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Australian Indigenous Education in Modern Life - Essay Example

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Migrants and Employment: Challenging the Success Story. by Christina Ho , Caroline Alcorso Over the last 30 years in Australia, there has been continuing popular and academic interest in the question of how migrants fare in the workforce. In the 1970s and 1980s, discussions about migrants and employment centred around the extent to which migrants from non-English-speaking backgrounds (NESB) were concentrated in low-skill, low-paid jobs…
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Australian Indigenous Education in Modern Life
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Download file to see previous pages There was also much concern over high unemployment rates in some ethnic communities, largely a result of economic recession and the decline of the manufacturing sector, which had previously provided a substantial portion of migrant jobs (Castles et al., 1986; O'Loughlin and Watson, 1997; VEAC, 1983, 1984). Since the late 1980s, discussions about the apparent success of professional and business migrants have supplanted the discourse of migrant disadvantage. As a result of the Federal government's increasing emphasis on credentials and skills in the migration programme, migrants' human capital endowments have increased, apparently resulting in higher labour force participation rates and better employment outcomes. The government argues that migration is more economically efficient than ever before, with migrants adding to government coffers rather than becoming a drain on the public purse (Ruddock, 2003). Contemporary academic research on migrant employment experiences neatly underscores governmental discourses on migration policy. It is dominated by studies presenting a 'success story' narrative of recent, mostly highly skilled, migrants achieving increasingly positive outcomes in the Australian labour market. These are generally economic, quantitative studies based on the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia (LSIA) (Cobb-Clark, 2000, 2001; Cobb-Clark and Chapman, 1999; Richardson et al., 2001, 2002; VandenHeuvel and Wooden, 1999, 2000). The LSIA, commissioned by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA), surveyed migrants about their settlement experiences during their first years in Australia. LSIA1 targeted migrants entering Australia between September 1993 and August 1995, surveying them three times: six months (wave 1), 18 months (wave 2) and three and a half years (wave 3) after arrival. LSIA2 targeted migrants entering Australia between September 1999 and August 2000, surveying them twice: six months (wave 1) and 18 months (wave 2) after arrival (see DIMIA, 2002, for more information about the LSIA). Weighted data were used in the analyses for this article to offset the attrition rate in the sample over the three waves. These studies continue a dominant tradition within social science research on migration, namely an approach derived from human capital theory. Essentially an 'application of neo-classical economics to labour markets' (Wooden, 1994: 220), human capital theory has become the prevailing wisdom within academic and business circles for explaining the economic success of individuals, firms and nations. Human capital theory emerged in the 1970s in the writings of economists such as Mincer (1974) and Becker (1975) to explain differences in individual earnings. Income was treated as a function of workers' investment in marketable skills, particularly in the form of training. Individuals were seen as making rational choices about investments in education and training that would increase their productivity and thereby deliver suitable returns to them once evaluated on the market (see Blaug, 1976: 830). Applied to immigrants, as Wooden (1994: 220) notes, the theory proposes that 'differences in pay, occupational status, probability of employment, and so forth, between immigrants and natives reflect differences in the average ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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