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A Study of the ‘First-Generation’ Korean Immigrants in Australia - Focusing on the Migration System and Immigrants’ Experiences -

Moon, Kyoung-hee 1

1창원대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper looks into the ‘First-Generation Koreans’ in Australia, focusing on their immigration experiences. The ‘First-Generation Koreans’ refers to the Koreans who immigrated to Australia in the 1970s and it was when Australia just began to accept non-European immigrants by abolishing so called the ‘White Australia’ policy. They are regarded as the ‘pioneer’ immigrants in the Korean Australian community. This paper examines who they are, what factors enabled them to immigrate to Australia, and in what ways they made their path to Australia. In the macro-structural level, the weakening of political and economic relationship between Australia and the European countries since the 1960s contributed to the Australia’s active engagement with the countries in Asia in terms of trade of goods, services, and people. Facing the industrial labour shortage and social demands to embrace people with diversity in Australia, the government tended to issue permanent visas to foreign nationals comprehensively as long as they were residing in Australia. However, it is important to note that the ‘First-Generation Koreans’ were not passive recipients of the opportunity structures presented to them by the origin and destination states respectively. They exercised a certain degree of agency and choice in making their decision to migrate and negotiated their conditions with the actors from both states. This paper introduces the notions of the migration systems and agency of pioneer migrants in order to explain both macro- and micro-level structures and the interaction between the ‘First-Generation Koreans’ and the state actors.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.