Australia and Israel Compared
Edited by Andrew Markus and Moshe Semyonov
3. Labour market integration Yitchak Haberfeld and Anne Daly This chapter compares the economic assimilation of post-World War II immigrants in Australia and Israel. As discussed in earlier sections of the book, almost one-third of the Israeli Jewish population and one-quarter of the Australian population were born abroad, the highest proportions within the industrialized world. However, the immigration policies adopted by the two countries are quite different and can be expected to result in different levels of economic assimilation of immigrants. While Australia selects from a large pool of applicants and requires a period of residence before eligibility for citizenship, Israel provides open access to Jews and specific categories of their family members, who receive citizenship upon arrival. Australia has a record of generous assistance to immigrants, particularly those in preferred categories, but the level of assistance has been progressively reduced. Israel actively recruits Jewish immigrants and provides a wide range of benefits during the initial settlement period. There are two possible ways that the differences between the two countries could affect immigrants’ economic assimilation. On the one hand, Australian immigration policy has the potential to attract more qualified immigrants. Consequently, the economic assimilation of immigrants can be expected to be more successful in Australia. On the other hand, the higher level of support provided by the Israeli government may offset, at least in part, the Australian advantage. There are various dimensions of immigrants’ economic assimilation, including labour force participation rates and occupational distribution. However, the single most important dimension...
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