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Why do Indians migrate to Australia?

Indians comprise 1% of Australia's population, but they are the 3rd largest migrant group. A study finds out why.
None | By Indo-Asian News Service, Sydney
UPDATED ON JUL 26, 2006 10:10 AM IST

A research project instituted by Macquarie University in Sydney is studying various aspects of migration of Indians to Australia under the "temporary skilled" category.

The three-year project is being carried out by Selvaraj Velayutham and Amanda Wise, both fellows at the university's Centre for Research on Social Inclusion (CRSI), according to a report in the web edition of the Indian Link.

According to Velayutham, the aims of the project are four-fold.

"In the first instance, we will seek to study the motivations and methods of migration: why Indians choose to come to Australia; what are the options available to them in terms of securing employment, visa and travel arrangements etc; how do they come to Australia; what challenges do they face; and, what are their hopes and aspirations?" Velayutham told Indian Link.

The study will look into the responsibilities and obligations that migration creates. Thirdly, the issue of constraints in temporary skilled migration would be studied.

"Finally, we hope to describe the impact of this migration on Australian society at large. Since Indians are coming here in larger numbers more than ever before, how is this changing and impacting on Australian suburbs and culture?" he told the newspaper.

Although Indians comprise less than one per cent of Australia's population of around 20 million, they have become the third largest migrant group under the skilled migration category.

According to the report, English proficiency has been a key factor in this increase.

Since the mid-1990s, temporary skilled migration has overtaken permanent migration to Australia because of a rise in skill shortage in the Australian labour market.

Because of its educational and technological advantage, Indian human resource is seen as a solution to this shortage.

"In 2004-05, 9,414 Indians migrated to this country. Of these, as many as 7,244 qualified as skilled migrants. The rest sought migration on family reunion and humanitarian grounds," Velayutham told the newspaper.

These new migrants are working as IT professionals, accountants, toolmakers, metal machinists, refrigeration and air-conditioning mechanics, fitters, nurses, cooks, civil engineers, hairdressers and motor mechanics.

Temporary skilled migrants generally are allowed to stay and work in Australia for two-three years. Thereafter, they can choose to become permanent residents.

According to the CRSI website, the new study will aim to develop insights into the cultural and social impacts of temporary migration from the perspective of the temporary skilled migrant, and in terms of their impact on the Australian social and cultural landscape.

"The research will explore in particular how gender and temporary visa status shape their experiences of migration, decisions on settlement, family reunion, and engagement with Australian society and everyday life," it said.

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