A lack of jobs would be the only barrier to Orange proving a well-placed hub for migrants should the government enact proposed visa limitations forcing new arrivals to Australia to settle in regional areas, according to those who have made their homes in the city.
While the federal government this week floated the idea as a way to keep pressure off infrastructure in major cities, queries have been raised if regional centres like Orange could accommodate new arrivals.
However, two members of the city’s Indian community who relocated their families to Orange more than a decade ago have allayed those fears, saying the city has almost everything needed for new arrivals and doesn’t miss any of the cultural experiences.
Rita Narayan moved from India to Orange in 2001 after a brief stay in Tullamore, while Timmy Dhatt arrived in the colour city in 2006 via regional Queensland.
They both said Orange was a fantastic place for immigrants to raise a family and to live.
Mrs Narayan, who owns and runs Anita Grocey Store in Glenroi Avenue, said she and her partner didn’t want to stay in a big city.
“When we moved we saw one or two other Indian families and we see the changes now, it’s everywhere you see Asian people, which is good,” she said.
“We have cultural functions every year so we don’t miss out on anything.”
She said there was a bustling community for people to join which would help new migrants “follow in the footsteps” of families already here.
Mrs Dhatt said there was “definitely” a big enough support network for those in Orange, even for those without any familial links in the city.
Coming from a regional area in India, Mrs Dhatt didn’t find moving to regional Queensland daunting as she had made the choice to go there.
“It was good, but not as good as Orange,” she said.
When we moved we saw one or two other Indian families and we see the changes now, it’s everywhere you see Asian people, which is good.Rita Narayan
“It was okay because we come from the countryside in India. I think it was our choice, we chose to live in those country towns.”
Orange has plenty of support for those newly-arrived to the country, with services provided by Orange City Council and from community groups such as Orange Culture Hub, with those two organisations combining to have the Desi Dancers perform at Australia Day celebrations earlier this year.
Culture Hub president Grace Pereira said Orange was incredibly well-suited to hosting migrants.
“In Orange it’s very easy to assimilate and be comfortable if you get the chance,” she said.
“We need to make sure there are jobs for people who are moving, that’s where I have a concern.”
She said there were some places readily available for skilled migrants to work, but said governments of all levels needed to ensure there are jobs for people from “all walks of life”.
Mrs Perera, who herself moved from Singapore to Orange 10 years ago – but as an expat, not as a migrant – said more immigrants were seeing the value in making a bush change.
However, she said many were held back by a lack of suitable employment opportunities.
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