After Once Rushing To Germany, Turks Cool To Australia and New Zealand

After once rushing to Germany, Turks cool to Australia and New Zealand

Today's Zaman
March 9, 2007

When Australia and New Zealand declared they would recruit 20,000 skilled and intermediary workers from Turkey, a mere 140 Turks applied to the program.

Turkey once rushed to meet similar demands from Germany in the 1970s, but appear to have snubbed these two countries' call considering the stringent eligibility requirements and distance. Canada and the US remain a favorite destination of emigrating Turks.

Referring to the lack of interest in immigration programs sponsored by Australia and New Zealand, Turkish Employment Agency General Director Nam k Ata said: “Actually, we are not authorized with respect to these countries' immigration plans. We are not doing anything in connection with them. We are just announcing their requests on our Web site. Australia and New Zealand require individual applications from prospective immigrants. However, I can say, compared to previous cases, Turkish citizens are currently not paying heed to these programs.”

The primary reason why Turks are not taking an active interest in immigration programs provided by Australia and New Zealand is the requirement for a high command of English. Also, the Australian government's requirement for previous employment in Australia for two years for intermediary workers is not welcomed by Turks. The Labor and Social Security Ministry disclosed on the other hand that the employment opportunities from these two countries are mostly related to skilled work, and similar requests have made from the US and Canada, which Turks have preferred over Australia and New Zealand.

During the visit by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo an to Australia and New Zealand on Dec. 10, 2005, the prime ministers of these two countries had stated they would recruit Turkish immigrants. After evaluating these demands at a Cabinet meeting, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister Mehdi Eker was sent to Australia and New Zealand on Feb. 27, 2006 to outline recruitment details, which was determined to be 20,000 workers.

New Zealand Immigration Minister David Cunliffe stated they would accept Turks aged between 20 and 55 at the moment of application with a good command of English and having one of the professions requiring high skills. On the other hand, the Australian Department of Immigration said they would recruit Turks, aged below 45, with a high command of English and who have previously worked in Australia for two years within the scope of the skilled immigration program. Their requests were published on the official Web site of the Turkish Employment Agency.

Posing as a Turkish guest worker, German journalist Gunter Wallraff had documented the mistreatment Turkish workers in Germany in his book “Ganz Unten” (Lowest of the Low). After facing such bad conditions in Germany, 3.5 million Turks now form the largest immigrant population in Germany.

Skilled workers sought by Australia and New Zealand include accountants, anesthetists, chemical, civil and computer engineers, specialized dentists, oil engineers, nurses, pharmacists, midwives, bakers and many other professions.