The Push/Pull Factors Balance

When it comes to migrating to another country, which plays a bigger part, the Push Factors or the Pull Factors? It has to be a balance of both with no exception. The combination of both set of factors is not adequate as a deciding force to uproot a person. The keyword is balance. 

Take for example one of my colleagues who came to Australia by boat. If his story was to be believed, his motivation to brave untold dangers to reach the shores of Australia as an illegal immigrant came from the fact his people were living on the edge every single day in his home country. He managed to come to Australia and got himself recognised as an asylum seeker, got his Permanent Resident visa and finally became an Australia citizen last week. Yet when asked if he would make the same move if Australia's illegal immigrant policies were the same as the current set back then (sending them to Papua New Guinea instead) he said, "No!" without hesitation. Here was a man with a strong set of push factors behind him, yet it wasn't enough to convince him to move to just about anywhere without the attraction of the right pull factors.

My push factors were enough for me to leave the shores of Singapore with a pregnant wife, no job and money enough to last us 6 months. I had met many who told me that was 'risky' or I had a huge risk appetite. In fact, migration has nothing to do with the characteristics of an individual. We are all the same, economically motivated with a comfort zone orbiting ourselves. The difference lies in the push/pull factors profiles.

Still don't quite get it? Say, for a Singaporean man who works as a cleaner for $800 a month has the opportunity to work as a cleaner in Australia for $3,000 a month, job guaranteed for him upon arrival, will he make the move? Probably in many cases but not for someone with a negative push factor such as the reluctance of leaving an aged parent behind. Or simply another Singaporean in such a cushy situation with his career that even the blue skies or fresh air in Australia makes no sense to him, again, even if a (lesser) job is waiting for him in Australia.

So you have to imagine how hard is it for a Singaporean man to decide to leave Singapore for Australia without a promised job in the horizon. While it may not require the radical conditions of random people coming after your life everyday like my colleague faced, it takes nothing less than a huge beating in your beliefs in Singapore to decide want away, job or no job. So for the friend who asked me how is the job market in Australia these days, he may not yet realise that he was asking the wrong questions. The job market isn't relevant. Neither are the right time, wrong time, good time or bad time. The answer still lies in your pull/push factors profile. If it isn't balanced and attuned to perfection, a move will not materialise. That's how simple it is. One don't need to start an irrational rationalisation behind his decision to move or stay. Otherwise the statements will start to sound cuckoo, such as a yearly Singapore haze is still better than forest fires in Australia. There is little need to justify for a profile that simply does not balance and there is nothing wrong with that.


  1. Well said. The push factors for Malaysian Chinese to leave is definitely stronger. In a country where correct policies are not implemented, discriminated, corrupted, you see no future. Migrating is not an easy path. You basically start it all over again. Look in a brighter way, it is another chance for you to start afresh.

  2. Enjoy reading your blog posts, always seem to have an inspiring effect on me.
    I am also in the midst of my AU migration plan. Having got my IELTS (10 pts), Skills Assessment (15 pts). I ended up with 55 points with the remaining 5 points from NSW nomination.
    However, i failed to lodge my NSW nomination application on their 14 July 2014 as the website was totally jammed up. Hence, I will be trying my luck again on the next intake 14 Oct 2014 (I will be taking a day leave just for this purpose)...was feeling quite downhearted but reading your posts really lifted my spirits up (I don't know why also)...thanks Nix !

    1. What about spouse points?

    2. Hi VI H.

      Thanks for your reply....we had tried but she was unable to meet the IELTS (academic) requirement score of 7 across all 4 categories for our profession.

      I was banking on my working experiences to score at least another 5 points but more than half of my 6 years experience was chalked off by the assessing authorities, leaving me with no points for working experiences.

  3. Everyone has their own priorities and seek different ways to achieve their priorities in life. It is not a matter of right or wrong to stay or leave, it is just a matter of preference.