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3129.0 - Demography Working Paper 2001/7 - Statistical Requirements for Overseas Arrivals and Departures Data at September 2001, 2001  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/11/2001   
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INTRODUCTION

This document outlines statistical requirements for overseas arrivals and departures data and covers the major uses, item justification and outward passenger card. The outward passenger card is specifically addressed, as questions on the justification for such card have been raised in the context of a proposal to combine Australian and New Zealand passenger cards.

Information provided by incoming and outgoing passenger cards currently represents the major source of overseas arrivals and departures data.


MAJOR USES

Overseas arrivals and departures data are mainly used to compile statistics on Australia's population, balance of payments and international tourism.

Estimates of the Australian population are used for a number of important public purposes including setting the number of seats for each State in the House of Representatives and the allocation of funds to the States. Estimates of the resident population by country of birth and by registered marital status are also produced. In the five-year period 1996-2000, there were 1.4 million long-term and permanent arrivals in, and 0.9 million long-term and permanent departures from Australia.

Overseas arrivals and departures data are an important, and timely, source of data for Australia's balance of payments transactions (International Trade in Goods and Services (ABS Cat. no. 5368.0) and Balance of Payments and International Investment Position (Cat. no. 5302.0)). These data are mainly used in the compilation of travel services (broken down into business, education-related and other) and compensation of employees (earnings in Australia and abroad) estimates. In 2000-01, the value of transactions calculated using overseas arrivals and departures data represented about 11 per cent of all credits and 7 per cent of all debits in Australia's current account. Overseas arrivals and departures data are also used in the estimation of migrants' transfers credits in the Capital Account. In addition overseas arrivals and departures data are indirectly used as input to other balance of payments calculations.

Travel estimates also use per capita expenditure data from the International Visitors Survey conducted by the Bureau of Tourism Research (which uses overseas arrivals and departures data) and the Survey of Returned Australian Travellers conducted by the the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Passenger cards are essential for the Survey of Returned Australian Travellers as they are used to define the survey's population and to select a representative sample.

International tourism in Australia is currently experiencing rapid growth. Overseas arrivals and departures data are required by Governments to examine the impact of tourism on policy issues such as infrastructure and the labour market, monitor and analyse tourism trends for tourism marketing strategies and establish future directions. Providers of services such as airlines and other transport groups, tourist attractions, hotel groups and tourism retailers are major users of overseas arrivals and departures data which are required, with other sources of data, for market research. In 1997-98, international tourism contributed $5.3 billion, or 1 % of Gross Domestic Product (Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account (ABS Cat. no. 5249.0)).

For international tourism, overseas arrivals and departures data are critical to the operation of the International Visitors Survey conducted by the Bureau of Tourism Research.


ITEM JUSTIFICATION

Each data item collected for overseas arrivals and departures is discussed below, with the exception of Family name, Given names and questions asked on customs and excise, quarantine, currency, health and character included on incoming passenger cards and the currency question on outgoing passenger cards, for which there are no statistical requirements.

The collection of data from travellers on both arrival and departure is important for timely data on all types of movements, and for the identification of 'category jumpers' (travellers whose travel intentions changed from short-term to permanent or long-term or vice versa) which affect estimates of the population. Although the incoming and outgoing passenger cards are very similar, of the 17 data items discussed in this paper, only six data items, relating to personal characteristics, are collected from identical questions on both cards. The remaining data items are collected from questions which are different but equivalent on incoming and outgoing cards. These relate to the characteristics of the particular journey.

The sources of data are the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Travel and Immigration Processing System (TRIPS), passenger cards and passenger cards batch headers.


OVERSEAS ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES DATA FROM DEPARTMENT OF IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS

SUMMARY OF SOURCES AND STATISTICAL USES

DATA ITEMSOURCEQUESTION WORDING ON PASSENGER CARDSUSES
Citizenship (Nationality)TRIPS for those travelling on a visa.
Passenger cards for other travellers.
Q. Nationality/Citizenship as shown in passportUsed as basis for sample stratification for short-term movements.

Formulating and monitoring of numerous government policies and programs relating to migrants.
Country of BirthTRIPS for those travelling on a visa.Q. Country of BirthThe one stable geographic reference through a person's life, it enables an understanding of types of people who are moving that citizenship does not give.

Allows estimation of Australian population by country of birth for intercensal years.

Formulating and monitoring of numerous government policies and programs relating to migrants.
Age (Date of birth)TRIPS for those travelling on a visa.
Passenger cards for other travellers Eg New Zealand citizens and Australian passport holders.
Q. Date of birth (day, month, year)
Used to calculate age in completed years.

Age and sex variables widely used with other traveller characteristics by statistical, immigration and tourism authorities.

Age and sex variables used for permanent and long-term movements in production of accurate population estimates.

Age and sex variables used indirectly in balance of payments calculations.
SexTRIPS for those travelling on a visa.Q. Sex (Male/female)
Marital statusTRIPS for those travelling on a visa (not available for Australian or New Zealand citizens) Registered marital status is a basic demographic characteristic.

Data is used by ABS in production of an estimated resident population by marital status series.

Useful in regard to marital dissolution as a precipitator of migration.

Used in research of characteristics of tourists.
Category of travelPassenger cardsIncoming Passenger Card:
Q. Please x and answer A or B or C:

A Migrating permanently to Australia
B Visitor or temporary entrant
C Resident returning to Australia

Do you intend to live in Australia for the next 12 months?

Outgoing Passenger Card
Q. Please x and answer D or E or F:

D Visitor or temporary entrant departing
E Australian resident departing temporarily
F Australian resident departing permanently

See also Intended length of stay and Actual length of stay below
This is the fundamental classification to meaningfully interpret the data and allow the differentiation between short-term, long-term visitor or resident movements and permanent movements for arrivals and departures.

Federal, State and Local Government require information by type of movement for decision making, such as tourism, infrastructure etc.

Government and private tourism authorities are interested in short-term movements for policy, market research, promotional campaigns etc.

Accurate data required on those 'migrating' to Australia who do not need a visa eg New Zealand citizens

Impacts on the derivation of travel and unrequited transfer estimates used in balance of payments.

Data required to align with balance of payments concepts of residents and non-residents.
Intended length of stayPassenger cardsIncoming Passenger Card:
Q. Your intended length of stay in Australia - years, months OR days
(visitor or temporary migrant)

Outgoing Passenger Card:
Q. Intended length of stay overseas years, months OR days
(residents departing temporarily)
Categorises movements into short and long-term. Movements of more than one year and a % of movements of one year exactly are treated as long-term and are included in population estimates.

Data required to align with balance of payments concepts of residents and non-residents.

Used to assess 'category jumpers' for population estimates.

Government authorities and other parties are interested in Intended length of stay for education and employment purposes.

Government and private tourism authorities are interested in Intended length of stay of visitors.
Actual length of stayTRIPSUsed for number of travellers and migrants for input into balance of payments.

Data required to align with balance of payments concepts of residents and non-residents.

Helps to classify type of movement and is important for the accurate compilation of population estimates.

Government authorities and other parties are interested in Intended length of stay for education and employment purposes.

Required to assess the extent of category jumping.

Users requiring data on tourism use this information.
Main reason for journeyPassenger cardsQ. Your main reason for coming to Australia/ Main reason for overseas travel (x one only)
Convention/conference
Business
Visiting friends or relatives
Employment
Education
Exhibition
Holiday
Other
Information is used by Government tourism authorities for stratifying survey samples (International Visitors Survey conducted by the Bureau of Tourism Research).

For tourism purposes this is the single most important item on the passenger card.

Separate identification of students (using Education response) is very important for balance of payment calculations as separate expenditure estimates of people travelling to and from Australia for educational purposes are published.

Government authorities and other parties are interested in reason for journey for education and employment purposes.
CountryPassenger cards. For a visitor or temporary entrant departing, the country of residence is derived from the incoming passenger card.Incoming Passenger Card:
Q. Country where you spent most time abroad
(resident returning to Australia)

Q. Your country of residence
(visitors)

Outgoing Passenger Card:
Q. Country where you will spend most time abroad
(Australian residents departing temporarily)

Q. What is your country of future residence
(Australian residents departing permanently)
Used to cross-classify with types of movement.

Country of residence of visitors is critical for tourism research.

Country where you will spend most time abroad is used for tourism research.

Country of future residence data are used indirectly in balance of payments calculations.

Permanent and long-term movements are useful in monitoring population flows to and from Australia.
OccupationPassenger cards (not available for short-term movements)Q.What is your usual occupation?Used to monitor the supply and demand for labour and supplies input to the development of various policies and programs by Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business (DEWRSB) and DIMA.
State or Territory of intended address
Incoming passenger card
Q. Intended address in Australia.Regional information important for tourism analysis and governments.

State level details for permanent and long-term travellers required for population estimates purposes.

Following census years residents returning to Australia who were absent at the time of the census are coded down to the Statistical Local Area level for population estimate purposes.

Full address is required for details of overseas expenditure for the purposes of Balance of Payments calculations, and for surveys of returning travellers.

Balance of Payments require the full address to conduct the Survey of Returned Australian Travellers.

State or Territory of intended address is a high priority for permanent and long-term movements.
State in which most time spent/State or Territory livedOutgoing passenger cardQ. City or State where you spent most time (visitors)

Q. In which State do you live (Australian residents departing temporarily)

Q. In which State did you live (Australian residents departing permanently)
Important for government and tourist authorities.

Area details for permanent and long-term travellers are used for population estimates at the State and Territory level.
Arrival/departure datePassenger cards batch headers
Date of movement recorded on TRIPS database.

Date recorded on passenger cards.
This is a fundamental classification. Date of movement is used to classify movements by month, quarter and year.

Used with date of birth to calculate age at movement.

This information is widely used by statistical, immigration and tourism authorities.
Flight Number/Name of ShipPassenger cards batch headersQ. Flight number or name of ship.Used for administrative purposes monitoring airline agreements.

Useful in enabling quality checks to be undertaken on the processing of the cards.
Country of embarkation/
disembarkation
Passenger cardsIncoming Passenger card:
Q. In which country did you board this flight or ship?


Outgoing Passenger card:
Q. Country where you will get off this flight
Of use to tourism authorities.
Airport/Port of arrival/departurePassenger cards batch headersProvides detail on traffic for the benefit of airports, hotels, tourist authorities.


THE OUTWARD PASSENGER CARD

Statistical issues

The outward passenger card provides data on all long-term and permanent departures from Australia which are essential to maintain the accuracy of State/Territory population estimates. The population estimates are used for a number of very important and politically sensitive purposes, including for electoral determinations and the distribution of funds to the States. In the five-year period 1992-96, there were 0.7 million long-term and permanent departures from Australia. Correctly estimating the number of departures and the distribution by State is crucial to the accuracy of State/Territory population estimates. No alternative source of this information is available.

The Census and Statistics Act 1905 requires the Australian Statistician to compile and publish population estimates on a quarterly basis. This requirement was included in the Act following a High Court decision in the Electoral Case (Attorney-General Cth; Ex rel. McKinley v The Commonwealth (1975) 135 CLR1). An opinion of the Law Officers at that time said that "it necessarily follows that the States' respective populations be reliably determined". Any decision which might impact on this reliability would need to take into account whether the change afforded grounds for the High Court to hold that the number of each State's members in the House of Representatives is not in proportion to its population, as required by the Constitution. In this regard, an addition of just 656 people in the ACT's population would have given it three rather than two seats at the February 1997 electoral re-distribution.

Population estimates are required for the administration of A New Tax System (Commonwealth-State Financial Arrangements) Act 1999 and the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995. Estimates of State/Territory populations directly impacted on the allocation of $35 billion in 2000-2001. If the data from passenger cards had not been available in the period 1992-96 and ABS had to rely on an assumption such as departures were distributed in accordance with State populations, then the resulting inaccuracy in the population estimates would have led to New South Wales being over-allocated by $132 million, Western Australia by $27 million and ACT by $44 million over the five year period. The remaining States would have been under-allocated.

The outward passenger card enables the identification of permanent departures separately from long-term departures. This information is needed to determine the net permanent migration gain from year to year. It is important that the Government knows the extent to which permanent departures are likely to offset permanent arrivals in its annual setting of the Migration Program. The outward passenger card also provides data on the occupation (skills) of permanently departing residents. While some substitute data are available, without passenger card data the Government's ability to determine the skills requirements and composition of the annual Migration Program would be compromised. Tourism uses of data captured from the outward passenger card include reason for journey and country of stay for residents departing temporarily.

Other issues

On administrative uses, the outward passenger card provides fall back in the event of system failure and is used in administration of Australia's currency laws. The Australian Customs Service in 1998 advised that the current outward passenger card has a negligible affect on the time taken for passenger processing.

Past proposals to combine Australian and New Zealand cards have not succeeded because of administrative reasons. Given these administrative reasons can be resolved and if all the Australian statistical requirements are met, ABS would have no objection to a combined card. However, ABS notes that there is not enough space on one card of the current size to collect all Australian and New Zealand data required for each of the country’s migration statistics and that changes to definitions would be required.

Demography Program
Australian Bureau of Statistics
September 2001

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