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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The Characteristics of Recent Migrants Survey (CORMS) is conducted triennially in November throughout Australia as part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) household survey program. For information on the institutional environment of the ABS, including its legislative obligations, 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 on recent migrants and temporary residents.
Where a recent migrant is defined as a person who;
  • was born overseas,
  • who first arrived to live in Australia (for one year or more) after 2006,
  • was aged 15 years or over on arrival,
  • was not an Australian citizen or New Zealand citizen on arrival,
  • does not currently hold New Zealand citizenship, and
  • has permanent Australian resident status.

A temporary resident is defined as a person who:
  • was born overseas,
  • who first arrived to live in Australia (for one year or more) after 2006,
  • was aged 15 years or over on arrival,
  • was not an Australian citizen or New Zealand citizen on arrival,
  • does not currently hold New Zealand citizenship, and
  • has a temporary visa.

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, 2016). 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 2016.

As CORMS is collected as a supplement to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), persons excluded from the LFS were also excluded from this survey (see Explanatory Notes of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for standard LFS exclusions). Additional exclusions from this survey were people living in Indigenous communities in Australia and people in non-private dwellings such as hotels, university residences, boarding schools, hospitals, retirements homes, homes for people with disabilities and prisons.

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, 2013 and the latest survey was in 2016. 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 42,185, of which 2,965 were recent migrants or temporary residents. This sample was achieved by obtaining a response rate of 91% from the Monthly Population Survey.

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 seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to its surveys. However, sound survey practice requires ongoing development and maintenance to maintain the integrity of the data and the efficiency of collection.

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. In addition, the weighting methodology used in 2016 was modified to include ERP Migration statistics as part of the benchmark process. Therefore, caution should we used when comparing CORMS 2016 estimates with previous years.

For changes between iterations of CORMS, please refer to the Explanatory Notes. For a full list of changes made to the LFS, see Chapter 20 of Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013 (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001) and Information Paper: Forthcoming Changes to Labour Force Statistics, Aug 2015 (cat. no. 6292.0).

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.


Detailed information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with CORMS can be found in the relevant web pages included with this release.


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

Data from this survey will also be accessible in the TableBuilder environment, enabling users to create their own customised output as required. For further details, refer to the Microdata Entry Page 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, or email client.services@abs.gov.au.

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