Definitions of variables
The study is based on the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia (LSIA), a sample of Principal Applicant immigrants who arrived in Australia as offshore visaed immigrants in the 2-year period of September 1993 to August 1995. The data are from administrative records (for visa category only) and the wave one interviews conducted 5 to 6 months after immigration. Spouses who were granted approval to migrate to Australia as part of the PAs' migration application were also interviewed. The variables used in the statistical analysis are described below. For the statistical analyses, the relevant population is immigrants aged 15–64 years from the countries other than the developed English-speaking countries. These restrictions are applied to both the Principal Applicant and the Migrating Unit Spouse.
Five levels of English-speaking skills are distinguished. They are: (i) English best (or English only); Speaks a language other than English best and speaks English: (ii) Very well; (iii) Well; (iv) Not well; (v) Not at all. In this study the first three categories are denoted “proficient”, while the remaining categories are denoted “not proficient”.
Five visa groups represented by dichotomous variables: (i) Preferential Family; (ii) Concessional Family; (iii) Business Skills and Employer Nomination; (iv) Independent; and (v) Humanitarian. The benchmark group in the regression analysis is Independent.
Age at migration
This is Age (15 to 64 years) since the immigrants have all been in Australia for 5 to 6 months.
The continuous “Years of Education” variable was created by assigning years of full-time equivalent education to each of the nine levels of education available. They are: (i) Higher degree (19.5 years); (ii) Postgraduate diploma (17.5 years); (iii) Bachelor degree (16.5 years); (iv) Technical/professional qualification (15 years); (v) Trade (13 years); (vi) 12 or more years of schooling (13 years); (vii) 10–11 years (10.5 years); (viii) 7–9 years (8 years); and (ix) 6 years or less (6 years).
Dichotomous variable equal to unity if female.
Fourteen birthplace regions are identified, namely: (i) UK and Ireland; (ii) Southern Europe; (iii) Western Europe; (iv) Northern Europe; (v) Eastern Europe; (vi) The USSR and the Baltic States; (vii) The Middle East; (viii) North Africa; (ix) Southeast Asia; (x) Northeast Asia; (xi) Southern Asia; (xii) North America; (xiii) South and Central America, including Mexico; (xiv) Caribbean, Central and West Africa, and Southern and East Africa. Immigrants from English-speaking developed countries (i.e., UK and Ireland, North America, and South Africa) are excluded from the analysis. The region of Caribbean, Central and West Africa, and Southern and East Africa has been excluded from the analysis as an insufficient number of immigrants are represented to permit construction of some of the auxiliary regressors employed in the analysis. Note that immigrants from New Zealand are not included in the survey. An additional birthplace dichotomous variable is set equal to unity for birthplaces that are Former British colonies.
Dichotomous variable equal to unity if the immigrant had cross culture/country contact in their former home country.
PA visited Australia
Dichotomous variable equal to unity for those from migrating units where the PA visited Australia prior to migrating.
Reason for choice of state
Dichotomous variable equal to unity when family and friends were the main reason for choosing the initial State/Territory settled.
Contact with ethnic agencies
Dichotomous variable equal to unity when the recent arrival had post-immigrant contact with an ethnic organization, religious organization, or voluntary welfare agency.
Expect to leave
Dichotomous variable equal to unity for PAs who expect to return to their former home country or to emigrate to another country.
The percentage of those in the immigrant's region of residence, measured at the postcode level, born in the same country or region as the immigrant.Footnote 10
The kilometers between the major city in the immigrant's country of origin and the capital city of the wave one Australian State/Territory of residence.Footnote 11
This variable is constructed from a measure of the difficulty of learning a foreign language for English-speaking Americans. It is based on a set of language scores (LS) measuring achievements in speaking proficiency by English-speaking Americans at the U.S. Department of State, School of Language Studies, reported by Hart-Gonzalez and Lindemann (1993). For the same number of weeks of instruction, a lower score (LS) represents less language facility, and, it is assumed, greater linguistic distance between English and the specific foreign language. For example, Italian is scored at 2.5 (in a range from 1 to 3) and Arabic is scored at 1.5. This methodology assumes symmetry across languages, that is, if a language is difficult for English-speaking Americans to learn, it is equally difficult for native speakers of that language to learn English (see Chiswick and Miller 1998).
There are three dichotomous variables relating to family structure. They are unity: (i) if there are children in the household (KIDS); (ii) if other relatives who gained approval to migrate to Australia as part of the PA's migration application are present in the household (MUR); and (iii) if other relatives are present in the household (OR).