Your Australian dream and a guide to help you get there

Tuesday, 11 January 2011 00:03 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Migration has become an ambition of many. From the time one leaves school to settling down with a job and even afterwards, the thought of migrating to a developed country crosses most minds every so often. Although easy to aspire, the whole process can take an extensive period of time and encounter agonising legal aspect if unguided, but there is one organisation that is ready to help you breathe a sigh of relief.

Australian Migration Services ( AMS) is a subsidiary of Multinational Holdings Group of Companies (Australia). It is the first registered migration agency listed for Sri Lanka by the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) which is part of the Australian immigration machinery, to offer consultancy services in Sri Lanka. In conversing with the principal consultant of the company Hirosh L. Jayathilaka, we had an insight as to why Australia now tops the list of those who wish to migrate overseas.

Q: What has been your biggest challenge in your consultancy tenure in Sri Lanka so far?

A: Having had our head office in Melbourne for a while, we saw potential for consultancy services in Sri Lanka especially because Sri Lankans are amongst the 5 most populated nationalities living in the state of Victoria, and the potential for skilled and business migrants here was huge. We wanted to offer advice to those who were contemplating migration. When we launched our offices in Sri Lanka, we realised things were actually tougher than what we expected. The biggest challenge was proving the ethics of our establishment. Verifying our legitimacy and instilling confidence about our entity took a very long time, and we had to constantly educate and make people aware through as many avenues as possible, that we were here to genuinely serve the aspirants.

Then came the issue of applicants’ lack of English communication skills, many were eligible to apply for the various visa categories that Australia has designed according to their immigration framework but we found it difficult to cope with those who had a lack of knowledge of the English language. The situation has not changed much even now but we try and match their eligibility to other categories that do not require exceptional knowledge of the English language, but this is certainly an ongoing challenge.

Q: What measures have you taken to increase awareness of your services?

A: We conduct free seminars from time to time across various locations at city level. Our events in the near future will include the arrival of Peter Russell, the General Manager for Australian Migration  Citizenship Migration Services who will enlighten potential business visa applicants on 13 January at JAIC Hilton from 5-7 p.m. followed by a seminar for aspiring candidates of the Skilled Migrant’s category on 15 January from 11 a.m. to 1p.m. at the Colombo Hilton. We believe it is important that we do not fall behind in our approach to educate applicants whenever possible so that they are kept up to date with the changes to the various criteria of visa categories and help them pick which category they wish to apply for so we can guide them accordingly.

Q: What industries in Australia have a high demand for labour and how can Sri Lankans qualify to apply for skilled migration, business migration etc.?

A: Those with either an academic degree or professional qualification with a minimum of 1  year work experience can qualify to apply for the skilled migrant visa. Having said that, there is high demand in the fields of Information Technology (IT), Engineering, Accountancy or any type of finance professionals, and Health sector. There is also scarcity in the culinary sector but the main problem we once again face is the English language deficiency among a majority of applicants and hence have not had much success in attracting applicants under this category.

Where the business category is concerned, persons and their direct family members who purchase an Australian business or those who wish to begin a business venture in Australia with an annual local turnover of 35 million rupees can also qualify for application. This criterian is subject to change from time to time and we will have an exhaustive list of the changes at anytime and be willing to offer consultancy for those interested.

Further to the above categories, we also offer student migration services if one wishes to pursue higher education in Australia.

Q: What are your expansion plans for the next five years?

A: Under ISS (International Student Services), we have already extended our consultancy services for student applicants to countries such as the United Kingdom, The United States of America and Malaysia, with success. We will run an awareness session on this improvement to our business on a mass scale as we conclude the seminars for Australian migration this month.

Further, we have just received Board of Investment (BOI) approval for the inauguration of an institute which we plan to name the Graduate Institute of Business & Technology with affiliation of a leading university in Australia, the name of which we will divulge to the press in due course. This was rigorously planned and implemented in response to the demand we identified in parents and students who can afford higher education of global standards, and unwilling to attend lectures locally. The venture was quite a task to complete and we are certainly glad at the degree of progress we have made with it.

Migration can be a tough task, but with legal guidance and professional expertise, it can be done with great ease in spite of the complicated opinion people have of them. For those of you who did not know where to turn for support with your decision to migrate, call in at our local office at,

245, Third floor, Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 7 or make an appointment to meet one of our experienced migration consultants on 0115 500100 and we will guide you from beginning to end.