The Interconnectedness of British and Australian Immigration Controls in the 20th Century: between Convergence and Divergence

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The histories of immigration control in Britain and Australia in the twentieth century are often contrasted, with Britain imposing few formal restrictions on Commonwealth migration until the 1960s and Australia slowly weakening the ‘White Australia Policy’ throughout the post-war period. However as much as there is a divergence between the two immigration control systems, we argue that there is also a high level of interconnectedness between the British and Australian efforts to control migration across the century. In particular, policymakers in Britain looked to replicate aspects of Australia’s strict control system, while many politicians in Australia saw British immigration policy as a warning to the immigration reform. By the end of the century, both countries had established strict border control systems that converged with similar systems across Western Europe and North America.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Feb 2021


  • Australia
  • border control
  • Britain
  • immigration
  • policy convergence
  • White Australia Policy


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