6250.0 - Characteristics of Recent Migrants, Australia, November 2016 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/06/2017   
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This publication contains results from the 2016 Characteristics of Recent Migrants Survey (CORMS), conducted throughout Australia in November 2016 as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS).

CORMS provides data about the labour force status and other characteristics of recent migrants and temporary residents (see the Glossary for more information about these terms). Along with general demographic and employment characteristics of recent migrants and temporary residents, information available from the survey includes the type of visa held by recent migrants and temporary residents on arrival in Australia, and language spoken education and employment before and after arriving in Australia, any difficulties experienced finding work since migration and proficiency in English.

The publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains information about survey design, sample redesign, scope, coverage and population benchmarks relevant to the monthly LFS, which also apply to supplementary surveys. It also contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics.


The conceptual framework used in Australia's LFS aligns closely with the standards and guidelines set out in Resolutions of the International Conference of Labour Statisticians. Descriptions of the underlying concepts and structure of Australia's labour force statistics, and the sources and methods used in compiling these estimates, are presented in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013 (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).

5 In July 2014, the LFS survey questionnaire underwent a number of developments. For further information see Information Paper: Questionnaire Used in the Labour Force Survey, July 2014.



The scope of CORMS is restricted to people aged 15 years and over who were usual residents of private dwellings, excluding:
    • members of the permanent defence forces
    • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from the Census of Population and Housing and estimated resident populations
    • overseas residents in Australia and
    • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants).

7 In addition, this supplementary survey excluded people living in Indigenous communities in Australia and in non-private dwellings such as hotels, university residences, boarding schools, hospitals, retirement homes, homes for people with disabilities, and prisons.


The estimates in this publication relate to persons covered by the survey scope. In the LFS, coverage rules are applied which aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling and hence has only one chance of selection in the survey. See Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for more details.


9 Approximately 91% of the selected households were fully responding to the Monthly Population survey. Of these, 2,965 complete interviews were obtained from recent migrants and temporary residents.


Information was mainly collected through interviews conducted over a two-week period in November 2016. Interviews were conducted face-to-face or over the telephone, using computer assisted interviewing, while some respondents were able to provide certain information over the Internet via a self-completed form.

11 In the selected dwellings, after the LFS had been fully completed for each person in scope, information was obtained from one responsible adult who was present on each visa application in the household. For example, consider a household with three usual residents where two were listed together on one visa application and the other person was listed on a separate visa application. In this case, two people in the household would have provided information, one for each visa application that they were covered by.



Weighting is the process of adjusting results from a sample survey to infer results for the total population. To do this, a 'weight' is allocated to each enumerated person. The weight is a value which indicates how many people in the population are represented by the sample person.

The first step in calculating weights for each unit is to assign an initial weight, which is the inverse of the probability of the unit being selected in the survey. For example, if the probability of a person being selected in the survey was 1 in 300, then the person would have an initial weight of 300 (that is, they represent 300 people).

Population Benchmarks

The initial weights are then calibrated to align with independent estimates of the population, referred to as benchmarks. The population included in the benchmarks is the survey scope. This calibration process ensures that the weighted data conform to the independently estimated distribution of the population described by the benchmarks rather than to the distribution within the sample itself. Calibration to population benchmarks helps to compensate for over or under-enumeration of particular categories of persons which may occur due to either the random nature of sampling or non-response.

15 The survey was benchmarked to the estimated resident population (ERP) aged 15-74 years living in private dwellings and non-institutionalised special dwellings in each state and territory. People living in Indigenous communities were excluded.

16 In 2016 the weighting methodology was modified to include ERP Migration statistics as part of the benchmark process Migration, Australia (cat. no. 3412.0)


Survey estimates of counts of persons are obtained by summing the weights of persons with the characteristics of interest.

18 To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique is used to randomly adjust cell values. This technique is called perturbation. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable statistics while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics. After perturbation, a given published cell value will be consistent across all tables. However, adding up cell values to derive a total will not necessarily give the same result as published totals. The introduction of perturbation in publications ensures that these statistics are consistent with statistics released via services such as Table Builder.


All sample surveys are subject to error which can be broadly categorised as either: sampling error or non-sampling error. For more information refer to the Technical Note.


Interpretation of results

20 The method of obtaining information about all the persons in the household from any responsible adult is only used for collecting information on topics where other members of the household are likely to be able to answer the questions. If the responsible adult is unable to supply all of the details for another individual in the household, a personal interview is conducted with that particular individual.


21 It is impracticable to obtain information relating to the labour force status of people before migration according to the strict definitions used in the monthly LFS. It is for this reason that 'Has had a job since arriving in Australia' and 'Has not had a job since arriving in Australia' are used to describe previous labour force status, while 'employed', 'unemployed' and 'not in the labour force' are used to describe labour force status as at November 2016.

Comparability of time series

The ABS has previously conducted a survey of recent migrants in 1984, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013. While the ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey, sound survey practice requires ongoing development to maintain the integrity of the data. When comparing data over time the following changes need to be considered:
    • Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Migrants Surveys conducted up to and including November 1996 were restricted to migrants who arrived in Australia after 1970, were aged 18 years and over on arrival, and had obtained permanent Australian resident status.
    • For November 1999, the survey was restricted to migrants who arrived in Australia after 1980, were aged 18 years and over on arrival, and had obtained permanent Australian resident status.
    • For November 2004, the survey included migrants aged 15 years and over on arrival, who arrived in Australia after 1984 who had obtained permanent Australian resident status, as well as people who were temporary residents of Australia for 12 months or more.
    • For November 2007, November 2010 and November 2013, the surveys have included migrants who arrived in Australia in the last 10 years (since 1997, 2000 and 2003 respectively), were aged 15 years and over on arrival, who had obtained permanent Australian resident status, as well as people who were temporary residents of Australia for 12 months or more. In 2007, people born in New Zealand, those holding New Zealand citizenship and those who held Australian citizenship before their arrival in Australia were excluded.
    • In 2010 and 2013, people holding New Zealand citizenship and those who held Australian citizenship before their arrival in Australia were excluded, while other people born in New Zealand were included.
    • In 2016 the weighting methodology was modified to include ERP Migration statistics as part of the benchmark process.

23 After each Census, population estimates are normally revised back five years to the previous Census year. As announced in the June 2012 issue of Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0), intercensal error between the 2006 and 2011 Censuses was larger than normal due to improved methodologies used in the 2011 Census Post Enumeration Survey. The intercensal error analysis indicated that previous population estimates for the base Census years were over-counted. An indicative estimate of the size of the over-count is that there should have been 240,000 fewer people at June 2006, 130,000 fewer in 2001 and 70,000 fewer in 1996. As a result, Estimated Resident Population estimates have been revised for the last 20 years rather than the usual five. Consequently, estimates of particular populations derived since CORMS 2013 may be lower than those published for previous years as the CORMS estimates have not been revised. Therefore, caution should we used when comparing CORMS 2016 estimates with previous years.

Comparability with other ABS data

Since the CORMS is conducted as a supplement to the LFS, data items collected in the LFS are also available in CORMS. However, there are some important differences between the two surveys. The CORMS sample is a subset of the LFS sample (see the Introduction of these Explanatory Notes) and has a response rate which is slightly lower than the LFS response rate for the same period. Also, the scope of the CORMS differs slightly to the scope of the LFS (refer to the Scope section above). Due to these differences between the samples, the CORMS data are weighted as a separate process to the weighting of LFS data.

25 Differences may therefore be found in the estimates collected in the LFS and published as part of the CORMS, when compared with estimates published in the November 2016 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).

26 Additionally, estimates from the CORMS may differ from the estimates produced from other ABS collections, for several reasons. The CORMS is a sample survey and its results are subject to sampling error. Results may differ from other sample surveys, which are also subject to sampling error. Users should take account of the relative standard errors (RSEs) on estimates and those of other survey estimates where comparisons are made.

27 Differences may also exist in the scope and/or coverage of the CORMS compared to other surveys. Differences in estimates, when compared to the estimates of other surveys, may result from different reference periods reflecting seasonal variations, non-seasonal events that may have impacted on one period but not another, or because of underlying trends in the phenomena being measured.

28 Finally, differences can occur as a result of using different collection methodologies. This is often evident in comparisons of similar data items reported from different ABS collections where, after taking account of definition and scope differences and sampling error, residual differences remain. These differences are often the result of the mode of the collections, such as whether data are collected by an interviewer or self-enumerated by the respondent and whether the data are collected from the person themselves or from a proxy respondent. Differences may also result from the context in which questions are asked, i.e. where in the interview the questions are asked and the nature of preceding questions. The impacts on data of different collection methodologies are difficult to quantify. As a result, every effort is made to minimise such differences.

Estimates from CORMS will differ from estimates from the Microdata: Australian Census and Migrants Integrated Dataset, 2011 (ACMID), which was released in February 2014. The ACMID, 2011 relates to people who responded to the 9 August 2011 Census of Population and Housing and had a permanent visa record on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's (DIBP) Settlement Data Base (SDB) with a date of arrival between 1 January 2000 and 9 August 2011. ACMID estimates were a result of integrating the data from these two data sources and calibrating the linked records to known population totals from the SDB.

Comparability with non-ABS sources

The DIBP is the main holder of stocks and flow data on migrants by visa (e.g. Migration Program). Due to differences in collection objectives and definitions, data from CORMS are not comparable with DIBP data. For more information on the Migration Program and DIBP statistics, refer to the DIBP website.


Country of birth

Country of birth data are classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), Second Edition (cat. no. 1269.0).


Industry data are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 2.0) (cat. no. 1292.0).


Occupation data are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classifications of Occupations (ANZSCO), First Edition, Revision 1 (cat. no. 1220.0).


Education data are classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0). The ASCED is a national standard classification which can be applied to all sectors of the Australian education system including schools, vocational education and training, and higher education. The ASCED comprises two classifications: Level of Education and Field of Education.

Level of Education is defined as a function of the quality and quantity of learning involved in an educational activity. There are nine broad levels, 15 narrow levels and 64 detailed levels. For definitions of these levels, see the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0).

Field of Education is defined as the subject matter of an educational activity. Fields of education are related to each other through the similarity of subject matter, through the broad purpose for which the education is undertaken, and through the theoretical content which underpins the subject matter. There are 12 broad fields, 71 narrow fields and 356 detailed fields. For definitions of these fields, see the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0).

Socio-economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)

SEIFA is a suite of four summary measures that have been created from 2011 Census information. Each index summarises a different aspect of the socio-economic conditions of people living in an area. The indexes provide more general measures of socio-economic status than is given by measures such as income or unemployment alone.

Each index ranks geographic areas across Australia in terms of their relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage. The four indexes each summarise a slightly different aspect of the socio-economic conditions in an area. It is important to note that the indexes are assigned to areas and not to individuals. They indicate the collective socio-economic characteristics of the people living in an area. The respondents in CORMS have been assigned the 2011 Census SEIFA for the area in which they live. Consequently, they may not necessarily have the same personal characteristics that describes the socio-economic status of their geographic area as a whole.

The indexes and supporting material are found in the publication Census of Population and Housing: Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), Australia, 2011 (cat. no. 2033.0.55.001).


A number of data cubes (spreadsheets) containing all tables produced for this publication are available from the Downloads tab of the publication. The data cubes present tables of estimates and proportions, and their corresponding Relative Standard Errors (RSEs).

For users who wish to undertake more detailed analysis of the data, the survey microdata will be available through the online TableBuilder product. TableBuilder is a tool for creating tables and graphs. For more details, refer to the TableBuilder information, Microdata: Characteristics of Recent Migrants, Australia (cat. no. 6250.0.25.002).

Special tabulations are available on request. Subject to confidentiality and sampling variability constraints, tabulations can be produced from the survey incorporating data items, populations and geographic areas selected to meet individual requirements. These can be provided in printed or electronic form. All enquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or email client.services@abs.gov.au.


ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


The ABS plans to conduct this survey again in 2019.


45 Refer to the Related Information tab for other ABS publications which may be of interest.

45 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are available from the ABS website. The ABS also issues a daily upcoming release advice on the website that details products to be released in the week ahead.