6250.0 - Characteristics of Recent Migrants, Australia, Nov 2013 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/06/2014   
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    For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


    The Characteristics of Recent Migrants Survey (CORMS) provides a range of information about people who were born overseas, arrived in Australia after 2003, 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. 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. The type of information collected included socio-demographic characteristics (such as age, sex and birthplace), employment characteristics (such as labour force status, occupation and industry), educational qualifications obtained (such as level and field, both before coming to Australia to live and since arriving in Australia) and migration information (such as visa category and residency status on arrival to live in Australia and as at November, 2013). In addition, the survey collects information regarding language spoken on arrival in Australia and proficiency in English both on arrival in Australia and as at November 2013.

    Information from CORMS will be used by a wide range of public and private sector agencies, in particular the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.


    The Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Migrants Survey was first conducted in 1984 and triennially there after up to 1999. It was collected again in 2004, 2007, 2010 and the latest survey was in 2013. The name of the survey was changed in 2007 to Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Recent Migrants Survey, and again in 2010, to Characteristics of Recent Migrants Survey to better reflect the scope of the survey. Data from the survey are released approximately six months after the completion of enumeration.


    CORMS is designed to provide reliable estimates at the national level and for each state and territory. The number of completed interviews (after taking into account scope and coverage exclusions) was 42,308, of which 2,773 were recent migrants or temporary residents. This sample was achieved by obtaining a response rate of 94% from selected households.

    Two types of error are possible in an estimate based on a sample survey: non-sampling error and sampling error.

    Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort is made to minimise reporting error by the careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers, and efficient data processing procedures. Non-sampling error also arises because information cannot be obtained from all persons selected in the survey.

    Sampling error occurs because a sample, rather than the entire population is surveyed. One measure of the likely difference resulting from not including all dwellings in the survey is given by the standard error. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the figure that would have been obtained if all dwellings had been included in the survey and about 19 chances in 20 that the difference will be less than two standard errors.

    Only estimates (numbers and proportions) with relative standard errors (RSEs) less than 25% are considered sufficiently reliable for most purposes. Estimates with RSEs between 25% and 50% have been included and are annotated to indicate they are subject to high sampling variability and should be used with caution. In addition, estimates with RSEs greater than 50% have also been included and annotated to indicate they are considered too unreliable for general use.


    The ABS has previously conducted a survey of recent migrants in 1984, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2004, 2007 and 2010. 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. There were a number of changes to the survey between 2004 and 2007. In 2004 migrants who had arrived in the previous 20 years were included in the survey. However, from 2007 only migrants who had arrived in the previous 10 years were included. There were also new and reworded questions in the 2007 survey, with only minor development occurring for the 2010 and 2013 surveys. This means results from the surveys conducted in 2004 and earlier are not comparable with the 2007, 2010 and 2013 surveys. However, the 2007, 2010 and 2013 survey results are comparable. For a more detailed discussion on the differences between surveys, see the Explanatory Notes.

    Data were compared to non-ABS sources of information that were available. Comparisons conducted by the ABS showed that the data from this survey are not directly comparable with other available sources due to differences in definitions, scope and collection methods.


    The summary publication, Characteristics of Recent Migrants, Australia, 2013 (cat. no. 6250.0), contains a collection of tables with footnoted data to aid with the interpretation of the survey results. The Summary of Findings comprises analytical text and graphics to support interpretation of the publication tables. The Explanatory Notes, a Technical Note and a Glossary provide additional information on the data, terminology, classifications and other associated technical aspects.


    Tabulated data and associated RSEs are available in spreadsheet format and can be accessed from the Downloads tab.

    Data from this survey will be accessible in the TableBuilder environment, enabling users to create tabulated output as required. For further details, refer to the Microdata pages on the ABS website.

    Data are also available on request. Note that detailed data can be subject to high RSEs which in some cases may result in data being confidentialised.

    For further information about these or related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.