Over the past decade, migrating to Australia has become more common amongst families in the UK. It is no surprise when you compare the climate and way of life in Australia, that it is becoming such a popular place to migrate to. However, it is not easy to migrate to Australia and often it can take years to gain a visa permit. Places such as Darwin are battling to contain an increasing number of illegal immigrants and over the past 6 months more than 2,000 would-be-settlers shipped mainly from Asia and the Middle East, by smugglers and then dumped on Australians remote northern coastlines. Also, it is thought that around 50,000 other foreigners are working illegally in Australia after overstaying their visas. With so many immigrants, it is hardly surprising that Australia is desperately trying to figure out how large a population it needs to sustain its buoyant economic growth and high quality life in the next century and why it is often hard to become an Australian citizen.
At the end of World War Two, Australia’s population was just 7 million. Immigration at a rate of up to 150,000 a year has been largely responsible for the increase of up to its current population of 19 million. In Europe, millions of people were stranded outside their homelands, unable to return. In Australia, there was a desperate shortage of labour and a growing belief that substantial population growth was essential for the country’s future.
These and other factors led to the creation, in 1945, of a federal immigrations portfolio. By 1947, a post war-immigration boom was underway, with a large and growing number of arrivals of both government-assisted and other immigrants. Agreements were reached with Britain, some European countries and with the International Refugee Organisation to encourage migrants, including displaced persons from war torn Europe. By 1950, almost 200,000 people had arrived. The agreements included a system of free or assisted passages for UK residents, ex-servicemen, as well as various agreements with countries such as Malta, UK, Turkey, and Yugoslavia which involved a grant to assisted passage into Australia. A million more migrants arrived in each of the following four decades. Today, nearly one in four of Australia’s million people was born overseas. Britain remains the largest single source country of migrants, but other regions notably Asia have become more significant.
Today the migration program is global using one set of criteria for applicants anywhere in the world with migrants originating from more than 170 countries. During 1994-95, 73 000 migrants arrived under the skills and family reunion categories of Australia’s migration program, and another 13 000 humanitarian entrants rebuilt their lives in Australia, having fled persecution or suffering. In the past decade, the number of arrivals peaked in 1988-89 [145 300 arrivals] but world economic conditions subsequently saw a downturn in interest in migration, and the number of places made available for new settlers. Numbers are now rising however.
In 2002-03 the migration program was set for four years with a range of 100,000 to 110,000 migrants, plus a contingency reserve of 4,000 places for parent applicants, per annum. In 2002-03 the program outcome was 108,070 of which approximately 60 per cent came under the Skilled Stream and 40 per cent the Family Stream. On average, almost 99,000 people receive temporary entry visas to Australia each year, to undertake specific work or business, entertain, play sport or for a working holiday. In addition to these numbers, around 12,000 humanitarian entrants will also travel to Australia each year to rebuild their lives, having fled persecution or suffering. Criteria for immigrating to Austrlia is very strict and it means that many families from the UK are turned down every year. Criteria inlcude you must be under 45, have a skilled job such as a nurse or doctor, have family living in Australia, have an extremely good reason for wnating to gain citizenship, or be able to justify why Austrlia should accept you.
So why do people from the UK migrate to Australia?
There are many reasons such as the climate, long sandy beaches, outdoor lifestyle, better health and diet, and the great outdoors which attract people to Australia. The lifestyle is also more informal and relaxed – less of a rat race than say London. The cost of living is much cheaper in Australia than in the UK. The price of housing is so different with the average property price for a 4 bedroom house in Australia (with 3 bedroom and its own swimming pool) being 100,000, depending on which city you settle in, whereas South East England, the average is around ï¿½250,000 (that’s one and a half times more). Many migrants from the UK find that some of the best things in life are free; you spend so much more leisure time outdoors, maybe surfing or at the beach whereas in the UK, we tend to do more indoor activities such as eating out or going to the cinema or theatre which can be expensive. In Australia eating out is a very common thing and it is not regarded as a treat as the food is such good quality and so cheap. Wine, fresh fish, seafood, and meat are all plentiful in Australia, therefore eating out is a national pastime. As their climate is very conclusive to grape growing successfully, there are many famous vineyards all over the state and New World wines have become very popular and widely accepted as some of the best wines on the shelf.
It is said that there are more opportunities to better oneself in Australia than in the UK. They do not have a class system like we do and a self made man has the same chances as anyone else regardless of background, colour, qualifications etc. In the UK, a lot of time is spent commuting to and from cities in trains and the crowded underground, whereas in Australia a lot of people travel by water boat to work! The way of life is far more easy going and relaxed, with shorter working days and generally more relaxed and content workforce. With so many positive things, we must ask ourselves why we do not all move to Australia?
Reasons for this could include the distance from friends and family. Australia is the other side of the world and it takes 24 hours to fly there. Price of air fare is very expensive too and so this turns many families off as often the parents do not want to leave often elderly parents and children don’t want to leave their friends and school. Scares such as skin cancer can turn people away from migrating to Australia Also not all the inhabitants are friendly, they have poisonous snakes, spiders, and some very harmful things in the seas to name but a few. Also, the lack of culture and history may not appeal to certain type of people. The UK has a great culture and is famous for its arts, music, theatre, films and heritage. This is not the case in Australia, and many residents leave to pursue these things in places such as London or America. It is improving however, and as Australia is multinational there is a great influx of culture from all over the world, from many continents; it is expected that Australia’s population will be about 23 million by 2050.
The make-up of Australia’s population has changed dramatically over the past 200 years – from an almost total Aboriginal population, to (after 100 years of immigration) a predominantly Anglo-Celtic one by 1900, to its present mix of about 74% Anglo-Celtic, other European 19% and Asian 4.5%.
Some of the social effects of this change have been the introduction of more than 100 languages into Australian life (while retaining English as the common language), the growth of community language schools, ethnic media, businesses, new foods, and diverse religious and cultural activities.
Immigration to Australia has affected its economy immensely. Reasons for this include
1.) migrants’ own spending (food, housing and leisure activities);
2.) business expansion (investment to produce extra goods and services);
3.) expansion of government services (health, education and welfare).
It also affects the supply side of the economy –
1.) Labour, skills and money introduced into Australia
2.)new businesses developed by migrants;
3.)migrant contributions to technology;
4.)adding productive diversity through knowledge of international business markets.
5.)Migrants pay taxes too, and receive benefits and goods and services from, government. Research shows that, overall, migrants contribute more in taxes than they consume in benefits and goods and services. As a result migrants generate surpluses for government.
Currently, Australia’s population is ageing. However, the average immigrant on arrival is about five years younger than the average Australian, slowing down the ageing of the population. Overall, I feel that Australia has benefited from the influx of immigrants, and I can see how it is such a popular place to wish to migrate to, but why Australia has to set such hard criteria for gaining citizenships.