Immigrants are individuals that have come into a country to be residents of the country. There are various reasons that can make an individual leave his or her country and seek residence in another country. Whereas some individuals may migrate to another country due to the unfavorable social, political, and economic conditions in their countries, others may opt to migrate from their country just to join the other members of the family who had moved earlier to these countries.
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The latter category does signify the kind of tie that the immigrants have with their homeland. This often poses economic and political challenges to the receiving nation. It also has social influence on the host country as it defines the identity and nationalism of the immigrants. There are millions of immigrants all over the world. The high level of economy in the developed nations often attracts immigrants from the developing countries.
Australia is one such country that has attracted many immigrants from the developing nations. The country had earlier received European settlers in the eighteenth century who helped improve the country’s economy. The immigrants from other countries started flowing into the country in the early twentieth century.
The kind of immigration that was witnessed in Australia up to the early 1970s is different from the immigration that has been witnessed in the last thirty years. The factors that led to immigration in the earlier times are quite different from what leads to the present immigration. Besides, the increased terrorist attacks especially in the Middle East countries have led to the development of immigration policies that are strict.
The migration of individuals from one country has different issues that concern both the country of origin and the recipient nations. The countries of origin of the immigrants and the host country often have social, cultural, economic, and political differences that will influence their reception and accommodation of the immigrants.
The immigrants are often from different ethnic communities, language groups, and races. Thus, their formation of a single community in the host country brings forth issues like racism and ethnicity among the society. There are differences in the culture of the communities including their religious beliefs and practices.
The different economic, social, or demographic factors will also affect the resettlements of the immigrants in the host countries. The immigrants with low-income will be forced to reside in the regions that have low costs of living. Such regions, however, have other adverse conditions that may pose problems to the general well being of the immigrants.
The influx of immigrants to a given country also has certain significant impacts on the host country. The immigrants may dominate the region with their new culture and erode the culture of the natives of the country. Their accommodation can also have negative economic impacts on the country. Besides, the immigrants to a given country may turn out to be agents of some terrorist attack on the nation.
As a result, the different nations have developed policies that define the immigration measures. The political history of a given country, the economic status of the country, and the social factors like religion in the country often form the basis for the development of such policies. It is required that immigrants follow the stipulated steps when getting into a given country.
A number of literatures are available that examine the different aspects of immigration into Australia. These researches mainly focus on the aspects of nationalism and national identity among the different individuals. They focus on aspects like interaction between culture, the political systems, and the governmental regulations on immigrants and immigration.
There are materials that examine the trends in immigration that have been recorded in the country in the recent years. The countries of origin that send the majority of the migrants to Australia are also examined. A key issue that emerges is that the immigration of individuals into a country brings the country into a global scene.
In the book The Australian people: an encyclopedia of the nation, its people and their origins, Jupp (2001) illustrates on the composition of the Australian population. The natives of Australia, the earlier immigrants into the region, and the pattern of immigration and settlement that has been recorded in Australia are provided in the text.
One of the issues that have generated debates is the original inhabitants of the country. Issues have been raised concerning the period in which the first human existence was recorded in the land that has no land connection to the neighboring continents like Asia. The other issue that has also raised debates is the means of transport that was used by the first visitors to the country.
Jupp states that the first individuals to arrive in the country were from the South East Asia and used sea routes, as there was no land bridge connecting Australia. However, the author is not certain on the type of sea vessels that these individuals used. Jupp notes that the Aborigines are the oldest residents of the region and are thus the indigenous peoples of Australia.
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Jupp observes that the notion of culture and self-identity was first seen in these earliest inhabitants of Australia. There are archeological evidences that portray the earliest Aborigines as being sensitive to what can be regarded presently as the values and identity derived from the culture of a group of people.
Jupp (2001) points out that both the ancient and the modern Aborigines are ‘motivated by the impulses to lead a worthwhile life, to be known and respected, to achieve honor, to develop and maintain relationships with other human beings, and to leave something behind for future generation’ (p.6).
This would later define the kind of resistance that the Aborigines offered to the European settlers who appeared in the country in the late eighteenth century. Their attack on the European settlers often followed some misconduct by the foreign settlers. The natives were fully aware of the impacts that the settlement of the Europeans would have on the social and economic status.
The Europeans had in mind that the Aborigines were primitive and that their land was free to be grabbed by the white settlers. The enmity between the Aboriginal people and the Europeans was eroded by the attempts of the Aborigines to assimilate the white settlers and adapt the European culture to the requirements of the native culture.
Jupp notes that by the time the European settlers arrived in Australia in 1788, there were over 200 languages spoken in the country. The languages marked the different social groups that occupied the region. The groups that spoke similar languages were seen to live adjacent to each other and had nearly similar cultural beliefs and practices.
The influx of the immigrants later eroded most of these native languages and as Jupp (2001) points out, currently there are Aborigines in the country who proclaim identity for languages that are no longer spoken (p.7). More people from the European and Asian continents migrated into the country in the years following the settlements of the first Europeans and more pressure was put on the Aboriginal people in different parts of the country.
Their culture continued to be assimilated by the foreign cultures and the British culture and language dominated the country. Jupp proceeds to examine the Middle East countries that sent migrants to Australia. He observes that the countries in the Middle East also produced a good proportion of the immigrants in Australia. One of the Middle East countries that sent emigrants to Australia is Lebanon.
The migration of the Lebanese to Australia began in the late nineteenth century (Jupp, 2001, p554). Korea is another country that has immigrants to Australia. Their major migration was witnessed in the early 1970s due to the withdrawal of the Korean soldiers from the Vietnam War (Jupp, 2001, p.547). There are immigrants from other countries like Pakistan, Palestine, Afghanistan, Armenia, and many others.
Jupp also examined some of the reasons that led to migration from Middle East countries to Australia. Several reasons contribute to the movements of emigrants from a given country. The movement of the emigrants from the various Middle East countries was caused by the economic, political, or social factors in the region that were not favorable.
Religious factors were key contributors of such movements. Other factors like natural calamities also contributed to their departure to Australia. Jupp observed that the economic difficulties that rocked countries like Lebanon in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century contributed largely to emigration of Lebanese to Australia. The population of the country was growing rapidly and land was increasingly becoming a scarce commodity.
Settlement and economic activities like farming became hard. There were also national disasters like drought and plagues that had hit the rural parts of the country. Besides, the country had been under the rule of the Ottoman Empire since 1521 up to the World War I. the Ottoman Empire, though tolerant to different religious teachings, was mainly Islamic and gave preference to the Islamic religion.
As such, the Christians during this time were often persecuted. The Lebanese were mainly Christians and the persecution could contribute to their migration to Australia. Other books have similar views provided by Jupp (2001). The book Australia’s Immigration Revolution by Markus et al (2010), also examines the patterns of immigration in Australia.
It is observed that the earlier immigrants in Australia were mainly the Europeans, particularly the British and Irish. The immigration pattern changed and the proportion of European immigrants decreased as that of the Asian immigrants increased. This is the trend observed currently. Some researchers have sought to highlight the effects that such globalization has had on the culture of Australian.
In his work, “Globalization: A threat to Australian Culture”, John Pickering (n.d) focuses on the interaction of globalization and the Australian culture in two different perspectives, the theoretical and historical perspectives (p.47). Pickering focuses on the interaction between the popular cultures in Australia like sports.
He also examines how globalization interacts with the Australian political culture and how it helps define the kind of government systems adopted by Australia. Pickering observes that the globalization can be advantageous to the country if the country is able to withstand the influence of the external cultures.
The author observes that the Australian culture has withstood the pressure from external cultures brought about by the trade across different countries. They have managed to use the foreign cultural and economic forces to improve on the local industries. In the article Guest Editorial*Comparative Analyses of Transnationalism: a geographic contribution to the field.
Dunn (2008) provides a comparative analysis of transnationalism- a concept that also has implications on the cultural interactions among different communities. Dunn gives views similar to those given by Pickering on globalization as an aspect of transnationalism. Immigration is described to promote transnationalism in the country as international business organizations are attracted into the country.
As Dunn (2008) illustrates, transnationalism can have negative or positive implications on the host country depending on the ability of the natives of the country to hold onto their cultural identity. The cross-cultural interaction raises other issues like religion. There are literatures that examine the plight of Islam as a religion in the country, the individuals that are against the religion, and those that support its establishment.
The Islamic religion particularly received bad reputation among the Australians. In Representation of Islam in the politics of Mosque development in Sydney, Dunn (2001) examines the constructions of the Islamic culture among the Australians owing to the stereotypes that were developed by the media in Australia. The political issues that have arisen following the need to establish the religion are contained in such literatures.
Dunn considers the difficulties that Muslims face in Australia that stem from the prevailing racism. The Muslims in Australia were seen to suffer much from the racism that was practiced in the country due to the dominance of the Christian religion in the country. Dunn (2001) described the difficulties that the Muslims encountered in establishing a Mosque in Sydney.
Those who identify themselves with the religion have limited access to services like employment opportunities. Similar views were later provided by Dunn et al (2007, p.569). Racism is an issue that is common in a multiracial environment. The immigrants in Australia have come from countries in the European and Asian continents.
The practice of racism is thus common among these immigrants and the natives of the country. The country is in the process of reconciling the racial groups and promoting peaceful coexistence. Several literatures focus on racism in relation to the cultural interaction among the Australians.
There are researches that have been conducted to study the concept of racism in the contemporary Australia and how the Australians perceive the practice, its underlying roots, and the appropriate remedy. In the article, Contemporary racism and Islamaphobia in Australia, Dunn et al (2007) provide an analysis of the Islamic stereotypes developed among the Australians.
The study illustrates how racialization has been used to develop a negative image of the Islamic religion in the region. There is an evident relation between the country of origin of the immigrants and their religious beliefs and practices. The practice of racism poses other challenges to the immigrants. The immigrants from different countries in the Middle East may opt to migrate to Australia for a number of reasons.
Most of the immigrants are attracted by the better living standards that they feel can be obtained in the country. They often run away from the adverse economic situations that prevail in their home countries. They are attracted by the economic opportunities in the region that can help them raise their standards of living.
Some are also forced out of their countries by the socio-political factors that are not favorable in their respective countries. These situations faced the early immigrants from the Middle East countries. In migrating to the country, the immigrants may fail to recognize the possibility that their expectations may not be met owing to certain factors in the country.
Racial discrimination is often highly prevalent in such areas as was witnessed in Australia. Another problem that is faced by the immigrants is the inability to speak the languages common in the country. The immigrants that have moved into the country recently find difficulties in speaking the English language that is officially used in the country.
It was observed that the Lebanese in Australia had low-level proficiency in the English language, although the proportion is higher compared to the immigrants in the US as was observed by Antecol et al (2001). A substantial proportion of the Lebanese in Australia could not speak the language at all (see also Jupp, 2001, p.564).
These are the bitter fruits of racism prevalent in the country. The high rates of unemployment can also be linked to the discrimination based on race, religion, or nationality. The early immigrants used to settle in the major cities of the country. However, with the increased cost of living, the immigrants are forced to resettle in the rural areas and other small towns where the cost of housing is still low.
The other problem that results from the increasing cost of living is poor living conditions that cause health problems to the majority of the immigrants. Even though there has been a significant increase in employment rates among the different immigrants in Australia, there is still high level of unemployment among the immigrants.
Jupp (2001) observed that the rate of unemployment was still high among the Lebanese in Australia despite the increase in occupation that had been witnessed in the recent years (564). The number of Australian professionals of the Lebanese origin is still very low compared to the total population of the professionals in the country. The low level of income dictated the settlement areas of the immigrants.
The immigrants were often forced to reside in remote areas with little security and more exposure to environmental health hazards. All these challenges are related in some way to the practice of racism and the ethnoculture in Australia. Forrest and Dunn had also focused on the issue of racism in Australia in their previous work. In the article Racism and intolerance in Eastern Australia: a geographic perspective, Forrest and Dunn (2006b) focus on racism as it is developed from the individual perceptions of self-identity and national identity.
Various forms of racism are highlighted in the text. They share similar views by Dunn et al (2004) in Constructing Racism in Australia. The concept of racism is seen as being related to cultural and political hegemony, where some racial group would want to dominate over other groups that they consider inferior and less powerful. In Constructing Racism in Australia, Dunn et al (2004) examines various aspects of racism in Australia.
Jupp (2001) had noted that the factors and the patterns of migration of the Lebanese to Australia up to 1970s were different from the patterns that are witnessed currently. Similarly, Dunn et al (2004) observed that the racism that was prevalent up to the 1970s is different from the racism experienced to date (p.410). The old racism considered some races inferior and other racial groups were supposed to be a distant from them.
Similar views were also provided by Forrest and Dunn (2006b, p.168). The new racism considers the minority groups to be threats to national unity. The earlier Lebanese immigrants in Australia were mainly Catholic Christians with few Muslims. The Lebanese immigrants in the contemporary Australia have a larger proportion of Muslims and lower percentage of the Catholic Christians (Jupp, 2001, p.563).
Besides, the current migration from Lebanon to Australia is mainly due to the conflicts that are experienced in the country and the other Middle East countries. In the article ‘Core’ culture hegemony and multiculturalism Forrest and Dunn (2006a) describes how the process of developing the policies to have a multicultural society in Australia was faced with difficulties.
There were rivalries among the dominant communities in the society. Racism was used to despise some religions like Islam. Different issues of nationalism and national identity arise during the development of the immigration policies by a country. As Forrest and Dunn (2006a) described, some of the individuals would want that the different communities be integrated into a nation with equal citizens.
Others would be of the opinion that the other cultures be assimilated in a single dominant culture whereas others would want free multicultural environment. The development of the immigration policies in Australia was challenged by the dominance of the Europeans in the region.
The Europeans had settled in the area as from late nineteenth century and had suppressed the other communities like the native Aborigines and the immigrants from other parts of the world. Their language and culture was then dominant in the country. The British, in particular, wanted immigration policies that would help cultivate their culture as the dominant community in the country.
Forrest and Dunn (2006a) assert that a multicultural society is often challenged by a need by a dominant culture to assimilate the other cultures. The dominant communities in such setups often want to defend their culture and maintain their self-identity and national identity. The policies so developed are embraced by some sense of ethnocentrism.
Forrest and Dunn (2006a) noted that there is a notion in the country that there is native culture (the Anglo culture) that every new immigrant into the country has to adapt. Similar views were also provided the following year by Forrest and Dunn (2007). The practice has been seen to impede the attempts to build a national identity in a multicultural society.
The nature of immigration policies developed in a country has impacts on the welfare of the immigrants as they can influence the legal status of the immigrant. The legal status of the immigrant in a given country is of great significance to his operations within the country.
The individuals that have obtained legal entry into the country are entitled to several services within the country. Accessing health facilities and the other social institutions is not very easy for individuals with illegal entry. The rates of employment among these groups of individuals are high since most of the employment opportunities will require some sort of identification on the immigrants.
Besides, the psychological pressure stemming from crossing the border illegally and the possible consequences of such act always pose challenge the mental health of the immigrants. In the article Constructing racism in Sydney, Australia’s largest EthniCity, Forrest and Dunn (2007) examines the challenges that racism poses to the immigrants in the city of Sydney.
They notice that the modern immigrants to the country are economically stable and reside in the large cities of the country. The multi-cultural environments give more room to the practice of racism. The Muslims, in particular, are portrayed to have difficulties in establishing their worship center in the city that is has been dominated by Christianity.
Other materials examine the settlement patterns of the immigrants in the country. They put emphasis on how the patterns affect the immigrants’ identity. Researches have been conducted that consider the settlement patterns of the immigrants in the major cities of the country. The factors that influence the settlement patterns as well as the effects that the settlement patterns have on the immigrants and the country are also examined.
The difference in human capital among the immigrants and their legal status in the country may influence the regions of settlement that receives the immigrants. In the article Immigration in gateway cities: Sydney and Vancouver in comparative perspective, Lee and Murphy (2001) describe the factors that affect the distribution of the immigrants settlers in the cities of Australia through comparison of the settlement witnessed in the cities.
They highlight the effects that the increase of the immigrants has on the country. In particular, they consider that the facilities in the major cities that currently attract more immigrants should be expanded to accommodate the large number. This illustrates the effect that the immigrants’ ties with the homeland have on the economy of the host country.
Ley and Murphy (2001) notes that the early immigrants to the country from the Middle East were mainly low-income earners and were forced to settle in the rural areas and the small cities where the cost of living was manageable. On the other hand, the current immigrants are mainly individuals who can afford the high standards of living and do settle in the big cities.
Sydney has been found to be the major immigrant-receiving city in Australia (see also Forrest & Dunn, 2007, 700). Ley and Murphy describes the strategies that have been used by the local governments to plan the city of Sydney in Australia and Vancouver in Canada to accommodate the diverse community of immigrants. However, they point out that the planning process is faced by certain problems.
The kind of settlement has a connection with the cultural identity of the immigrants. The individuals who migrate and settle in the rural regions have high ability to form the social community organizations that can help cultivate their culture. On the other hand, the large cities are cosmopolitan and the cultivation of an ethnic culture may not be possible.
The immigrants that have settled in the large cities are then more likely to lose their cultural and national identity and be absorbed by the native culture. Despite the practice of racism in these cities, it has been noticed that a strong bond remains among the immigrants from the same origin. This has often impeded the assimilation of minor culture by the major cultures.
In the study entitled Rethinking Assimilation Theory for a New Era of Immigration Alba and Nee (1997) illustrate how assimilation is no longer a big issue among the immigrants due to the strengthening ties the immigrants have to their homeland and among themselves. The authors hold views similar to those given by Jupp (2001) and Giorgas (2000).
Most of the immigrants in the country have ties to the members of their cultures within the country and back in the homeland country. The Koreans entered the country illegally. However, they were later accepted into the country and most of these individuals invited their family members from Korea to stay in the country leading to their increase in number.
The Korean population in Australia had grown to 4500 according to the 1981 census (Jupp, 2001, p.547). The Australian Lebanese have been seen to form social community organizations that draw members from them same origin. Churches, mosques, cultural centers, and educational centers have been established in the country.
A significant proportion of such organizations serve the Lebanese in the country, and yet others serve the Arabic a community as an entity. The Australian Lebanese Association is one such organization that was established to serve the interest of the Lebanese. The association, established in 1951, was able to embrace effectively the Lebanese community in these early times.
A study by Giorgas (2000) also showed that the ethnic communities could be used by the immigrants to solve their problems like social isolation and lack of employment (p.2). The ties also prevent the communities from being assimilated by the cultures in the country.
These different literatures on the immigrants and immigration into Australia mainly focus on the impacts that the interaction of different cultures have in the individual cultures. It is largely observed that the need by some cultures to be left dominant in the multicultural society is the main cause of racism that is seen to be prevalent in the region.
The languages that individual speak help in cultivating their culture. In this regard, the dominant communities that would want to suppress the other cultures often use their language as the tool. The use of the English language in Australia was a European strategy to assimilate the cultures of the immigrants from other countries.
The immigrants that are not ready to adapt the new culture often face difficulties like lack of employment. Even professional and skilled immigrants who cannot speak the English language cannot apply their expertise to the Australian system due to the language difference. The different literatures reveal that the Australians have different views on racism and its causes.
The effects of the practice are generally adverse. It is observed that the building of a national identity is affected negatively by the practice of racism in the region. Several other literatures are available that tackle migration and immigration issues across the countries.
However, the literatures are challenged to base on migration in particular nations and minority groups (International Migration Institute, 2006, p.2). A lot of focus needs to be put on the dynamic nature of the different aspects of migration and immigration.
Alba, R. and Nee, V., 1997. Rethinking Assimilation Theory for a New Era of Immigration. International Immigration Review 31(4); 826-874
Antecol, H. et al. 2001. Immigration Policy and the Skills of Immigrants to Australia, Canada, and the United States. Discussion Paper No. 363. Web. Available from: ftp://repec.iza.org/RePEc/Discussionpaper/dp363.pdf .
Dunn, K., 2001. Representation of Islam in the politics of Mosque development in Sydney. The royal Dutch Geographical Society 92(3); 291-308
Dunn, K. et al. 2004. Constructing Racism in Australia. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 39(4); 409-430.
Dunn, K. et al. 2007. Contemporary racism and Islamaphobia in Australia. Ethnicities 7(4); 564-589
Dunn, K., 2008. Guest Editorial*Comparative Analyses of Transnationalism: a geographic contribution to the field. Australian Geographer, 39(1); 1-7.
Forrest, J. and Dunn, K., 2006a. ‘Core’ Culture Hegemony and Multiculturalism: Perceptions of the Privileged Position of Australians with British Backgrounds. Ethnicities, Vol. 6: pp. 203.
Forrest, J.and Dunn, K., 2006b. Racism and Intolerance in Eastern Australia: a geographic perspective. Australian Geographer, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 167-186.
Forrest, J and Dunn, K., 2007. Constructing Racism in Sydney, Australia’s Largest Ethnicity. Urban Studies, Vol. 44, No. 4, pp. 699–721.
Giorgas, D., 2000. Community formation and Social Capital in Australia. Paper delivered to the seventh Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference.
Jupp, J., 2001. The Australian people: an encyclopedia of the nation, its people and their origins. Second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lee, D. and Murphy, P., 2001. Immigration in gateway cities: Sydney and Vancouver in comparative perspective. Progress in Planning 55; 119-194.
International Migration Institute. 2006. Towards a New Agenda for International Migration Research. Oxford: University of Oxford.
Markus, A. et al. 2010. Australia’s Immigration Revolution. Crows Nest NSW: Allen & Unwin.
Pickering, J., N.d. Globalization: A Threat to Australian Culture? Journal of Australian Political Economy, 48; 46-59.