Immigration and the Financial Crisis

Immigration and the Financial Crisis

The United States and Australia Compared

Monash Studies in Global Movements series

Edited by John Higley, John Nieuwenhuysen and Stine Neerup

Structural needs for immigrant labour in health care, restaurant, tourism, agricultural and other economic sectors, together with harsher economic circumstances in most sending countries, almost certainly ensure the continuation of large-scale immigration to the US and Australia. But in harder times, especially in the US, sustaining this immigration while managing immigrants’ economic and social integration are daunting tasks. This illuminating book analyses how well, and in what ways, the US and Australia will meet these challenges.

Chapter 3: International Migration in Australia and the Global Financial Crisis

Graeme Hugo

Subjects: development studies, migration, politics and public policy, migration, public policy, social policy and sociology, migration, urban and regional studies, migration


Graeme Hugo INTRODUCTION While the drivers of international migration are complex, differences in economic opportunities and wages between nations are of fundamental importance (Global Commission on International Migration, 2005). Accordingly, it is inevitable that the onset of the deepest global economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s in 2008–09 will have impacted on international migration (OECD, 2009; Schuman, 2009; UNDP, 2009, pp. 41–45). Fix et al. (2009, p. 1) argue that the global financial crisis (GFC) has had ‘a deeper and more global effect on the movement of people around the world than any other economic downturn in the post World War II era of migration’. The impact of the GFC on the Australian economy has been less than in other OECD countries, but GFC effects, both internal and external to Australia, have had an influence on Australian international migration. This chapter examines trends in Australian international migration between 2007 and 2010 and the effects of the GFC. A distinction between medium- and long-term structural drivers of migration and the impact of short-term shocks like the GFC is important. There are deep, sometimes widening, economic and demographic differences between nations that do not determine migration, but almost certainly produce significant redistribution of population between lowincome and high-income nations. THE GFC IN AUSTRALIA In the early 2000s the Australian economy grew, but there was a significant downturn with the onset of the GFC. While there was a reduction in economic growth, Australia was one of the few...

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