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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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Population

ARTICLE – CHARACTERISTICS OF RECENT MIGRANTS TO AUSTRALIA

WHO ARE RECENT MIGRANTS?

Recent migrants are defined as people with permanent Australian resident status who were born overseas, arrived in Australia after the year 2000 and were aged 15 years or over on arrival. They exclude people who were an Australian or New Zealand citizen on arrival, and those who currently hold New Zealand citizenship.


WHERE ARE THEY FROM?

At the time of the 2010 Characteristics of Recent Migrants Survey (6250.0) in November 2010, there were approximately 1.4 million people aged 15 years or older on arrival who were born overseas and who had entered Australia after 2000. This equates to around 8% of Australia's population aged 15 years and over.

Of these, 196,500 were an Australian or New Zealand citizen before arrival, or held New Zealand citizenship, while 10,400 planned to stay less than 12 months. Of the remaining 1.2 million people, 60% (719,600) were recent migrants (410,900 had a permanent visa, 308,700 had Australian citizenship) and 40% were temporary residents (477,800).

As can be seen in table S7.1, the United Kingdom (14%) and India (13%) provided the highest number of recent migrants, followed by China (excludes SARs and Taiwan) with 10%.


S7.1 CHARACTERISTICS OF RECENT MIGRANTS(a), Top ten countries of birth—2010

Recent
migrants
Proportion of
all recent
migrants
Country of birth
'000
%

United Kingdom
104.2
14.5
India
94.9
13.2
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)
74.2
10.3
South Africa
41.8
5.8
Philippines
32.5
4.5
Sri Lanka
23.5
3.3
Malaysia
*16.2
2.3
Korea, Republic of (South)
*14.3
2.0
Fiji
*13.0
1.8
Vietnam
*12.5
1.7
Other countries
292.5
40.6
Total
719.6
100.0

* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
(a) Recent migrants are defined as people who were born overseas, arrived in Australia after 2000, were aged 15 years and over on arrival, were not an Australian citizen or New Zealand citizen on arrival, do not currently hold New Zealand citizenship, and have permanent Australian resident status.
Source: Characteristics of Recent Migrants, 2010 (6250.0).


WHAT DO THEY DO?

The recent migrant labour force participation rate was 74% in November 2010, whereas that for Australian-born persons was 69%. The survey results showed that 68% of recent migrants were employed, compared with 66% of people born in Australia. Male recent migrants were more likely to be employed than female recent migrants – 82% for males compared with 56% for females. In contrast, 72% of males and 60% of females born in Australia were employed.

As at November 2010, around 65% of all recent migrants (72% males, 58% females) left a paid job in their country of origin when they came to live in Australia. Almost 80% of recent migrants had a job since arrival (573,300). Of those who had a job since arrival, 70% had obtained a non-school qualification before arrival, with 28% of those holding a Professional occupation in their first job held in Australia (111,900).

As at November 2010, almost one-third (31%) of recent migrants had obtained a non-school qualification since arrival (219,800) and of these 46% obtained a Bachelor degree or higher. Over half (65%) of all recent migrants had a non-school qualification before arrival (465,400). Of these, 67% had obtained a Bachelor degree or higher before arrival and 33% had their qualifications recognised in Australia. Of those recent migrants with a non-school qualification before arrival and who had a job since arrival, 51% had used their highest non-school qualification in their first job in Australia. Almost a quarter (23%) of recent migrants with a non-school qualification before arrival (who had a job since arrival) did not use their highest qualification in their first job and tried to find work more suited to their qualifications.

In total, 487,900 (68%) recent migrants were employed. A higher proportion from main English-speaking countries [Endnote 1] were employed than those born in other countries (81% compared with 64%). Within the employed group, 27% were employed as Professionals, with a further 14% employed as Technicians and trades workers and 13% as Clerical and administrative workers.

Most of the recent migrants (76% or 548,100) come from other than main English-speaking countries. However, about 30% of those migrants indicated that English was their main language spoken when they first came to live in Australia.

Difficulties with language appeared to be a barrier for some recent migrants to gaining work, with 33% reporting language difficulties. The unemployment rate for recent migrants from other than main English-speaking countries was higher (10%) than for those from a main English speaking country (5%).


ENDNOTES
  1. Main English-speaking countries are those countries from which Australia receives, or has received, significant numbers of overseas settlers who are likely to speak English (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and the United States of America). It is important to note that being from a country other than a main English-speaking country does not imply a lack of proficiency in English. <Back>

 

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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.

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