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Language Skills and Immigrant Adjustment: What Immigration Policy Can Do!

  • Chiswick, Barry R.

    ()

    (George Washington University)

  • Miller, Paul W.

    (Curtin University)

This study provides an account of the dynamics of the dominant language adjustment process among immigrants in Australia using the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia, which comprises two cohorts of immigrants that arrived in Australia around five years apart. There are two special features of these data that provide the framework for analysis. First, the visa class under which the immigrants entered Australia is known from administrative records. Second, between the two surveys, some visa classes, but not others, were affected by changes in government policy relating to the role of English language skills in immigrant selection. A difference between differences approach is used to isolate the impacts of these policy changes, and thus enable an assessment of what immigrant selection policy can do in this area. It is found that visa category, educational attainment and age at migration impact on immigrant’s language skills. The increased English Proficiency requirement for the Independent and Skilled-Australian Sponsored categories appears to have been successful in raising the English language proficiency of these immigrants.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp1419.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1419.

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Length: 65 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Deborah Cobb-Clark and Siew-Ean Khoo (eds.), Public Policy and Immigrant Settlement, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006, 121-148
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1419
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  1. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1995. "The Endogeneity between Language and Earnings: International Analyses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 246-88, April.
  2. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2004. "Linguistic Distance: A Quantitative Measure of the Distance Between English and Other Languages," IZA Discussion Papers 1246, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Barry Chiswick & Yew Lee & Paul Miller, 2005. "Family matters: the role of the family in immigrants' destination language acquisition," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 631-647, November.
  4. Chiswick, Barry R. & Lee, Yew Liang & Miller, Paul W., 2002. "Immigrants' Language Skills: The Australian Experience in a Longitudinal Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 502, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Barry R. Chiswick & Yew Liang Lee & Paul W. Miller, 2004. "Parents and Children Talk: The Family Dynamics of English Language Proficiency," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0403, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  6. Barry R. Chiswick & Yew Liang Lee & Paul W. Miller, 2002. "Immigrants' Language Skills and Visa Category," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 02-05, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  7. Barry R. Chiswick & Paul W. Miller, 1999. "Immigration, Language and Multiculturalism in Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 32(4), pages 369-385.
  8. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul M, 1996. "Ethnic Networks and Language Proficiency among Immigrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 19-35, February.
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