As the Australian Government considers reducing the annual Immigrant intake, the city of Bendigo in Victoria is experiencing an economic boost caused by a steady and continuous influx of migrants.
Myanmar Karen is a minor ethnic group which houses several refugees. Say ka Trace Hlyang was a member of this population who had lived in the borders of Thai-Myanmar for 12 years from birth. For her, nothing new happened in the camp. She was almost never allowed to go outside the camp because she was told it was not safe. Nine years ago, she arrived in Australia and stayed at Bendigo, a city in the North Western region of Melbourne which was formerly rich in gold. Currently, Ms. Hlyang works as a dental nurse in the dental health service there. According to her, she loves the hospital in Bendigo.
Another person displaced from Myanmar due to the conflict there was Nay Chee Aung. He and his family arrived Bendigo in 2011. He said that while in Burma, most people lived in rural areas, but they prefer the countrysides and regional areas in the metropolitan area.
Mr. Aung and his family used their work, education, and services to survive and also contribute their quota to the community. Currently, he works as a settlement caseworker and an interpreter. He said that the right decision to love in Bendigo was influenced by the hospitality and warm acceptance in the community. In his opinion, the primary reason why most refugees from the Karen community settle in Bendigo is that they can get jobs and settle down there.
Kaye Graves the team manager at Community health services in Bendigo said the community had become an integral part of the region. According to him, people who were once refugees are actively working in areas where there are limited job opportunities. He also added that the people are really prospering. They work, study and play comfortably there.
Significant contributions by Refugees from Karen Community
In about ten years, the Karen community in Bendigo head grown from less than 24 people to a current population of more than 1,000 people. In a Regional Future Report by Deloitte presented in October 2018, the Karen community head contributed over $67.1 million to the economy of Bendigo and had created over 200 new job opportunities.
Last month the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison considered bringing down the total number of permanent immigrants by over 30,000 people, with significant concerns regarding the large cities. However, according to Laurie Nowell, the AMES community engagement officer, one can take a look at Bendigo and speak of the long-term achievements of immigrant settlement. She also added that there are benefits to the social capital.
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