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“The Australian model may seem attractive to politicians,” said Leonard Doyle, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration. “Politicians love fences, but what fences do is create a market for smugglers and major humanitarian problems.”

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During the seven years this scheme operated, nearly 171,000 arrived. When this source came to an end, the Federal Government negotiated a series of migration agreements including with the Netherlands and Italy (1951), Austria, Belgium, West Germany, Greece and Spain (1952), and the United States, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland (1954). In these immediate post war years Australia was second only to Israel in the proportion of migrants accepted. As a result, Australian society became markedly less British and Irish in character. At the 1961 census, eight per cent of the population was non-British in origin with the largest group being Italians followed by Germans, Greeks and Poles.

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Immigration history of Australia - Wikipedia

Ms. Guerra, who also sits on the Youth Parole Board of Victoria, said there were similar anxieties and political efforts when Australia previously experienced large migrations from Vietnam and the Middle East.

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When the colonies federated in 1901, control of immigration changed. Instead of each colony managing its own system, the Commonwealth now oversaw recruiting and selection. Assisted passages were offered to encourage migration with priority still being given to the British and Irish. Despite comparatively large numbers of Chinese residents in Australia, the first legislation passed by the new parliament was the Immigration Restriction Act. Often referred to as the ‘White Australia policy’ this effectively banned Asian migration for the next fifty years. That same year the Federal Parliament passed the Pacific Islands Labourers Act to prohibit their employment as contract labourers and to deport those already here.

Australia | International Organization for Migration

With the 1918 peace came a revival of assisted migration schemes. The British Government offered ex-servicemen free passage to one of the dominions or colonies and 17,000 arrived in Australia between 1919 and 1922. Church and community organisations such as the YMCA and the Salvation Army sponsored migrants. Small numbers also arrived independently. As the United States sought to limit migration of Southern Europeans, increasing numbers of young men from Greece and Italy paid their own way to Australia. By the 1930s, Jewish settlers began arriving in greater numbers, many of them refugees from Hitler’s Europe. However the 1929 stockmarket crash and the Great Depression put an end to sponsored migration and it was not until Australia had again fought a war that it was resumed.

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“It goes back to the migration,” Dr. Shepherd said. “There’s a disproportionate amount of young males coming over, as part of the humanitarian intake. Half of the Sudanese population in Australia is 25 or under.”

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However, with the discovery of gold just outside Bathurst in 1851, the nature of Australian migration changed completely. People arrived in far greater numbers and from more varied backgrounds than ever before. Between 1851 and 1861 over 600,000 came and while the majority were from Britain and Ireland, 60,000 came from Continental Europe, 42,000 from China, 10,000 from the United States and just over 5,000 from New Zealand and the South Pacific. Although Australia never again saw such a rush of new immigrants, the heightened interest in settling here remained. By the time of Federation the total population was close to four million of whom one in four was born overseas. Many had been given assisted passages. Whilst the majority were of British or Irish extraction, there were significant numbers of Europeans, particularly Germans, and Chinese.