Anfield Knight's Migration Story Part 1 - The First 6 Months

Some of us have it easier. Like the girl Y², in Sydney, who clinched a permanent job even before moving to Australia. By working a few years under the work visa that her employer applied for her, she became eligible to apply for a Permanent Resident visa eventually. How can I forget Ninja Nurse, the gutsy Singaporean nurse who came to Perth and found her nursing job in 3 days, return to Singapore and move her family across. The others had it slightly harder. We came to Australia and started to look for the jobs. Such as Patrick, Thusara or myself etc. Some of us took a longer time than the others. I considered myself lucky, very lucky, because I found a casual job working my ass off in a metal factory within the first month. Later, I found a permanent job elsewhere. Some of the not-so-lucky ones had to spend more times to find their casual jobs and sometimes stay much longer before they eventually get a good permanent job. Then, I heard of one guy who didn't find even a casual job for an entire year (and remains the record holder for now).

When it comes to job hunting, there is really no guarantee. But that's why everyone's migration journey is interesting, exciting and unique. If the regular visitors to this website came back because they felt my personal stories were interesting, I have to say there are thousands of Singaporeans out there with much more fascinating stories than my own. If only more are willing to share their stories with me.

No one knows how difficult it is for a Singaporean to settle down in another country. What our government said of us wasn't entirely untrue. We are a mollycoddled lot. However, I have to say that every single Singaporean migrant who eventually settled down can hold his or her head high. For we have gone through a few sizable trials of our own. There are no SOP, guidebooks or ten years series. There are no save points or a system restore. There are no 1 ups to accumulate along the way. It's a full blooded hardcore game. Oddly enough, none of the Singaporeans I've met regretted making such as move. 

Anfield Knight
12 March 2015

Hi Nix,

I am taking this opportunity to use your blog space to share my experiences moving to Australia from Singapore. I hope that I can use some of your kilobytes of space. And btw, please call me AK.

Moving to another country for anyone is never any easy feat nor a task that they want to burden themselves with by sacrificing their family, relatives and good friends.

But one has to sacrifice for the sake of his own family if he thinks that may benefit them without knowing what the circumstances will be.

But why the sacrifice in the first place? What are the factors that wire the thoughts?

Like DNA, everyone has their own personal reasons.

Coming from an IT industry, 15 years, I have tried to climb myself from junior levels and break into senior levels. Re-inventing myself. Upgrading myself. But somehow the opportunities were never on my favour.

I was enlisted in the Army during the recession period and was hopeful to start work in IT after NS and thinking that the economy will be picking up again.

I was lucky to work in a big popular MNC computer company through an outsourced firm. I thought to myself this is my lucky chance to shine and move up the path. How naïve I was. I started to see the real world through this company. Flooded with Indians and Malaysians who had an upper start into this industry while I was busy fighting with mosquitoes and collecting empty cartridges at firing ranges. (p.s. I am an Indian)

Under-paid and over-worked. I was young then. I thought I had the energy and fighting spirit to overcome this real battle. But over the years, I started to lose the energy and succumbed to the fact that I have to eventually bring home much lesser pay than the foreigners.

All these components were building up in me but never ever thought of moving out of Singapore because I had old parents, good cousins and solid friends, citing that these reasons were more than good enough for me to retire in Singapore with them.

Thanks to a good friend of mine, who is also in the IT industry, I have started to open up my mind and look at Singapore that I have never seen before. I do not want to end up with the SMRT group.

If Indians, Bangladeshis, PRCs, Pinoys and many more can leave their villages/cities to come to Singapore to work and live and survive, why can’t I do the same?

Not forget to mention that your blog had played a significant deciding role in this matter after reading and following your stories.

Heading to migration seminars and talking to migration agents, I was told that I have very good chances of getting an Australian PR. That triggered me to re-wire my thinking. It was a bloody big risk. A country which I have never stepped into before and only seen through the eyes of documentary shows and movies.

But I had to take my IELTS twice scoring during the application process. Imagine me scoring a D7 in English during ‘O’ Levels and now having secured access to become an Aussie Permanent Resident.

My old-aged parents. My Malaysian wife and 2 kids. My good ol’ friends. For each one of them, I had to tackle the situations and fight myself within. After all, it was for my kids that I had to nail this decision of moving away from Singapore.

Good thing is that my parents were very supportive and somber at the same time when I received the Australian Permanent Resident Visa. Good friends openly declared that they would miss me.

I still had to ignore those jokers who negate and send negative vibes to my family and me about Australia and giving a standing ovation to Singapore.

When I finally quit my job, in which I could have the opportunity (almost 100%) to take over as an IT Manager role because of my supportive and retiring IT Manager, who actually knew that I am moving to Australia. But it was just too late for me to turn back.

After sorting my stuffs and finally landing in Melbourne in September 2014 (prior to this, I had already landed here with my family to get our PR activated), I had a friend whom was willing to help me out staying at their place at a very small cost while I settle the stuffs like getting a car and searching for rental house.

They played a very significant part for the first 2 months when I had to stay away from my family and parents before my wife and 2 kids joined me 2 months later.

I can’t deny the fact that at times, while lying on the bed, for that 2 months, I was suddenly feeling low-morale and thinking to myself what the hell have I done.I had to fight myself many times on those occasions.

When I finally sorted out my rental house, car, school for my kid, and all those necessary requirements that need to be done, I had job rejections filling my mail. I knew that without recommendations or local experiences (unless one is lucky), I had no chance in landing a job.

People told me to head to local council and join up to be a volunteer as it is a good source of ‘local’ experience and a ‘good source’ of reference for resumes. Lucky enough, I had gotten a voluntary position with Melbourne Airport. 2 months of volunteer work with them made me learn about their working styles and meeting different types of immigrants there.

And that lead me to get a casual job. Hospitality industry. Blue-collared job. Being a white-collared for 15 years, this was something new. I felt like I had to take orders just like in the army and do the task required minus the regiments. Good feeling? I would say YES. I started to feel like a human again because of the communications within my colleagues whom are from 10 different countries or origin.

Working in the IT industry had made me an introvert. Self-contained of expressions.

It’s been exactly 6 months now. My wife is slowly adapting. My boy who has started Grade 4 is enjoying himself in school. My little girl has started 2 times per week of childcare. And I am still looking for a full-time job.

I have refused to tell anyone of my job situation back in Singapore. The reason is clear and crisp. Their mentality is to judge one by having the type of job. Only my very close friends know what I am working as. Not even my parents because I don’t want them to be sad seeing their son end up like this.

This is just a starting journey for me and my family. I may not know where I will land in the future or what the future lies for my kids in Australia. But it’s a first step taken to make a change and keep that faith to move on.

I would love to share more of my experiences and thoughts and some details. But I will spare the readers for now. I will be back soon.