Australia and the USA Compared
Edited by John Higley, John Nieuwenhuysen and Stine Neerup
Chapter 10: Immigrant Settlement, Ethnic Relations and Multiculturalism in Australia
James Jupp Immigration policy is developed on two different dimensions. One is rational and pragmatic, responding to labour market needs and to population trends. Immigrants are treated essentially as factors of production, with desired skills and capacities, and as younger and healthier additions for static or slowing population. Larger markets need larger labour forces, as do improved services and infrastructure. This economically rational dimension of policy has been increasingly stressed by Australia and Canada in recent years. Immigrants are chosen for their skills and employment potential. This approach denies the validity of distinctions based on ‘race, colour or creed’, as the old formula has it. The discriminatory factors are age, health, education and language facility. Economists usually have the greatest input into this aspect of policy, followed by demographers. The greatest pressure from outside the policy-making professions comes from employers. In the recent past Australia has markedly increased its intake based on these factors to a level of about 190 000 a year and is aiming to increase its temporary resident intake still further, with a special emphasis on skilled labour and students. The current world economic crisis threatens this policy. However, immigration also introduces new elements into society who may well be different in terms of ‘race, colour or creed’ or simply, like Catholics or Southern Europeans, be regarded popularly as different. In the Australian colonial days, when the labour force was predominantly manual and relatively unskilled, popular prejudices were vitally important in determining selection policy. Analysing these politically...
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