Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Catalogue Number
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
3417.0 - Understanding Migrant Outcomes - Enhancing the Value of Census Data, Australia, 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/11/2013  First Issue
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


Introduction

The Australian Census of Population and Housing provides a wealth of information about migrants living in Australia. Until now, the only migrant related data items on the Census were Country of birth, Year of arrival and variables such as English language proficiency, Citizenship and Ancestry. However, there are certain questions that the Census data and other sources alone cannot answer. A number of key questions relate to the relationship between a migrant’s visa status and other entry conditions and the quality of their outcomes after arrival.

By integrating 2011 Census data with information from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's (DIAC) Settlement Data Base (SDB) using probabilistic linking, we have now been able to produce a new enhanced dataset, the Migrants CDE Integrated Dataset, 2011. For the first time, the settlement outcomes of recent migrants can be cross classified by their entry conditions, such as visa stream, whether they applied onshore or offshore, and whether they were a main or secondary applicant.

The Migrants Census Data Enhancement project brings together the breadth of the 2011 Census data with administrative information on permanent migrants who arrived in Australia between 1 January 2000 and 9 August 2011 from DIAC's SDB. This project will contribute significantly to the pool of migrant data available in Australia to assist in the development and evaluation of migrant programs and support services now and into the future. We can now answer questions about migrants with evidence based data that up until now has not been available. For example, the integrated dataset enables variations in the labour market and other socioeconomic outcomes for different migrant groups to be more readily identified and understood.

On Census night 2011, there were 1.3 million permanent migrants who had arrived in Australia according to DIAC's SDB since 1 January 2000 (See Explanatory Notes 6 - 8 for further information); 716,793 (56%) through the Skilled stream, 418,553 (33%) via the Family stream, and 138,355 (11%) arrived under the Humanitarian stream.


Onshore/offshore applicant status

Over two thirds of all migrants who had arrived since 1 January 2000 were offshore applicants (67%) whilst the remaining third were onshore applicants. Of the 1.3 million permanent arrivals during this time, 22% were Skilled stream onshore migrants, 8.2% Family stream onshore migrants and 1.9% Humanitarian stream onshore migrants. Offshore arrivals in the Skilled stream accounted for 34%, 25% in the Family stream and 9.0% in the Humanitarian stream.


GRAPH 1: Proportion of migrants by visa stream, by location, all permanent migrants - 2011

GRAPH 1: Proportion of migrants by visa stream, by location, all permanent migrants - 2011


Three quarters (75%) of migrants who had arrived in Australia since 1 January 2000 were from non main English-speaking countries (offshore 51%, onshore 24%) while 24% were from main English-speaking countries (offshore 15%, onshore 8.8%).

Most Humanitarian stream applicants were from non main English speaking countries (offshore 97%, onshore 98%).


Main/secondary applicant status

The 'main applicant' is generally the person whose skills or proposed activities in Australia are assessed by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) as part of their visa application. They will usually have been specifically identified on the application form as the 'main applicant'.

The 'secondary applicant' is a person whose visa was granted on the basis of being the family member (e.g. spouse, dependent child) of a person who qualified for a visa. They will have been identified on the visa application as an 'other' or secondary applicant with the person who met the visa criteria being specifically identified on the visa application as the 'main applicant'. Secondary applicants are included in the same visa stream as the main applicant. For example, family members granted permanent visas where the main applicant has been granted a Skilled stream visa, will all enter Australia under a Skilled stream visa.

Main applicants accounted for over half (59%) of all migrants who arrived in Australia since 1 January 2000, whilst the remainder (41%) were secondary applicants. In terms of all arrivals, 28% entered Australia as main applicants within the Family stream, 26% as main applicants in the Skilled stream and 4.2% as main applicants in the Humanitarian stream.

While the proportion of main applicants in the Skilled and Family streams was comparable there were quite pronounced differences in the context of secondary applicant arrivals. Secondary visa applicants in the Skilled stream accounted for 30% of all arrivals while secondary visa applicants in the Family stream accounted for 4.9% of all arrivals. Secondary applicants in the Humanitarian stream accounted for 6.6% of all arrivals during the reference period.

GRAPH 2: Proportion of migrants by visa stream, by applicant status, all permanent migrants - 2011

GRAPH 2: Proportion of migrants by visa stream, by applicant status, all permanent migrants - 2011

Age by location and applicant status

Australia's Skilled stream migration program preselects for people who are of working age. Within the Skilled stream, 66% of onshore applicants were in the 25 to 44 year age group while 50% of offshore applicants were in the same age group. Within the Family stream, 73% of onshore applicants and 57% of offshore applicants were in the same 25 to 44 year age group. In contrast, 57% of onshore and 35% of offshore applicants in the Humanitarian stream were in this age group.

There was a greater proportion (33%) of permanent migrants in the Humanitarian stream in the younger age groups of 0 to 19 years of age than in the other migration streams. However, there was quite a contrast in terms of whether the person was an onshore or offshore visa applicant with 14% of onshore applicants in the Humanitarian stream being aged 0 to 19 years while the proportion for offshore applicants was 36%. Overall, 24% of Skilled stream and 11% of Family stream arrivals were in the 0 to 19 year age group.

Within the 65 years and over age group, the Family stream had the highest proportion with 5.8% of arrivals compared with 2.6% for the Humanitarian stream and less than one per cent for the Skilled stream.

GRAPH 3: Proportion of migrants by age, by location, by visa stream, all permanent migrants - 2011

GRAPH 3: Proportion of migrants by age, by location, by visa stream, all permanent migrants - 2011
Source: Migrants CDE Integrated Dataset, 2011

The age profile of those migrants who arrived in Australia since 1 January 2000 shows a different picture when considered from a main versus secondary applicant perspective. For main visa applicants, the majority of all migrants, regardless of visa stream, fell within the 25 to 44 years of age range. Main applicants aged 25 to 44 years of age in the Skilled stream accounted for 80% of Skilled stream main applicant arrivals, compared with 69% for main applicants in the Family stream and 61% for main applicants in the Humanitarian stream.

However, there were observable differences between the visa streams for secondary applicants. For Skilled stream secondary applicants, 44% were aged between 0 and 19 years of age and 36% were aged 25 to 44 years. This compares with the Family and Humanitarian streams where the 0 to 19 year age group accounted for 52% and 51% respectively while the 25 to 44 years age group accounted for 11% of Family stream secondary applicants and 25% of Humanitarian stream secondary applicants.

GRAPH 4: Proportion of migrants by age, by applicant status, by visa stream, all permanent migrants - 2011

GRAPH 4: Proportion of migrants by age, by applicant status, by visa stream, all permanent migrants - 2011
Source: Migrants CDE Integrated Dataset, 2011


Employment

Most (81%) Skilled stream migrants aged 15 years and over who have arrived since 1 January 2000 were in the labour force on Census night 2011 with 76% employed (54% full-time, 18% part-time). Of those employed Skilled stream migrants, 37% were aged between 25 and 34 years, while 36% were aged 35 to 44 years. By comparison, 62% of Family stream migrants and 40% of Humanitarian stream migrants were in the labour force. Less than a fifth of Skilled stream migrants (19%) were not in the labour force, while 37% of Family stream migrants and over half (56%) of Humanitarian stream migrants were not in the labour force. Only 4.9% of Skilled stream migrants were unemployed, compared with 6.4% of Family stream migrants and 8.7% of Humanitarian stream migrants.

There were observable differences in labour force status depending upon whether the migrant was a main applicant or a secondary applicant.

For migrants in the Skilled stream:
  • 87% of main applicants were employed, while 8.6% were not in the labour force and 3.5% were unemployed.
  • 61% of secondary applicants were employed, while 32% were not in the labour force and 6.7% were unemployed.

For migrants in the Family stream:
  • 58% of main applicants were employed, while 34% were not in the labour force and 6.3% were unemployed.
  • 36% of secondary applicants were employed, while 55% were not in the labour force and 7.0% were unemployed.

For migrants in the Humanitarian stream:
  • 37% of main applicants were employed, while 50% were not in the labour force and 9.1% were unemployed.
  • 27% of secondary applicants were employed, while 62% were not in the labour force and 8.3% were unemployed.
GRAPH 5: Labour force status, by visa stream, permanent migrants 15 years and over - 2011



GRAPH 5: Labour force status, by visa stream, permanent migrants 15 years and over - 2011



Income

In general, Skilled stream migrants aged 15 years and over had higher incomes per week than migrants in the Family and Humanitarian streams. Almost 21% of Skilled stream migrants had an income exceeding $1,500 per week compared with 8.3% of Family stream migrants and 1.3% of Humanitarian stream migrants.

Conversely, Humanitarian stream migrants aged 15 years and over generally had lower weekly incomes than people in the other two streams. Over 72% of Humanitarian stream migrants had incomes of less than $600 per week. This compared with 58% of Family stream migrants and 38% of Skilled stream migrants.

The most common (21%) weekly income range for Skilled stream migrants was $600 - $999 per week. Most Family stream migrants (22%) had a negative or nil income with another fifth also in the lowest income group ($1 - $299 per week). For Humanitarian stream migrants almost 42% were in the lowest income group ($1 - $299 per week) whilst 21% earned between $300-$599 per week.

GRAPH 6: Individual weekly income, by visa stream, permanent migrants 15 years and over - 2011



GRAPH 6: Individual weekly income, by visa stream, permanent migrants 15 years and over - 2011



Proficiency in English

Over one third (35%) of Skilled stream migrants aged 5 years and over spoke only English. This compares with 29% of Family stream migrants. As most Humanitarian stream migrants were not born in main English speaking countries, their self reported English proficiency was likely to be lower than for other migrant groups. The integrated data showed that only 4.9% of Humanitarian stream migrants spoke only English.

In addition, almost 60% of Skilled stream migrants spoke English either very well or well in addition to speaking another language. This is not surprising given the English language proficiency requirements associated with a main applicant's application for a Skilled stream visa.

The proportion of Family stream migrants who spoke English very well or well where another language was spoken was 52%.

Although most Humanitarian stream migrants come from non main English speaking countries, this does not necessarily mean that they are not proficient in English. While the proportion of Humanitarian stream migrants speaking only English was low, almost 62% indicated that they spoke English very well or well. However, 30% of Humanitarian stream migrants said they didn't speak English well or at all, which was substantially more than the proportion of migrants in the other two streams.

Proficiency in English can have some bearing on being able to enter the labour force. For Humanitarian stream migrants who spoke English either very well or well, in addition to another language, 40% of those over 15 years of age were employed. This compares with 76% for those in the Skilled stream. Conversely, for those Humanitarian stream migrants who did not speak English well or at all, only 16% were employed. In addition, 75% of those Humanitarian stream migrants who did not speak English well or at all were not in the labour force. This compares with 41% for the Skilled stream migrants with similar levels of English language proficiency.

GRAPH 7: Proficiency in spoken English, by visa stream, permanent migrants 5 years and over - 2011

GRAPH 7: Proficiency in spoken English, by visa stream, permanent migrants 5 years and over - 2011



Education

On Census night 2011 a higher proportion of Skilled stream and Family stream migrants aged 15 years and over had completed a Postgraduate degree (18% and 8.0% respectively) compared with those in the Humanitarian stream (1.3%). A similar distribution was observed for those migrants who had completed a Bachelor degree. Almost a third of Skilled stream migrants had completed a Bachelor degree (31%) compared with 23% of Family stream migrants and 6.5% of Humanitarian stream migrants.

Within the Humanitarian stream, 12% of migrants had completed a Certificate level qualification, however, the highest proportion recorded 'not applicable' for their level of non-school qualification (63%). The 'not applicable' category included persons who have a qualification that is out of scope of the classification, persons with no qualifications and persons still studying for a first qualification.

GRAPH 8: Non-school qualifications, by visa stream, permanent migrants 15 years and over - 2011


GRAPH 8: Non-school qualifications, by visa stream, permanent migrants 15 years and over - 2011



Citizenship

Amongst the top ten countries of birth for Skilled stream migrants, only Zimbabwe had a greater proportion of migrants who reported as Australian citizens in the 2011 Census (58%). Similarly, the majority of Family stream migrants from the top ten countries of birth were not yet Australian citizens. The only exception to this were people born in Lebanon where around half (51%) reported being an Australian citizen. For migrants from the top ten countries of birth in the Humanitarian stream, only Thailand, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and Sri Lanka had a higher proportion of people who reported that they were not yet an Australian citizen (78%, 75% and 60% respectively).

The proportion of migrants gaining citizenship tends to increase with each successive year after arrival. This is to be expected considering there is an eligibility period before a permanent resident can apply for Australian Citizenship. Therefore, users should exercise caution when comparing citizenship rates. Migrants from countries such as India and China may appear to have a substantial number of permanent residents who are not yet Australian citizens, however, as they form part of the most recent arrival groups it is possible that many are not yet eligible for Australian citizenship.

GRAPH 9: Australian Citizenship, by visa stream, by year of arrival, all permanent migrants - 2011




FURTHER INFORMATION

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service.

Phone: 1300 135 070

Fax: 1300 135 211

Email: client.services@abs.gov.au



Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.