Poll finds high levels of support for immigration to Australia

Publish Date: May 18, 2015

Being born in the country is considered the least important factor going into what makes someone "Australian".

This is according to new research from Australia National University (ANU) which looked at the characteristics people associate with being Australian.

The survey revealed respondents had high regard for the achievements of the country, and acknowledge how immigration has helped contribute to a strong economy and prosperous society.

Australians appreciated migrants' contribution to their community, and their loyalty to the country, rather than where they came from originally. Being a law-abiding and hard working member of the community was the most important quality for being adopted by Australian society.

Speaking English (92 per cent) and respect for political institutions and laws (96 per cent) are seen as the most important factors in making someone Australian, well ahead of country of origin or place of birth (44 per cent).

There is overwhelming support for continuing immigration to Australia. Respondents see it as both good for the economy but also beneficial to society. Australians saw immigrating following the correct legal processes far outweighed where someone was born when judging migrants.

Immigrants were seen by 86 per cent of respondents to bring new culture and ideas to Australia and enriched the experience of people already living in the country.

Australians are also very proud of the achievements of their fellow citizens and the country as a whole. In the fields of sport and scientific achievements, 90 per cent of those surveyed were proud of Australia's contribution. The armed forces had the support of 88 per cent of the population, while achievements in arts and literature came in at 86 per cent.

"The latest ANUpoll shows how Australians identify with their country and place, and how they feel about the major issues associated with the Australian identity," said lead researcher Dr Jill Sheppard, from the Australian Centre for Applied Social Research Methods.

"We found Australians are largely welcoming of those born overseas"

People in Australia are also more comfortable to be part of the Asia/Oceanic region than in previous surveys. More Australians (48 per cent) identify with countries in this region, up 15 points since 1995.

For more information about immigrating to Australia, and what it takes to obtain a visa, contact a qualified immigration lawyer.

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