 years, I would have owned a house
long ago. Here, I could muster only a small plot in an area where there is no supply of electricity. I had no
problems adjusting to that place -- there are so many Indian families that people from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu,
Gujarath, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh have cultural associations, each a congregation of people who meet and
socialize at regular intervals."
His wife Sagaya Mary, a graduate, adds that she agreed to move because of good quality of life, ample job opportunities and good education. "We will miss our relatives, but we have to think of our future and of our children. The education there seems simple, but here my daughter has to study three languages. She knows about the country and its places and animals, but my son is very young and talks of it when he sees an airplane fly over our house. I am going to take up a job when we go there. We will settle down in that country," she concludes hopefully.
Joseph Prabhakar's ancestors had been living here for almost three centuries.
Then there was another couple we met: C G Raghavendra,30, and wife Roopa, 24, both commerce graduates.
Raghavendra, an accountant in a private company, has been trained in software programs such as Oracle and Visual Basic, and is awaiting a final go-ahead from the immigration authorities in New Zealand. He is looking for an opening as an IT professional or an accounts position.
"I have passed the requisite tests and telephonic interviews and am awaiting clearance of my
application. I believe it is under process now. I want to migrate to New Zealand because I have heard from my
friends living there that the quality of life is good and so are the pay and perks. It is also an opportunity
to meet people of another part of our world. My wife has agreed to come along and will take up a job there. We
are going to miss the love and affection of our parents and relatives, but there's a saying in Kannada that
one has to forgo something if you want to earn something. "
"Last year, about 50-60 families from South India have moved to New Zealand with the help of our organization. This year, the figure is about 40 families because stringent conditions have been put in place for immigrants," Mrs. Yogeshwari, Head of Nikim Consultancy Pvt Ltd, Bangalore, an immigration consultancy firm working from Bangalore with offices in Mumbai, Chennai and Kochi says. But these are only the figures for her firm. She explains:
"It is not easy to meet all the requirements (ex. English tests and aptitude tests). but some people do manage to get in after meeting them. The number of immigrants to Australia is much less because of the stiff visa fee. We charge Rupees one lakh for each application for New Zealand and Rupees 1.5 lakh for Australia.
"In addition to immigration processes, we help them with advertisements in newspapers and on the net. But they have to land there, register in the employment exchange and then look for a job. We also help in opening bank accounts or admission of children to schools.
"We find that people migrate to these two countries because they want good lifestyle, good education, good pay-packets that facilitate substantial savings and a system that is free of corruption. There is dignity of labour and their cities are free of pollution.
"There is a demand for IT professionals, chartered accountants, food technologists and dieticians, technically qualified (AC and refrigeration technicians) people in these two countries. But since last year, the governments have introduced laws that ensure that only registered immigration agencies handle applications of people keen to move to there.
"In Australia, we approach MARA (Migration Agents Registration Authority), while it is NZAMI (New Zealand Agents for Migration and Investments)." she explains.