Your Mate is Back: BridgeAustralia’s Second Migration and Education Expo

By: Melecio F. Turao

A student from the Iloilo Community College won a round-trip ticket for two from Iloilo to Melbourne in Bridge Australia’s Migration  Exposition last year.  She was one among the lucky participants who had won, among other things, 50 Australian dollars, a free PTE review  coupon, and Australian wine.

Bridge  Australia’s  first Iloilo-wide migration expo in 2019 not only drew in nurses, IT professionals, teachers, hospitality and tourism students/professionals, and marketing professionals from Antique and Roxas, but also from  Bacolod City.  The whole day affair put together education providers from Deakin University, Crown Institute of Higher Education, Education Training and Employment Australia (ETEA), Victorian Institute of Technology (VIT), Rhodes College, and Southern Cross Education Institute(SCEI) Melbourne to answer questions from professionals and students on some timely and pressing issues such as how to study, work, and live in Australia.

The BridgeAustralia team, with mascot Bridgit and an Ilonggo Ati Warrior

The issue of who qualifies to come work in Australia,  who doesn’t, and how is a perennial conversation among  young professionals in Iloilo.  A notion is circulating as well that only nurses and IT professionals are “in-demand” in Australia. The truth is, the Australian government constantly updates its “skills shortage lists” on  its Department of Home Affairs Office page.  At the moment the Land Down Under needs aeronautical engineers, agricultural consultants, bakers, chefs, teachers, medical laboratory scientists and whole lot  more.  In her speech last year, BridgeAustralia CEO, Johanna Bertumen Nonato, stressed that only a Registered Migration Agent or an Immigration Lawyer  can provide legal advice on Australian visa matters.  She has helped a lot of Filipinos who came to Australia who got in trouble by following fraudulent advisers posting dubious information on their social media accounts. “When talking to advisers on Australian visa matters, make sure you ask for your advisers license number and verify it with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (,” Bertumen-Nonato warned.

Neither is coming to Australia all about show money. A lot of times, people who come to Bridge Australia seeking counsel on Australian opportunities say they have more than enough cash to spend for it.  But the Bridge Australia CEO lays it down point blank: “It’s all about being able to satisfy the specific visa criteria you are after as stipulated by the Department of Home Affairs and having the right attitude.” To Johanna Bertumen-Nonato, having enough money for migration or for studying in Australia is important but having the correct mind set should come first. That is, to be willing to get out of your comfort zone, take calculated risks, and to be ready face a new environment with a positive outlook and a great deal of resilience.

A crowd this big created a ripple effect at the Richmond Hotel last year.

This  year,  Bridge Australia will mount a bigger migration expo. Dubbed Rise Above The Rest:  The Second Australian Migration and Education Expo 2020, it will bring a new team of education providers: representatives coming from Australian Trade College, ASMI (Australian Skills Management Institute, VCE (Victorian College Institute),AIBT (Australian  Institute of Business and Technology), Inspire Education, and more.

The second expo happens January 25, a day before Iloilo’s Dinagyang celebration.   It will be held at the Park Inn Hotel, SM City Iloilo Complex Iloilo City, from 10AM- 4PM.

A sidelight of the affair is a series of seminars covering topics for  a specific industry.  Speakers and specialists  from Australia will discuss: Careers for Drone Pilots and Aviation Management  Graduates,  PTE Master Class, Pathways to Australia, Hospitality Careers in Australia, Job Readiness in Australia for Aged Care Workers, Community Services and Early Childhood Careers in Australia.

In keeping with the celebratory mood, BridgeAustralia will once more  give  away two free tickets  to Melbourne from Iloilo via Cebu Pacific!