Migration to Australia

Migration to Australia

Immigration to Australia is considered part of the history of human migration that started in Africa. The immigration history of Australia began with the initial human migration to the continent around 50,000 years ago when the ancestors of Australian Aborigines arrived on the continent via the islands of Maritime Southeast Asia and New Guinea.

Permanent European settlement began in 1788 with the establishment of a British penal colony in New South Wales. From early federation in 1901, Australia maintained the White Australia Policy, which was abolished after World War II. Since 1945, more than 7 million people have settled in Australia. From the late 1970s, there was a significant increase in immigration from Asian and other non-European countries, making Australia a multicultural country.

Net overseas migration has increased from 30,042 in 1992–93 to 178,582 persons in 2015–16. The largest components of immigration are the skilled migration and family re-union programs. A 2014 sociological study concluded that: "Australia and Canada are the most receptive to immigration among western nations".

Australia is a signatory to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and has resettled many asylum seekers. In recent years, Australia's policy of mandatory detention of unauthorised arrivals by boat has attracted controversy.

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