Many people harbour secret dreams of migrating. Some look at it from the perspective of a new challenge, some thinking it offers greener pastures, some think they may find happiness elsewhere and there are some who just think they may get a spot of fairness elsewhere. However for every person who thinks of migrating elsewhere there are 3 who think home is where the heart is and find it difficult to leave their birthland. Yes, I do consider Malaysia my land of birth and I do not take kindly being called pendatang or any other derogatory term.

There is a likelihood to Australia in 2010. If I go, I will probably remain there for the foreseeable future. Why Australia? Well, there are good universities there. Much better than anything I can find in Malaysia that's for sure. (It wasn't always like that though, there was a time before NEP and racially affirmative policies that University Malaya was the best university in Asia.) So in my pursuit of the best education possible, I am drawn there. the fact that half my family is also migrating there and a big chunk of my extended family is already is a big motivation.

Over lunch with a colleague today I was discussing why so many people decide to migrate and a big chunk of them choose Australia/New Zealand as their destination. The reasons will be articulated in the following paragraphs.

1) Quality of University Education. ( 20%)

This is probably a major category that carries a big chunk of the weightage. The proof of it is undoubtable. The G8 universities are all in the top 100 Universities in the world. Australian graduates are highly employable both in Malaysia and abroad. The academic freedoms there are equal to any other democratic country which gives students the freedom to learn and grow. The academics themselves are highly qualified and experts at the fields that they teach and there are a fair share of prize winners in Literature, Science, Technology and Humanities.

2) Weather. (5%)

This is a minor point but it is very important especially to Malaysians who love temperate weather and cooler climates. Most of Australia has a fairly temperate climate in winter and a Malaysian summer. The best of both worlds perhaps.

3) Diversity (10%)

An important point definitely. In Malaysia many of us grow up in a multi-racial environment and Australia brings that same multi-cultural environment which many of us are both used to and comfortable with. More than 24% of Australian Residents were born overseas with 75% of this figure coming from Asia and Africa. This number is only due to increase in the coming years.

4) Equal Opportunity. (30%)

This is probably the most important point of all. In Australia, everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. Whether you're a "son of the soil" or a "pendatang". Everyone is equal from every aspect, whether the eyes of the law or from economic opportunities or from the perspective of democratic freedoms. This principle is embraced in every aspect of Australia's governance even at the highest level where the Malaysian born Penny Wong (who is by the way, gay) is a full federal minister. Another 4 federal ministers were born outside of Australia. Australia is probably one of the only countries in the world where every child is told he/she can one day become the Prime Minister and the parent is not lying.

5) Job Opportunities. (20%)

Another major factor which draws many to Australia is the abundant job opportunities. No matter the field you work in, as long as you have a set of useful skills in any profession be it white collar or blue collar, job opportunities abound. Also, the sky is the limit once you have started employment. There are no glass ceilings to prevent you from reaching your dreams no matter how high they are.

6) Labour Protections (15%)

Australians are very well protected by their Labour laws. Employers simply cannot overwork you and the average Australian employee only works 38 hours a week. The average Malaysian works between 50 - 60 hours a week. Australians enjoy life and are one of the happiest people in the world. The Happiness Study by Ruut Verhooven finds that Malaysians on a whole rank their quality of life around 6/10 but Australians rank their quality of life around 8/10 (which is one of the best scores in the world).

On the whole those are the points that I personally feel matter to most people. Feel free to comment and add to these points.