Chapter 8: Public Policy and Immigration Settlement: How Much Does Immigrant Selection Matter?
8. Public Policy and Immigrant Settlement: How Much Does Immigrant Selection Matter? Deborah A. Cobb-Clark and Siew-Ean Khoo INTRODUCTION Immigration is the component of demographic change that is most directly under the control of policy makers. Other elements of demographic change – fertility, mortality, emigration – are certainly influenced by a broad range of education, health or labour market policies, but usually only indirectly. Immigration officials, on the other hand, directly choose the number of immigrants and the circumstances under which they are to be accepted. Not surprisingly then, there is a great deal of interest in the ways in which immigration policy might matter not only for immigrants themselves, but also for the economic and social well-being of society more broadly. This book centres on understanding the way that Australian immigrant selection and settlement policies affect a broad range of immigrant outcomes including labour market status, English language acquisition, health and housing. Though the focus is on a set of specific policy changes taking place in Australia in the mid- to late 1990s, the conclusions have much wider implications. Many countries are placing a greater weight in the selection process on productive skills as a way of achieving national objectives regarding immigration. These changes stem from the belief that immigrants selected for their skills find settlement easier and provide greater economic benefits than immigrants admitted on the basis of their family relationships or out of humanitarian concerns. Against this backdrop, there is much to be learned from Australia. Australia is after...
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