Working in Perth
Finding work in Perth or any part of Australia can be challenging task for any new migrant to a new country. Understand also that Centrelink cannot offer the majority of their services to migrants on Temporary or Permanent Visas for a number of years after they arrive. If you need assistance this way then you will need to use private agencies. The first and most important hurdle is to learn a suitable degree of English language. This is the first and biggest barrier to cross.
When temporary residency is given to enter Australia all successful applicants are currently given 500 hours of free tuition with the AMEP (Adult Migrant English Program) through the TAFE system. In Perth, this is available mainly through Central Tafe. They run classes four mornings and four afternoons every week. They also have evening classes and Saturday morning classes.
An initial interview assess's their current level of English and they are started at the class level that matches their abilities. Progress is evaluated for each student individually and they are moved forward at the same rate as their comprehension. Achievement levels are awarded Certificate 1-4 for English language comprehension. Obviously, the more professional workplace positions would require the higher Certificate levels. If at the end of the 500 hours the student wishes to continue learning they can pay to continue. These fees are very reasonable and dramatically lower than the private International schools.
There are as many types of work available here as there are in Thailand but obviously, some require degrees of experience and qualification. Some migrants once versed well enough in the English Language may be able to resume work in similar fields to what they were previously employed in. It is true to say these are in the minority of those who come to this country. Many of our partners who came from rural Thailand moved to cities where they found work in factories, personal services and the tourism and entertainment industries. Many have no formal qualifications and many left schools at relatively early ages to work and support their families.
This situation adds another hurdle to finding rewarding employment here. They have the desire to work, the need to work and often show greater commitment to employers but are at a disadvantage to native applicants. It can be a very hard road even with their partners help to find suitable employment. It is important to understand that the first 12 months may be spent just concentrating on the English literacy. Certainly actively look for employment positions but don't get too disappointed during this time. Also, remember your Thai partner still has a family at home she is committed to help and support. While she is learning and searching for work you will have to ensure she can still help them. It goes with the territory and you knew that when you got together.
Types of work for unskilled migrants
A short list of possibilities:-
Cleaning Industry:- many hotels prefer Asian migrants to employ. They find they are generally well focused and reliable in work that can be physically tiring and repetitious. The rates of pay are often quite basic. Most staff are employed on a casual basis because this allows the hotel to reduce and expand their workforce easily depending on the season. Some hotels keep a core staff that is moved to part-time status. As these staff move on to other things, the opportunity is given to existing casuals to assume that status. Most do work a full week and some work 6 days a week.
There are also many Cleaning companies with contracts for Shopping Centres Schools and Businesses. Many businesses and Schools require the cleaning performed outside or opening hours so this is usually shifting work
Supermarkets require people to stack shelves and do many other such tasks. Obviously, the ability to read and comprehend instruction is important here.
Market gardens and nurseries are an opportunity for girls from rural backgrounds. Also seasonal fruit picking.
Some migrants have informal skills in beauty and spa and massage treatments. Perth has the same Beauty industry as most cities and suburbs. many areas of employment in this industry require completing courses at TAFE to verify their skills and adherence to Occupational Health and Safety standards. Some do not but some form of Certificate from Thailand would be of great help. Thai massage is well received here in Perth but as with anywhere else in the western world, there are legitimate businesses and those that offer alternative treatments. Choose carefully.
One factor I cannot stress strongly enough is networking. For all your best efforts with employment agencies, trawling through Job adverts etc, networking the Thai community is very important. Make opportunity for your partner to meet Thai people already here and working. They hear where the opportunities and positions are well before anybody else. Thai people, or should I say Thai women network without consciously thinking about it. They all view each other as sisters and have concern for helping where they can. There are exceptions but only your partner can tell you those, and only if it does not conflict with her duty of care to her Thai sister. Expect also that as this network grows so will her phone bill...lol. But that is a small thing
Support your partner and their Dreams
Don't get discouraged, time is the crucial factor. Remember to be supportive and encouraging to your partner at all times. For them, the dream of coming to this country may have many aspects that will be larger than reality. Help them settle and move forward at a rate that keeps their hopes alive. Yes, they can realize the better life and future they crave, the higher degree of support they want for their families at home. You will have to help them come down to earth and assist her doing the same with her family. No, money does not grow on trees in Australia, but work is available and comparatively much more rewarding dollar to baht. The dreams can come true with a little work.