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Asia Pacific Migration Research Network (APMRN)

Migration Issues in the Asia Pacific

ISSUES PAPER FROM AUSTRALIA

    A. Introduction

Australia is generally seen as one of the 'classical countries of immigration'. Nation-building following British colonisation in 1788 meant the destruction of Aboriginal societies, and the construction of a new nation based on immigration. The earliest settlers were convicts, soldiers and colonial administrators, followed by free settlers, encouraged by the British state. The mid-19th century goldrushes led to greatly increased immigration: mainly from Britain, but also from the rest of Europe and the USA. The first large group of non-European workers came from China and later the Pacific Islands. Anti-Asian campaigns led to the Immigration Restriction Act (the 'White Australia policy') of 1901.

After the Second World War, an immigration program was introduced to increase the population and boost economic strength. The aim was to bring in mainly British immigrants, but in fact a growing proportion came from Eastern and Northern Europe, and then from Southern Europe in the 1950s and 1960s. After an interruption during the recession of the early 1970s, new currents of immigration from Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and New Zealand developed. The overall picture has been of a planned policy of permanent immigration, with control facilitated by Australia's isolated geographical position. Migration has nonetheless had unforeseen consequences: the ethnic composition of migrant intakes has changed in a way that was neither predicted nor desired by the architects of the migration program. This has been partly because the need for labour during expansionary phases has dictated changes in recruitment policies. It has also been due to the way chain migration has led to self-sustaining migratory processes. The main result of the increase in ethnic diversity has been a move away from a narrow mono-cultural identity, to a new concept based on multiculturalism, which was officially introduced as a policy in the early 1970s.

    B. Background

The concept of being a 'nation of immigrants' is at the centre of Australian identity. The Australian population increased from about 7.5 million in 1947 to 17.8 million people in 1994, with at least half the growth being due to immigration. Indigenous people today make up less than 2 per cent of total population. Immigrants account for 23 per cent, while Australian-born people with at least one overseas-born parent make up a further 20 per cent. Over two fifths of the Australian population are first or second generation immigrants, while most of the rest can trace their origins back to earlier immigration. In metropolitan areas like Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth over half the population are of first of second generation immigrant background.

Until 1947, most immigrants came from Britain. Since then, the majority of immigrants have come from different cultural backgrounds. In the last ten years, over half of new immigrants have come from Asia. In discussions on the situation of immigrants in Australia it is customary to distinguish between English-speaking background (ESB) immigrants (from Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and the USA) and non-English-speaking background (NESB) immigrants (from other countries). The policy of multiculturalism is concerned with the position of NESB immigrants in Australian society, as well as with the question of Australian identity in a changing international context.

Australian society has undergone dramatic change since the 1970s, and immigration and growing ethnocultural diversity has been both a cause and a result of this.

  • On the economic level, political and business leaders have tried to transform an economy based on the primary sector (agriculture and mining) to a producer and exporter of modern industrial goods and sophisticated services. This has required better education and training of the workforce, and a shift in priority from low-skilled to highly-skilled immigration.
  • At the same time Australia has moved away from the fairly stable full-employment economy of the period 1945-72: there is now an underlying level of unemployment of nearly 10 per cent (especially for low-skilled workers). Immigration levels fluctuate according to the economic conjuncture, eg. high immigration in the late 1980s, low immigration in the early 1990s and a gradual increase over the last few years.
  • On the international relations level, Australian leaders have moved away from dependence on Britain and the USA and recognised the key role of linkages within the Asia-Pacific region. This was a major reason for the abandoning of the racist White Australia policy in the late 1960s. More recently, the Australian Labor Party's (ALP) support for APEC has been linked to issues of identity and international relations as well as to economics.
  • This has been linked to a cultural shift away from a national identity based on British culture and heritage. Multiculturalism means accepting the presence of a variety of languages, religions and cultures as part of an emerging Australian culture.

    C. Migratory Movements

Altogether 5.4 million immigrants have come to Australia since 1945 and about one million people have emigrated from Australia (including former immigrants). (1) Policies have traditionally been based primarily on immigration of people expected to become permanent settlers and eventually citizens. Migratory waves have generally started with young economically active persons, who have later been joined by their families, or who have established new families in Australia. Since 1945, refugee entries have also played an important part. Refugees also have full rights of family reunification, so that such entries also start migratory chains. In recent years the number of temporary entrants has also grown. These are made up of students and trainees, as well as temporary workers with special skills. Illegal entrants or visa-overstayers are not very large categories in Australia. Emigration is also of increasing importance, with many young Australians going to work overseas for a period to gain professional experience.

(1) Permanent Immigration
Permanent entries fall into two main programs: the Migration Program and the Humanitarian Program. In addition, New Zealanders can come without visas, as there is a free movement agreement between the two countries. Total permanent arrivals (including both Programs and New Zealanders) were at levels of around 140,000 per year in the late 1980s, but declined during the recession of the early 1990s, falling to 70,000 in 1993-94. With the return to economic growth, entries increased to 87,000 in 1994-95, while the estimate for 1995-96 is about 98,000. (2)

In the ten years from 1984-85 to 1993-94 Australia had a net permanent migration gain of 825,000 persons (BIMPR 1995A, p. 36). (3) Net gain was 48,000 in 1992-93; 42,000 in 1993-94; but increased to 60,000 in 1994-95 (BIMPR 1995B, p. 27).

Appendix Table 1 and Chart 1 shows the breakdown of settlers arrivals by category.

(2) The Migration Program
This has two main components:

Family Migration, which has two categories:

  • Preferential Family, which allows for the immigration of spouses, fiancé(e)s, dependent children and, in some cases, parents of Australian residents. People who can prove a relationship of this kind have a right to entry.
  • Concessional Family, which includes siblings, adult children and nieces or nephews of Australian residents. These people can apply for entry, and are assessed according to a Points Test, which takes account of the relationship as well as work skills and age.

    Overall, the Family component accounts for the largest share in arrivals. For instance it made up 56 per cent of all settler arrivals in 1993-94, and 51 per cent in 1994-95. (See Appendix Table 1 for detailed figures.) However, it is important to realise that people who enter through family migration have the right to enter the labour market, and frequently do. Since their labour market capabilities are not tested prior to entry, they frequently end up in lower-skilled types of work.

    Skill Migration, which is divided into a number of categories:

    • The Employer Nomination Scheme, for workers requested by name by an employer.
    • Business Skills, for people experienced in running a business and generally bringing capital with them. They have to pass a special Business Skills Points Test.
    • Special Talents, for people with special high-level skills.
    • Independents, for highly-skilled persons who can pass a Points Test based on skills, age and English language ability.
    • 1 November On-Shore Category: this is based on a new policy announced on 1 November 1993, to allow permanent residence to well-qualified asylum-seekers and humanitarian cases already in Australia. (This was linked to the decision to give permanent residence status to about 19,000 nationals of the People's Republic of China, who had sought asylum after the events of June 1989.)

    Skill migration makes up between a quarter and a third of the total intake. For instance the figure was 26 per cent in 1993-94 and 35 per cent in 1994-95. It is this component which is most likely to decline in times of recession, either through cuts in immigration quotas, or because potential entrants are deterred by labour market conditions. Obviously, economic migration generates future family migration.

    (3) The Humanitarian Program
    This Program included 13,200 persons in 1994-95, and had a target of 15,000 for 1995-96. It has three main components:

      • The Refugee Program for people outside their country and fleeing persecution, generally selected according to UNHCR criteria. The main group have been Indo-Chinese refugees from camps in Southeast Asia. There are special provisions for 'women at risk'.

      • The Special Humanitarian Program (SHP) for people who are not refugees according to UNHCR criteria, but who have suffered gross violation of their human rights (such as political prisoners or members of ethnic minorities in certain Central American countries). It also includes a number of people granted refugee status when already in Australia on temporary entry permits.

      • The Special Assistance Category (SAC) for people in vulnerable situations who have the support of relatives or community groups in Australia. This category has grown in the last few years through admission of people fleeing war and persecution in former Yugoslavia.

    Refugees have been an important part of Australian immigration history. The two major refugee waves were Eastern Europeans in the late 1940s and Indo-Chinese in the second half of the 1970s. Other notable flows include: refugees from the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968; Lebanese refugees in 1976-78; and Poles in the early '80s. In addition to these movements, smaller numbers of refugees sought settlement in Australia following political turmoil in places such as Chile, El Salvador, East Timor, Iran, Iraq, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and, more recently, former Yugoslavia. The number of refugees admitted to Australia has been at a fairly constant level of about 12,000 per year since the mid-1980s.

    In the mid-1970s, the arrival of Indo-Chinese refugee boats on the northern shores of Australia played a major role in persuading the Australian Government to participate in international resettlement efforts. Entry of Indo-Chinese refugees, in turn, was to be the first large-scale entry of non-Europeans to Australia, and played a significant part in changing the ethnic composition of the population. In recent years, a number of boats have again arrived with people claiming political asylum. The Government has been very wary about granting permanent residence for fear of attracting further inflows of boat-people. Asylum-seekers have been detained for long periods in camps, often in remote areas. Human rights groups have claimed that treatment of asylum-seekers has violated international standards. Of the 1992 boat-people who arrived from 1989 to 1995, 1176 have since left Australia, while 503 have gained permanent residence (DIEA 1996). The remainder are presumably still awaiting decisions.

    In 1994-95, there were 4789 applications for protection visas (covering 7369 people) from persons already in Australia. Of these, 986 cases (covering 1400 people) were approved.

    (4) Source Countries
    As already pointed out, immigration to Australia was predominantly from Britain and other European countries until the early 1970s. Since the late 1970s, a growing share has come from Asia, and there have also been entrants from Latin America and Africa. Australian immigration is now truly global: in 1994-95 people came from more than 160 countries! In the late 1980s around half of entrants came from Asia. In the 1990s, the proportion from Europe increased again, mainly due to conditions in the former Soviet Union and former Yugoslavia. In 1994-95, the United Kingdom was the largest source country (as it always has been) with 10,689 entrants (12.2 per cent of the total inflow); followed by New Zealand, 10,498 (12 per cent); Former Yugoslav Republics, 6665 (7.6 per cent); Vietnam, 5097 (5.8 per cent); and Hong Kong, 4135 (4.7 per cent). Appendix Table 2 shows settler arrivals by region of birth, while Appendix Table 3 shows the top 10 source countries for selected years.

    (5) Gender
    As in other countries, there is a strong trend towards feminisation of migration to Australia. In 1994-95, females were 53 per cent of the total permanent settler intake. Females made up 59 per cent of entrants in the Family component, 48 per cent in the Skill component and 48 per cent in the Humanitarian Program. Appendix Chart 2 gives more details.

    (6) Skill Levels
    Since the 1970s, Australian immigration policy has been concerned with recruiting people with high level labour-market skills. Recent settler intakes have shown skill levels well above the average for the domestic population. It should be noted that skilled people are not necessarily entrants in the Skill component of the Migration Program-people entering as family members or refugees may also have high skill levels. These are of potential economic benefit to Australia, although many skilled people encounter considerable difficulty in getting their qualifications recognised. Appendix Table 4 and Chart 3 give more details.

    (7) Illegal immigrants
    As an island continent, it is fairly easy for Australia to prevent illegal entries. All persons (except New Zealanders) who enter Australia need a visa, obtained before embarking. Currently, there is discussion on removing visa restrictions for people from certain countries (such as Japan and the USA), but no decision has been taken. New electronic multiple-entry cards are planned for business visitors. Most illegals (officially known as 'unlawful non-citizens') are visitors or temporary entrants who overstay their visas. The estimated number of overstayers in June 1994 was about 69,000 compared with 80,000 in June 1993 and a peak of 90,000 in April 1990. The decline is due partly to increased control measures and partly to the reduced attractiveness of staying in Australia at a time of poor labour market opportunities. In June 1994, 69 per cent of overstayers were visitors, 17 per cent were students and 5300 were temporary residents (BIMPR 1995A, pp. 30-1).

    (8) Temporary entrants
    Temporary population movements are of increasing importance: Australia is experiencing a large and growing flow of either long-term (that is, greater than one year) or short-term temporary migration. In 1994-95 there were 3.5 million short-term entrants, mainly tourists but also business visitors (BIMPR 1995B, p. 5). This compares with a total of 992,300 short-term visitors in 1983-84. Tourism is one of Australia's fastest-growing industries, and the number of tourists is expected to reach 5 million in 2000 (BIMPR 1995A, p. 34). Tourism, although different in character from migration, does have significant environmental and social impacts. Most short-term visitors come to Australia for less than two weeks, tend to be aged between 25 and 34 and come from Japan, New Zealand, UK, Ireland and the USA (Sloan & Kennedy 1992, p. xi).

    In 1994-95 there were 151,095 long-term temporary arrivals in Australia compared with 114,711 in 1990-91. Of the 1994-95 arrivals, 79,063 were classified as temporary residents and 72,032 as visitors. The former include high-level executives, specialists, entertainers, sports persons, academics and working holiday makers. There are also increasing numbers of students: the number grew from 65,500 in 1991-92 to 87,000 in 1993-94.

    Overall, Asia is an increasing source of the temporary entry of workers, students or tourists: Asians comprise more than half of Australia's long-term overseas visitors and 38 per cent of Australia's short-term visitor or tourist arrivals, up from less than 10 per cent in 1966 (Kee Pookong et al. 1993, pp. 10-12). The number of overseas students in Australia increased by 200 per cent between 1986 and 1990, with Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore the main sources of Australia's full-fee paying overseas tertiary students who generate an income of $500 million per year (BIPR 1993). Most temporary residents come from the UK and Ireland, Japan, the USA and Canada. They are often executives of multinational corporations who are temporarily appointed to the Australian subsidiary.

    There is a certain slippage from temporary into permanent immigration, through the possibility of applying for transfer to permanent status, but we have been unable to find data on this.

    (9) Emigration
    Permanent departures have totalled around 27,000 per year for the last three years, with Australian-born people making up 35-37 per cent of those leaving and New Zealanders about a further 22 per cent (BIMPR 1995B, pp. 24-5). Although most people who come to Australia as permanent immigrants do stay, there has always been a substantial minority who re-migrate. Most former immigrants who leave Australia do so after a few years: a recent study found that 28 per cent of those who left in 1992-93 had been in Australia for 2 years or less, while 57 per cent had been in Australia for 5 years or less (BIMPR 1995A, p. 28). Recently, this emigration has been supplemented by departures of Australian-born people, who are classified as 'permanent departures'. Some of these may stay away for good, while others may return after some years work overseas. This is part of trends towards economic internationalisation: it is now seen as valuable for career development to gain overseas professional experience.

      D. Policies on Migration and Multiculturalism (4)

    Immigration levels are decided upon annually by the Federal Government, after consultation with employers, unions and a variety of other interest groups. The main determinants are the economic situation, the need for particular types of skilled labour, humanitarian considerations, and the desire of ethnic communities for family reunion. There is frequent public discussion and controversy on immigration, with environmental groups arguing against high levels. Opposition based on desires for cultural homogeneity or hostility towards non-Europeans also still exists. Nonetheless, all major parties in Australia support broadly similar immigration policies, except for the Australian Democrats who favour 'zero net immigration'.

    Program implementation is the responsibility of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (DIEA), which has Immigration Offices in some Australian embassies and consulates abroad. (5) The DIEA also has offices in many Australian cities, with responsibility for immigration matters and welfare services for immigrants. Prospective immigrants (up to one million a year) apply to Australian consulates, where they may be interviewed by Immigration Officers. Medical and occupational tests may also take place. The Points Test, used for several categories, is based on a model developed in Canada, and was first introduced in 1973. In the current version, points are awarded for work skills, age, language skills, and family relationships with residents or citizens of Australia. The Points System is complex and hard to apply fairly. It is not discriminatory on racial, ethnic, religious or political criteria, but it does discriminate in favour of young, economically productive people who have been able to receive a good education. It tends to select either people from highly-developed countries or an elite from less-developed countries, thus encouraging the 'brain drain'.

    Since 1947, Australia has had very high levels of immigration relative to population size. This has thrown up considerable dilemmas for public policy, with regard to social services, incorporation of newcomers into society, and the consequences for culture and national identity. In social policy, the Australian state has taken an interventionist approach ever since the colonial period, providing special services for newly-arrived settlers, such as accommodation, orientation courses, help in finding work, English-language courses, and interpreting and translating services. Such measures are coordinated by the DIEA, with support from other Federal and state government departments. Immigrants also have access to a wide range of general social services, connected with health, employment, welfare and education. However, there have been some restrictions in recent years: newly-arrived immigrants are now excluded from unemployment benefits and some types of social security payments for the first six months after arrival. The Federal Opposition has announced that it will extend this waiting period to two years, if elected. Most immigrants also have to pay for English-language courses provided by the Adult Migrant Education Service.

    As for the longer-term impact on society, until the early 1970s, the policy was one of assimilation: immigrants could quickly become Australian citizens (the waiting period is now only two years), and were expected to adapt to the Australian way of life as individuals. This policy failed, because trends to labour market segmentation and residential segregation led to a situation of relative separation from mainstream society for many immigrants. The result was ethnic community formation, with members of national groups living together, using their own languages, and establishing associations and economic infrastructure. Since about 1973, successive governments have pursued policies of multiculturalism, which recognise the legitimacy of a multiplicity of cultures within one Australian society.

    Multiculturalism is now seen as a key element of Australian identity, and a decisive break with Australia's colonialist and racist past. The 'productive diversity' that arises from being a nation of many peoples is an important asset in attempts to improve links with the rest of the world, particularly the Asia-Pacific region. Multicultural principles and policies were laid down in the Federal Government's statement of 1989, The National Agenda for a Multicultural Australia. They were reassured most recently in a policy statement released by the Prime Minister in January 1996. The main agency concerned with monitoring these policies is the Office of Multicultural Affairs within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Similar bodies exist in several states, while multicultural agencies of various kinds are to be found within major service delivery departments in the fields of health, employment, education etc.

      E. Social and Political Effects of Migration

    There is no doubt that immigration has been one of the major factors shaping Australian society since 1788, and in particular since 1947. Immigration has contributed to a rapid increase in population, to significant structural changes in the economy, to alterations in the use of urban and rural space, and to a shift from an almost monocultural society to a highly diverse one. It is impossible to describe these changes in detail here. Rather we will mention some of the more controversial aspects of immigration in the next section.

      F. Key Problem Areas

    (1) Economic
    Many economists are of the opinion that immigration has had dynamic and expansionary effects on the Australian economy. Others, however, believe that it has negative effects at the macro-economic level. Immigration is said, for instance, to increase unemployment, worsen the balance of payments, put a strain on public finances and slow down labour-saving investments. Without going into detail, it can be said that considerable efforts have been made by the official Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research (which will be described in Section G below) to examine these issues. Overall, the effects of immigration have been found to be neutral or slightly positive at the macro-economic level.

    However, this does not mean that immigration is always unproblematic at the micro-economic level. Entry of certain types of immigrants into certain markets can have negative effects for some competing groups: for instance wages for certain types of work may be held back, or housing costs in certain areas may increase. Moreover, the immigrants themselves suffer various forms of economic disadvantage. For instance some professionals find themselves unable to work in their occupations due to failure to recognise their qualifications. Average unemployment rates for immigrants are above the national average, while certain groups of immigrants (eg. Vietnamese and Lebanese) have very high rates. Women immigrant workers suffer particular forms of disadvantage and are often employed at very low wages (for instance doing outwork, ie. working at home in garment production etc). There is still considerable need for research on such issues.

    Another important area for study is ethnic entrepreneurship. Small business is one of the most dynamic sectors of the Australian economy, especially in terms of job creation. Immigrants escape from low-status work by setting up businesses, but these often fail, or only survive through low incomes and poor conditions for those involved in them. Research on conditions for success and ways of supporting ethnic small business would be valuable.

    (2) Social
    As the above remarks imply, immigration may have important social implications. It may effect wage levels, working conditions, employment and unemployment, housing conditions and social infrastructure. Immigrants and their children need education and training, and sometimes require special measures (such as bridging courses or language support) to be able to participate fully in the labour market and society. A variety of programs and social services have been established to respond to such issues. Research is needed to establish the best ways of meeting social needs, and to evaluate programs and services.

    (2) Environmental
    Critics of immigration argue that it has led to over-rapid population growth, which is leading to environmental degradation, loss of bio-diversity and urban sprawl. Some go so far as to say that Australia is already over-populated and should take measures to stop immigration and curtail natural growth. This seems surprising in view of Australia's huge area and sparse population (only 2 people per square kilometre). However, much of Australia is uninhabitable desert, and the continent has scarce and unevenly distributed water resources. A more balanced view is that there is a need for environmental protection, and that the problem is not population size as such, but rather the way both rural and urban space is used. Australia has very high per capita use of energy and of space, partly as a result of a its dispersed patterns of suburban housing. There are clearly many research issues connected with the relationship between population size and structure, and the environment.

    (3) Culture and Identity
    The rapid growth in cultural diversity has had important effects on lifestyles and intergroup relationships. Many people prefer to cling to a traditional Anglo-Australian identity and feel threatened by change. Others welcome cultural heterogeneity, but ask what this will mean for language use, the arts, education and the media. In a broader sense, cultural diversity makes it necessary to think through notions of national identity and their significance for society and for international relations. These are new questions, closely linked to issues of globalisation.

    (4) Racism
    Despite the shift away from the old exclusionary identity, racism remains a problem. Unlike Europe and the USA, Australia has no significant racist parties or organisations, yet an official inquiry into racism in 1991 found that most immigrants have had some experience of racial discrimination, harassment or even violence. This applies most particularly to people of non-European appearance, notably Asians. The worst racism is towards Aboriginal people, who experience discrimination and racist violence even from police and other public officials (HREOC 1991). Australia has laws against racial discrimination and incitement, and special agencies to enforce them. There is a need for research into causes of racism and strategies to combat it.

    (5) Political
    Australia's constitution, law and political institutions are closely modelled on British and, to a lesser extent, US precedents. They are thus based on assumptions about traditions and cultural homogeneity which no longer hold true. Moreover, institutional structures developed within a colonial context may be inappropriate in a changed international context. The presence of large groups of people from differing traditions of law and political participation throw up many questions. In addition, the very fact of cultural diversity presents challenges for institutional structures. They may need to be adapted to ensure fair representation of ethnic and cultural minorities. An examination of Australian elites-including parliamentarians, business executives, trade union leaders, judges, public servants and police-shows a dominance by men of British and Irish origin, and considerable underrepresentation of indigenous people and immigrants of non-English speaking background (NMAC 1995, Vol. 2, pp. 12-18). Defenders of the status quo argue that any change might endanger democracy, but critics answer that there is a need to reform democratic structures to take account of new realities. Analysis of the way the political system works and possible ways of improving it is obviously important.

      G. Existing Research Capabilities

    Research into immigration and its effects on society is carried out and funded by special government agencies, as well as by universities. Many research projects are a result of cooperation between government and universities. There is little privately-funded research in Australia, due to an absence of private foundations of the type to be found in the USA or Japan.

    (1) The Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research (BIMPR)
    The BIMPR is the most important research body in the field. It was established by the Federal Government in 1989 as the Bureau of Immigration Research; its brief was extended to include population issues in 1993 and multicultural issues in 1995. It is funded by the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (DIEA), which appoints its Director, and supervises its work. However, BIMPR is meant to be independent of government, and its work is independently refereed, generally maintains high standards and is almost invariably published. The annual budget is around A$6 million. BIMPR carries out in-house research and also commissions work by university researchers and other consultants. One important undertaking is a longitudinal survey, which regularly examines the settlement experience of large cohorts of recent arrivals. BIMPR has a public library and is responsible for a number of statistical series, including the quarterly Immigration Updates, the annual Australia's Population: Trends and Prospects and Community Profiles giving census data on selected immigrant groups. (6)

    (2) Government Departments and Agencies
    Research on migration related-issues is done by various departments. The Office of Multicultural Affairs does some research which is directly relevant to policy issues, but has handed most of its research over to the BIMPR. The same applies to DIEA. Other Federal Government departments such as the Department of Employment, Education and Training sometimes undertake research. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission does research on racism and discrimination. State governments also carry out or commission research on policy issues arising from immigration and cultural diversity. All these bodies may contract university research centres, private research companies or individuals to undertake research or evaluation projects. Such work is often problematic: research questions and methods are set by government; the focus may be narrowly concerned with policy matters; academic standards of theory and methods may not be maintained; and findings are often not published-especially if government officials do not like them!

    (3) University Research Centres
    Australia has a number of university research centres specifically concerned with migration and ethnic relations issues. The longest established and largest is the Centre for Multicultural Studies (CMS) at the University of Wollongong. This receives core funding from the University to support academic research, but also does contract work for BIMPR and other government agencies. CMS has graduate teaching programs and its staff participate in undergraduate programs of other departments. There are a number of other university research centres with broadly similar aims, including:

    • Centre for Immigration and Multicultural Studies, Australian National University, Canberra;
    • Centre for Intercultural Studies, Monash University, Melbourne;
    • Centre for Multicultural Studies, Flinders University, Adelaide;
    • Centre for Multicultural Studies, University of New England, Armidale;
    • Multicultural Centre, Sydney University.

    All the university research centres are finding it very hard to survive as constraints on university finance makes it hard to obtain core funding. Most of the centres now function with very few or no full-time staff, simply coordinating research activities of academics who teach in other departments. Paradoxically, the existence of the BIMPR as a central body for research in this area since 1989 appears to have made it harder for university centres to secure reliable funding. (7)

    (4) Other University Research
    Many social scientists in various university departments carry out research on immigration and ethnic relations issues. Most of this work is published in academic journals or books. The main funding body for university research is the Australian Research Council (ARC), which gives grants on a competitive basis based on academic merit. The ARC does set priority areas, which currently include citizenship. This can include research on issues of multiculturalism and identity.

    (5) Private consultants
    A number of individuals or companies carry out research on migration-related issues, generally as consultants for government agencies. The quality of this work varies from narrow, empiricist approaches to high-quality, well-informed research.

      H. The State of Research

    Immigration and cultural diversity has long been an important topic for the social sciences in Australia, which is not surprising in view of the centrality of immigration in the development of society and national identity. As the preceding section implies, there is a very large body of data and research on such topics.

    High-quality statistical data is readily available on most topics. Regular general data is provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on the basis of the five-yearly census as well as labour market and other surveys. Figures are usually broken down by birthplace, allowing comparative work on immigrants. However, data on the second generation is sometimes hard to come by. The BIMPR provides a wealth of specific data, based on special analyses of ABS data, its own longitudinal survey and a variety of other surveys.

    Empirical and analytical research findings exist on a great range of themes connected with migration and ethnic relations. No attempt will be made to summarise this here. Although there is no comprehensive bibliography of such work in Australia, Wooden et al. (1994) provide a valuable overview. BIMPR publishes bibliographies on a range of topics. Most people working in the area would agree that some areas have been extensively covered, such as macroeconomic effects of immigration, and issues of migration regulation. Other areas have been less well researched, such as the effects of globalisation on regional migration flows, the development of identity in second generation immigrants, or the emergence of transnational networks among migrants.

      I. Key Research Issues for the Next Five Years (national level)

    We suggest the following priorities for research within Australia:

      • Social effects of immigration, according to type of immigration and patterns of settlement.

      • The participation of ethnic community groups in the settlement process, including issues of community formation and development of social networks.

      • Educational experience (including language learning) of various ethnic groups.

      • Relations between various groups in the Australian population, including between immigrant groups and indigenous people.

      • Racism and discrimination: patterns, causes and strategies to combat these phenomena.

      • The participation and representation of immigrant and indigenous people in economic and political decision-making.

      • Cultural and linguistic diversity, the development of multiple and transnational identities, and the consequences for Australian citizenship and identity.

      J. Key Research Issues for the Next Five Years (regional and international levels)

    We suggest the following priorities for international comparative research:

      • Studies on patterns of labour migration and refugee movement in the Asia-Pacific region, and emerging trends towards long-term settlement.

      • The impact of international conflict and crisis on migration.

      • Legal and social status of immigrants in various countries.

      • Ways of improving international cooperation in:

        - monitoring of migratory movements
        - bilateral or multilateral regulation of movements
        - social measures for the welfare of migrants and their families.

      • Links between attitudes towards immigrants and existing ethnic issues in receiving countries.

      • Relationships between emigration or immigration and the process of economic and societal development in various countries.

      • The 'migration transition': how has it taken place in various countries and what are its causes and effects?

      K. The Australian Migration Research Network

    There has been a fair measure of interchange and cooperation between Australian researchers in the field of migration and ethnic relations for many years, although this has been mainly concerned with domestic issues. In the process of putting together the proposal for the UNESCO-MOST APMRN project in 1994-95, an informal group of researchers concerned with international comparative work came together. Following acceptance of the project by UNESCO-MOST, first steps have been taken towards expanding and consolidating this group. The first meeting of the Australian Migration Research Network took place in Sydney in November 1995. It was attended by some 20 colleagues from all over Australia. Most of them have special interests in Asia-Pacific migration research. Since then, further colleagues have expressed their interest. Initially, the aim is to function mainly as an electronic mail network, which will provide information and contacts for researchers. In a later phase, it is hoped to carry out joint research projects, in cooperation with colleagues from other countries in the APMRN. A list of current Australian participants follows.


      Alan MathesonACTU
      Prof. Charles StahlUniversity of Newcastle
      Dr Christine InglisUniversity of Sydney
      Prof. David CoxLa Trobe University
      Prof. Des CahillRoyal Melbourne Institute of Technology
      Prof. Graeme HugoUniversity of Adelaide
      A/Prof. Grant McCallUniversity of NSW
      A/Prof. Jock CollinsUniversity of Technology, Sydney
      Prof. John WesternUniversity of Queensland
      Jogen Steen OlesenIOM
      Joseph Lo BiancoNational Languages & Literacy Institute of Australia
      Prof. Kee PookongVictoria University of Technology
      A/Prof. Ken WiltshireUniversity of Queensland
      A/Prof. John ConnellUniversity of Sydney
      Dr Georgina TsolidisMonash University
      Dr Richard BrownUniversity of Queensland
      Dr Fadzilah CookeUniversity of Wollongong
      Dr Constance Lever-TraceyFlinders University
      Dr Fazal RizviUniversity of Queensland
      Dr Jim JuppAustralian National University
      Prof. Tessa Morris-SuzukiAustralian National University
      Wendy SargentStrategy for Core Culture
      Dr Richard BraddockMacquarie University
      Connie ZhengMacquarie University
      Prof. Stephen CastlesUniversity of Wollongong
      Dr Robyn IredaleUniversity of Wollongong
      Michael MorrisseyUniversity of Wollongong
      Dr Rogelia Pe-PuaUniversity of Wollongong


      Statistical Appendix


    Table 1: Migration Program Components


     Category/Component

    1993-94

    *1994-95

    Planning level

    **1995-96

    Preferential family

    33 800

    36 800

    42 000

    Concessional family

    9 400

    7 700

    9 000

    Total Family

    43 200

    44 500

    51 000

    Employer nomination/labour agreements

    4 000

    3 300

    4 300

    Business skills

    1 900

    2 400

    2 700

    Special talents

    200

    100

    200

    Independents

    11 800

    15 000

    19 500

    1 November on-shore

    500

    9 600

    4 000

    Regional sponsored

    -

    -

    100

    Total Skill

    18 300

    30 400

    30 800

    Special Eligibility

    1 300

    1 600

    1 200

    Total Program

    62 800

    76 500

    83 000

    Humanitarian Program Components

     

     

     

    Refugee***

    4 300

    4 000

    4 665

    Special Humanitarian

    2 500

    3 700

    3 465

    Special Assistance

    5 800

    5 500

    6 870

    Onshore humanitarian

    90

    -

    -

    Total Program

    12 700

    13 200

    15 000


    Notes:
    *Incorporates an additional 500 places under Business Skills and up to 3,000 places under the 1 November onshore category provided in March 1995.

    **On 1 December 1995, the Government announced that following an unexpected surge in application for Business Skills and close family visas, the program figures for Independent and Concessional Family migrants would be capped at 10 000 and 7 700 places respectively.

    ***People recognised as refugees within Australia are not included in the above figures.

    Source: DIEA (Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs) 1996, Fact Sheet 33: Immigration - Key Statistics Canberra: DIEA


    Chart 1: Permanent Arrivals and Departures


    Chart 1

    Source: BIMPR (Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research) (1995B) Immigration Update, June Quarter 1995 Canberra: AGPS, p 4.


    Chart 2: Settlers Arrivals by Eligibility Category


    Chart 2


    In 1994-95:

    q Total settler arrivals were 25.3 per cent higher than in 1993-94, bringing the number to 87,428.

    q The visaed categories in total increased by 22.3 per cent compared with 1993-94.

    • the Family and Skill categories increased by 10.4 per cent and 58.0 per cent respectively
    • the Humanitarian component grew by 20.1 per cent.

    q The Non-visaed category increased by 41.1 per cent due mainly to the 41.6 per cent increase in settler arrivals who were New Zealand citizens.

    q As a proportion of all settler arrivals in 1994-95, the Skill category increased to 23.1 per cent (up from 18.3 per cent in 1993-94) while the Family and Humanitarian categories decreased to 42.4 and 15.6 per cent respectively.

    Source: BIMPR (Bureau of Immigration , Multicultural and Population Research) (1995B) Immigration Update, June Quarter 1995 Canberra, AGPS, p. 8.


    Table 2: Settler Arrivals by Region of Birth


     

    1992-93

    1993-94

    1994-1995

    Region of Birth

    No.

    %

    No.

    %

    No.

    %

    Oceania (incl. NZ)

    9 517

    12.5

    10 196

    14.6

    13 592

    15.5

    Europe & the Former USSR

    22 200

    29.1

    20 473

    29.3

    25 523

    29.2

    Middle East & Nthn Africa

    5 417

    7.1

    4 826

    6.9

    7 146

    8.2

    Southeast Asia

    13 853

    18.1

    14 239

    20.4

    14 861

    17.0

    Northeast Asia

    12 504

    16.4

    8 045

    11.5

    9 899

    11.3

    Southern Asia

    6 632

    8.7

    5 482

    7.9

    7 616

    8.7

    Northern America

    2 021

    2.6

    2 002

    2.9

    2 576

    2.9

    Sth America, Central America & Caribbean

    1 557

    2.0

    1 153

    1.7

    1 329

    1.5

    Africa (excl. North Africa)

    2 570

    3.4

    3 249

    4.7

    4 857

    5.6

    Not Stated

    59

    0.1

    103

    0.1

    29

    0.0

    Total

    76 330

    100.0

    69 768

    100.0

    87 428

    100.0


    Source: BIMPR (Bureau of Immigration , Multicultural and Population Research) (1995B) Immigration Update, June Quarter 1995 Canberra, AGPS, pp. 21-23.


    Table 3: Settler Arrivals - Top 10 Source Countries of Birth


     

    1964-65

     

    1974-75

    Country of Birth

    No.

    %

    Country of Birth

    No.

    %

    UK & Ireland (a)

    74 754

    53.3

    UK & Ireland (a)

    37 647

    42.2

    Greece

    16 991

    12.1

    Yugoslavia

    3 931

    4.4

    Italy

    10 309

    7.4

    USA

    3 130

    3.5

    Malta

    5 864

    4.2

    New Zealand

    2 652

    3.0

    Yugoslavia

    5 278

    3.8

    Greece

    2 399

    2.7

    Germany

    3 485

    2.5

    Italy

    2 389

    2.7

    Netherlands

    2 106

    1.5

    Lebanon

    2 271

    2.5

    New Zealand

    2 021

    1.4

    Uruguay (b)

    2 117

    2.4

    USA

    1 713

    1.2

    India

    2 048

    2.3

    U.A.R. Egypt

    1 479

    1.1

    Chile (b)

    2 002

    2.2

    Sub Total

    124 000

    88.5

    Sub Total

    60 586

    68.0

    Other

    16 152

    11.5

    Other

    28 561

    32.0

    Total

    140 152

    100.0

    Total

    89 147

    100.0

     

     

    1984-85

     

     

    1992-93

    Country of Birth

    No.

    %

    Country of Birth

    No.

    %

    UK

    11 674

    14.9

    UK

    9 484

    12.4

    New Zealand

    9 075

    11.6

    New Zealand

    6 694

    8.8

    Viet Nam

    8 494

    10.9

    Hong Kong

    6 520

    8.5

    Hong Kong

    3 296

    4.2

    Viet Nam

    5 651

    7.4

    Philippines

    3 282

    4.2

    Former Yugoslav Rep.

    4 210

    5.5

    China

    3 163

    4.1

    Philippines

    3 731

    4.9

    Malaysia

    2 436

    3.1

    India

    3 553

    4.7

    Lebanon

    2 399

    3.1

    Fmr USSR & Baltic States

    3 204

    4.2

    Sri Lanka

    2 324

    3.0

    China

    3 046

    4.0

    India

    1 965

    2.5

    Fiji

    1 593

    2.1

    Sub Total

    48 108

    61.6

    Sub Total

    47 686

    62.5

    Other

    29 979

    38.4

    Other

    28 644

    37.5

    Total

    78 087

    100.0

    Total

    76 330

    100.0

     

     

    1993-94

     

     

    1994-95

    Country of Birth

    No.

    %

    Country of Birth

    No.

    %

    UK

    8 963

    12.8

    UK

    10 689

    12.2

    New Zealand

    7 772

    11.1

    New Zealand

    10 498

    12.0

    Vietnam

    5 434

    7.8

    Former Yugoslav Rep.

    6 665

    7.6

    Former Yugoslav. Rep

    4 854

    7.0

    Vietnam

    5 097

    5.8

    Philippines

    4 179

    6.0

    Hong Kong

    4 135

    4.7

    Hong Kong

    3 333

    4.8

    Philippines

    4 116

    4.7

    China

    2 740

    3.9

    India

    3 908

    4.5

    India

    2 643

    3.8

    China

    3 708

    4.2

    Fmr USSR & Baltic States

    1 950

    2.8

    South Africa

    2 792

    3.2

    South Africa

    1 654

    2.4

    Iraq

    2 539

    2.9

    Sub Total

    43 522

    62.4

    Sub Total

    54 147

    61.9

    Other

    26 246

    37.6

    Other

    33 281

    38.1

    Total

    69 768

    100.0

    Total

    87 428

    100.0


    Notes:
    (a) United Kingdom and Ireland data not available separately for this year.
    (b) Data for these countries are not available prior to January 1974.

    Source: BIMPR (Bureau of Immigration , Multicultural and Population Research) (1995B) Immigration Update, June Quarter 1995 Canberra, AGPS, pp. 19.


    Chart 3: Settlers Arrivals by Eligibility Category and Sex, 1994-95


    Chart 3a


    Chart3b

    In 1994-95:

    q Females comprised 53.3 per cent of all settler arrivals.

    q In the visaed categories females were 59.1 per cent of the Family category but less than half of the Skill and Humanitarian categories (47.7 per cent and 47.8 per cent respectively)

    q Some 47.0 per cent of all female settler arrivals in 1994-1995 were in the Family category, as were 37.2 per cent of all male arrivals.

    Source: BIMPR (Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research) (1995B) Immigration Update, June Quarter 1995 Canberra: AGPS, p 10.


    Table 4: Settler Arrivals by Occupation


     

    Financial Year

    OCCUPATION

    1992-93

    1993-94

    1994-95

    (ASCO Major Group)

    No.

    %

    No.

    %

    No.

    %

    Managers & Administrators

    3 884

    5.1

    3 328

    4.8

    4 329

    5.0

    Professionals

    11 311

    14.8

    9 555

    13.7

    12 892

    14.7

    Para-professionals

    2 640

    3.5

    2 325

    3.3

    3 055

    3.5

    Tradespersons

    5 979

    7.8

    5 808

    8.3

    7 007

    8.0

    Clerks

    3 358

    4.4

    3 257

    4.7

    3 905

    4.5

    Salespersons & Personal Service Workers

    2 593

    3.4

    2 513

    3.6

    3 225

    3.7

    Plant & Machine Operators & Drivers

    1 580

    2.1

    1 270

    1.8

    1 431

    1.6

    Labourers & Related Workers

    1 974

    2.6

    1 801

    2.6

    2 081

    2.4

    Sub-total Workers

    33 319

    43.7

    29 857

    42.8

    37 925

    43.3

    Not in workforce

    35 500

    46.5

    32371

    46.4

    39 659

    45.4

    Not in employment

    3 351

    4.4

    4 687

    6.7

    7 021

    8.0

    Not Stated

    4 160

    5.5

    2 853

    4.1

    2 823

    3.2

    TOTAL

    76 330

    100.0

    69 768

    100.0

    87 428

    100.0


    Source: BIMPR (Bureau of Immigration , Multicultural and Population Research) (1995B) Immigration Update, June Quarter 1995 Canberra: AGPS, p 14.


    Chart 4: Settlers Arrivals by Occupation 1994-95


    Chart 4


    A measure of the overall skill level of settler arrivals is derived by calculating the total number in the four groups, Managers and Administrators, Professionals, Para-Professionals and Tradespersons as a percentage of total settler arrivals.

    q In 1994-95 this measure of skill was 31.2 per cent, up slightly from 30.1 per cent in 1993-94.

    q There were no significant shifts in the occupation mix of settler arrivals in 1994-95 compared with the previous year.

    q 43.4 per cent of settler arrivals reported an occupation prior to their arrival. Of these, some 34.0 per cent were Professionals, 18.5 per cent were Tradespersons, and 11.4 per cent were Managers and Administrators.

    Source: BIMPR (Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research) (1995B) Immigration Update, June Quarter 1995 Canberra: AGPS, p 14.


    References

      BIMPR (Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research) 1995A, Australia's Population Trends and Prospects 1994 Canberra, AGPS.

      BIMPR (Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research) 1995B, Immigration Update, June Quarter 1995 Canberra: AGPS.

      BIPR (Bureau of Immigration and Population Research) 1993, 'Asia Pacific migration to Australia' BIPR Bulletin No. 10, p. 53.

      DIEA (Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs) 1996, Fact Sheet 33: Immigration - Key Statistics Canberra, DIEA.

      HREOC (Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission) 1991, Report of the National Inquiry into Racist Violence Canberra, AGPS.

      Kee, Pookong, Shu, Jing, Dang, Trevor & Khoo, Siew-Ean 1993, 'People movements between Australia and Asian-Pacific nations: trends, issues and prospects', paper to the Conference on Asia-Pacific Migration Affecting Australia, Darwin, 14-17 September, 1993.

      NMAC (National Multicultural Advisory Council) 1995, Multicultural Australia: the Next Steps, Towards and Beyond 2000 two volumes, Canberra, AGPS.

      Sloan, J. & Kennedy, S. 1992, Temporary Movements of People To And From Australia Canberra, AGPS.

      Wooden, M., Holton, R., Hugo, G. & Sloan, J. 1994, Australian Immigration: A Survey of the Issues (second edition) Canberra, AGPS.


    Notes

    1. Unless otherwise stated, statistics given in this paper are based on figures issued by the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, or the Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research. Exact sources will not be given for all figures. See the Appendix for more detailed statistics.

    2. Immigration figures are given for financial years, which go from July of one year to June of the next.

    3. Net migration is the balance between immigration and emigration.

    4. Since this paper was prepared for the March 1996 Meeting of APMRN, there has been a change of government in Australia. The Liberal-National Party Coalition which came to power in March 1996 has made many changes to policies and institutional structures. These will not be dealt with in detail here. 

    5. The Department was renamed in March 1996, and is now the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA).

    6. BIMPR was abolished in July 1996, leading to a considerable reduction in Australia’s migration research capacity. DIMA has a Research and Statistics Branch, but this has a small staff and very little funding for research work.

    7. Cuts in government funding for migration research since March 1996 have made things even harder for university research centres. Most still exist on paper, but have little funding and have had to cut staff numbers.



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