Financial Review: ‘We made the right decision’: India is top source of migrants
Anirban Sarkar works up to 16 hours a day as he balances running a consulting business by day and building an education technology start-up after dinner.
The 46-year-old, who was born and raised in Kolkata but now lives in Melbourne, is part of the fastest growing demographic in Australia.
Nearly half of all Australians have a parent born overseas, according to data released from the 2021 census on Tuesday, with 27.6 per cent reporting a birthplace overseas.
The largest increase in country of birth outside Australia was India, based on a 217,963 rise. India has moved past China and New Zealand to become the third-largest country of birth behind Australia and England.
Mr Sarkar moved to Australia in 2015 with his young family from the United States. They had been based in both North Carolina and Texas but were afraid of the fact you can walk into Walmart and buy a gun.
“We thought Australia would be better for us given we had a small child and, with the recent gun violence, it looks like we made the right decision,” Mr Sarkar told The Australian Financial Review.
He, his wife and their 12-year-old son are also fond of the Australian lifestyle and the stronger safety net that comes with Medicare and better access to childcare.
“Cricket was of course another attraction – I was missing this a lot in the US,” he said.
Lifestyle and convenience
Sheba Nandkeolyar, who was the first female chair of the Australia India Business Council, said Indian professional migrants were strongly represented in the finance, accounting, health, IT, property and marketing sectors.
But she added that they were increasingly moving into the start-up space, like Mr Sarkar, with more than 60 per cent of applicants in a NextGen Startups in Australia program she helped run having an Indian background.
“The US has always been the No. 1 destination in terms of making money for an Indian migrant, while it also has good universities for their children,” Ms Nandkeolyar told the Financial Review.
“However, there has been a slight shift lately where more Indians are keen for lifestyle and convenience, where Australia scores hugely.
“Australian universities are gradually picking up on their reputation too, which is another reason they are keen to migrate here.”
Ms Nandkeolyar, herself an Indian professional migrant who moved to Australia in 2000 before starting Sydney-based advertising and marketing agency MultiConnexions, celebrated the census data released this week.
“More brown, less white,” she said. “The Indian migration has thundered ahead, and it is good for Australia bringing in more educated professionals who are tech-savvy and global citizens.
“The professional migrants from India are highly aspirational, educated and they will grow the Australian economy through their entrepreneurial skills and professional qualifications.
“More professional migration, whether from India or elsewhere, can and will only benefit Australia.”