How this Nepalese origin Indian Chartered Accountant got an opportunity at PwC Australia on a Sponsored work Visa
- Do you want to move to Australia on a Sponsored Work Visa?
- It is true, getting sponsored is one of the best ways to get a job in Australia and can lead to immigration then citizenship.
- Unfortunately, many people end up believing that sponsorship is impossible...It is tough but surely not impossible!
- So how do you do it!?
- In fact: In this article, Stalin Bikram Shahi shares with us his journey from Nepal to India to Australia (Melbourne) and the exact strategy he used to get an opportunity in PwC, Australia on a sponsored work visa.
Moving to India from Nepal to pursue Chartered Accountancy
Born and raised in Nepal (Biratnagar); I made up my mind to become a Chartered Accountant at a very young age.
To give you a background, Accounting was an optional subject for my Board exams (class 10 exams are known as board exams).
However, since the Vice Principal of my school used to teach Accounts this optional subject was now made compulsory. Thus every student from class 8 onwards had to take Accounting.
So you can say my dream to become a Chartered Accountant (CA) began right after my first Accounts class in the 8th standard. However, I seriously contemplated pursuing CA at the end of Class 12.
During our conversation, he looked at me with some kind of belief and told me to move to India (from Nepal) and pursue CA from The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
It was like a final nail in the coffin and I made up my mind that I would be a Chartered Accountant.
Moving to India from Nepal is like moving from one Indian city to another. You don’t need a visa and there are no restrictions as such. In short, it is quite simple.
I finally moved to India from Nepal and pursued CA from ICAI.
Starting my career at KPMG India as a CA Fresher with a dream of moving abroad
When I qualified as a Chartered Accountant, I found questioning myself - Okay, I am a CA now, what next?
I had spent 3 years of my articles doing Internal Audits, so I wanted to specialize in Internal Audit and Risk Management.
Also, I always wanted to move out of India. Thus, I decided to join one of the Big 4 Accounting firms and start from there.
One night I sent my resume to KPMG and the next day got a call for an interview. After 3 rounds of interviews, I received an offer and joined them in October 2014.
And the funny part - I thought that everyone working at KPMG gets to travel on international assignments! However, later I got to know that it wasn’t the case.
Whatever you call it luck or desire, I was hired to be a part of a team that was working with a big client and involved frequent international travel. I mostly traveled to countries in Africa like Kenya, Tanzania, Niger, Gabon, Zambia, and DRC.
The things I learned outweighed any financial incentive!
I became a member of The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) a while back.
After 4 years I started applying for job opportunities abroad
By the end of 2016, having spent almost 3 years with KPMG, I thought it was the right time to start looking for opportunities outside of India. Also travelling to different countries on work intensified my ambition to work and live in a new country!
I soon started applying for vacancies across the globe. My priority, in the beginning, was to apply for vacancies in KPMG member firms (since I was working in KPMG back then) that is KPMG firms across the globe in different countries.
I am not sure if my CIA designation made any difference but I couldn’t ignore the fact that I was being interviewed by companies outside India when my friends were not as lucky.
How did I apply to these firms? I mostly searched for opportunities on LinkedIn and applied from there. I also went to the websites of various firms and applied for the jobs posted there.
I appeared for a total of 6 interviews with different KPMG member firms in Europe and the Asia Pacific.
Being already employed with KPMG helped me get these interviews to some extent. Like I did well in the interviews and received good feedback, however, getting a job sponsorship seemed difficult.
Immigration policies, in general, have been made stringent across the globe and I sensed that companies seemed to prefer hiring candidates locally than getting someone from outside. So, I was prepared to be persistent in my job search.
I then began to apply to all the relevant vacancies within and outside consulting firms.
I gave a lot of interviews but unfortunately, the interviews were not generating concrete job offers. I was determined not to give up.
Finally, I got an opportunity in PwC Melbourne on a sponsored work visa
In the meanwhile, in early to mid-2017, all of a sudden there was a mass movement of people from KPMG to Deloitte. Most of my friends whom I worked with left for Deloitte.
I had the opportunity to move to Deloitte but it did not make sense as my priorities were different.
Instead, I went ahead and got my skill assessed for Australian PR.
I started to inquire about the process of getting a Permanent Residency in Australia.
When my skill was assessed as positive in the Internal Auditor category, I abruptly resigned from KPMG and went back to Nepal (my home country) in September 2017.
I did question if it was the right move, but I was confident of getting a job in Nepal so I just backed myself on the move.
The idea was to work in Nepal for as long as it takes me to either get a job abroad or a PR in Australia.
I appeared for a number of interviews in Nepal and had few offers but I did not accept those offers.
At the same time in November 2017, after almost 400-500 job applications and 10-15 interviews, I finally received the offer I was waiting for from PwC Melbourne office.
They offered me to join The Risk Assurance practice. They were willing to sponsor me for 4 years on a work visa.
Getting an Australia PR takes on an average 6-12 months and I was not sure if I would have been able to accumulate the required points. So, accepting the offer was a no-brainer.
My work visa was approved at end of May 2018 and I moved to Melbourne in June'18. I started office immediately as I was itching to get back to work.
Starting all over in Australia
I did not proceed with Australian PR so don’t have adequate information about it. I moved to Australia on a company-sponsored work visa.
The experience with PwC has been fantastic, everything from the work environment, work culture, people, etc.
I settled in quickly and easily than I thought. However, I never let myself forget the fact that I need to put in the effort to keep learning, keep moving and keep growing. It is what motivates me the most.
I have spoken to people who want to find opportunities in Australia and I always tell them to get some experience under their belt before they actually start looking and applying for jobs.
Any company would want candidates who can add some value to what they do. Having good experience and background is always beneficial especially when you have to compete with local talent.
How did I prepare for the interviews?
In terms of interviews, you do not actually need to prepare for them.
If you prepare well for the jobs and engagements you work on, know what you’re doing, and are clear about the expectations from the job. There can be nothing else that can prepare you better.
If you are on top of what you do, the confidence you will have oozes from you and people can observe that.
I think you can never fully prepare for interviews as the person in front of you could ask just anything.
The catch is not to be overconfident and always lookout to learn and be receptive.
About Sponsored Work Visa to Australia
Getting a sponsored work visa is not easy at all. You have to compete against the local talent pool to get one!
Sponsoring someone comes with an additional cost to companies and thus getting a visa takes time too.
I would always recommend a PR visa if you can get the required points. However, if you do brief research, you will find that people do get sponsored!
Getting a sponsored work visa to Australia is not impossible. So there is no harm in trying.
Having a good profile that matches the company's needs can help you with a sponsored work visa.
There is no formula for getting sponsorship or any exact way to apply. Just keep applying to the vacancies and hope for a response. That is all.
I would say build a good resume and just apply.
I have been getting messages where people ask me if I can help get sponsorship. The answer is no. I cannot help you.
The only way I can help you is by sharing what I know.
Maybe doing a bit of research about how sponsorship works, which are the companies that sponsor etc. will help you greatly in applying for a sponsored work visa in Australia.
Ultimately, you need to have some sort of a career plan.
It does not have to be detailed and rigid but knowing what you want to do or where you want to be and a broad outlook on how you are going to execute the plan definitely helps.
If you have a plan, you will come up with some milestones and bit by bit and step by step, every milestone will take you closer to your ultimate goal.
However, in the midst of all this, don’t forget to live your life. Enjoy each day doing what you like.
Never forget that your career is only a part of your life and not your life.
Everyone’s life experiences are as unique as a fingerprint, so just relax and life will take you to places.
Pull up your socks, dare to dream and dream big.
Challenge yourself every day that your achievements in life should not surprise you.
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