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Immigrants' Language Skills and Visa Category

  • Barry R. Chiswick

    (Department of Economics, The University of Illinois at Chicago)

  • Yew Liang Lee

    (Department of Economics, The University of Western Australia)

  • Paul W. Miller

    (Department of Economics, The University of Western Australia)

This paper is concerned with the determinants of English language proficiency among immigrants in a longitudinal survey for Australia. It focuses on both visa category and variables derived from an economic model of the determinants of destination language proficiency among immigrants. Skills tested and economic immigrants have the greatest proficiency shortly after immigration, followed by family-based visa recipients, with refugees having the lowest proficiency. These differences disappear by 3 1/2 years after immigration for speaking skills but they persist for reading and writing skills. The variables generated from the model of destination language proficiency are in part predictions of visa category and are more important statistically for explaining proficiency. The effects of some variables on language skills increase with duration in these longitudinal data. In particular, the efficiency variable, age, and gender, which may be reflecting differences in labor market attachement, increase in importance over time.

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Paper provided by The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion / Working Papers with number 02-05.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uwa:wpaper:02-05
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  1. 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.
  2. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1981. "Qualitative Response Models: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 1483-1536, December.
  3. Psacharopoulos, George, 1979. "On the weak versus the strong version of the screening hypothesis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 181-185.
  4. Barry R. Chiswick, 2000. "A Model of Immigrant Language Acquisition: Application to Male Immigrants in Canada," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 149, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  5. Paul W. Miller, 1999. "Immigration Policy and Immigrant Quality: The Australian Points System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 192-197, May.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Dustmann, Christian, 1994. "Speaking Fluency, Writing Fluency and Earnings of Migrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 133-56.
  9. Barry R. Chiswick, 1998. "Hebrew language usage: Determinants and effects on earnings among immigrants in Israel," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 253-271.
  10. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1994. "Language Choice among Immigrants in a Multi-lingual Destination," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 119-31.
  11. 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.
  12. Barry Chiswick & Paul Miller, 2001. "A model of destination-language acquisition: Application to male immigrants in Canada," Demography, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 391-409, August.
  13. Chiswick, Barry R, 1991. "Speaking, Reading, and Earnings among Low-Skilled Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 149-70, April.
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