History of immigration from Sudan

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Map of Sudan
Map date: 2013
The Sudan-born community although new to Victoria has grown quickly. The Victorian census first recorded Sudan-born residents in 1991, when 184 were counted. By 2001 this number had grown to almost 1000.

Since Sudan gained independence from joint British-Egyptian administration in 1956 it has been ravaged by drought, famine and war. Sudan has seen regular turnover of governments, many of them military regimes controlled by northern Sudanese interests favouring Islamic-oriented policies. Disputes with largely non-Muslim southern Sudanese over access to power and resources have resulted in two extended periods of civil war. Drought, famine, war damage and limited infrastructure in the south have hindered the return of many Sudanese refugees who fled to neighbouring countries. Australia has assisted in resettling some of the worst-affected people from the region. In July 2011, South Sudan formally obtained independence from The Republic of Sudan.

In 2011 the Sudan-born community in Victoria had grown to 6086, making it the fastest growing immigrant community in Victoria. This is contributed to by a strong family structure which encourages relatives to sponsor one another. Sudan has hundreds ethnic and tribal groups who speak diverse languages. In Victoria, the main languages spoken in the home is Arabic (52%), followed by Dinka (22%) and Nuer (4%).

The majority of the community, (78%) is Christian; more than half of those are Catholic. Another 16% of the Sudan-born community is Muslim. The community is young, with 70% under the age of 35. Of those employed, 22% are employed in clerical, sales and service roles, 20% are engaged in managerial, professional and associated roles, another 15% are production and transport workers and 6% are labourers.

20% of the community live in Brimbank, 14% in Greaer Dandenong and 10% live in Casey. The community is supported by a number of non-profit secular organisations such Sudanese Australian Integrated Learning (SAIL), and is able to access information through the Sudanese Research Centre of Australia.

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