Immigration: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

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Australia sometimes seems to suffer a mysterious case of multiple-amnesia over immigration. We are a nation built on migrants, but we have forgotten that almost every new wave of immigrants has been resented and resisted by those already here, especially those who were migrants themselves. There is no expression of fear, bigotry, suspicion and hate now directed indiscriminately against Muslims that was not used passionately with malice aforethought and intent to harm and hurt against the Irish, the Chinese and the Jews.


 

It started around the 1820s when the convicts hated the first free settlers ‘taking our jobs’. We have forgotten that, without exception, each wave of immigrants has been successfully absorbed to national and individual benefit. We have forgotten that particular groups aroused special animosity, yet integrated so completely in one generation that it would scarcely occur to them to regard themselves as being of migrant origin. Such is Australia’s perhaps unique capacity to integrate and be enriched.

Take, for example, three of the groups among the 237 we comprise – the Irish, the Chinese and the Jews.

There is no expression of fear, bigotry, suspicion and hate now directed indiscriminately against Muslims that was not used passionately with malice aforethought and intent to harm and hurt against the Irish, the Chinese and the Jews. You can read more about this selective amnesia of immigration by Graham Freudenberg on John Menadue’s Blog.


 

Discrimination and disadvantage key issues for immigrants: Australia first study

Freedom, democracy, and our standard of living are rated the best aspects of Australian life by both recent migrants and those born here, but some groups are
happier than others, a new Scanlon Foundation report shows.

Australians Today – produced in partnership with Monash University and the Australian Multicultural Foundation – highlights findings of the largest ever survey of people born in Australia and recent migrants, on their experience of Australian life. More than 10,000 respondents completed the survey across 20 languages.

The research, released on 24th of August, outlines public attitudes to key issues, by pathway of immigration and country of origin. While Australia is generally considered as a good country for migrants, analysis of the findings is not positive across all groups, with some experiencing high levels of dissatisfaction and discrimination.

Most happy and prosperous of recent migrants were those arriving in Australia on a 457 Business visa, with 90% satisfied with life in Australia. In contrast, many arriving on an Independent Skill visa struggle to find work, and nearly half indicate they are just getting along or struggling to pay bills.

You may watch the video below, and read more of the Australians Today report here.

 

 

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