Sri Lanka and Australia
Australia has had a long and fruitful relationship with Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon.)
Historical Background of Sri Lankans Coming to Australia
The Australian Department of Home Affairs reports that “In the late nineteenth century, the first Sri Lankan immigrants to Australia were recruited to work on the cane plantations of northern Queensland. There are also reports of Sri Lankans working in goldfields in New South Wales and Victoria, and as pearlers in Broome, north-western Australia. By 1901, there were 609 Sri Lanka born people recorded in Australia.”
The Department webpage continues about later waves of Sri Lankans coming to Australia:
“Following Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948 and the introduction of the Sinhala Only Act…which mandated Sinhalese as the only official language replacing English, many Tamils and Burghers (of mixed European descent) felt disenfranchised. This resulted in significant numbers migrating to other countries including Australia. During the 1960s, Burghers comprised the largest proportion of Sri Lankan migrants to Australia.
“In the late 1960s and early 1970s following the easing of Australia’s migration policies, Asian migrants, including Sri Lankans, were admitted to Australia. Sri Lankan migrants at this time included Tamils, Sinhalese, as well as Burghers.”
The article concludes: “In the following decades, the number of Sri Lankans entering Australia increased. Many who fled the conflict in Sri Lanka between Tamil separatists and Sinhalese arrived as humanitarian entrants. Additionally, there was also significant migration of Sri Lankans under the Skilled and Family migration programs.” Source: The Department of Home Affairs.
In 2017, Australia and Sri Lanka/Ceylon celebrated 70 years of friendly relations.
Australia’s Skilled Visas
Australia’s Family Visas
Sri Lankans in Australia Today
The Department of Home Affairs also reports that “The latest Census in 2016 recorded 109,849 Sri Lanka-born people in Australia, an increase of 27.1 per cent from the 2011 Census.
“The 2016 distribution by State and Territory showed Victoria had the largest number with 55,830 followed by New South Wales (28,732), Queensland (9,752) and Western Australia (7,796).
Read more statistics about Sri Lankans in Australia.
DFAT reports that “The large Sri Lankan community contributes significantly to strengthening Australia’s multicultural society and economy.” Learn more about the Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan Students in Australia
One significant group of Sri Lankans residing in Australia in recent years is students. DFAT reports that “Education plays a significant role in Australia’s bilateral relationship with Sri Lanka. Many Sri Lankan students opt to study in Australia. In 2018, 11,000 Sri Lankans were studying in Australian schools while there are around 23 Australian education providers active in Sri Lanka”. Continue reading.
The History of Sri Lankans in Victoria
Museums Victoria reports that “Sri Lankans…have been settling in Victoria since the 19th century. They were first counted in the 1871 census, when 58 people were recorded. Like Sri Lankan settlers elsewhere in Australia, they probably immigrated as labourers or gold prospectors.
“The community in Victoria remained small well into the 20th century, with 130 recorded in 1933. Most were Burghers (descendants of European colonisers) – under the White Australia Policy, only those of European descent were welcomed.
“The community began to increase after World War II…By 1966, the Sri Lankan community in Victoria had risen to 3,126, most of them Burghers. The end of the White Australia Policy in 1973 saw increasing numbers of Sinhalese and Tamil settlers in Victoria. By 1976, 9,061 Victorians were of Sri Lankan birth.
“Ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka in 1983 resulted in a significant intake of immigrants under the Special Humanitarian Program. Subsequently, Sri Lanka-born arrivals have come here under the Family Reunion Program, or as Skilled or Independent immigrants.
“Today, Sri Lankans make up the eighth largest immigrant group in Victoria, with 55,835 people recorded in the 2016 census.” Read more at Museums Victoria.
How to Apply for an Australian Visa in Sri Lanka
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