zaterdag 5 februari 2011

How to Choose Better Immigrants

Michael Galak

Is it time to say goodbye to fair play in the politics of Australian population growth? Welcome to a new, hard-nosed concept in immigration—the Successful Integration Index.

The main idea of this article is to offer a practical and objective tool for selecting immigrants, based on the record of immigrant groups already settled in Australia. At present we choose immigrants based on their predicted future value to society—judging by their skills, age, capital, connections to Australia and so on. However, such predictions are fallible.

How can we predict the future ability of potential immigrants to integrate into the new and sometimes alien culture of contemporary Australia? I suggest including the statistically valid record of integration into Australian life of the immigrant group a potential settler is a part of. This review could be based on the country of origin or ethnicity or religious affiliation or all of these indicators together. But until more sophisticated techniques can be developed, country of origin would have to suffice for now.

As an indicator of future behaviour, the past is one of the most reliable predictors we have. When we look for someone to do a job of work, the most important criterion in our decision is the previous experience of the individual. We use the individual’s past experience to predict the likelihood of future employment success. In psychiatry the assessment of an individual’s likelihood of suicide depends to a considerable degree on the existence of previous suicidal attempts. The assessment of an individual’s dangerousness is also based mostly on any history of violence.

The validity of basing predictions on the previous experience of individuals has been demonstrated countless times, aberrations and mistakes notwithstanding. If we were to accept that a group of people from the same background would, statistically, have some common features, then the same group of people would statistically have similar responses to the same conditions, pressures and challenges. It is not unreasonable, therefore, to extrapolate this hypothesis to the supposition that the various immigration groups’ responses to the challenges of immigration and absorption would have consistent statistical patterns, and that these patterns would vary from group to group.

It therefore makes no sense not to use the previous integration and absorption track record of various immigrant groups in assessing their future members’ statistical suitability for settlement in Australia. Those who ignore the lessons of history are bound to repeat them.

More at: Quadrant Online