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Australia among the top countries to be a migrant

31 July 20170 comments

Australia is one of the top five countries in which to be an immigrant, according to a new survey.

The survey by US News and World Review ranked the best countries for immigrants by assessing international perceptions of a country, immigration policies and economic data.

Sweden came out on top, followed by Canada, Switzerland, Australia and Germany in the top five.

The survey said “Australia is considered a wealthy nation with a market-based economy that has a comparatively high gross domestic product and per capita income. Its economy is driven by the service sector and the export of commodities”.

“The nation has a high rate of participation in sporting activities and boasts a comparatively high life expectancy for both females and males. Its major cities routinely score well in global livability surveys,” the survey said.

“Australians remain particularly concerned about environmental issues, according to survey and government data,” it said.

“The country has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations treaty that calls on nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, carbon dioxide emissions per capita are comparatively high among nations.

“Australia is a member of major international and regional organizations, including the United Nations, the Group of 20, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Commonwealth of Nations and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation,” the survey said.

The US ranked number seven on the list, with Norway slightly ahead at number six.

More than 21,000 people participated in the survey and were asked questions about economic stability, job market and income equality.

The survey was also based the score on how much in remittances immigrants are able to send to their country of origin, what percentage of the population are immigrants and the United Nations assessment of integration for immigrants, such as language training and transfers of job certifications.

Sweden has received a growing number of refugees from North Africa, but its refugee policy was not a factor in determining the rankings. Immigration policy was taken into account.

“While our methodology did not focus on refugees specifically, it did take into account immigration policies and integration measures per analysis from the United Nations,” said US News data reporter Deidre McPhillips.

“Our aim with this package was to focus on the economic aspects of immigration and the impacts this could have on a country’s perceived standing in the world,” she said.

The survey cited World Bank estimates that say that the world’s nearly 250 million international migrants – at least three for every 100 people – sent $US582 billion home to relatives in 2015.

It said those funds were often lifelines for the family members receiving them; remittances power as much as ten per cent of the economy in home countries like the Philippines and Guatemala and nearly 20 percent in El Salvador and Jamaica.

The economic case for immigration is a strong one, the survey report said.

“A recent report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in the US that weighed the costs and benefits found that immigration is a strong positive influence on long-term economic growth in the US,” it said.

The survey said immigration had wide public support.

“In a recent international poll, nearly 60 percent of global respondents said that their country should be more open to immigration,” the survey said.

“More than 40 percent agree that immigration is the most important issue for our world to solve, beating out other global concerns such as gender inequality,” it said.

But the survey authors said the rise of nationalist and protectionist movements put the future of immigration in question.

The UK’s vote last year to leave the European Union will remove the country from the organisation’s open borders, it said.

Support for Germany’s Angela Merkel dropped after she pledged to keep the country’s borders open to migrants, the survey said.

“US President Donald Trump’s travel ban and plans to build a wall on the US-Mexico border seem to rebut the promise the Statue of Liberty symbolizes since the late 19th century to protect the tired, poor and huddled masses,” it said.

Despite hosting the most migrants in the world and serving as the source of the largest remittances, the US ranks just seventh in the ranking of the best countries in which to be a migrant.


Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist