Bangladesh-born Tahseen Qadeer has juggled three jobs after failing to find work in his background occupation months after coming to Gippsland in 2012.
With 15 years’ experience in international project development covering the south Asian region, Mr Qadeer had to accept a customer service job at a petrol station in Trafalgar because he had to “start with something”.
Mr Qadeer came to Australia through a skilled ‘475’ visa that allowed him three years temporary residence in regional Victoria.
However, this visa does not guarantee a job in the applicant’s field of expertise.
Mr Qadeer said there was also no information given to visa applicants about the process of finding Australian employment and there was no government assistance offered for new arrivals holding a skilled visa.
“The visa does not allow any government support or Centrelink or Medicare,” he said.
“When I didn’t have a job nobody would give me a house for rent because I had no history in this country.”
But even without work Mr Qadeer emigrated away from his wife and two daughters and lived in shared accommodation with other Bangladesh nationals.
“It was very hard for me not to have a job and not to have my family as well. For my mental health it was required to get them all together,” he said.
It took him another nine months to find a part-time job as coordinator for Victorian charity Ozchild where he was able to use his overseas skills.
He also found a third job as a researcher for a multicultural community service provider.
Mr Qadeer said his experience mirrored the difficulties newly-arrived migrants faced finding employment that suited their overseas background.
“Local employers seem to have this scepticism or prejudice to hire someone from overseas,” he said.
“In my case I got my first job at the petrol station because somebody I knew had referred me to the manager.”
Mr Qadeer said his wife, who was a banker in Bangladesh, had also experienced difficulties finding a job in the financial industry.
“It’s affecting her mental health and she’s losing confidence,” he said.
“It’s a good thing we have children, (if not) it would be difficult for her to cope.”
Ozchild made Mr Qadeer a full time employee last year.
Government records showed that 1024 migrants settled in Latrobe Valley from 2010-2014 with more than half of them coming here as skilled workers.