Immigration Progress Report

Guest Blog Filed by: IoGT Field Correspondent Mr. Joseph Phillips

With yet another fresh crop of boat people making waves in nightly news bulletins across the country, hot button issues such as illegal immigration and people smuggling are again at forefront of political debate in most industrialized economies. Despite the acres of news print and news reel regularly devoted to the complexities of this issue, the difficulties of discerning genuine refugees and opportunistic queue jumpers make it almost impossible for private institutions such as the IoGT to adequately develop a cohesive policy position.

Given that a clear understanding sometimes dictates a first hand approach, I recently led an IoGT sanctioned fact finding mission of undercover operatives into the field to deliver a first hand account.

 Here we are on Day 1 setting off in Colombo.

It wasn’t difficult to deduce that most illegal immigrants arrivals make the journey in shoddy, dilapidated, unseaworthy vessels. Most like the one pictured below typically begin falling to bits soon after departure.

Whoospie Daisy! Might wanna check under the hood guys!?

The ridiculous overcrowding on most departing vessels means the seaborne journeys are perilously dangerous. Some estimates say upwards of half of all vessels fail to make their destination.

After arrival, one of the biggest problems immigrants face is gaining acceptance from the local community. For much of 2009, locals in countries like Australia and Canada have been somewhat reluctant to embrace the prospect of resettling 100,000 impoverished Sri Lankans. While a clear consensus has yet to emerge, I am guessing it has something to do with the newcomer’s 2 decades of frontline rebel combat experience as Tamil Tigers against a democratically elected government in Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war. Who knows, perhaps in time people might come around.....

Cultural and language problems also mean it can be difficult for new comers to secure stable employment. Despite a definite skills gap, one chap we spoke to in an Australian refugee camp named Rajid said there were plenty of opportunities available anyone willing to get their hands dirty and put in a solid days work.

Former Sri Lankan Barrister Rajid takes 5! Apparently still no luck getting his accreditations recognized in Australia.

Here’s another shot of Rajid and his family reporting for duty on the first day of their job working as a sandbank at Bondi Beach, Sydney. Must have been at the end of their laundry cycle by the looks of things- Nothing up their sleeve!

Despite only having arrived 2 weeks prior, Rajid also said 9 other relatives had already secured part time work placement as a supermarket shelf stackers, a supermarket shelf, lawn ornaments, speed humps, bait, and wall insulation. Good for you guys!

Other new comers such as recent arrival from Cambodia Mr. Mye Lam Suk have also quickly learnt the ropes and begun to vie for a diverse range of private and public sector positions. Here Mr. Mye shows off his shiny new uniform at Holsworthy Barracks near Sydney shortly after finding temporary employment with the Australian Defense Forces.

In summation my team and I definitely salute the new comers! Especially if they are eventually settled in areas without proximity to our own community, or properties contained in our respective investment property portfolios. Keep smiling fellas