“My dad really wanted me to go abroad and study … It was his dream to send me overseas and get a good start.”
At the young age of 18 Hatim Hussain decided to leave the comfort of his home and family in Pakistan for a better life in Australia.
Twelve years later, with a business degree and eight years’ accounting experience under his belt, Mr Hussain is planning to bring his family out to join him. The 30-year-old Sydney resident said it was the best move he ever made.
Mr Hussain, whose brother had already relocated to Australia, said his father was the driving force behind his decision to move in 2004.
“My dad really wanted me to go abroad and study,” he said.
“It was his dream to send me overseas and get a good start.”
The first step to applying for a student visa was to be accepted into a university in Australia and then to take the IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems). It took Mr Hussain about three months to get his visa approved.
He felt the visa process was not difficult, however proving financial stability was challenging. He not only had to pay an upfront deposit for his university fees, he also had to provide proof that he had enough funds to live in Australia during the entire period of his study.
“We had to make sure I would have enough money to survive for the next three or four years in Australia and be able to meet my expenses – to show that was a big hurdle for me,” said Mr Hussain.
To make ends meet and to cover living expenses, Mr Hussain first got a job at Coles and, after some time, he got a second job as a Pizza Hut delivery driver. Despite working two jobs it was still difficult to survive financially and pay the university fees.
“I didn’t get enough [work] to be able to make enough and help my dad to meet my fee requirements,” Mr Hussain said.
The combination of studying and working eventually became stressful and overwhelming for Mr Hussain. Working long hours got in the way of his dedication to his university degree.
“I hardly had time to study initially. I just focused on getting a job so I could meet my expenses. Then I realised I was falling behind on my assignments so I had to draw the line,” said Mr Hussain.
Mr Hussain believed that failing would be a bigger disadvantage to him than being broke, so he made university his top priority.
In 2007 Mr Hussain completed his degree and applied for permanent residency. But finding a full-time job proved difficult.
“Companies would want to train me but they wouldn’t want to invest in me unless they were sure I was going to stay, so until I got my residency I was just reaching between contract jobs,” said Mr Hussain.
Mr Hussain has been now working in finance and accounting for eight years and is looking to further his career by starting his own practice and raising a family in Australia. He has also sent a request to bring his family to Australia and is hoping he will get a positive reply. – Rebecca Hopper and Daisy Montalvo
Top photo supplied