Immigrants and the professions in Australia
reportposted on 23.11.2017, 00:34 by Bob Birell, Lesleyanne Hawthorne
The extent to which migrants holding professional qualifications have been able to put their qualifications to productive use in Australia has long been a contentious issue. This study provides some answers which we hope will allow the debate on the extent and causes of migrant
professional progress in Australia to proceed on a firmer foundation. Since most of the statistical data reported is based on the 1991 Census, the results are somewhat historical in character. Nevertheless, until the results of the 1996 Census become available, which in the case of the variables discussed here will not be until 1998, all those
wanting information on the country-of-birth make up of Australia's professions and the relative achievement of migrants in their professional field must begin with the 1991 Census.
There is no doubt that the overseas-born have made a major contribution to Australia's stock of professionally-trained persons. Table 1 indicates that overseas-born persons made up a remarkable 31.5 per cent of all Australians holding degree-level qualifications and 26.1 per cent of those holding diploma qualifications. These figures are striking because in 1991 the overseas-born made up just 26.9 per cent of Australia's population aged 15 plus (Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research [BIMPR], Community Profiles). This pattern of overrepresentation amongst degree trained persons applies to those born in both English-speakingbackground (ESB) countries and non-English-speaking-background (NESB) countries, and to each age group within these two categories (Australian Bureau of Statistics [ABS], Social Trends, 1994). One should not conclude from these figures, however, that Australia has received a substantial costless bounty in professional skills paid for by overseas countries, since nearly half of the overseas born degree-holders gained at least some of their qualifications in Australian
Format 88 p.
Copyright. Centre for Population and Urban Research, Monash University and the author/s