India-born taxi drivers to exceed Australia-born next year

Sydney The number of India-born taxi drivers will soon exceed Australia-born cabbies in Australia, a media report said Sunday.

India is set to emerge next year as the country of birth of most number of automobile drivers – made up of cabbies and chauffeurs – reported, citing Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

Australian-born workers make up less than half of all workers in low-paying, manual professions like sewing machine operators and clothing trades workers.

However, Australian is still the most common nationality among those employees.

The number of Indian taxi drivers rose from around 2,000 in 2006 to 6,000 in 2011, which the report partly attributed to Australia’s success in attracting Indian students to its education system.

“There’s been a big push to sell education in Australia to the subcontinent, which has produced a large number of subcontinent students looking to make a bit of money on the side,” said David Chalke, social analyst and consultant to AustraliaSCAN, a market research organisation.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics census data, an Indian-speaking taxi driver is more likely to have finished high school than an English-speaking one.

“There aren’t necessarily the jobs available in the area (in which the students graduate), so they end up taxi driving. A lot of those education visas were those that allow you to graduate and then work,” Chalke said.

According to the cencus report, between 2006 and 2011, Australian-born taxi drivers declined by around 1,400, while Indian-born drivers increased by more than 4,000.

Chalke said, South Australia and Victoria are home to more Indian-born cabbies.

There are other areas in the country where the number of India-born drivers is less in number.

Besides drivers, the textile industry, housekeeping and professional cooking are among the occupations with the highest proportions of Indian workers.—IANS