Multiculturalism and Immigrant Integration in Australia

Canadian Ethnic Studies Association
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Canadian Ethnic Studies, 2013, 45 (3), pp. 133 - 149
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Australia has been a major immigration nation for over six decades, with immigration central to nation building in Australia. In the past two decades, the character of the Australian immigration intake has changed considerably while the issues of immigration and multiculturalism have been controversial at the level of public opinion and national politics. But what has happened to immigrants themselves in Australia? This article draws on a range of primary and secondary research to review the objective and subjective evidence on immigrant integration in Australia across a wide range of indicators. The central research question of this article is: to what extent are immigrants integrated into economic, social, cultural and political life in Australia and how successful has Australian multiculturalism been in achieving the objective of immigrant integration? Taking Kymlickas (2012) conceptualization of, and comparative measurement of, immigrant integration as a point of departure, this article argues that despite the fact that Kymlickas conceptualization of integration is constrained by a focus on the policy and institutional structures of immigrant integration rather than on the outcomes and experiences of immigrant settlers in these societies, his overall conclusion about the relative success of Australian immigrant integration and the central role of multiculturalism to that outcome is well supported by the evidence.
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