Recently arrived immigrants happy with their new life in Australia

by Ray Clancy on March 25, 2014

in Australia, Australia Immigration, General Information

People who have arrived recently to live and work in Australia are positive about life in the country but there are occasional pockets of dissatisfaction and some racism, according to new research.

The latest Mapping Social Cohesion Research report, which is Australia’s largest study of attitudes to immigration and cultural diversity focuses on skilled and highly educated immigrants who arrived between 1990 and 2010.

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The report found that 81% of recently arrived immigrants to Australia were satisfied with life in the country

Written by Monash University’s Professor Andrew Markus and produced by the Scanlon Foundation, it is also the first detailed research into social cohesion in specific local areas outside Sydney and Melbourne.

The report, which specifically looked at the nature of contact with former home countries and engagement with Australian society and identity, found that 81% were satisfied with life in Australia.

However about four out of 10 immigrants of non-English speaking background arriving between 2000 and 2010 reported relatively high levels of discrimination on the basis of ‘skin colour, ethnic origin or religion’. This is more than double the national average.

Professor Markus said the immigrant experience had been transformed by the communication revolution brought about by low cost mobile phones and the internet.

‘Some seven out of 10 recent migrants are in frequent contact with overseas relatives and friends and close to 45 per cent of migrants from a number of Asian countries visit their former home countries at least once a year. However, this does not necessarily result in disengagement from Australian society,’ he explained.

Like most other Australians, immigrants tend to embrace multiple identities and six out of 10 considered themselves as ‘world citizens’ as well as Australians, and also identified with their country of birth. Those from India or Sri Lanka were most likely to identify as an Australian, and those from New Zealand least likely.

People living in Atherton Tablelands in Queensland were most positive about life in their neighbourhood, with 75% agreeing multiculturalism had been good for Australia. However, 59% said the current immigration intake was too high.

Findings varied in Logan in Brisbane and Mirrabooka in Perth, two areas of immigrant concentration, but safety concerns were prominent in both, with more than 65%, double the national average, saying they felt unsafe on the streets at night.

Professor Markus said that, overall, Australia remained a socially cohesive nation and the immigration program, which prioritises immigrants with high levels of education and with skills in demand, is a world leader.

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