Migrating from India a decade ago, KD Singh has an excellent insight into the challenges facing new immigrating residents. “I was once a temporary resident. I have made that arduous journey to citizenship. I feel the pain and the struggle of temporary resident families especially in a time like this,” says KD, referring to the Covid-19 pandemic that has most of the country in lockdown. Here, the immigrant turned financial ‘imagineer’ and managing director at Money Merchants talks to The Indian Sun about issues faced by temporary residents, and why he hopes more will join his relief efforts.
✩ What are the issues faced by temporary residents in South Australia?
The two biggest issues they currently face are the non-availability of centrelink support and medicare. Of course, they knew this when they were getting their visa but they were more focused on the career opportunities Australia had to offer. Also, as they are skilled and had full working rights, survival under normal circumstances was possible.
But now in the Covid-19 crisis, the lockdown and the closing of international borders they have no place to go. It’s a very suffocating and traumatic situation for temporary residents.
Most temporary residents are skilled migrants who were sent invitations from respective states to come and work in their chose occupation, to the extent that they were prohibited from working or living in different states for up to three years. But now they are left in the lurch with no jobs, no social security and no medicare support.
“We have started a fundraiser to help struggling families with their groceries, medicines, rent and utility payments”
To make things worse for them, the government announced the jobkeeper payments for companies to retain employees and sustain businesses. This also came with the biases of applicability for permanent residents and citizens forcing employers to choose only PR and citizens for calling back to work thereby abandoning the temporary residents.
In my opinion, this biased behavior by the government is totally immoral and against Australian values.
✩ Could you list out some of the measures taken by the government to help them?
There are no measures so far.
✩ How are you trying to help them?
We are helping them through an advisory in terms of any financial or job related queries they may have. We are also helping some of them financially in terms of grocery packs, discount vouchers, rental and medical assistance.
✩ You mentioned that community is raising funds for their groceries and rent. Could you elaborate on that?
We have started a fundraiser to help struggling families with their groceries, medicines, rent and utility payments.
The idea is to offer hope. We have had a good response so far but much more is needed. We have supported more than 35 families so far but the numbers are increasing.
✩ What about students? Are they finding work now?
When coming here, students were aware they would not be allowed to work full-time in Australia while enrolled in an educational institution so they are prepared to some extent. Most students have family support for fees and living expenses.
“With the lockdown and the closing of international borders they have no place to go. It’s a very suffocating and traumatic situation for temporary residents”
✩ What help do you expect from the government?
We want them to not differentiate between PR, citizens and temporary residents when it comes to basic necessities, especially now that survival is in question.
✩ Are there other organisations that are helping?
I don’t know of any other, which is why I am requesting my fellow countrymen to join me and take care of our guests and mates too.
Immigrant turned financial ‘imagineer’ & managing director at Money Merchants, KD Singh talks to @The_Indian_Sun about issues faced by temporary residents, and why he hopes more will join his relief efforts. #TheIndianSunhttps://t.co/Qn0fOxQq32
— The Indian Sun (@The_Indian_Sun) April 20, 2020