Understanding access to higher education amongst humanitarian migrants: an analysis of Australian longitudinal survey data.
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Humanitarian migrants are amongst the most marginalised population groups in countries within the Global North, including Australia. An important channel for these migrants to successfully settle into the host society and improve their socio-economic outcomes is participation in the local education system, particularly in higher-education options. However, we know surprisingly little about the socio-demographic factors that structure inequalities in humanitarian migrants’ access to (higher) education, with evidence from robust quantitative studies being particularly scarce. The present study fills this important gap in knowledge by analysing Australian longitudinal survey data (Building a New Life in Australia; n = 2109 migrants and 8668 person-year observations) by means of random-effect panel regression models. Key results indicated that higher English-language proficiency and pre-arrival education levels are core factors fostering greater engagement with the Australian higher-education system amongst humanitarian migrants. Humanitarian-migrant women in our sample exhibited a greater adjusted likelihood of being a student than humanitarian-migrant men. Altogether, our findings confirmed inequalities in accessing the Australian higher-education system amongst humanitarian migrants, and that policy attention is required to redress this situation. However, they also stress that a ‘one size fits all’ policy strategy may be neither sufficient nor appropriate to boost their education prospects.
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