Jisun Kim

Postgraduate Research

Graduation Year: 2011

Research Area: Families & Communities

Research Topic: Korean immigrants' experience with Australian welfare services
Supervisor: Prof Peter Saunders

Jisun was awarded an MA by Research.

Description: This study provides an empirical investigation of the Korean immigrants’ experiences of welfare services in Australia. It seeks to examine two important underlying questions: what are the factors that influence or affect Korean immigrants’ access to and usage of certain welfare services in Australia; and what is the nature of Korean immigrants’ experiences of Australian welfare services? The answers are given in the final summing-up of the major findings. In order to explore the experiences of Korean immigrants using welfare services in practice, in-depth interviews and focus groups with 17 Korean immigrants in Australia were conducted. The participants included both users and providers of childcare and housing services, and the interviews yield rich narratives that provide an interesting perspective of the issues addressed. To understand fully Korean immigrants’ experiences of using welfare services in Australia, the factors that influence their access to welfare services are examined. Language issues are discussed by exploring how language barriers prevent Korean immigrants from accessing welfare services. Networking issues among Korean immigrants in relation to the cultural attitudes, and the lack of information about services are also investigated. In particular, this study points out the cultural attitudes of Korean immigrants by examining fear of self-disclosure and stigmatisation, distrust of services and different expectations of welfare. The study uses welfare state regime theory to address the distinct welfare usage patterns of Korean immigrants in their country of settlement, point out the limitation of previous theories to examine the practical aspects of welfare services. In addition, the study examines whether or not the community organisations for Korean immigrants provide appropriate services which reflect the concept of multiculturalism. This component of the study focuses on Korean immigrants’ experiences of the Australian-Korean Welfare Association, Centrelink interpreter services, Relationships Australia and Korean churches. Key findings relate to: the positive and negative features of services, such as the attitudes of service providers, accessibility of services, and organisational capacity. The findings are also discussed in relation to the concept of multiculturalism by looking to see if the community organisations pursue multiculturalism in practice. The policy suggestions and recommendations offered by the interview participants are also included as an adjunct to this study on welfare policy for Korean immigrants in Australia.  

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