Ugandan Australians

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Ugandan Australians
Total population
(2011 Australian Census))
Regions with significant populations
Found in New South Wales · Victoria
Australian English, Luganda
Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, Other

Ugandan Australians refers to Australian citizens who are of Ugandan descent or Ugandan-born people who migranted to Australia. The 2011 survey recorded 2,676 Ugandans in Australia.[1]


There was very little migration from Uganda before 1960. In the 1960s there was a gradual growth of Ugandans that immigrated to Australia largely for political reasons, and for many it was for further studies, predominantly graduate school. Immigration records from 1985 cite Ugandans separately from other Africans and show the arrival of 859 immigrants, most fleeing Idi Amin's terror. Of note is the fact that Afro Asian, a group encompassing all brown-skinned people, usually Indians, Pakistani, and Konkani of Goa, are counted in a separate category from Ugandans, although many of them came from Uganda. In 1976, 359 Ugandans arrived, and 241 came in 1977. Immigration fell to less than 150 each year in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a time of political stability in Uganda. In the 80s, a steady and gradual growth of Ugandans in Australia, particularly Australia grew, some migrating on the much coveted DV -lottery visa, provided through Australia federal government, for people around the world that would otherwise have no chance to migrate to Australia to apply for a residency through a lottery system. The diversity lottery is conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to Australia.

Although the reasons as to why people migrate have evolved, more recently to the political economy, the benefit thereof to today's Uganda, is indisputable.[2] The number of Ugandan refugees granted permanent residence status in the United States between 1946 and 1996 was generally less than 50 per year, with the exceptions of 1993, when 87 were admitted, and 1994, when 79 were admitted. Only ten Ugandan refugees were admitted in 1996. In 1998, 215 Ugandans were winners of the DV-99 diversity lottery.[3]


Most Ugandans who emigrate go to the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The reason for migration is based on the low economic remuneration for workers in Uganda and the low political stability of the country compared with the west. Also, many Ugandans immigrate for better educational opportunities.[3] Most people migrating come from cities, so that rural emigration is low. Ugandans who want to work in rural areas or in public practice do not usually migrate. Many nurses migrate to the United States and Canada, and formerly migrated to the UK, due to high rates of pay. Due to emigration for financial benefit there are few nurses in Uganda and 70% of them want to emigrate. Australia is perceived to have better pay and less competition to enter the country. Most students who migrate learned about opportunities for the emigration of their friends and colleagues who had already emigrated, because information on migration in Uganda isn't very accessible.[4] Immigrants with professional employment are geographically scattered, though significant communities have developed in metropolitan areas. Some newly arrived Ugandans receive assistance from Catholic Social Services and other humanitarian relief agencies. Because English is Uganda's official language, many Ugandan Australians do not face significant language barriers. Refugees who lived in rural areas, however, find Australian culture is very different from what they left behind. Australian life poses challenges for those who have not seen escalators, refrigerators, traffic lights, and scan-your-own grocery checkouts. Australia has become home to many, and although numerous Ugandans come home upon accomplishing the goals that brought them to the Australia or North America, for many its home. This has prompted them to forge solidities, associations and clubs to foster unity, brotherhood and goals to bridge and maintain connectivity to their motherland. The solidarities are based on cultural/ethnic backgrounds, with UNAA, as the umbrella association that houses all Ugandans regardless their background, creed, tribe and/or social status. The month of August will see some three major events bring together Ugandans in Australia in rather spectacular flair. These festivities include the Ttabamiruka, the International Community of Banyakigezi. The West has traditionally viewed Ugandans as passive people. Their willing servitude and non-aggressive behavior results from centuries of tribal structure that discouraged individual self-promotion. The culture of the Baganda was authoritarian, and obedience to the king was crucial. Ugandans tend to establish single-family homes where children learn reverence for God and their family. The choice of a marriage partners is up to the individual. Ugandan immigrants take part in community and school events in much the same way as other Australians. The children of Ugandan Australians assimilate into Australian culture. Most Ugandan Australians are Christians, as about two-thirds of Uganda's population is Christian. The remaining third practices indigenous religions or follows Islam.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Olivia Miller (26 November 2008). "A Countries and Their Cultures: Ugandan Americans". Countries and their cultures. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Lisa Nguyen, Steven Ropers, Esther Nderitu, Anneke Zuyderduin, Sam Luboga and Amy Hagopian (February 12, 2008). "Poverty and migration: the Uganda experience". Hum Resour Health. 6: 5. doi:10.1186/1478-4491-6-5. PMC 2275294free to read. PMID 18267034. 

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