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3413.0 - Migrant Statistics News, Apr 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/04/2010   
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FUTURE DIRECTIONS FOR ABS MIGRATION STATISTICS

Through the information provided in this Newsletter and via the 'Migrant & Ethnicity' topics page on the ABS Website, most readers would have a good grasp of the current activities of the ABS National Migrant Statistics Unit (NMSU). Similarly, this and previous editions of the Newsletter have outlined specific upcoming projects that the NMSU plans to undertake. But what does the bigger picture look like? What are the key themes that will underpin the NMSU's work program over the medium to long-term? Essentially, what sorts of things can you expect us to focus on moving forward?

The NMSU views its role as leading the development of migrant statistics in Australia to better position policy makers and planners to meet emerging challenges related to migrants and migration. In the context of this role, key initiatives for the NMSU over the medium to longer term will include:

  • Identifying, developing and utilising administrative data for statistical purposes - Due to the small, dispersed nature of Australia's migrant population standard survey techniques will only ever be able to provide a partial picture of the characteristics and experiences of this group. One obvious way to complete the picture is to better utilise the information relevant to migrants that already exists in a wide range of administrative sources. The first step in this process will be updating the existing Guide to Migrant Statistical Sources (cat. no. 3414.0) to ensure that new and emerging sources are included. This activity will lead to work to further develop selected sources for statistical purposes, and ultimately, their potentially greater use in ABS migrant research.
  • Application of advanced data development and analytical techniques - Following the 2006 Census of Population and Housing the ABS successfully linked de-identified information from the Census to information from the Settlement Database maintained by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Two articles utilising these data, that focus on Humanitarian migrants and labour force outcomes are currently in the pipeline, with further research planned. Options to undertake a similar linking exercise using the 2011 Census are currently being explored. Looking further ahead such work could also open up the potential for future data integration utilising other data sources. In addition to this work, advanced statistical modelling techniques provide scope for more sophisticated analysis of currently available data, for example, by utilising known information about the relationship between visa category and other characteristics to model visa-coded output from other sources.
  • Improved Standards and Classifications - Various standards and classifications relevant to migrant statistics currently exist, including the Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (cat. no. 1249.0); however, due to the dynamic nature of Australia's migration program it is important to continually assess their relevance and applicability. This will also include looking at ways to better collect migrant data, for example through the development of standard questionnaire modules that can be 'plugged-in' to new and existing surveys.
  • Improving access to existing data and research - Reviews of the current NMSU product suite, including the Perspectives on Migrants series (cat. no. 3416.0) and the Migrant Data Matrices (cat no. 3415.0) are currently underway. Options to improve and expand on the migrant data we provide, either through enhancing existing products or via new outputs, will continue to be explored.

As always we are happy to receive your feedback and suggestions on our work via <migrant.statistics.unit@abs.gov.au>.

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