multicultural Hot Words

Making multicultural Australia

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Hotword: Migrants...




Migrants are people who move from their own society to a new country, with the intention to settle and rebuild their lives there.

Australia is a country formed by migration. Everyone but the original Indigenous people are here as the result of migration. Over six million migrants have settled in Australia since 1945.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated in 2002 that 52% of Australia’s population growth that year was from overseas migration.

Migration may be freely chosen. It may also be compelled, like with the convicts sent to the Australian colonies by the British Government in the 1800s. Migration may be permanent, temporary or repeated; some people migrate to one country and then move on to others before finding a permanent home.

Today there are two programs designed to help people wanting to migrate to Australia. One is the migration program made up of these three streams:

  • skilled migration, for people who have particular occupation skills
  • family migration, where people can be sponsored by a relative who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident;
  • special eligibility migrants, who are former citizens or residents wanting to return to Australia and certain New Zealanders.

The second program is the humanitarian program which is designed for refugees and others with special humanitarian needs.

What makes it hot?

Migrant is a hot term when resentment is directed against migrant groups that maintain their language, cultural and religious traditions. Some people fear that a society inclusive of migrants from many cultures will lead to a breakdown in the social cohesion of the Australian community.

Coexistence of people from diverse cultures is feasible when there is common agreement about basic principles such as respect for the rights and property of others, a commitment to democratic ideals and the rule of law. Many people recognise the reality of Australia as a multicultural society and are proud of the diversity of cultures, harmony between different or ethnic communities and a great deal of mutual benefit.

Date Added:

10 March 2002