School of Geography - Theses

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    Asian migration and changing employment and occupation in Melbourne
    Khan, Munir Ahmed ( 1997)
    This thesis examines the employment and occupation of South Asian migrants in Melbourne. To this end, census and cross sectional data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Bureau of Immigration and Population Research (0FR) as well as the survey data collected for this study, are used. In this study special attention is paid to South Asian migrants in terms of their demographic and economic characteristics, occupational adjustment, job quality and process of self-employment. The analysis of South Asian migrants is made according to birthplace, gender and policy category under which they enter into Australia. In examining the South Asian migrants, the study reviews the relevant literature and existing theories and models about their economic success and occupational adjustment overseas and in Australia. In this regard the main factors that influence migrants' occupational adjustment and economic success in the host country have been identified at and applied to the study of South Asian migrants in Melbourne. The study also reviews the Victorian economy in this context. The study describes demographic and economic characteristics, general flow and skill composition of South Asian migrants in Australia. According to the BIPR and survey data, most of the migrants from Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka are professional and came under the skill migration category. The data also show that South Asian migrants are distinctively different from other non-English speaking background migrants or other Asian migrants in respect of education, professional and occupational backgrounds and skills. The study examines transition and occupational adjustment, quality of jobs and experience of unemployment held by South Asian migrants in the local labour market. The data reveal that the majority of the qualified migrants from Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka have adjusted well in their own profession through a sequence of jobs. A considerable number have regained either the same or higher status jobs compared to their pre-migration position. Although a considerable number of South Asian migrants have adjusted into occupations similar to their pre-migration occupations, the data show that they in fact status lost. The data also provide evidence that a significant number of migrants have shifted from professional and managerial to non-professional blue collar jobs in the process of their occupational adjustment in Melbourne. The findings reveal that the economic success and occupational adjustment of the migrants in the labour market vary according to birthplace and gender. Although the statistical test indicated that there is no significant difference between the present occupation status and policy category of the migrants, the chi square test indicates that there is some difference between birthplace groups in terms of the distribution of migrants' present occupation and industry. The chi-square test confirmed the significant difference between gender in terms of the distribution of migrants' present occupation. The evidence also shows that a significant number have not been able to enter the labour market since their arrival in Australia and were not able to utilise their professional, technical and academic skills.The study also examines the experiences of self-employed South Asian migrants. Again, the evidence suggests that the majority of these migrants are able to utilise their skills and potentials in their business. However, the case studies indicate that the career advancement of some migrants has been blocked due to this self-employment. The study also analyses the influence of structural change, particularly changes in employment and labour force characteristics, upon the participation of Asian migrants in different industries and occupations. The evidence reveals that South Asian migrants have been affected in terms of their participation according to industry and occupation due to the structural changes occurred in the 10 years to 1996. In conclusion, the study of South Asian migrants discussed relevant theories and models in the light of ABS and survey data. The examination of these data provides evidence that the human capital of migrants plays a significant role in their economic success and occupational adjustment particularly in terms of income and /or employment. In this regard they are able to utilise their skills and potentials in the local labour market. However, the theory of migrants has not paid attention to occupational status which this study identifies as an important indicator for economic success and occupational adjustment of South Asian migrants. The theory of migrants mainly focused on the overall labour market outcomes of the migrants in relation to employment, income differences, participation and unemployment rates.