While navigating Australia’s complex migration requirements was expensive and time-consuming, Nigerian graphic designer Ola Tawose said just a year into his move the effort had already paid off.
Mr Tawose moved to Sydney from Lagos in November with his wife Shola and son Midola, but after just three months in Mount Druitt a job in Orange brought the family to the Central West.
“We didn’t know anyone when we moved to Australia – it was a shot in the dark – I spent a year researching, collecting documentation. It took 18 months in total and it is not an easy process, but still things work faster than in a third world country,” he said.
I don’t support a forceful movement, but if there are enough jobs I think migrants will stay,Ola Tawose
Having spent all his life living in a city of 22 million people, Mr Tawose said the busyness of Sydney was a little too familiar, so he accepted a role at PYBAR Mining Services in Orange.
“In the city you’re always in a rush and you’re always thinking about traffic. I wanted a quiet life,” he said.
According to the most recent census data, the Tawose’s story is not at all typical, with 86 per cent of new arrivals over the last 10 years deciding to settle in capital cities.
With Bureau of Statistics figures putting Sydney and Melbourne’s combined population at 9.3 million people, a concern for overcrowding has led Alan Tudge, the minister for cities, urban infrastructure and population, to suggest migrants should be forced into regional areas.
Mr Tawose said there needs to be employment opportunities for the many highly-skilled migrants looking to relocate.
“I don’t support a forceful movement, but if there are enough jobs I think migrants will stay,” he said.
MAP: Where Mr Tawose originally relocated from …
According to census data there were only 1418 immigrants who arrived in the Orange Local Government Area between 2006 and 2016.
Mr Tawose said that while there may not be many new arrivals, those he has met don’t want to leave.
“Orange is different to everywhere else. In other parts of Australia people seem to be a bit skeptical of new arrivals. They’re not sure what your background is and they don’t know a lot about skilled immigrants,” he said.
“What I’ve not experienced in Orange is negative judgement from anyone.”
Mr Tawose credits work, sport and religion as the three things which have helped his family find a base in the city, with Colour City Church and Orange City Council’s Migrant Support Service worker Annie Gallagher keeping him informed of community events.
“It’s not hard to integrate into a regional area when you love sport. I get to meet a lot of people and go for a beer with them afterwards,” Mr Tawose said.
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