How a young IT graduate from India made his mark in the bush
CAFE owner Jay Kumar left everyone he knew behind in India and jumped on a plane to a foreign country in the hopes of a better future.
It is a common story close to the heart of many Australian migrant families.
Migration experts agree it's stories such as Mr Kumar's that suggest regional Australia would be much better off economically with more migrant families making the move out to the bush.
Jock Collins, Professor of Social Economics at UTS Business School, says settling migrants into regional Australia would help fill critical labour shortages in professional markets.
Research commissioned by not-for-profit group Multicultural Australia found Queensland attitudes towards migrants were more positive than is portrayed politically.
A survey of more than 500 Queenslanders by Essential Research found 73 per cent said accepting people of different cultures was part of being Australian and 56 per cent agreed Queensland had benefited from migrants moving into the state.
With no job opportunities for an IT graduate in the small town of Gurkha in North India Mr Kumar thought it best to try his luck aboard, rather than travelling thousands of kilometres to the nearest city metropolis in India.
Now an Australian citizen and proud owner of the Downtown Cafe in Chinchilla since 2017 Mr Kumar has grown his business from employing four staff members to a team of 13.
"It's a lot easier to run a business in a small town, I still have competitors but as long as I focus on what I'm capable of and not trying to compete with other people, cafes, or restaurants, and I stay unique I will be fine," Mr Kumar said.
One of the great things about running a business in regional Queensland is the community support said Mr Kumar.
"Honesty I like Chinchilla… you support local business and local business supports you, and you support the community when they ask you to do a favour," Mr Kumar said.
"People are very friendly, and they are very supportive, even minor things like someone missing a cat, parrot, or dog, you just put it on Facebook and in no time it'll be dropped off."
The immigration office required Mr Kumar to live in a rural area for two years before he could apply to become a permanent resident in Australia.
"Even though my two year contact finished four years ago I still have no plan to move out of Chinchilla, both my kids were born here and I just ended up buying a home last week," Mr Kumar said.
"Chinchilla is the best town I have ever lived, anywhere in Brisbane, anywhere around the world. I know the last couple of years the crime and the stealing has risen but that doesn't mean, 'okay let's get out of chinchilla'," he said.
Mr Kumar remembers the day he came to Australia clearly, it was Saturday the 22 of February in 2008.
"The funniest thing - the immigration officer asked me when I arrived at the airport, when I handed my passport he said, 'how's it going?' and I said "I'm not going I'm coming I have just arrived I'm not going anywhere'. He laughed and I didn't know why."
"It was like a rebirth. I had to learn the lifestyle, the English, and the accent, which made me wonder 'why can't I understand what people are talking about' Because I know passed the English test'."