Silent Bargain or Rural Cosmopolitanism? Refugee Settlement in Regional Australia

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    Abstract

    Over the past decade, an increasing share of refugees and other types of humanitarian migrants have settled in regional Australia either of their own accord or through the government's refugee settlement programme. This follows a trend in other Western countries that have implemented dispersal policies to direct humanitarian migrants to regional towns on the grounds of burden sharing and regional development. At the same time, migrants themselves are increasingly targeting rural destinations that promise easier access to employment and a quieter life than large cosmopolitan cities offer. This paper explores the experience of settling refugees in regional Australia through a case study which shows that ethnic communities are vital to sustaining refugee settlement in regional towns. These communities help ameliorate some of the drawbacks of regional towns, such as limited, specialised services and scarce opportunities for social and economic advancement and foster their sociocultural transformation. While openness to cultural diversity plays an important role in regional towns' ability to retain humanitarian migrants, this alone cannot compensate for a lack of opportunities for socio-economic advancement.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)601-618
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
    Volume40
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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