Immigration to Australia can be traced to several thousands of years back when the ancestors of the Australian aborigines arrived in the country through Southeast Asia and New Guinea. European settlers arrived in the continent in 1788 and established a British penal colony in New South Wales. After World War II, more than seven million people migrated and settled in Australia. Beginning in the 1970s, there was a surge of immigrants to Australia from different parts of the world, forming a multicultural society. Studies have shown that Australia is one of the most receptive countries to immigrants in the world, next to Canada.
Immigration Through Penal Code
The first European migration to Australia started with the British convict settlement of Sydney on January 26, 1788, which was comprised of 11 ships ferrying 775 convicts and 645 officials. The settlers were petty criminals, the crew of sailors, and second rate soldiers, the majority with little knowledge and skills in farming or building. The settlers faced enormous challenges in the colony, particularly that of hunger. The second fleet arrived in 1790 with more convicts and the third fleet came in 1791 with even more convicts, though many died in the sea or upon arrival because of severe conditions. When the penal code ended in 1868, there were about 165,000 convict who had been already been brought to settle in Australia.
Immigration Through Gold Rush
1851 marked the beginning of the Gold Rush and led to a huge expansion in the population of Australia, which included at first, British and Irish settlers. Secondly, there were the Germans and other Europeans and finally the Chinese. The Chinese community in Australia became the subject of discrimination and restrictions rendering it difficult to remain in the country. The immigration Act of 1901, also known as the "White Australian Policy", was an attempt to unify the all the federation colonies into a nation while restricting non-white to settle in the country. The next wave of immigrants to Australia were the arrival of 5,000 Jews who escaped from Germany in 1938. This groups of immigrants were not restricted entry into Australia.
Immigration After World War II
After World War II, Australia began an extensive immigration program with the attempt to populate the country because it had escaped Japanese invasion and therefore the need for a bigger population. Many displaced Europeans headed to Australia and more than one million British subjects found their way into Australia through the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme. The program was initially targeted at citizens originating from the commonwealth countries, but later after the war it was extended to include other countries like Italy and Netherlands. Under the program the qualification was good health and age limit of 45 years.
There are different classes of immigrants allowed to enter Australia and they are categorized into various types of visa entry programs. There is the employment visa which is granted to the highly skilled people from different countries around the world. The visas are sponsored by the State that recruits workers depending on their needs. Other types of visas include the student visa and family visa.