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Similarities Between Australia and the US Regarding Immigration Laws and Policies

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This essay aims to explore migration in The United States of America (USA) and Australia, as in some instances they have very similar migration patterns. It will be an investigation into the similarities between the two countries regarding immigration laws and policies.

Immigration Laws and Policies in Australia

Australia is a country that has a very rich and positive migration history. However, this has not always been the case and Australia’s laws and policies are constantly changing. A major pull factor that caused large masses of people to migrate to Australia was the Gold Rush that began in 1851. At this time, it was highly encouraged and people came in large groups. On December 23 1901, the new immigration act ‘white Australia’ was introduced into parliament. This law was set in place to decrease and limit the amount of non-European immigrants coming into the country. The white people believed that the non-white people had incorrect ways of life and at this time Australia was run by Europeans. This did not have any impact on the Greeks as being a European country they were admitted to Australia without any test or penalty, although it did not stay like this for very long. The term ‘white alien’ was widely used around the same time as the White Australia legislation was set in place. This term referred to non-British Europeans including Greeks, Italians just to name a few. Greeks were seen as semi colored and were prohibited from immigrating to Australia from 1916 to 1920. This evidently created a large decrease in Greek Immigration to Australia. Not only this but there were many rules implemented so that the country did not become overpopulated.

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Immigration Laws and Policies in the United States of America

America has had many different immigration acts and policies that have encouraged and discouraged Greeks at different periods in time. Greeks came to America by masses. They came legally and illegally. When the United States adopted immigration quotas in 1924, and would only accept 100 immigrants from Greece each year and they would have to undertake a language test. This was very belittling for the Greeks as English was not their mother tongue, unlike a large majority of Europe. The Greeks that did remain or was able to enter the USA were highly discriminated against and treated terribly. It was not until 1965 the number of Greek immigrants began to increase again. This is a result of the 1965 Immigration Act which allowed many Greek families to come and live with family members that had immigrated to America. Between 1965 and 1975 alone, more than 142,000 people came to the United States from Greece.

Immigration Laws and Policies Comparison Between Australia and the USA

There are many similarities between Australia and the USA in regards to immigration laws and policies. A major similarity being that both countries set laws in place to eradicate the amount of non-white Europeans. Racism at the time of Greek immigration was extraordinarily bad and skin color had a large play in that. Although Europe was very highly respected countries including Italy and Greece were discriminated against due to the color of their skin and the language that they spoke. Both Australia and America had laws in place to limit the amount of these people that came into their country. Another similarity was that both countries implemented rules to stop the country becoming overpopulated. This was not targeted at any race in general but it was extra hard for Greece before they became a republic in 1924.


In summary, Australian and US immigration law and policy do have a lot in common. First of all, the similarity lies in the policy towards non-white Europeans and the problem of overpopulation.


  1. Population of Australia. (2019). Population of Australia 2019. Retrieved from
  2. Worldometers. (2019). Population of the United States (2019 and historical). Retrieved from
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2019). 3412.0 – Migration, Australia, 2017-18. Retrieved from
  4. Lange, J. (2018). U.S. Foreign-Born Population Swells to Highest in Over a Century. Retrieved from
  5. Simon-Davies, J. (2018). Top 10 Countries of Birth for the Overseas-Born Population Since 1901. Retrieved from

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Similarities Between Australia and the US Regarding Immigration Laws and Policies. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 29, 2023, from
“Similarities Between Australia and the US Regarding Immigration Laws and Policies.” Edubirdie, 28 Oct. 2022,
Similarities Between Australia and the US Regarding Immigration Laws and Policies. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Jan. 2023].
Similarities Between Australia and the US Regarding Immigration Laws and Policies [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Oct 28 [cited 2023 Jan 29]. Available from:
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