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Brain drain or gain? Survey explores the benefits of migration

How accurate is the popular understanding of migration in Australia as an influx of foreigners who bring their skills at the expense of development in their homelands?

Researchers from around Australia suspect that this view is not only dated, but misses the rich and diverse two-way relationships that many migrants develop between their homeland and their newly adopted country.

To test their hypothesis, a research team from four universities is surveying 500 migrants from each of four migrant communities: Tonga, Vietnam, Italy and Macedonia.

The survey is supported by the Australian Research Council and is being undertaken by a team from Victoria, La Trobe, Adelaide and West Australia universities.

Project leader, Associate Professor Danny Ben-Moshe from Victoria University, said in earlier times people who left their country of birth to settle in a new country had little contact with their homeland.

"That is not longer the case as people travel regularly, go online and receive news from their homeland every day," he said. "Many migrants are also in touch with charitable, religious and other social networks that provide them with information about a range of activities in their ethnic homelands."

"There is also evidence that migration creates economic benefits to homelands and new countries, in trade, travel and other industries."

The researchers have established links with key stakeholders in ethnic communities, business and government to assist with their work on the project.

The Executive Manager of the South Australian Council for International Trade & Commerce Barry Salter said: "One of the things we are keen to see is how different generations connect to the homeland, as we know what is true for someone who is 70 is not the case for someone who is 20."

Members of the nominated communities are being sought to participate in the survey, which takes 10 to 20 minutes to complete. The researchers are encouraging participants to forward the survey to others in their family, community and networks who might be interested in participating. 

Survey details:

Danny Ben-Moshe is available for interview: 0418 517 395.

For information about the survey contact Joanne Pyke at [email protected]; phone:  +61 3 9919 2615.


Media inquiries: Jim Buckell, A/Senior Media Officer

Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University

Ph: (03) 9919 4243; mobile: 0400 465 459; email: [email protected]

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