Per capita, more migrants are also willing to become Australian than American citizens, because Australia does not ask future citizens to give up existing citizenships. “A lot of people immigrate to the United States but don't take up American citizenship for a host of reasons. Citizenship is very personal. It's like religion”, Ed says.
For instance, between 2021 and 2022, a total of 167,232 people became Australian citizens, with the majority coming from India, the United Kingdom and the Philippines.
“Citizenship is an emotional bond that is hard to break. In the United States, people are less willing to do that. If you are unable to break the emotional ties with your country of origin, you may not be as committed to your host country,” Ed says.
“So psychologically, if you have taken up citizenship, you switch your frame of reference. It’s very symbolic. Psychologically it means, ‘I'm going to get to know my Australian neighbours better. I'm an Australian now.”
Citizenship has other positive effects as well. “People who become citizens integrate better,” Ed says. “They seek out other Australians, and in the act of doing so, it strengthens their networks, it improves their English, and they also learn the Australian way of doing things.”
Training researchers at JCU Singapore
Skilled migration to Australia is only one of the topics that Ed, who is a Canadian born in Singapore, is interested in. Ed currently works as a Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Queen’s University in Canada and is a visiting Professor at JCU Singapore. With ten years of experience in writing research papers and about 8,700 citations, Ed helps JCU researchers to get started with their own careers.
“For JCU Singapore, I do workshops with early career researchers and doctoral students, for example, about how to get published, or about the research process, and research topics that are of interest,” Ed says. He adds that his appointment contributes to a strong research culture at JCU Singapore, which led to the AACSB business accreditation, which is an important certification for business degrees worldwide.
The future: Researching migrant underemployment
When it comes to future projects, Ed and his colleagues are still interested in international skilled migration to Australia. “We track a lot of migrants. They come here highly skilled, better educated and better trained than native born Australians. Despite this, it takes them longer to find employment or they are often under employed,” he says. Ed hopes that not only future employers, but also those that will be migrating to Australia in the years to come, will benefit from the research outcomes.