August 02, 2018

Australian migrants exceed native peers in university participation rates

Australian migrants exceed native peers in university participation rates

The Australian citizenship minister, Alan Tudge, has previously highlighted his concerns over migrants failing to integrate into Australian society. Consequently, the Australian government is proposing new measures for migrants to gain Australian citizenship such as tests in English proficiency and "Australian values."

Research published by the Melbourne-based think tank, the Grattan Institute, however, finds that migrants and their children are in fact culturally assimilating and contributing to the Australian economy by choosing to go to university. The rate of university attendance for children of Australian migrants is significantly higher than the rate among non-migrant children.

The data analyzes rates of university participation for 18–20 year olds, based on the language they speak at home. This is seen as a stable indicator for populations of first-generation migrants, as often by the third generation, migrant families have adopted the language of their host country as their primary language. According to the findings, Australians whose primary language at home is English have a university participation rate of 33.4%. Contrastingly, Australians in almost all other primary language groups including African, Arabic, European, and Asian languages had rates of between 47% and 79%.

Furthermore, the research also finds that schools with a large percentage of students from a non-English language background, on average experience more rapid learning growth. Schools where more than three-quarters of their students are from a non-English language background achieve three months more growth than schools where less than 10% of children are from a non-English language background.

"Laws regulating access to citizenship are only one element of migrant integration" writes Chiara Strozzi, who therefore urges politicians to "consider citizenship in combination with labor market and educational policies in order to design appropriate integration policies" as "citizenship is key to improving [the] socio-economic and political integration" of migrants. Indeed, in her article The changing nature of citizenship legislation, Strozzi recommends that "a new concept of citizenship should be considered that recognizes people as mobile individuals who are interconnected and interdependent across national boundaries."

Read more articles on the migrant-native issues.