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LABOUR FORCE STATUS OF MIGRANTS
Table 6.41 shows the participation rate was higher for migrants (70.2%) than for people born in Australia (67.3%). Unemployment rates were also slightly higher for migrants (5.6%) than for people born in Australia (4.9%).
Migrants aged 35-54 had the highest participation rate (78.0%). In contrast, participation rates for people born in Australia were highest in the 20-24 and 25-34 year age groups (83.6% and 83.3% respectively), although participation rates in the 35-44 and 45-54 year age groups were only slightly lower. The unemployment rate was highest in the 15-19 and 20-24 year age groups for both migrants and people born in Australia.
Most (87%) employed migrants were employees, followed by own account workers (9%), employers (3%), and contributing family workers (less than 1%).
Overall, 877,700 migrants had held a job just before their arrival in Australia, with one-third (33%) indicating that their current occupation was the same as that held before migration (table 6.42). Professionals were most likely to continue in the same occupation after their arrival (44%), followed by tradespersons and related workers (42%) and intermediate production and transport workers (36%). A further 241,500 migrants who were employed in November 2004 were not employed just before their arrival in Australia.
Almost half (49%) of migrants arrived in Australia with a non-school qualification (graph 6.43). Of these, 57% had a bachelor degree or above, 16% arrived with a diploma or an advanced diploma and 26% arrived with a certificate qualification.(End note 1)
Migrants with overseas bachelor degrees or higher were more likely to have their qualification recognised than those holding diplomas or certificates. Over three-fifths (61%) of migrants with an overseas bachelor degree or above as their highest non-school qualification had it recognised, compared with 37% of those with a diploma or advanced diploma, and 49% of those with certificate level qualifications.
Migrants from Oceania who arrived with overseas non-school qualifications were the most likely to have their qualification recognised in Australia (66%) and migrants from North-East Asia were the least likely (35%).
About half (53%) of migrants mainly spoke English at home, even though over two-thirds (68%) of migrants were born outside of the main English-speaking countries. Of those migrants who spoke another language at home, 24% spoke English very well, 37% spoke English well, 32% did not speak English well, and the remaining 7% did not speak English at all.
Of migrants who mainly spoke a language other than English at home, young migrants tended to have a higher level of English proficiency, with 80% of 15-24 year olds reporting that they spoke English well or very well (graph 6.44). English proficiency decreased with age, with 72% of 25-34 year olds reporting that they spoke English well or very well, followed by 69% of 35-44 year olds and 57% of 45-54 year olds. Migrants over the age of 55 years reported a lower level of English proficiency, with 70% not speaking English well or not speaking English at all.
Over three-quarters (77%) of employed migrants who spoke a language other than English at home, spoke English well or very well, compared to two-thirds (66%) of unemployed migrants and 36% of those not in the labour force.
1. The remaining 1% possessed a qualification that could not be defined.<Back
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