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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2006  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/01/2006   
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Contents >> Chapter 5 - Population >> International migration

INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

Each year Australia's population increases as a result of net overseas migration (the excess of permanent and long-term arrivals over permanent and long-term departures) and natural increase (the excess of births over deaths).

Traditionally, Australia's population growth has come predominantly from natural increase. However, since 1998-99, net overseas migration has comprised 45% or more of population growth, ranging from 45% in that year to 51% in 2002-03. In 2003-04 the preliminary estimate of net overseas migration (117,600 persons) represented 49% of Australia's population growth for the year (table 5.1).

Overseas migration has played an important role in changing Australia's population. In the year ended 30 June 2004, 437,100 persons arriving in Australia from overseas were added to the population through net overseas migration (table 5.39). This included 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. In that year there were also 319,500 persons removed from the Australian population through net overseas migration, including Australian residents emigrating or going overseas for 12 months or more, and overseas visitors leaving Australia after staying for 12 months or more.

The ABS applies a number of adjustments to long-term and permanent movements in the estimation of net overseas migration. Previously, these movements were adjusted for change in traveller duration intention (this adjustment was known as 'category jumping').

A new method of adjustment developed by the ABS takes into account problems in the enumeration of long-term and permanent arrivals and departures as a result of short trips overseas made by long-term visitors to Australia and short trips to Australia made by residents who have departed Australia on a long-term basis. It also takes into account changes in traveller intention, as did the earlier method.

5.39 NET OVERSEAS MIGRATION COMPONENTS - Selected years(a)

1983-84
1993-94
1998-99
2001-02
2002-03
2003-04
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000

Arrivals
Permanent (settlers)
68.8
69.8
84.1
84.4
89.4
111.6
Long-term
76.5
137.6
187.8
318.9
303.5
325.5
Total
145.3
207.4
271.9
403.3
392.9
437.1
Departures
Permanent
24.3
27.3
35.2
45.9
48.1
59.1
Long-term
74.4
112.7
140.3
246.9
228.3
260.4
Total
98.7
140.0
175.5
292.8
276.4
319.5
Category jumping(a)
2.6
-20.8
0
. .
. .
. .
Net overseas migration
49.1
46.5
96.5
110.6
116.5
117.6

(a) Prior to 1998-99, a separate category jumping component was applied to adjust migration. For 1998-99 this was set to zero due to deficiencies in the estimation method. For 2001-02 and subsequent years, component figures have been adjusted for changes in traveller intention and multiple movement.

Source: Australian Demographic Statistics (3101.0); Migration, Australia (3412.0).


While many of the source countries of settler arrivals to Australia have remained the same over the past 20 years there have also been significant changes (table 5.40). When the countries are ranked in terms of settler arrivals to Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand have remained in the top four source countries over the period (table 5.40). While many of the source countries have made consistently large contributions there are a number of countries whose contribution has increased or decreased. For example, in 1983-84 Sudan was ranked 79 as a source of settlers to Australia, only to climb to 6 in 2003-04. Conversely, Vietnam which was ranked 2 in 1983-84 fell to 11 in 2003-04.

5.40 SETTLER ARRIVALS(a)
1983-84
1993-94
2003-04
Rank
Number
Proportion
Rank
Number
Proportion
Rank
Number
Proportion
Country of birth(b)
no.
'000
%
no.
'000
%
no.
'000
%

United Kingdom
1
13.0
18.8
1
9.0
12.8
1
18.3
16.4
New Zealand
3
5.8
8.4
2
7.8
11.1
2
14.4
12.9
China (excl. SARs and Taiwan Province)
9
1.6
2.3
7
2.7
3.9
3
8.8
7.9
India
11
1.6
2.3
8
2.6
3.8
4
8.1
7.3
South Africa
8
1.6
2.4
9
1.7
2.4
5
5.8
5.2
Sudan
79
0.3
0.0
39
0.3
0.5
6
4.6
4.1
Philippines
4
2.9
4.2
4
4.2
6.0
7
4.1
3.7
Malaysia
7
1.7
2.4
13
1.3
1.8
8
3.7
3.3
Indonesia
16
1.0
1.4
25
0.6
0.9
9
2.6
2.3
Singapore
25
0.6
0.8
30
0.5
0.7
10
2.2
2.0
Vietnam
2
9.5
13.8
3
5.4
7.8
11
2.2
2.0
Iraq
39
0.3
0.4
14
1.1
1.6
12
1.9
1.7
Zimbabwe
34
0.4
0.6
57
0.1
0.2
13
1.6
1.5
Fiji
28
0.5
0.8
12
1.3
1.9
14
1.6
1.4
Sri Lanka
14
1.5
2.1
10
1.4
2.1
15
1.6
1.4
United States of America
13
1.5
2.2
11
1.4
2.0
16
1.4
1.2
Lebanon
15
1.4
2.0
15
1.1
1.5
17
1.3
1.2
Afghanistan
58
0.1
0.1
22
0.7
0.9
18
1.2
1.1
Hong Kong (SAR of China)
5
2.0
2.9
6
3.3
4.8
19
1.1
1.0
Pakistan
53
0.1
0.2
34
0.4
0.6
20
1.1
1.0
Other
. .
21.8
31.7
. .
22.8
32.7
. .
23.9
21.4
Total
. .
68.8
100.0
. .
69.8
100.0
. .
111.6
100.0

(a) Information in this table is based on stated traveller intention at arrival and has not been adjusted for change in traveller intention or multiple movement.
(b) The countries selected are based on the 20 highest ranked source countries in 2003-04.

Source: Migration, Australia (3412.0).

MIGRATION PROGRAM

In 2003-04, 111,600 persons arrived in Australia intending to settle, the majority of whom (73%) arrived as part of the Migration Program. Of Migration Program arrivals, most arrived under the skilled migration category (46% of all permanent arrivals), while 26% of all permanent arrivals arrived under the family migration category. Another 9% of all permanent arrivals arrived as part of the Humanitarian Program, while 17% were eligible to settle in Australia because of their New Zealand citizenship.

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. Table 5.41 shows that in the four years to 2003-04 the proportion of settlers arriving under the skilled migration category ranged from 33% in 2000-01 to 46% in 2003-04.

5.41 SETTLER ARRIVALS, Proportion by eligibility category(a)

2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
2003-04
%
%
%
%

Family
18.8
26.3
29.9
26.5
Skilled
33.3
40.5
41.0
46.2
Humanitarian
7.1
7.6
10.2
9.3
New Zealand
39.4
24.1
17.4
16.8
Other
1.5
1.5
1.5
1.3
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
Total arrivals ('000)
107.4
88.9
93.9
111.6

(a) Data have not been adjusted for changes in traveller intention or multiple movement.

Source: Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, 'Immigration Update’, viewed 22/07/05, <http://www.immi.gov.au>.


Of skilled migrants arriving in 2003-04 (51,500), 31% came from Europe (86% of whom were from the United Kingdom and Ireland), while South-East Asia contributed 18% and Southern Asia contributed 16%. Sub-Saharan Africa and North-East Asia each contributed 14% of skilled immigrants to Australia during 2003-04.


In 2003-04, 26% of settlers (29,500) came as part of the family component of Australia's immigration program. The major country of birth regions were South-East Asia and Europe (each 24%), North-East Asia (17%), Southern Asia (10%) and North Africa and the Middle East (also 10%).

Of the 10,300 settlers arriving under the Humanitarian Program, the highest proportion were born in North Africa and the Middle East (67%), followed by Sub-Saharan Africa (15%) and Central Asia (10%).

During 2003-04, in addition to the 91,600 settler arrivals under the Migration and Humanitarian Programs, there were a further 20,000 non-program (i.e. non-visaed) arrivals. Traditionally, non-program migrants are predominantly New Zealand citizens and they accounted for 94% of non-program migrants in 2003-04. Under the Trans-Tasman Agreement, New Zealand citizens are free to enter Australia without applying for a visa.

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