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Immigrating to and ageing in Australia: Chinese experiences

Guo, Xiumei (2005) Immigrating to and ageing in Australia: Chinese experiences. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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      Abstract

      Chinese communities, large or small, exist in almost every country in the world. The huge Chinese diaspora has played a big role in the global economy. Those in Australia are no exception. The first significant Chinese immigration to Australia came in the 1850s during the gold rush era. Since then Chinese immigration to Australia has gone through up and down periods. However, only after the diplomatic relationship between Australia and China was established in 1972, did mainland Chinese begin to come to Australia directly from China. Since 1978 when China opened its door to the world and started its economic reform, more and more Chinese students have come to Australia. In particular, after the Tiananmen Square Incident in 1989, a significant number of Chinese became Australian permanent residents and contributed to the fast growth of the established Chinese community in Australia.

      This thesis analyses immigration and ageing issues relating to the Australian Chinese community, which is now not only one of the oldest in Australia, but also one of the biggest, and economically, one of the most dynamic communities. It draws a historical and contemporary picture of overseas Chinese in Australia, including the Chinese migrants who remained in this country after the Tiananmen Square Incident. This study developed a model to investigate a wide range of factors that drive population movement between Australia and China. The determining factors include a wide range of push and pull forces that change constantly with the overall political, economic and environmental developments. The research findings claim that the pull, push and enabling factors interact with each other to influence Chinese people's decision to migrate from China to Australia. It becomes apparent that there are certain determinants which can help explain, understand and project this complex process in the future.

      This study further proves that Chinese migrants in Australia have made the smooth, but challenging transition between their native and adopted countries. Being involved into the Australian mainstream society, Chinese Australians have achieved economic adaptation and enjoy living in their new country. In addition, Chinese citizens who are studying as international students in Australia are potential skilled migrants and they are likely to apply for migration status after completing their studies. It is believed that Australia continues to be one of the most desired Western migration destinations for Chinese nationals and the magnitude of the Chinese ethnic community in Australia will continue to grow. In the future, the number of elderly Chinese in Australia is likely to increase as the majority of current economically active Chinese intend to retire in Australia and more older Chinese are expected to migrate to Australia for family reunion. As part of the general issues of Australian ageing population, this study attempts to raise the awareness of the challenging life-style of the Chinese elderly in Australia now and future.

      This study offers convincing evidence that Chinese immigrants play a vital bridging role in promoting business and trade between Australia and China. Due to China's economic growth, their movement between these two countries will be more frequent. Overall, this study provides important considerations for policy makers and will benefit the broad communities, migrants and policy planners in understanding the model of Chinese immigration into Australia. The insights gained from this study should have important policy implications for a more sustainable way of living not only in Australia, but also in China and other countries with Chinese immigrants.

      Publication Type: Thesis (PhD)
      Murdoch Affiliation: Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy
      Supervisor: Marinova, Dora
      URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/89
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