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The Role of Ethnic Relations and Education Systems in Migration from Southeast Asia to Australia

Gerard Sullivan and S. Gunasekaran
Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia
Vol. 8, No. 2 (AUGUST 1993), pp. 219-249
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41056862
Page Count: 31
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Role of Ethnic Relations and Education Systems in Migration from Southeast Asia to Australia
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Abstract

This article describes the pattern of Southeast Asian migration to Australia and analyses the role of structural factors, such as ethnic diversity, as determinants of emigration. A short history of Asian immigration to Australia which discusses Australian government policy towards Asian immigrants is followed by a stock analysis of Asian-born residents in Australia which compares their socio-economic and demographic characteristics with the total Australian population. Flow data provide a picture of contemporary Hong Kong and Southeast Asian migration to Australia between July 1983 and May 1988. Ethnic relations and politicaleconomic circumstances in these sending countries are examined as motivating factors for emigration. Potential emigrants from Singapore and Malaysia report that concerns about the long-term economic and political security and stability of small states are very important. Besides these factors, educational and career opportunities for their children are primary among their considerations. Many emigrants exhibited a sophisticated knowledge of their likely place in Australian society and have formulated strategies to cope with likely adversities. Many are prepared to accept downward occupational mobility which is compensated in part by better opportunities for their children and greater earning power.

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