Monday, July 12, 2004 | Study shows immigrant divide (July 12, 2004) | Study shows immigrant divide (July 12, 2004)

Study shows immigrant divide
July 12, 2004
THE nation's recent immigrants tended to live at the extreme ends of society, a study has found.

The study by University of Adelaide social researcher Professor Graeme Hugo found recent arrivals generally had better paid jobs and qualifications than those who arrived in the early 1990s.
In the first key study of 2001 Census immigration data, Prof Hugo found about 6 per cent of recent immigrants earned more than $1500 a week, compared with 4 per cent of Australian-born people.

But at the same time a significant group of recent immigrants – mainly unskilled workers from non-European, less-developed nations – were among the most disadvantaged people in Australia.

They were more highly represented in the labouring areas of the workforce than Australian-born people and often had poor English skills.

They also represented almost a quarter of the population on unemployment benefits in 2001.

"While the average level of labour market performance undoubtedly has risen significantly, this should not divert attention away from the fact that a sub-group of recent immigrants remain among the most disadvantaged in the Australian community," Prof Hugo said.

Prof Hugo said that despite policy changes, family and humanitarian immigrants were still experiencing greater problems finding work and getting established than skilled immigrants.

"There remains a pressing need for post-arrival support programs in areas of English language training, assistance in entry to the labor market, etc," he said in the report.

The study also showed recent immigrants tended to have higher fertility, and were less likely to be divorced, marry earlier and live in non-family households than Australian-born and longer standing immigrants.

They were also more likely to rent a home and live in higher-density housing.

Just more than 80 per cent of Australia's 4.1 million overseas-born people settled in main urban areas, while 7 per cent chose to live in rural towns.

"International migration has continued to be one of the major sources of social change in Australia between 1996 and 2001," Prof Hugo said.

This report appears on


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