3412.0 - Migration, Australia, 2008-09 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/07/2010   
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Contents >> Main Features >> Net overseas migration (NOM)

Net overseas migration (NOM)

  • Over the past three years, NOM has more than doubled from 146,800 persons in 2005-06 to a preliminary NOM estimate of 298,900 persons in 2008-09, the highest on record for a financial year. The increase is partially due to a change in methodology introduced after 30 June 2006. However, the main driver during this period has been the substantial growth in temporary visa arrivals to Australia's shores.
  • Temporary migration has become increasingly important with more international students, business entrants, working holiday makers and other long-term visitors staying in Australia for periods up to four years or more.
  • Australia's total population growth rate for 2008-09 was 2.1% with NOM contributing 1.4% to this growth.
  • During 2008-09, NOM contributed the greatest number of people to the most populous states: New South Wales with a net of 89,500 persons, followed by Victoria (81,200) and Queensland (58,000). The Northern Territory had the lowest with a net gain of 1,900 persons.
  • Population turnover due to overseas migration (gross overseas flows in relation to size of the population) was the highest in Western Australia in 2008-09 at 4.4%.
  • In 2008-09, persons aged 15-34 years comprised 67% of NOM compared to 28% of Australia's total population. Persons aged 0-14 years comprised 16% of NOM and 19% of Australia's population, and persons aged 65 years and over comprised just 0.3% of NOM but 13% of Australia's population.
  • An individual's actual true travel behaviour and associated characteristics are only available from final NOM data. Final NOM data can only be accurately recorded at the end of a 16 month reference period following a traveller's initial border crossing.
  • Based on final NOM data from 2007-08 (a net of 277,300 persons), temporary visa holders contributed by far the most to NOM with 67% (a net of 186,500 persons) of the total NOM figure for the year. At a distant second were permanent arrivals at 31% (a net of 86,400). New Zealand citizens contributed 13% (a net of 36,100) to NOM, whereas Australian citizens, with a negative input to NOM figures, contributed -7% (a negative net of -20,300) to NOM in 2007-08.
  • Traditionally, Australian citizens have a net negative input to NOM figures as more Australians depart from the country each year than return.
  • In 2007-08, international students made up the largest group of temporary visa holders contributing to NOM, resulting in a net of 108,700 students, or 39% of NOM for the year. Within this group of students, those travelling on higher education visas were the largest group contributing to NOM with 57,500 students representing 21% of the total NOM figure. The vocational education and training sector represented 10% (27,400 students) whereas all other student visas accounted for 9% (23,900 students) of the total NOM figure for 2007-08.
  • Of the countries of birth contributing to self reported temporary NOM arrivals in 2007-08, India added the most to the population with 43,100 persons arriving, followed by China (37,900 persons), the United Kingdom (28,200 persons) and New Zealand (23,600 persons).
  • Chapter 4 provides an overview of the recent changes undertaken to improve NOM estimation and reduce the large revisions to ERP.

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