An Australian resident is self-defined as reported by travellers when completing an incoming or outgoing passenger card.
Category of movement
Overseas Arrivals and Departures are classified according to length of stay (in Australia or overseas), recorded in months and days by travellers on passenger cards. There are three main categories of movement:
- permanent movements;
- long-term movements (one year or more); and
- short-term movements (less than one year).
A significant number of travellers (i.e. overseas visitors to Australia on arrival and Australian residents going abroad) state exactly 12 months or one year as their intended period of stay. Many of them stay for less than that period and on their departure from, or return to, Australia are therefore classified as short-term. Accordingly in an attempt to maintain consistency between arrivals and departures, movements of travellers who report their actual or intended period of stay as being one year exactly are randomly allocated to long-term or short-term, in proportion to the number of movements of travellers who report their actual length of stay as up to one month more, or one month less, than one year.
Country of residence
Country of residence refers to the country in which travellers regard themselves as living or as last having lived.
Intended length of stay
On arrival in Australia, all overseas visitors are asked to state their ‘intended length of stay in Australia’. On departure from Australia, all Australian residents are asked to state their ‘intended length of stay abroad’.
Long-term arrivals comprise:
- overseas visitors who intend to stay in Australia for 12 months or more (but not permanently); and
- Australian residents returning after an absence of 12 months or more overseas.
Long-term departures comprise:
- Australian residents who intend to stay abroad for 12 months or more (but not permanently); and
- overseas visitors departing who stayed 12 months or more in Australia.
Australian residents travelling overseas are asked on departure for the name of the country in which they intend to spend most time.
Main reason for journey
On arrival in, or departure from, Australia all overseas visitors and Australian residents are asked to state their purpose of journey. From September 1994, all statistics relating to main reason for journey have been published using the following categories:
- visiting friends/relatives
In tabulations of data collected before September 1994, the 'other' category included 'in transit' and the 'holiday' category included both 'student vacation' and 'accompanying business visitor'.
Overseas Arrivals and Departures
Overseas Arrivals and Departures refer to the arrival or departure of Australian residents or overseas visitors, through Australian airports (or sea ports), which have been recorded on incoming or outgoing passenger cards. Statistics on Overseas Arrivals and Departures relate to the number of movements of travellers rather than the number of travellers (i.e. the multiple movements of individual persons during a given reference period are all counted).
Permanent arrivals (settlers) comprise:
- travellers who hold migrant visas (regardless of stated intended period of stay);
- New Zealand citizens who indicate an intention to settle; and
- those who are otherwise eligible to settle (e.g. overseas born children of Australian citizens).
This definition of settlers is used by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). Prior to 1985 the definition of settlers used by the ABS was the stated intention of the traveller only. Numerically the effect of the change in definition is insignificant. The change was made to avoid the confusion caused by minor differences between data on settlers published separately by the ABS and DIAC.
Permanent departures are Australian residents (including former settlers) who on departure state that they intend to settle permanently in another country.
Short-term arrivals comprise:
- overseas visitors whose intended stay in Australia is less than 12 months; and
- Australian residents returning after a stay of less than 12 months overseas.
Short-term departures comprise:
State where spent most time
- Australian residents who intend to stay abroad for less than 12 months; and
- overseas visitors departing after a stay of less than 12 months in Australia.
Overseas visitors are asked on departure for the name of the state or territory in which they spent the most time. This differs from 'state of clearance' which is available on request.