6250.0 - Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Migrants, Australia, Nov 1999  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/09/2000   
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In November 1999 the Australian civilian population aged 15 years and over comprised14,694,900 persons (excluding institutionalised persons and boarding school pupils; and persons in remote and sparsely settled parts of Australia). Of these people, 28% were born outside Australia.

There were 1,163,600 migrants, or 8% of the civilian population aged 15 years and over, in November 1999. Of these, 749,000 were employed, 54,400 were unemployed and 360,200 were not in the labour force.


Migrants were classified according to whether they were the principal applicant, the partner of the principal applicant or had migrated from New Zealand. Further categories focused on whether the principal applicant was sponsored, unsponsored or a refugee

In November 1999, 51% of migrants were principal applicants, 22% had arrived as partners of principal applicants, and 17% had arrived from New Zealand

Of the 598,600 principal applicants, 52% were sponsored, 42% were unsponsored and 6% were refugees. Males made up 61% of principal applicants.

Most (83%) of the sponsored principal applicants were sponsored by family members. Employers sponsored a further 11%, and other persons or organisations sponsored 6% of principal applicants.



Almost one-third (30%) of migrants were born in Europe and the former USSR. A further 18% were born in Southeast Asia, 18% in Oceania and Antarctica and 12% in Northeast Asia. More than one-third (35%) of migrants were born in a main English-speaking country. Of this group, 45% were born in the United Kingdom and Ireland and 41% in New Zealand.


More than half (55%) of all migrants arrived in Australia with a post-school qualification. Of these people 35% had a skilled or basic vocational qualification and a further 34% had a bachelor degree.

However, less than half (48%) of all migrants who arrived with a skilled or basic vocational qualification had their qualification recognised in Australia. Those with a bachelor degree or higher were most likely to have their qualification recognised in Australia.

Migrants with a post-school qualification obtained in the Oceania and Antarctica region, and in Europe and the former USSR were more likely to have had their qualification recognised in Australia (61% each). In comparison, less than one-third (30%) of migrants with post-school qualifications obtained in the Southeast Asian region had their qualification recognised.


In November 1999, 749,000 migrants (77% of males and 52% of females) were employed. Of these people, 74% had a job just before migration. Approximately 48% of those who had a job before migration had changed major occupation grouping since arriving in Australia. A high proportion of migrants (22%) were employed as Professionals. In addition 25% of females were employed as Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers, while 22% of males were employed as Tradespersons and related workers.


The unemployment rate for migrants was 6.8%. In comparison, the unemployment rate for all persons born outside Australia was 6.6% and for those persons born in Australia, 6.4%. The rate for male and female migrants was 5.8% and 8.1% respectively. The unemployment rate for migrants who were principal applicants was 6.2%, and 7.2% for partners of principal applicants. Migrants from New Zealand had an unemployment rate of 7.0%.


For those aged 18 to 64 years, the labour force participation rate for migrants was 73.7%, compared to 69.5% for persons born outside Australia and 77.8% for persons born in Australia. The rates for male and female migrants were 81.5% and 57.1% respectively. The participation rate for principal applicants who were sponsored was 65.2% and 94.3% for those sponsored by an employer. Migrants from New Zealand recorded a participation rate of 75.5%.

Those migrants born in Northern America had the highest participation rate (82.2%) followed by those born in Oceania and Antarctica (75.4%). Migrants born in the Middle East and North Africa recorded the lowest participation rate (54.1%).