International Migrants Day

Quick Facts - AU

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2023 Date18 December 2023
2024 Date18 December 2024

International Migrants Day

International Migrants Day in
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International Migrants Day is a global observance that recognises the efforts, contributions, and rights of migrants worldwide. Ratified by the United Nations, this day honours the fundamental rights of migrants, upholding the dignity and importance of safe, orderly, and regular migration. It enables nations to better address the challenges and harness the benefits of international migration. Further, International Migrants Day highlights the need for inclusive and accessible social protection systems, leaving no migrant behind in terms of human rights and social integration.

The observance of International Migrants Day began in December 2000 when the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed it to be held on December 18 each year. In Australia, the day carries particular importance due to the country's long history of population growth through migration. Since World War II, over seven million people have migrated to Australia. These migrants, from over 150 countries, have made significant contributions to Australia's economy, society, and multicultural identity. The Day serves as an opportunity to recognise these contributions and to address issues related to migration, such as social integration, recognition of qualifications, and family reunification.

Across Australia, International Migrants Day is marked by community events, discussions and campaigns focusing on the diverse experiences of migrants and the valuable role they play within Australian society. Activities include cultural performances, art exhibits, lectures, debates, workshops, and public outreach activities, often in collaboration with civil society organisations, migrant groups, and government bodies. The aim of these events is to foster understanding and tolerance, promote inclusivity, and encourage dialogue about migration policies and practices. While there is no specific date for Australia, International Migrants Day is traditionally observed on December 18, aligning with the global calendar.

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Facts about International Migrants Day

  • The theme for International Migrants Day in 2023 was Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay.
  • There are 65 million and counting refugees around the world. Most refugee are Syrian followed by Afghans, with 4.2 million and 2.6 million refugees, respectively.
  • Australia's first large wave of migration after World War II was primarily from European countries. The Australian Government established the assisted passage scheme to attract migrants from Britain and later from other European countries. This led to the arrival of over 1 million migrants between 1945 and 1960, leading to a significant increase in cultural diversity.
  • Australia operates a points-based immigration system that prioritizes people with skills and qualifications needed to fill labor market shortages. This system has led to the successful integration of various migrant populations, contributing to the overall economic development of the country.

Top things to do in Australia for International Migrants Day

  • Since International Migrants Day is also a celebration of multiculturalism, try some food or drink from a different country. Have you tried a Cumberland sausage (UK), baklava (central Asian) or sake (Japan)? Enjoy a night out to a restaurant to enjoy different types of foods.
  • The stories and events of migration are literally world-changing. There are countless films that each tell a different story of migration through time. Some of our recommendations: The Immigrant (1917), Children of Men (2006) or The Kite Runner (2007).
  • Use International Migrants Day as an opportunity to explore and appreciate the variety of international cuisines available in Australia, from Ethiopian to Afghan, Lebanese to Indian, and more.
  • Visit neighborhoods with a rich migrant history and cultural diversity like Cabramatta in Sydney, which is home to many Vietnamese immigrants, or Dandenong in Melbourne, known for its diverse migrant community.

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