New Delhi, 8 May, 2017: Punjabi is the fastest growing language in Australia while Hinduism is the fastest growing religion and Sikhism is among the top 20 religions practised in the country, owing to a large number of Punjabi people among the proficient Indian diaspora. This information was shared by Mrs Harinder Sidhu, Australia’s high commissioner to India.
Speaking at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Mrs Harinder Sidhu informed that the number of India-born Australians has tripled in the last one decade. She also confirmed Australia’s cooperation in setting up a university of sports in India.
Earlier during a maiden visit to India, Eric Abetz, leader of the opposition in the Australian Senate had also said that being the most commonly spoken foreign language in the country, Punjabi has become an indispensable part and parcel of Australia.
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Sidhu, who is a Punjabi too, provided relief to skilled migrants and students by ousting their fears over the new visa regime. She said there is no change in rules for the visa, which most Punjabi migrants opt for.
“The change is only in the shorter (term) visa for skilled workers, in which knowledge of English is now included as pre-clause. Australia wants that skilled workers should start working from the first day, instead of first learning the language for three to four months.”
She also mentioned the colliding Visa 457 rule and the US making H1B visa rules stricter which is ultimately leading to confusion by saying, “We had no idea that it would coincide with the US visa being made stricter. The US and Australia are two different countries and have different requirements. But coincidence created confusion.”
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Labelling her country as the “most successful multicultural society, where people from 120 different countries are living”, Mrs Sidhu dismissed fears of racism against Punjabis.
Calling the murder of a singer and bus driver Manmeet Sharma, a criminal act, “not of racism”, she said that swift action was taken.“There were some stray incidents, but Australia has strong laws against such incidents,” she further added.
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