The Sri Lankan born population of                                                                                                         Employment                                                           Religion                                                 compared to 9.9% for all Australian
Australia                                                                                                                                 Among Sri Lanka-born people                                          At the 2001 Census the                                   males and 8.3% for Australian females.
          The Sri Lanka born population                                                                                         age 15 years and over (in 2001), the                                 major religions amongst Sri Lanka-                                 As for the total Australian population,
is heavily concentrated in the two states                                                                                       participation rate in the labour force was                           born were Western Catholic (15,610                                 the rates were particularly high in the
of Victoria and New South Wales. In                                                                                             67.5 per cent and the unemployment                                   persons), Buddhism (13,860 persons)                                15-24 year age group. In this age group
1996, only 19.5 per cent of them lived                                                                                          rate was 7.9 per cent. The corresponding                             and Hinduism (10,210 persons). Of the                              they were higher for the Sri Lanka-
outside of these two states. Melbourne,                                                                                         rates in the total Australian population
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Sri Lanka-born, 2.0 per cent stated ‘No                            born (23.0% for males and 21.8% for
the capital of Victoria alone had 48.7 per                                                                                      were 63.0 and 7.4 per cent respectively.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Religion’. This was lower than that of                             females) than for all Australians (17.1%
cent of all Australia’s Sri Lankan born.                                                                                        This reflects the percentage of skilled
                                                                                                                                                                                                     the total Australian population (15.5 per                          for males and 14.3% for females). Since
According to the 1996 census told there                                                                                         migrants amongst the Sri Lankan
were 47,103 Sri Lankan born people of                                                                                                                                                                cent). Once again, religious affiliations                           the census unemployment rates have
                                                                                                                                community. Of the 30,500 Sri Lanka-
whom (50.00 per cent) 23,571 live in                                                                                            born who were employed, 51.7 per cent                                are not significantly at variance with this                         fallen. However, the labour force survey
Victoria in comparison to (30.4 per cent)                                                                                       were employed in a skilled occupation,                               for the overall populations.                                       is not large enough to measure rates for
14,340 in NSW. (Source: Research and                                                                                            30.8 per cent in Semi-Skilled and 17.4                               Figure 4: Ancestry of Sri Lankan                                   the small Sri Lankan population.
Statistics Unit-DIMIA)                                                                                                          per cent in Unskilled. The corresponding                             population
          Consequently, according to                                                                                            rates in the total Australian population                                                                                                          However, according to 1996
Department of Immigration, Multicultural                                                                                        were 52.6, 28.9 and 18.6 per cent                                                                Other                                  census date, the total population of Sri
and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA), the                                                                                             respectively. The proportion of Sri                                                              21%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lanka-born in Victoria were 23,571
latest Census in 2001 recorded 53,610                                                                                           Lankan born who were Professionals                                           3%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tamil             and 2001 Census date indicates 26,670
Sri Lanka-born persons in Australia, an                                                                                         and Associate Professionals (37.6 per                                                                                 Dutch(Burghers)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        respectively (50 per cent of Sri Lanka-
increase of 14 per cent from the 1996                                                                                           cent) was considerably higher than in                                                    Tamil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          8%              Sinhalese                     born in Australia wide). Statistics depict
Census. The 2001 distribution showed                                                                                            the total Australian population (29.2 per                                                                    68%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the total employed figure as 12,405 in
Victoria had the largest number with                                                                                            cent) and among the overseas born (30.7
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Victoria; ‘Inadequately described or not
26,670 followed by New South Wales                                                                                              per cent).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ancestry                                            stated’ column shows 332 and therefore
16,910.                                                                                                                              The     occupational      distribution
                                                                                                                                depicts that the total number of                                                                                                        the total employed number would have
Broad data on Sri Lankan migrants                                                                                               (Sri Lanka-born) Professionals and                                            In the 2001 Census, the top three                         been minus this number 332, which
drawn from Australian Bureau of                                                                                                 Associated professionals 2,406 and 1,361                             ancestries that Sri Lanka-born persons                             means 12,405 less 332 equals 12,073.
Statistics census and labour force data                                                                                         respectively are the highest in Victoria.                            reported were, Sinhalese (36,410), Tamil                           When considering Victoria’s total
are provided below.                                                                                                             Victoria had 8.0 per cent (964) working                              (4,150) and Dutch/Burghers (1,690).                                population (Sri Lanka-born) of 23,571
Figure 1: Qualification levels, Sri                                                                                              as Tradespersons and Related workers                                                                                                    and the number of people employed
Lankan and Australian populations                                                                                               compared with 6.5 per cent Australian                                Labour Force Status                                                figure 12,073, nearly 50 per cent were
                                                Level of Qualification
                                                                                                                                wide. These figures emphasise the                                                                                                        unemployed in Victoria. This 50 per cent
                                                  Sri Lanka-born
                                                  Total Australian Population                                                   appropriateness of selecting Victoria as                                      In 1996 the labour force                                  cannot be taken as the actual because
                                                                                                                                the sample for investigation.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     participation rate among the Sri Lanka-                            within this 50 per cent school children
 Per cent

            25                                                                                                                                                                                       born aged 15 years and over was 67.4%.                             (under 15 yrs of age) and old age
                                                                                                                                          At the 2001 Census, the rate of
                                                                                                                                                                                                     This was a decrease from the 70.7%                                 parents (or pensioners) could have been
                                                                                                                                Australian Citizenship for the Sri Lanka-
                                                                                                                                                                                                     recorded at the time of the 1991 Census.                           included. It could be assumed according
                           Higher               Certificate                  Other            Non Quals          No Quals Not
                                                                                                                                born in Australia was 81.9 per cent. The
                                                                                                                                                                                                     The labour force participation rate for                            to these figures that an estimated number
                         Qualification            Level                                       Attending           Attending
                                                                                              Institution         Institution

                                                          Level Of Qualification                                                rate for all overseas-born was 75.1 per
                                                                                                                                cent. This suggests that it is a relatively                          Sri Lanka-born males (78.7%) was                                   of 10,000 persons were unemployed in
                                                                                                                                settled community, which might reduce                                higher than for Sri Lankan-born females                            1996 census period.
          Qualifications                                                                                                         disadvantage in the labour market.                                   (56.0%). Both rates were somewhat
          In 2001, of Sri Lanka-born                                                                                                      Language                                                   lower than in 1991.                                                         The three groups Professionals,
people aged 15 years and over, 57.1 per                                                                                                   The main languages spoken                                                                                                     Associated Professionals, and Trade
cent held some form of educational or                                                                                           at home by Sri Lanka-born people in                                           For both males and females,                               persons & related workers under
occupational qualification compared with                                                                                         Australia were English (40.4 per cent),                              the labour force participation rates for                           investigation are contained in the total
46.2 per cent for all Australians. Amongst                                                                                      Sinhalese (32.4 per cent), and Tamil                                 Sri Lanka-born in 1996 were higher                                 unemployed 10,000 persons in Victoria.
the Sri Lanka born, 37.2 per cent had                                                                                           (24.1 per cent). Of the 31,720 Sri Lanka-                            than those for all overseas-born and for                           Accordingly, the investigations are being
higher qualifications and 10.3 per cent                                                                                          born who spoke a language other than                                 all Australians. These were respectively                           focussed at this point of premise that a
                                                                                                                                English at home, 93.6 per cent spoke
had Certificate level qualifications. Of                                                                                                                                                               67.2% and 71.4% for males and 48.0%                                large number of Sri Lankans born are
                                                                                                                                English very well or well and 5.6 per
the Sri Lanka-born with no qualifications,                                                                                                                                                            and 52.8% for females. At ages 45-64, Sri                          unemployed in Victoria.
                                                                                                                                cent spoke English not well or not at all.
24.9 per cent were still attending an                                                                                                                                                                Lanka-born men were much less likely to
                                                                                                                                Upon this basis language should not be a
educational institution.                                                                                                                                                                             be not in the labour force (12.1%) than                            Industry
                                                                                                                                major employment barrier.
Figure 2: Occupations, Sri Lankan                                                                                                                                                                    were overseas-born men (24.5%) and all                             Figure 5: Occupations of Sri Lankan
                                                                                                                                Figure 3: Religion, Sri Lankan and
and Australian populations                                                                                                                                                                           Australian men (22.9%) at the same ages.                           population
                                                                                                                                Australian populations
                                                                                                                                                                                                     A similar pattern held for Sri Lanka-born                                                             Occupation by Sex
                              Sri Lanka-born                                 Total Aus tralian Population
                                                                                                                                                        Religion                                     women: 36.6% of those aged 45-64 were                                                   Labourers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Elem. Clerical, Sales, Service

                    35                                                                                                                                                 Western                                                                                             Int. Production & Transport

                                                                                                                                                22%                    Catholic                      not in the labour force compared with                                 Int. Clerical, Sales, Service
                                                                                                                                                                        29%                                                                                               Advanced Clerical & Service
                    25                                                                                                            Not Stated
                                                                                                                                                                                  Western Catholic
                                                                                                                                                                                                     49.7% among all overseas-born women                                                Tradespersons
     Per Cent

                    20                                                                                                                                                            Buddhism                                                                                    Associate Professionals
                                                                                                                                  No Religion
                    15                                                                                                                                                            Hinduism
                                                                                                                                                                                                     and 46.4% among all Australian women.
                    10                                                                                                                                                            No Religion                                                                            Managers and Administrators
                                                                                                                                        Hinduism                   Buddhism
                    5                                                                                                                                                             Not Stated
                                                                                                                                          19%                        26%                                                                                                                                 0.0   5.0   10.0   15.0     20.0   25.0   30.0   35.0   40.0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Female            Male                           Per Cent

                                                              Assoc. Prof.

                                                                                                                                                                                                             The unemployment rate among
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Sri Lanka-born males was 9.8% and
                                                                                                                                                                                                     among Sri Lanka-born females 13.6%,                                                                             continue on page 55...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  APRIL 2010 PAHANA - LIGHT & LIFE                                                               49

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