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Albert Einstein said, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” And I believe that best sums up the spirit of the migrant. A bit of logic for good measure, but an imagination in the hope that life will be so much better in the new lands.

Multiculturalism has benefitted Australia dramatically and the facts speak for themselves.

According to the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of Australia’s post-war migration program.

Since 1945, more than seven million people have come to Australia as new settlers. Their arrival has had a marked influence on all aspects of our society.

Courage, perseverance and the will to do their best no matter what, defines a migrant well.

Like Steve Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Migrants, by taking the plunge and having the courage to follow their hearts and intuition, has benefitted Australia significantly in the last 100 years with Australia being the ultimate winner.

Study the BRW Rich List of entrepreneurs, business leaders and other notables and you will discover that six in the top 10 are either first or second generation migrants.

Dig deeper in the list and you will find a similar pattern for the Top 200 – about 10% only come from established old money, the rest have created wealth by their imagination and by creating value for our community.

In May 2006, the Australian Government’s Productivity Commission released a research report entitled Economic Impacts of Migration and Population Growth. The report found that migration has been an important influence on Australian society and the economy.

The impact and benefits of immigration Economic Immigration affects the demand side of Australia’s economy through:

  • Migrants’ own spending (food, housing and leisure activities).
  • Business expansion (investment to produce extra goods and services).
  • Expansion of government services (health, education and welfare). It also affects the supply side of the economy/
  • Labour, skills and money introduced into Australia.
  • New businesses developed by migrants.
  • Migrant contributions to technology.
  • Adding productive diversity through knowledge of international business markets.
  • New infrastructure projects that have created thousands of jobs for locals and new arrivals.

Social The make-up of Australia’s population has changed dramatically over the past 200 years, from an almost total Aboriginal population to (after 100 years of immigration) a predominantly Anglo-Celtic one by 1900, to its present mix of about 74% Anglo-Celtic, other European 19% and Asian 4.5%.

Some of the social effects of this change have been the introduction of more than 100 languages into Australian life (while retaining English as the common language), the growth of community language schools, ethnic media, businesses, new foods and diverse religious and cultural activities.

Finally, are there any negatives for Australia? Yes, there have been numerous, mostly undesirables being admitted who are incongruent with Australia’s ‘values’. That’s an important issue for politicians to work out, but overall the benefits for Australia as a whole have far outweighed the negatives and are obvious for all to see.

Jon Michail is CEO of Image Group International, Australasia’s No 1 image coach. IGI supports people and their organisations to monetise their personal and corporate brands.

© 2014 Business First Magazine | This article first appeared in Business First Magazine in May 2014.