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Refugee ready for take-off

23 February 20160 comments

As an aircraft engineer with 30 years’ experience, refugee Fayyaz Ali Soomro faces the same career hiatus many professionals new to Australia encounter.

He has been forced to cool his heels for two years while waiting for his residence status to be finally determined and his professional qualifications assessed.

Like many refugees, Fayyaz Ali Soomro, faces a long wait in his career while his residency status and qualification are assessed

Like many refugees, Fayyaz Ali Soomro, faces a long wait in his career while his residency status and qualification are assessed

Licensed to work on Boeing 777, 737, 747 planes as well as Airbus aircraft, he spent decades maintaining aircraft for his country’s national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

Soon he hopes to resume his career and reignite his passion to keep commercial aircraft flying safely.

Mr Soomro came to Australia in 2013 after fleeing his homeland following political difficulties with corrupt officials.

“Aviation is a sensitive area in the part of the world I come from. I received threats to my life and to my family so I had to leave,” Mr Soomro said.

“In my country sometimes when you try to do the right thing you make enemies and so I had to get away and I came to Australia on humanitarian refugee visa,” he said.

Mr Soomro has submitted his aviation license and documentation to then Civil Aviation Safety Authority and is awaiting assessment.

“When I get my qualifications approved I will be able to apply for jobs with airlines,” he said.

He said he encountered cultural differences in social and professional life in Australia which at first presented barriers to settlement and employment.

“But after some time I have worked through those and now understand how Australia works,” Mr Soomro said.

He has been improving his English through courses with settlement agency AMES Australia while he waits for his professional qualifications to be accredited.

“Now that I have permanent residence I am keen to get a job as soon as possible. I am hoping to work for an airline so I can use my experience and technical skills,” he said.

Mr Soomro says he is enjoying life in Australia and with his children all attending universities he has high hopes for their futures.

“Australia is a good country. There is freedom and the rule of law so you can live safely. I am very happy to be here and I want to get a job and contribute. I want to use my experience and my skills in the aviation industry,” he said.


Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist