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Arrival cities important to successful immigration

Arrival cities important to successful immigration

An expert in urban policy development has said that the formation of so-called 'arrival cities' are an important step for many immigrants to set themselves up to become a productive economic member of society.

A common theme in many larger metropolitan areas, these distinct residential hubs tend to serve as a place for individuals with a common background to get to grips with their new home.

Canadian author Doug Saunders has expanded on this phenomenon in his book Arrival City: How the Largest Migration in History is Reshaping Our World.

The urban development specialist has spent many years researching the impact of various government programs around the world that attempt to improve the integration process.

He says that the natural gathering of people from similar geographic and cultural backgrounds - dubbed "ethnic clusters" - helped to ease new arrivals into their new environment.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald on December 23, Saunders asserted: "The classic examples are the little Italys and Chinatowns of the post-war years.

"Small businesses and factories formed at the backs of houses around them and those became sources of initial capital, which were used to buy up housing to finance the university education of the children from those neighbourhoods and to push people into the main economy."

While immigrants from some of the poorer regional areas of their homeland have historically lacked an extensive education in the common applications for a home loan or permanent residency visa, the support they receive from their community is often enough to get them on the right track.

''Even though these new immigrants from a village don't have access to proper bank finance and mortgages, they are able to help each other out and start businesses and bring in customers," said Saunders.

It is the desire to seek out the familiar that draws people together into groups like this, Saunders says - and with a net immigration of 170,300 individuals in the 12 months to June 30, it becomes easy to understand how these new communities are formed.

Additional support from local community groups and non-profit organisations as well as official sources such as government initiatives can also help to give these new arrivals access to the support they need to begin putting back into society.

Eventually, some of these people may choose to make Australia their official new home country, submitting a citizenship application to the immigration department.

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