Monday, August 31, 2009

'South Africa is our country, Australia is home'

When Andrew Freeman, a diesel mechanic for Caterpillar, arrived at Tullamarine after the 13-hour journey from Pretoria, South Africa, with his wife, two sons and all their possessions in four suitcases, he became part of a momentous immigration revolution that is quietly transforming Australia.

Mr Freeman, who arrived on a 457 temporary skilled migrant visa sponsored by an employer, typifies the new migrants that are flooding into Australia.

They are skilled, they have choices and increasingly will be fought over as more and more countries seek to cherry-pick the world's most skilled or in-demand migrants.

Crime in South Africa drove Andrew and Liza Freeman to think about emigrating. Their home in Pretoria had been broken into three times and Mrs Freeman, who worked for a bank, had endured several armed robberies.

Mr Freeman considered the US but decided to gamble on Australia, a country where they knew no one and had never visited, but which they thought would offer a lifestyle and culture, minus the violent crime, that was familiar.

He contacted William Adams, the Caterpillar dealer for Victoria and Tasmania at the beginning of June and after sending his resume and after several phone interviews was offered a job under the 457 visa for skilled temporary migration.

The Freemans sold everything in Pretoria and arrived in Melbourne three months later. They hopped into a rental car and drove to Werribee, where they had arranged to look at three rental houses. They chose a house on the spot and after hot showers drove to Harvey Norman to buy three mattresses and a fridge.

Mr Freeman started work at Laverton the next week. Last year, he was named Employee of the Year, winning an overseas trip and a subsequently promoted to management.

The family spent last weekend in Perth watching the Wallabies play the Springboks but their loyalty is clear. ''South Africa is our country. Australia's our home now.''

9 Opinion(s):

Doberman said...

My sentiments exactly and the same goes for most expats. South Africa is our country but [insert country] is home.

Anonymous said...

Good on them ! I wish anybody that managed to escape the RSA well !

FishEagle said...

Anon, my sentiments exactly.

Mad Kiwi said...

NZ is my home, but I don't really feel at home. It's just those cultural differences which annoys the heck out of me at times.

I suppose it's the socialist egalitarian mentality and associated tall poppy syndrome which gets to me most. In a way the locals remind me so much of the blacks, no ambition, envy of other people doing well, childishness, lack of accepting responsibility, lack of morals, lack of common sense, milking the system where they can, the list goes on...

But will I swap it for the chaos in SA? Not likely. My kids (who effectively grew up here) are happy and safe. We did the move for their sakes,life financially would very likely been better in SA, but at what cost?

Doberman said...

@ Mad Kiwi, ditto me and every one else I know.

Anonymous said...

"Last year, he was named Employee of the Year, winning an overseas trip and a subsequently promoted to management."
That typifies the average (paler) Saffas work ethic, and why we are in such demand worldwide. (As opposed to the entitlement culture of other groups).

AMB said...

I came to Melbourne last year on a 457. I was the only one in my office to get a pay raise this year. I have been told that I'm a fantastic employee and have been offered PR via sponsorship through the company. The industry that I work in is on par with the one in SA so I don't have to stand back - rather, I lead. At least I pave the way for other SA's to get jobs - we currently have 7 SA'cans in the company - none a year ago, so I have to laugh when the SA government denies that white SA's are leaving. I know better.

Anonymous said...

I am a South African living and working in the UK for the past 10 years. I have had reports that the Brits love employing South Africans because the don't moan and work hard.

Anonymous said...

I am an X south african and I suport 2 teams. Australia and any team playing south africa. I dont give a toss for south africa as Australia is my home. I left south africa for a better life and Australia has given me this which south africa never did. I feel if you still feel like a south african, then go back there.