Differences in attitudes towards immigration between Australia and Germany. The role of immigration policy


This paper investigates the connection between national immigration policy and a society’s attitudes towards immigration. It argues that a country’s immigration policy framework plays an important role in the formation of attitudes towards immigration by shaping the local national context of the receiving country. It examines the influence of a country’s immigration policy framework by contrasting two countries – Australia and Germany – that developed remarkably different immigration policies in response to large immigration movements during the post-war period. We explore attitudes towards immigration on four dimensions (1) the national economy, (2) the labour market, (3) the national culture, and (4) the level of immigrant influx. The analyses reveal three main findings. First, people in Australia tend to display more positive attitudes towards immigration than in Germany. Second, in both countries, attitudes towards immigration tend to be influenced in a similar way by an individual’s socio-economic background and feelings of national identity (in the form of nationalism and patriotism). Third, immigration policy represents a strong indicator of attitudes towards immigration. We found that the planned integrative immigration policy in Australia supports the formation of more positive attitudes towards immigration by influencing people’s perception on the economic and socio-cultural impacts of immigration.

Comparative Population Studies
Francisco Rowe
Francisco Rowe
Professor of Population Data Science

My research interests include human mobility and migration; economic geography and spatial inequality; geographic data science.