The future looks great for the Ugaddan family in Victoria.
When Dorothy and her husband Rhesmar left the Philippines in 2007 they wanted better opportunities for their children.
‘Like many people from Asia we thought all the jobs and opportunities were in the United States,’ said Dorothy. ‘But then a friend went to Australia and returned saying there were many opportunities there, and that the lifestyle in Australia was better.’
Inspired by her friend’s comments, Dorothy did a Google search and found numerous jobs in her field of life sciences. With a general science degree majoring in biology and experience in the sector in the Philippines, Dorothy was well placed to apply for many life sciences positions.
It didn’t take long for Dorothy to be offered a job in Victoria’s capital, Melbourne, with clinical research company PPD, one of the world’s largest contract research organisations.
‘We didn’t know anything about Victoria or Melbourne but we liked what we read and saw on the internet,’ Dorothy said. ‘Rhesmar and I decided to come and test the waters and bring the children once we knew things were OK.’
In April 2007, Dorothy and Rhesmar arrived in Melbourne on a temporary work visa, leaving the children with family in the Philippines.
They easily arranged rented accommodation online before they left the Philippines. At first the couple shared a city apartment with an Australian woman.
‘We saw right away that Victoria is a great place,’ Dorothy said. ‘We feel very comfortable here as it is very multicultural. People are very friendly and have been very kind to us.’
Victorians come from more than 200 countries, speak more than 230 languages and dialects and follow more than 120 religious faiths. The city’s four million people celebrate their diversity with a continual calendar of community events including the annual and popular two-day ‘Philippine Fiesta’.
Within a few months the couple’s children arrived in Victoria. Their daughter, Nikki, was then aged 13 years, and son Joshua was aged one. Dorothy’s mother was also eligible to live in Victoria as she qualified as Dorothy’s dependent.
The couple were relieved to see their daughter, Nikki, easily adapt to her new life.
‘She has good friends here and is doing well at school,’ Dorothy said.
Dorothy enjoys her work in Victoria with PPD, which conducts clinical trials and research for some of the world’s largest pharmaceuticals companies. As a Senior Clinical Research Associate, she manages large national projects that take her into hospitals across Australia.
‘I like my job and everyone is very supportive,’ Dorothy said. ‘I have flexible work hours and the conditions are good.’
Career opportunities for Dorothy are better in Victoria, which is the hub of Australia’s life sciences and biotechnology industry. Almost half of all Australian biotechnology activity takes place in Victoria and there are almost 150 biotechnology companies, including world-leading companies such as CSL.
Victoria is home to 13 major medical research institutes, 10 teaching hospitals conducting significant research, and nine universities, together employing about 23,000 people in the life sciences sector.
The biotechnology and science sector is growing rapidly with skill demands across various disciplines.
In April 2009, Dorothy and her family became permanent residents after two years in Australia.
They love their new life and have strong friendships with local people as well as many Filipino ex-pats and migrants. They are active members of Melbourne’s Catholic family renewal community (Families for Christ) which meets regularly and has many Filipino members.
Dorothy and her family appreciate Victoria’s modern infrastructure and services and the huge choice of things to do and see.
Melbourne is consistently rated as one of the world’s most liveable cities by The Economist magazine and the state’s diverse regional areas range from its famous coastline to mountain alpine resorts.
‘There is lots to do in Melbourne and after three years we still haven’t seen everything,’ Dorothy said. ‘Everything here is high quality so that makes things easier. There is good medical care provided to everyone and the education here is very good.’
The couple’s daughter Nikki, is now at Monash University undertaking her first year of a Bachelor of Science degree.
‘It is easier to study here as the government pays some of your university costs and you pay the rest back through the tax system once you start working,’ Dorothy said.
Rhesmar, who easily found part-time work in aged care when he first arrived, is now working in the manufacturing field with Visy Industrial Packaging.
Dorothy and her family recently moved into a brand new house in the growing community of Truganina in Melbourne’s booming west.
‘While the wages here are similar to the Philippines we have more spending power in Victoria,’ Dorothy said. ‘In the Philippines we could not have afforded this house.’
About 25 per cent of the suburb’s population was born overseas, with Filipino migrants being the second largest group (after United Kingdom migrants).
The city centre is just 30 minutes down the freeway and popular education and shopping precincts are nearby as well as large parklands and gentle suburban beaches.
Dorothy and her family look forward to a terrific future in Victoria and are proud to have become permanent citizens late last year.
‘There are so many opportunities here and we really enjoy the lifestyle,’ she said. ‘We thought it was a big risk to come to Victoria but things have been very easy. We now laugh and say we should have come sooner!’