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Seeking Residency from the Courts: The Chinese Experience in the Post-White Australia Era

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Abstract In 1974 Australia officially abandoned its “White Australia” policy. Since then hundreds of thousands of Chinese have migrated to the country, first from Southeast Asian countries, then from Vietnam, Hong Kong and Taiwan before direct immigration from China resumed in the mid-1980s. Lately, Australia has placed more emphasis on admitting skilled and business migrants, but has still maintained an annual intake of tens of thousands of Chinese, making China the third largest source of overseas-born Australians. Many believe that the Chinese have come to Australia under its normal migration program, such as the skilled, business or family programs thus overlooking the fact that a high proportion of them have obtained their residency in Australia either directly or indirectly only after having gone through Court battles. This paper seeks to examine how many of the Chinese have fought for residency in the courts, and to outline the characteristics of their experience in the post-White Australia era. It aims to provide an analysis of the complex dimensions of global migration and transnational politics where certain aspects of socio-political life and politics of the immigrants’ home country have conflicted with the immigration policies and procedures of their receiving country and gradually become part of the politics of the host country.


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