Written by Patricia Tunstall
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The acronym DIMIA is most welcome, because the full-length title of this agency is daunting: Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. Needless to say, this governmental agency has responsibility for several crucial aspects of Australia's ongoing concerns. The title reflects the progressive philosophy that has characterized the government's stance in relation to several groups of people in recent years.

The indigenous people are, of course, Australia's renowned aborigines, whose inherent appeal has been promoted by the Crocodile Dundee movies. Like many native peoples throughout the world, these aborigines did not always fare well in their commingling with white Europeans. The Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination (OIPC), a unit of DIMIA, attempts to bring a holistic approach to the development of programs and delivery of services for the indigenous people of the country.

DIMIA and Immigration

The major focus of DIMIA is immigration and its attendant issues and laws. For 25 years, Australia has implemented a non-discriminatory policy, primarily to attract highly skilled immigrants. If they meet certain requirements for good health and non-criminal backgrounds, people can apply to immigrate regardless of sex, color, ethnic origin or religion. There are restrictions imposed regarding age and skills, and an applicant must meet criteria for fluency in English, business experience, and character.

About 100,000 people immigrate to Australia annually, and, since the end of World War II, ethnic groups have steadily increased their representation among the Australian population. The government purposefully establishes policies that will interest professional and skilled migrants. More than 21 percent of these migrants come from China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Australia is officially dedicated to multiculturalism in order to entice the most qualified people to become a part of its thriving economy.

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