Migrant Perceptions Revealed in Study
17 July 2014 at 9:55 am
Less than half of Australia’s new migrants believe their life would be “much improved” by their move to the "lucky country", according to results of a survey of attitudes by migrant and refugee settlement agency AMES.
The study, Perceptions of Australia – past, present and future, surveyed more than 500 newly arrived Melbourne-based migrants examining their perceptions of Australia before and after migration.
Just under half (49 per cent) of respondents thought their life in Australia would be “much improved”, and 31 per cent said that it would be “a little improved” in the next three to four years, the study found.
It revealed about 60 per cent of respondents said they felt happy since arriving and less than 10 per cent said they were unhappy.
Seven in 10 said they hoped to become Australian citizens and another 16 per cent said they would consider citizenship.
“Migrants who come to Australia usually aspire to gain employment that uses their skills and knowledge, to feel safe and secure, have the opportunity to live with relatives or friends, and imagine a better future,” the study said.
Three quarters felt that compared with their life, the lives of children living in Australia would be “much improved”, and 14 per cent felt it would be “a little improved”.
Finding a well-paid job was the most difficult challenge facing new migrants, the study found.
“There was a high level of uncertainty before arrival about finding a good job in Australia that pays well, with one third (33 per cent) of respondents not knowing or being unsure about finding a job,” the report said.
“Before arrival, almost 40 per cent agreed that finding a job would be difficult. After living in Australia there was a significant change in perception with 60 per cent of respondents agreeing with the statement ‘that finding a good job in Australia that pays well is difficult’."
Almost two thirds said they felt multiculturalism has been good for Australia and 30 per cent were unsure.
Other key findings were:
- Almost 60 per cent of respondents said they felt welcome in Australia and another 30 per cent said they felt welcome some of the time;
- Almost eight in 10 believed Australia was safe and secure both before and after arrival;
- Three quarters of people found Australians to be warm and friendly after arriving here;
- Two-thirds felt that their standard of living would be better in Australia;
- 70 per cent believed their families would have a better life in Australia;
- Three quarters thought Australia was a strong democracy before arriving and that figure rose to 84 per cent after arrival;
- 73 per cent agreed that Australia had a good health care system after arrival;
- Almost two-thirds agreed that people in Australia treat each other equally and fairly before arrival – this rose to almost 70 per cent after arrival;
- 80 per cent of respondents felt their decision to come to Australia was the right one and 63 per cent said they would encourage other people from their country to come here.
“The findings from this study indicate that new migrants are not passive bystanders but actively forge a new life demonstrating a high level of ingenuity and resilience to create a new life in their adopted country,” the researchers said.
“Generally speaking, most of those surveyed were positive about being in Australia and hoped for a better future for themselves and their children. Almost two out of three respondents surveyed had been in the country for less than two years.
“There was a high level of optimism demonstrated in the survey, with most people affirming that their decision to come to Australia was the right one and that the majority of respondents felt that their life in Australia would either be much improved or a little improved.
“Similar sentiments were held about the lives of children living in Australia where the majority felt that life in Australia could offer more opportunities when compared with their life as a child.”