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The Asia-born population and their descendants in Australia: exploring their heterogeneous labour market outcomes

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posted on 2022-10-19, 02:34 authored by Sheruni De Alwis

In the decade leading up to 2016, most immigrants arriving in Australia came from Asia, mainly as skilled immigrants. Due to previously small population sizes, the existing literature of immigrant labour market outcomes tended to categorise the Asian population as a homogeneous group with immigrants from other non-English speaking backgrounds. This thesis aims to address a gap in knowledge of Asian intra- and inter-group diversity by delineating the Asian population by country of birth, religious affiliation and generational status. The thesis uses Australian census data from 2011 and 2016 and employs multivariate regression methods. First, this thesis applies a new extension of the realised matches method of measuring over-education to explore the significant differences in the likelihood and severity of an education-occupation mismatch among Asian birthplace groups. The results show that serious cases of over-education are significantly more likely among Asian immigrants—predominantly China-born and India-born—than among other immigrants. It then examines the employment likelihood, occupational status and earnings of the largest Asian birthplace groups and religious subgroups in Australia. The results highlight the critically important role of religion in explaining Asian immigrant labour market outcomes. A birthplace-religion interaction also highlights significant variation in the effects of religion across the Asian birthplace groups. Finally, this thesis explores the occupational status of 1.5 generation and 2nd-generation Asian immigrants in comparison with their 1st-generation counterparts. The results show greater intergenerational upward occupational mobility for all the selected Asian groups compared with immigrants from other countries. However, the extent of upward occupational mobility varies greatly between Asian birthplace groups. The findings of this thesis deepen the understanding of the heterogeneity in Asian immigrants’ labour market integration in Australia. The implications of the findings for immigrant selection, immigrant settlement programs and diversity management practices are also outlined.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. The education-occupation (mis)match of Asia-born immigrants in Australia -- Chapter 3. Employment outcomes of Asian immigrants in Australia: the interacting effects of religion and birthplace -- Chapter 4. Asian 1.5- and 2nd-generation occupational status in Australia: a context of 1st-generation hyper-selectivity -- References


A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Department of Management, Faculty of Business and Economics, Macquarie University

Department, Centre or School

Department of Management

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Nick Parr

Additional Supervisor 1

Fei Guo


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




Asia Australia


210 pages

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