Aspirations and Outcomes for Temporary Migrants to Australia: Korean Working Holiday Makers and Pacific Island Seasonal Workers
Australia is a traditional settler immigration nation that has been transformed in recent decades into a predominantly temporary migration nation. In 2014 Australia received 700,000 temporary migrants compared to 200,000 permanent migrants. Temporary migrants enter Australia under three main programs: international students, skilled migrants and working holiday makers. The advantages to Australia are obvious: temporary workers or students who will leave when their labour is no longer demanded or their education is completed. But what are the advantages to the temporary migrants themselves? Are their expectations fulfilled or do they face considerable disillusionment? This paper draws on primary research with Korean Working Holiday Makers and Pacific Island Seasonal Workers as well as secondary research to argue that experiences vary considerably even within the one national and visa group of temporary migrants. Some temporary immigrants face discriminatory work practices and severe exploitation in Australia. Co-ethnic entrepreneurs are often the source of this discrimination. Others have more positive experiences and are able to transfer to permanent visas, often the main motivation for temporary migration. The paper explores their aspirations, their experiences at work and their social relations in Australian neighbourhoods.