The introduction of the Travellers' Characteristics Data Base has enabled the ABS to investigate information about travellers who contribute to NOM. In this instance the investigations have concentrated on the characteristics of students who have been added to or removed from Australia's population through NOM.
International students contributing to NOM
International students contributing to NOM (the key focus of this article and the net contribution of persons travelling on temporary student visas) was the main reason for the increase in NOM between 2004-05 and 2008-09. Student NOM rose 170% over the period, increasing from 45,300 persons in 2004-05 to 122,400 persons in 2008-09. In 2008-09, student NOM contributed 27% of Australia's population growth, up from 21% in 2006-07 - the year when the new '12/16 month rule' method was introduced into official ERP.
The main reason for the growth in student NOM was the disparity in growth between student NOM arrivals and student NOM departures. Over the five year period, student NOM arrivals increased 131%, increasing from 66,500 persons in 2004-05 to 153,600 in 2008-09. Over the same period, student NOM departures also increased, but at a lesser rate. Student NOM departures increased 47%, increasing from 21,300 persons in 2004-05 to 31,200 persons in 2008-09.
The two main factors contributing to the disparity in growth between student arrivals and student departures were the time lag effect in a student's course duration and the propensity for the circumstances of students to change at the completion of their courses whereby they apply for a different visa whilst onshore - see Data limitations from earlier in this chapter.
Median age and sex ratio
Student NOM travellers were younger than all NOM travellers. In 2008-09, the median age of students contributing to NOM was 23.7 years for males and 23.8 years for females. For all NOM travellers, the median ages were 27.1 years for males and 27.0 year for females.
In 2008-09, more males than females contributed to NOM at both the student and total NOM levels. The student NOM sex ratio (129 males per 100 females) was also higher than the total NOM sex ratio (111 males per 100 females).
State and Territory breakdown
When 2004-05 and 2008-09 were compared, all states and territories recorded increased population growth from the net contribution of persons travelling on student visas. In 2008-09, Victoria was the main net recipient of international students (43,600 persons) followed by New South Wales (40,400 persons). Queensland recorded a proportional increase of 215% over the four year period ending June 2009, followed by Victoria at 205%.
In 2008-09, the higher education subclass (54,000 persons) made the largest net contribution to student NOM. Victoria was the main recipient (35%) for this subclass and many of the remaining subclasses. The ELICOS subclass was an exception with 49% of this group residing in New south Wales.
The main student visa type for all states and territories was the higher education subclass, ranging from 41% in New South Wales to 66% in the Australian Capital Territory. The VET visa subclass was the second most used student visa, ranging from 19% in Tasmania to 44% in Victoria.
Student visa subclasses
The main student visa subclasses for students making a net contribution to NOM, over most of the five year period ending June 2009, were higher education (44% in 2008-09) and VET (39% in 2008-09).
A comparison of 2004-05 and 2008-09 shows that the VET subclass was the only major visa subclass where student visa holders increased their proportion of student NOM, increasing from 11% in 2004-05 to 39% in 2008-09. While the students with the higher education subclass visa remained the top contributors to student NOM in 2008-09 (44%), the proportion decreased from 2004-05 (52%).
Country of birth analysis
In 2008-09, the main source countries of birth for students contributing to student NOM were India (35%), China (20%) and Nepal (9%). Overall, the top 10 source countries contributed 83% of student NOM. Four years earlier, in 2004-05, the main source countries were China (30%), India (20%) and South Korea (6%). All countries in the top 10 source countries saw student NOM arrivals exceed student NOM departures.
Over the four year period ending June 2009, all top 10 countries increased their average annual contribution to student NOM. Nepal-born recorded the highest average annual growth rate (174%) followed by Saudi Arabia-born students (65%) and Mauritius-born students (61%). India-born students and China-born students (the top two contributing countries) had lower average annual growth rates at 48% and 16% respectively. The average annual growth rate for student NOM was 28% while the average annual growth rate for total NOM was 20%.
1 APH 2010, Overseas students: immigration policy changes 1997–May 2010, p various. <back
2 APH 2010, Overseas students: immigration policy changes 1997–May 2010, p 13. <back