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Analysis and Comment (49)

Access denied, for some higher education colleges. Access denied, for some higher education colleges. UK passport via xdrew/Shutterstock

Cost of student visa clampdown weighs heavily on colleges

The British government’s recent decision to suspend the licences of one university and 57 private further education colleges to sponsor international students has generated shockwaves across the sector…
The response to SBS documentary series Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl is indicative of the series' backstory and the ongoing debate it has entered. The response to SBS documentary series Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl is indicative of the series' backstory and the ongoing debate it has entered. SBS/Author

Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl reveals diversity of views on Lebanese-Australians

The final week of SBS' four-part documentary series Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl brings us to the last decade’s crises for Lebanese Muslim communities in Sydney’s west, and the path to redemption they…
Migrants were necessary for Australia’s national survival – a purpose that was readily understood. Migrants were necessary for Australia’s national survival – a purpose that was readily understood. Harrison Webster

Australia’s post-war migration was a success, let’s admit it

Most social scientists in Australian universities are left-leaning in their politics and so they highlight the inequalities and oppressions of Australian society. When they came to study migrants in modern…
Muslim and Christian Lebanese join with other communities to rally against racism. The Lebanese in Australia story is the subject of a new SBS documentary series, Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl. Muslim and Christian Lebanese join with other communities to rally against racism. The Lebanese in Australia story is the subject of a new SBS documentary series, Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl. Andrew Jakubowicz

Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl rescues Lebanese honour from shame

Mediterranean societies have been described as communities of honour and shame. The fundamental currency of their social order is respect. When the Lebanese civil war drove thousands of its citizens to…
Monarch butterfly: not scared of wearing bold colours. Monarch butterfly: not scared of wearing bold colours. Dean Morley

Iconic monarch butterflies under threat from rising herbicide use

Monarch butterflies are known for their striking flame-orange and black appearance, and especially for their mass migration in their millions to spend winters in the mountain forests of Mexico. But despite…
How will Australia respond to so-called ‘climate refugees’? How will Australia respond to so-called ‘climate refugees’? AAP Image/Scott Fisher

Climate change and security: a wake-up call for Australia

The most recent IPCC report included a chapter on security – the first time this has happened. The report pointed to a range of security threats associated with climate change, including ill-health, food…
Harsh immigration policy makes it hard to stop abuse of migrant children. Harsh immigration policy makes it hard to stop abuse of migrant children. Richard Scott/PA

A rethink is needed on how to handle trafficked and migrant children

Over the past few years, policy-makers, academics and practitioners have paid more and more attention to children who are trafficked into and within the UK. But while children are trafficked for various…
Bags of talent: Chinese migrants outside Beijing’s rail terminal. Bags of talent: Chinese migrants outside Beijing’s rail terminal. EPA/How Hwee Young

Beijing shows we must rethink what makes a ‘skilled’ migrant

Mass migration is a huge issue in China’s fast-growing cities, deepening existing anxieties about urban sprawl, the overheated real estate markets, overcrowding, land disputes, and social unrest. On a…
The war at home: a rally in Moscow for the people of Crimea. The war at home: a rally in Moscow for the people of Crimea. EPA/Yuri Kochetkov

Russia fuels Ukrainian crisis with disingenuous diaspora politics

The incursion into Ukraine by Russian forces, ostensibly in the name of “protecting” the Russian population of Crimea from harassment and violence at the hands of ethnic Ukrainians, is a classic case of…
They come over here, take our marmalade … They come over here, take our marmalade … Michael Perry

What Paddington Bear can teach us about the politics of migration

Downing Street has withheld the publication of a cross-governmental report on immigration impact. Home Secretary Theresa May has repeatedly cited research by the Migration Advisory Committee that found…
I don’t want to be a care worker when I grow up. I don’t want to be a care worker when I grow up. DFID - UK Department for International Development

Zimbabwean graduate migrants are more than just ‘British bottom cleaners’

Zimbabwean migrants to Britain are often referred to by those at home as being the BBC – British bottom cleaners – fit only for the most menial roles in the former colonial “mother country”. But our research…
Baby salmon: TomTom not required. Baby salmon: TomTom not required. Tom Quinn and Richard Bell

Magnetic maps guide young salmon from river to sea

How does a young animal find its way to an unfamiliar location hundreds or thousands of kilometres from where it was born? A reasonable idea might be to find an older, experienced migrant and follow. This…
Bordering on fiction: the immigration debate has drifted away from reality. Bordering on fiction: the immigration debate has drifted away from reality. PA

Big gap between rhetoric and facts in immigration debate

In a recent interview with the Financial Times, veteran Conservative minister Ken Clarke argued that immigration has contributed positively and significantly to the economy, and that EU free movement is…
Thousands will take part in citizenship ceremonies this Australia Day, but to what set of values are they pledging loyalty? Thousands will take part in citizenship ceremonies this Australia Day, but to what set of values are they pledging loyalty? Wikimedia Commons

A day to celebrate the nation, its people and our multicultural values

This Australia Day, thousands of migrants and refugees will stand proudly and pledge their loyalty to Australia and its people at citizenship ceremonies around the nation. The citizenship pledge is considered…
Not bad, but have you seen the Whitechapel job centre? Not bad, but have you seen the Whitechapel job centre? Chiugoran

Hard Evidence: does ‘benefits tourism’ exist?

For all of the changes to the UK over the last century, the ideal of “fair play” still seems to be a pretty fundamental part of Britain’s national self-image. The concept that anyone – especially anyone…
How do you get in the taxi if you can’t open the door? How do you get in the taxi if you can’t open the door? kenjonbro

Behind the headlines, a nation divided over immigration

Immigration is seldom out of the news, but the past month has seen attention spike to new highs as the removal of transitional controls on migration from Romania and Bulgaria has sparked furious debate…
Advert for a bus company, Tineghir, southern Morocco Advert for a bus company, Tineghir, southern Morocco Hein de Haas

Explainer: what makes people migrate?

Why do people migrate? At first glance it seems reasonable to assume that most people move hoping to find better conditions or opportunities elsewhere, such as jobs, higher wages, safety or freedom of…
Where are the other 384,999? Where are the other 384,999? Vadim Ghirda/AP

Pseudo-research pulls 385,000 migrants out of a hat

The immigration debate isn’t a great place to look for rational or factual arguments at the best of times, and new rules concerning Romania and Bulgaria have spurred a new round of evidence-free speculation…
Can policy keep pace with London’s growth? Can policy keep pace with London’s growth? Anthony Devlin/PA

Regional needs differ, so let’s have variable immigration rules

The UK’s regional economic differences are huge. London is booming again while many other areas are still stuck in recession. There are demographic differences too: London’s population is younger than…
Are we prepared to talk about migration as a solution to climate change? Are we prepared to talk about migration as a solution to climate change? AAP Image/Courtesy; SBS Dateline, Supplied by Hussein Khoder

Migration is a solution to climate change, not a threat to security

How to deal with the impact of climate change is front and centre at international climate talks in Warsaw, with a fund for “losses and damages” caused by climate change to developing nations on the table…
Targets for abuse: Roma women outside court in Larisa, central Greece. Targets for abuse: Roma women outside court in Larisa, central Greece. Nikolas Giakoumidis/AP/Press Association Images

Explainer: who are the Roma?

Once again Roma people are in the news and, as ever, they are the focus of prejudice and vilification. The most recent story surrounds alleged child abduction in Greece, following a raid on a Roma encampment…
An unspeakable loss. An unspeakable loss. EPA/Franco Lannino

Italy ignores real cause of Lampedusa refugee tragedy

The latest in a “succession of true slaughters of innocents”. This is how Italian president Giorgio Napolitano described the incident in which hundreds of migrants, mainly from Eritrea and Somalia, died…
What, you want all these new skyscrapers AND migrant rights? What, you want all these new skyscrapers AND migrant rights? Omar Chatriwala

Less is more when it comes to migrant rights

This week the UN General Assembly is debating the global governance of international labour migration. This meeting is particularly timely, following reports of numerous deaths among Nepalese workers on…
There are strong cultural and historical links between Australia and New Zealand - so why are Kiwis not treated equally in Australia? There are strong cultural and historical links between Australia and New Zealand - so why are Kiwis not treated equally in Australia? AAP/Paul Miller

Where’s the choice, bro: Kiwis in Australia get a raw deal

Back in 1901, it was said there were 1200 reasons for New Zealand not to join the Commonwealth of Australia, as that’s how many miles of ocean separate the two countries. And there’s no likelihood that…
Are working holidays makers taking away jobs and other visitors on short-term working visas from young locals? Are working holidays makers taking away jobs and other visitors on short-term working visas from young locals? Andos/ElloShutterstock

Scarce jobs: migrants or locals at the end of the job queue?

During this election campaign, the major parties have professed their concern about employment opportunities. The mantra is jobs, jobs, jobs. This is appropriate in a context where growth in the number…
Migrants have become coal mine canaries, warning of future employment troubles. Migrants have become coal mine canaries, warning of future employment troubles. squiddles

Immigration and employment: two sides of the same coin

Labour spokesman Chris Bryant’s speech on immigration calling on companies to take on more British young people came days after news there had been a leap in zero-hour contracts, a type of contract used…
Finding happiness is about more than making money. Finding happiness is about more than making money. Rui Vieira/PA

Economic migration may not lead to happiness

People who move to wealthier countries surely expect that migration will lead them to a better life – but new research suggests that economic migrants are unlikely to achieve greater happiness in their…
What’s really going on with migration? What’s really going on with migration? mckibillo

Calm hysteria and assess the real local impact of migration

The Home Office recently published a sensible and thorough look at the local impact of migration. Did you read about it? You certainly won’t have in the Mail or the Telegraph, who apparently read an entirely…
It doesn’t matter how much multiculturalism contributes to the economy if your values say it’s bad for Britain. It doesn’t matter how much multiculturalism contributes to the economy if your values say it’s bad for Britain. PA/Stephen Dempsey

Economic bottom line won’t sway the immigration debate

How far do facts and evidence get us in public debates and policy formulation on immigration? And how far should they take us? Data on migration and its social and economic impact are of course vital for…
The changing face of Australia was on display this week after a new report listed India and China as providing more permanent migrants to Australia than the UK. The changing face of Australia was on display this week after a new report listed India and China as providing more permanent migrants to Australia than the UK. AAP/David Crosling

The changing face of Australian immigration

The face of Australia is changing - and it starts at our borders. Whereas Australia’s migrant population once hailed largely from a European background - think of the “Ten Pound Pom” in the post-World…
Most 457 visa holders are well-paid professionals or in management. Most 457 visa holders are well-paid professionals or in management. AAP/Angela Brkic

Explainer: 457 visas in Australia

With all the fuss over 457 visas in recent weeks, and prime minister Julia Gillard due to address the issue at a conference today, it’s worth looking beyond the cries of vested interests and politicians…
Will stronger economic integration test the resilience of the Australia-New Zealand relationship? Will stronger economic integration test the resilience of the Australia-New Zealand relationship? AAP

Australia and New Zealand’s slow and steady move towards economic integration

In March this year Australia and New Zealand will celebrate the 30th anniversary of a trade agreement known as Closer Economic Relations (CER). Few Australians and New Zealanders are likely to notice…
The Council has its work cut out to facilitate a rational, evidence-based debate about Australian migration. The Council has its work cut out to facilitate a rational, evidence-based debate about Australian migration. Wenxiong Zhang

New Migration Council to fight for a bigger Australia

The announcement of the formation of a Migration Council of Australia and its launch by the Governor General on August 1, confirmed by Department of Immigration and Citizenship official Gary Fleming at…
Are mining towns benefitting from overseas migration? Not according to the census. Are mining towns benefitting from overseas migration? Not according to the census. AAP/BHP

The great settlement divide: migrants are arriving, but not where they’re needed

AUSTRALIA BY NUMBERS: The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released the first batch of its census data. We’ve asked some of the country’s top demographers and statisticians to crunch the numbers on…
More than 21 million people were counted in the 2011 Census. More than 21 million people were counted in the 2011 Census. Australian Bureau of Statistics

Portrait of a population: what the Australian Census found

AUSTRALIA BY NUMBERS: The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released the first batch of its 2011 census data. We’ve asked some of the country’s top demographers and statisticians to crunch the numbers…
We all know moving is hard. It’s even harder when you don’t want to go. But it can still be a positive decision. We all know moving is hard. It’s even harder when you don’t want to go. But it can still be a positive decision. United Nations

Environmental migrants: victims, or heroes of adaptation?

Who are the “climate change migrants” we hear about with increasing regularity in the media and in global and regional policy forums? Are they the victims of devastating environmental forces - the result…
Changing patterns in Indian migration in Australia is also altering the flow of money between the two nations. Changing patterns in Indian migration in Australia is also altering the flow of money between the two nations. Flickr/Chris Hacking

Migration and money: the shifting patterns of the Indian diaspora

“This house, Australia. This house, Australia. This house, Australia,” says Mohinder (a pseudonym) 29, pointing out that young men from six of the 13 houses in his alley in TarnTaran have migrated. “That…
There has been a concerted push for foreign workers to fill the gaps in the resources industry. There has been a concerted push for foreign workers to fill the gaps in the resources industry. AAP

Are foreign workers really the answer to the resources skills shortage?

Within the much publicised debate of labour shortages in the resources sector, there is now a concerted push to open up employment to larger numbers of skilled foreign workers. Large employers such as…
The AFL is throwing everything is has at Greater Western Sydney. The AFL is throwing everything is has at Greater Western Sydney. AAP/Paul Millar

Bridging codes: football and Islam in western Sydney

The 2012 AFL debut of the GWS Giants is the culmination of efforts by the powerful, cashed up body that administers Aussie Rules to make inroads into the rugby league-obsessed, poor and predominantly refugee…
Increasing our refugee intake will remove the incentive to get on boats. Increasing our refugee intake will remove the incentive to get on boats. AAP/Josh Jerga

If we’re serious about stopping the boats we must take more refugees

Another refugee boat has sunk. Several hundred people have drowned. Why do they keep trying to come? What should our response be? If you are an optimist with no sense of history, you would be forgiven…
Developing smaller urban areas may mean better employment and living conditions for migrant workers. Developing smaller urban areas may mean better employment and living conditions for migrant workers. AFP

Why China’s mega-cities leave their citizens struggling

SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE: The world’s seven billionth person is likely to be born today. Beatriz Carrillo Garcia, lecturer in China Studies at the University of Sydney looks at effect a growing population…
Without reform of the Migration Act, the governments plan for processing refugees offshore would be in tatters. Without reform of the Migration Act, the governments plan for processing refugees offshore would be in tatters. AFP/Saeed Khan

A cynical Migration Bill ignores Australia’s international obligations

Later today the Australian Government plans to put the Migration Legislation Amendment (Offshore Processing and Other Measures) Bill 2011 to a vote in the House of Representatives. Without it, the government’s…
Pacific nations participated enthusiastically in the Shanghai Expo last year. Pacific nations participated enthusiastically in the Shanghai Expo last year. Flickr/thoth188

China’s power in the Pacific

China’s relations with its Pacific neighbours are nothing if not complex. Its trade in the region quadrupled between 1999 and 2006. And if it delivers all of the promised resources, it will become second…
Thousands of Brits moved to Australia for the thrill of a more glamorous life. But many struggled. Thousands of Brits moved to Australia for the thrill of a more glamorous life. But many struggled. Flickr/MarkFaviellPhotos

A moving history: how personal stories illuminate the past

Published biographies, and indeed many histories, are often about the famous, rich or powerful. And most often, they’re about men. I’ve preferred to research and write about so-called “ordinary” men and…
The government says it’s on track to release all children asylum seekers in detention soon, but other policies need to be changed urgently. The government says it’s on track to release all children asylum seekers in detention soon, but other policies need to be changed urgently. Flickr/Takver

Australia’s wake up call from the UN: Yes, we’re a racist country

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights says Australia is racist. And she’s right. Racial discrimination in Australia is not idiosyncratic; it is enshrined in laws, policies and practices…
Australia needs professional migrants to fill skills gaps. Australia needs professional migrants to fill skills gaps. AAP/David Crosling

Australia not about to turn its back on immigration

Australia has been a nation of immigrants since 1788. It has always sought additions to its population to increase its prosperity and economic strength. But two recent controversies have distracted us…

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