Indian brides spearhead Australia’s migration growth

October 7th, 2008 - 12:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Oct 7 (IANS) Ramandeep Singh, 21, who had an arranged marriage in April 2008, has just joined her husband in Sydney, the latest in a surging number of Indian brides heading the migration growth in Australia.Indians, especially wives, have become one of the largest and fastest growing groups leading the migration surge Down Under. In 2007, as many as 2,782 Indian brides were sponsored by India-born men and 496 Indian husbands were sponsored by their wives, a six-time increase compared to 11 years ago when only 434 Indian brides and 149 Indian husbands were sponsored by their spouses.

Ramandeep’s husband, Paramjeet Singh, 23, had come to Australia two years ago on a student visa to do a hospitality course. “Earlier this year, I returned home to Chandigarh to get married and here we are both starting a new life in Australia,” says Paramjeet, who works in a bakery.

Visas issued under the spouse and fiancée programme have grown from 25,500 in 1996-97 to 39,931 in 2007-08.

“This is very substantial growth and illustrates the dynamics of the programme, which has recently been boosted by the Labor government largely to keep a lid on the price of labour,” Bob Birrell, an immigration expert and professor at Monash University in Melbourne, told The Australian newspaper.

“There is a lot of interest in leaving India and an Indian-born person with Australian permanent residence who is looking for a spouse is in a favourable situation in selecting an attractive partner,” Birrell told The Australian.

Mamta, 29, came to Australia two year ago on a spouse visa, which she got six months after getting married. Her husband, an electrical engineer, had come to Sydney four years ago under the skilled migrant programme.

The increase in Indian spouses reflects the trend whereby Indians have become the second largest group of skilled migrants and overseas students.

Young Indians are helping strengthen the Australian economy with 15,865 professionals seeking permanent residence under the skilled migration programme during 2006-2007.

Rakesh Saini, 27, who migrated to Australia three years ago under the skilled migration programme, is going home to Kurukshetra in February next year to marry his fiancé, Shaveta.

“I will sponsor her immediately as we want to make our new home in this beautiful city of Sydney,” says Saini, who works in the field of banking and accounting.

Australia’s net overseas migration is at an all time high. In the year ending March 2008, net overseas migration to Australia of just under 200,000 people accounted for over half or 59 percent of increase in Australia’s population, which has reached 21,283,000, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

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