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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002   
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Contents >> Population >> International migration

Overseas migration has played an important role in changing Australia's population. Between 1995 and 2000, 1.4 million people arrived in Australia intending to stay for one year or more (table 5.29). This includes permanent (settler) arrivals, Australian residents returning from an overseas trip of 12 months or more, and overseas visitors intending to stay 12 months or more in Australia. About 879,000 people left Australia for overseas on a permanent or long term basis in the five years to June 2000, including Australian residents emigrating or going overseas for 12 months or more, and overseas visitors leaving Australia after staying for 12 months or more. In 1999-2000, for the first time, net long-term movement made a greater contribution to net overseas migration than did net permanent movement (56,100 people compared with 51,200).

Because population estimates include permanent and long-term movers and exclude short-term movers, adjustments are required for the net effect of changes in travel intention from short-term to permanent/long-term and vice versa. For example, an Australian resident may state on departure an intention to stay abroad for less than 12 months (a short term movement). If this resident remains overseas for 12 months or more, he or she has changed travel category from short to long-term and is regarded as a category jumper. Estimates for category jumping ensure that the estimated population reflects the population who are usually resident in Australia.

5.29 NET OVERSEAS MIGRATION COMPONENTS - Five Years Ended 30 June

1985

no.
1990

no.
1995

no.
2000

no.

Arrivals
Permanent (settlers)
468,052
616,139
462,605
438,633
Long-term
Australian residents
269,673
272,723
346,239
391,295
Overseas visitors
158,983
226,047
311,384
536,297
Permanent and long-term arrivals
896,707
1,114,875
1,120,228
1,366,225
Departures
Permanent departures
109,889
108,003
142,385
166,771
Long-term
Australian residents
242,559
269,080
332,683
391,231
Overseas visitors
112,637
150,421
237,421
321,246
Permanent and long-term departures
465,093
527,501
712,489
879,248
Category jumping
11,779
70,139
–96,011
–25,231
Net overseas migration
443,393
657,513
311,728
461,746

Source: Australian Historical Population Statistics (3105.0.65.001).

There has been a significant change in the source countries of permanent arrivals, with settlers arriving from more diverse regions of the world in the late 1990s compared to the late 1960s. In the five years to June 1970 almost half (47%) of settler arrivals to Australia were born in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and the top six countries of birth represented 75% of all settler arrivals in Australia. In the five years to June 2000, the United Kingdom and Ireland contributed 12% of settlers and the top six countries of birth represented 54% of settler arrivals. New Zealand contributed the largest number of settlers in the five years to June 2000: 80,600 persons, or 18% of the total (table 5.30).

5.30 COUNTRY OF BIRTH OF SETTLER ARRIVALS - Five Years Ended 30 June

Country
’000
%

1970

United Kingdom and Ireland
369.1
47.3
Yugoslavia
63.5
8.1
Italy
62.7
8.0
Greece
56.0
7.2
Germany
18.7
2.4
United States of America
13.7
1.8
All birthplaces
781.0
100.0

1980

United Kingdom(a)
86.2
25.0
New Zealand
39.8
11.6
Viet Nam
30.6
8.9
Lebanon
18.4
5.3
South Africa
10.2
3.0
Malaysia
8.4
2.4
All birthplaces
344.7
100.0

1990

United Kingdom(a)
107.0
17.4
New Zealand
82.5
13.4
Viet Nam
38.9
6.3
Philippines
36.3
5.9
Hong Kong (SAR of China)
27.5
4.5
Malaysia
26.6
4.3
All birthplaces
616.1
100.0

2000

New Zealand
80.6
18.4
United Kingdom(a)
48.1
11.0
China (excl. SARs and Taiwan)
36.3
8.3
Former Yugoslav Republics
28.3
6.5
South Africa
21.4
4.9
India
16.4
3.7
All birthplaces
438.6
100.0

(a) Excludes Ireland.

Source: Australian Immigration - Consolidated Statistics, No. 8, 1976; ABS data available on request, Overseas Arrivals and Departures.


In 1999-2000, 92,300 people arrived in Australia intending to settle, the majority of these (57%) arriving as part of the Migration Program. Another 8% arrived as part of the Humanitarian Program, while 34% were eligible to settle in Australia because of their New Zealand citizenship. The remaining 1% were in other categories such as overseas-born children of Australian citizens.

The number of visas issued to prospective settlers varies significantly from year to year. So too does the balance between the types of visas issued. Skilled migration is a volatile component of the migration intake. Table 5.31 shows that in the six years to 1999-2000, the proportion of settlers arriving under the skilled migration category ranged from 23% in 1994-95 to 35% in 1999-2000. Of skilled migrants arriving in 1999-2000, 24% came from Europe (about three-quarters of whom were from the United Kingdom and Ireland), while South-East Asia and Africa (excluding North Africa) contributed 18% each. North-East Asia (16%) and Southern Asia (15%) also contributed relatively high proportions of skilled immigrants to Australia during 1999-2000.

In 1999-2000, 22% of settlers came as part of the family component of Australia's immigration program. The birthplaces of these immigrants partly reflect past migration patterns. About 24% were born in Europe, 23% were born in South-East Asia, and a further 18% were born in North-East Asia.

Of the 7,300 settlers arriving as part of the Humanitarian Program, 3,300 (46%) came from Europe, almost all of whom were from Southern and Eastern Europe (in particular, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia). A further 2,500 immigrants (35%) arriving on humanitarian visas were born in North Africa and the Middle East.

5.31 SETTLER ARRIVALS, By Eligibility Category

Eligibility category
1994-95
no.
1995-96
no.
1996-97
no.
1997-98
no.
1998-99
no.
1999-2000
no.

Family
37,078
46,458
36,490
21,142
21,501
19,896
Skill
20,210
20,008
19,697
25,985
27,931
32,350
Humanitarian
13,632
13,824
9,886
8,779
8,790
7,267
New Zealand
13,618
16,234
17,501
19,393
24,680
31,610
Other
2,890
2,615
2,178
2,028
1,241
1,149
Total
87,428
99,139
85,752
77,327
84,143
92,272

Source: Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Immigration Update.


Asia-born arrivals

Over the last two decades, the countries of Asia (South-East Asia, North-East Asia and Southern Asia regions) have become an increasingly important source of both settler and long-term visitor arrivals.

Before the 1970s the number of settlers from Asia was small, but following the final dismantling of the White Australia Policy in the early 1970s, and the acceptance of refugees from the Viet Nam war, the number of migrants from Asia began to increase.

Generally, the level of permanent arrivals from Asia has followed the patterns of total permanent arrivals, reflecting the constraints of the Migration and Humanitarian Programs. The number of Asia-born arrivals has fluctuated markedly, peaking in 1990-91 (60,900 arrivals) (see graph 5.32). In 1999-2000 a total of 31,100 settlers born in Asia (34% of all settler arrivals) arrived in Australia.



Graph 5.33 shows that levels of long-term visitor arrivals from Asia have increased greatly over the last ten years, after being very low during the 1970s and early 1980s. Arrivals in 1999-2000 (70,100 or 53% of all long-term visitor arrivals) were over ten times as high as in 1979-80 and almost three times as high as in 1989-90. The main reason for this growth has been the increasing number of students travelling to Australia from Asia for educational purposes. In 1999-2000 three-quarters of all Asia-born long-term visitor arrivals were for education.



Country of birth

Since the end of World War II Australia has experienced large yearly increases in population due to a combination of high fertility and high levels of migration. In 1947 the proportion of the population born overseas was 10%, but by June 2000 this proportion had increased to 24% (see table 5.39). As well as this increase, there has been a diversification of the population. In 1947, 81% of the overseas born population came from the main English speaking countries (the United Kingdom and Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and the United States), mainly from the United Kingdom and Ireland. By June 2000, only 39% of the overseas born population had been born in the main English speaking countries.

For the last few decades, the Italian, Greek and Dutch born populations in Australia have been declining. The major migration flows from these countries occurred immediately after World War II, and there has been relatively little migration more recently. As these populations have moved into the older age groups, they have experienced high numbers of deaths. Furthermore, small numbers of people are returning to their countries of birth in their retirement.

5.39 MAIN COUNTRIES OF BIRTH OF THE POPULATION

Country of birth
1901(a)

’000
1947(a)

’000
1954(a)

’000
1961(a)

’000
1971(a)

’000
1981(b)

’000
1991(b)

’000
2000(b)

’000

United Kingdom and Ireland
679.2
541.3
664.2
755.4
1,081.3
1,175.7
1,244.3
(c)1,164.1
New Zealand
25.8
43.6
43.4
47.0
74.1
175.7
286.4
374.9
Italy
5.7
33.6
119.9
228.3
288.3
285.3
272.0
241.7
Former Yugoslav Republics
n.a.
5.9
22.9
49.8
128.2
156.1
168.0
210.0
Viet Nam(d)
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
0.7
43.4
124.8
174.4
China
29.9
6.4
10.3
14.5
17.1
26.8
84.6
168.1
Greece
0.9
12.3
25.9
77.3
159.0
153.2
147.4
141.2
Philippines
n.a.
0.1
0.2
0.4
2.3
15.8
79.1
123.0
Germany
38.4
14.6
65.4
109.3
110.0
115.2
120.4
120.2
India
7.6
n.a.
12.0
14.2
28.7
43.7
66.2
110.2
Malaysia
n.a.
1.0
2.3
5.8
14.4
32.5
79.9
97.6
Netherlands
0.6
2.2
52.0
102.1
98.6
100.5
100.9
90.6
South Africa
n.a.
5.9
6.0
7.9
12.2
28.0
55.8
80.1
Lebanon
n.a.
n.a.
3.9
7.3
23.9
52.7
78.5
79.9
Poland
n.a.
6.6
56.6
60.0
59.5
62.1
69.5
68.3
Indonesia
n.a.
n.a.
3.6
6.0
7.7
16.4
35.4
67.6
United States of America
7.4
6.2
8.3
10.8
26.8
30.6
49.5
65.0
Hong Kong (SAR of China)(e)
0.2
0.8
1.6
3.5
5.4
16.3
62.4
56.3
Total overseas-born
852.4
743.2
1,285.8
1,778.3
2,545.9
3,110.9
3,965.3
4,517.3
Australia
2,908.3
6,835.2
7,700.1
8,729.4
10,173.1
11,812.3
13,318.8
14,639.8
Total population(f)
3,773.8
7,579.4
8,986.5
10,508.2
12,719.5
14,923.3
17,284.0
19,157.0

(a) Census counts.
(b) Estimated resident population at 30 June.
(c) Excludes Ireland.
(d) Includes Cambodia and Laos for 1971.
(e) Includes Macao.
(f) Includes country of birth 'Not stated' and 'At sea' for 1901 to 1971.

Source: Australian Historical Population Statistics (3105.0.65.001); Migration, Australia (3412.0).


Population estimates for 2000 identified 24% of the population as overseas-born. The 1996 Census showed that 27% of persons born in Australia had at least one overseas-born parent; that is, they were second generation Australians. The variety and size of second generation populations reflect past migration and intermarriage patterns. In long established overseas-born populations, such as those from the United Kingdom and Ireland, and from northern and southern Europe, second generation Australians account for more than half of the total population. In more recently arrived groups, such as persons born in Viet Nam and China, second generation Australians form a smaller part of the birthplace group. This is illustrated in table 5.40.

5.40 FIRST AND SECOND GENERATION AUSTRALIANS - 1996(a)

Country
Overseas-born
’000
Second generation
Australians
’000
Total
’000

United Kingdom
1,072.6
1,444.5
2,517.0
Italy
238.2
333.9
572.1
New Zealand
291.4
200.0
491.4
Former Yugoslav Republics
175.4
131.3
306.7
Greece
126.5
153.9
280.5
Germany
110.3
139.3
249.6
Netherlands
87.9
142.5
230.4
Viet Nam
151.1
46.8
197.8
Lebanon
70.2
82.6
152.8
Ireland
51.5
95.1
146.6
China
111.0
40.2
151.2
Philippines
92.9
35.2
128.1
India
77.6
43.8
121.3
Malaysia
76.3
30.6
106.8
South Africa
55.8
28.1
83.9
Total
3,901.9
3,365.5
7,267.4

(a) 1996 Census counts, not estimated resident population.

Source: ABS data available on request, 1996 Census of Population and Housing.


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