Glenn hires workers from abroad because he couldn’t find staff locally

Glenn Barber doesn’t want to think what would have happened to his engineering operations in western Victoria had he not decided to hire workers from abroad.
“They have played a tremendous role over the past few years as it has become increasingly difficult to get workers,” he said.
His business is located in the agricultural center of the Wimmera district, a suburb of Horsham, 300 kilometers west of Melbourne.

He brought in three Filipino workers on temporary skilled work visas (457) and one from Fiji.

as the federal government thinks Barber says there are not enough workers locally to meet demand.
“We can’t find the skilled craftsmen and young apprentices we need. He said.

“They fit in very well with the work environment and the community.”

“Better Future for Families”

Roger Ponseca is one of the Filipino workers employed by Mr. Barber. He moved to Horsham five years before with his wife Josie and his three children.

Josie and Roger Ponseca and their two children, Gene and Jasper. Moving to Horsham, Victoria allowed me to buy a house and build a new life. credit: SBS News: Sean Wales

“There is a better future for my family here. I heard from other Filipinos that I can bring my family here and get permanent residency here,” he said.

Ponseca also found part-time and casual work at three local businesses.

“Here, we have higher salaries and better benefits than in the Philippines,” she said.
“I didn’t know anyone here at first, but I met another Filipino who showed me around Horsham.”

Horsham’s Filipino community is growing. According to the latest census, about 150 Filipino-born residents live in Horsham, up by a third from previous numbers.

The Ponseca family bought a house and have no desire to live anywhere else.
“Once I get citizenship, I would like to bring my family and relatives to Horsham,” Ponseca said.

“I told them, ‘Life here is great. If you work hard, you can achieve your goals here.'”

Retaining immigrants is key to successful settlement

Declining populations have long been a problem in provincial cities, but Horsham’s population increased in the latest census.

Wimmera Settlement Service wants migrant workers and families to stay in the area longer.

Giving the whole family a sense of purpose is key to keeping immigrants from wanting to move to big cities, says Sarah Barron, Settlement Services Manager at the Wimmera Development Association.
“Successful reconciliation is about reconciling the whole family, and having the right support in place is very important in giving extended families their role and connection here,” she said.

That’s where local organizations like participating centers step in.

A Filipino woman stands in front of a wall with the word 'Welcome' written in multiple languages.

Cecile Vence says training and networking for newly arrived migrants can help them stay longer. credit: SBS News: Sean Wales

Cecil Vance, who also moved to Horsham from the Philippines, is the center’s immigration liaison.

“Immigrants’ settlement journey is not easy,” she said.

“To be part of a community, you have to step out of your comfort zone and work your way up.”

The center offers courses in English, hospitality and business skills and hopes to develop relationships that ensure expats stay in Horsham for the long term.
“Some migrants seek out other education and courses that are not available in Horsham and take them with them when they leave their families,” she said.
“The center is where they feel they belong. It’s where they build their confidence and where they come out and participate in the community.”
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Glenn hires workers from abroad because he couldn’t find staff locally

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