The Migrant Statistics Program covers the activities of the ABS National Migrant Statistics Unit, which has a focus on permanent and temporary migrant settlement within Australia. The unit develops and compiles a range of survey and administrative data outputs relevant to migrants. Activities include understanding current and emerging policy issues and debates, and determining appropriate statistics to inform decision making relevant to migrants and diverse ethnic groups. The program also provides expertise more broadly within the ABS regarding the collection of data, as well as informing governments and the community about migrant and ethnicity statistics, relevant classifications and standards, and appropriate data analysis.
Key elements of the ABS work program include the triennial Characteristics of Recent Migrants Survey and, more recently, the data integration projects that use statistical techniques to link the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's Settlement Database to firstly the 2011 Census of Population and Housing and secondly, to the Australian Taxation Office's Personal Income Tax records. These two separate data integration projects will potentially provide users with new perspectives on the settlement outcomes of permanent migrants in the context of their entry conditions (e.g. visa class, whether a primary or secondary applicant) while providing the ABS with efficiencies in terms of data collection.
The major stakeholders of the program are the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), and the various Australian, state and territory government agencies providing services to migrant and ethnic groups. DIAC provides ongoing support for this program through a matched funding arrangement.
The main outputs of the program are:
- the Guide to Migrant Statistical Sources (ABS cat no. 3414.0), which contains information about ABS and non-ABS statistical data
- the Migrant Data Matrices (ABS cat. no. 3415.0), which compiles a range of ABS data relevant to migrants in one location
- the Perspectives on Migrants (ABS cat. no. 3416.0) series, which provides an analysis of data from the ABS and other sources to provide a more comprehensive picture of migrants
- a statistical study analysing output from the ABS 2011 Census Data Enhancement project that links Census data to migrant settlement records (ABS cat. no. 3417.0 - forthcoming)
- the triennial Characteristics of Recent Migrants, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6250.0)
- Migrant and Ethnicity Topics @ a Glance page on the ABS website
- statistical activities aimed at promoting and developing national standards such as frameworks, classifications and definitions (e.g. Standards for Statistics on Cultural and Language Diversity (ABS cat. no. 1289.0))
- the coordination and specification of statistical data needs through consultation with data users and, where appropriate, undertaking development work to meet those needs
- the coordination of ABS activity to ensure that issues relevant to migrants are taken into account in statistical development activities.
The main medium-term developments in the program are to:
- undertake the ABS 2011 Census Data Enhancement project to link Census data to migrant settlement records, including subsequent quality assessment, analysis and dissemination of data from the project - due December 2013
- undertake a pilot project to link Australian Taxation Office data to migrant settlement records, including subsequent quality assessment and analysis of data from the project - due December 2013
- explore, assess and utilise the administrative data holdings of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and undertake collaborative projects focussed on statistical development - ongoing
- influence the content of ABS collections which are of most interest and highest priority to migrant statistics stakeholders (e.g. the General Social Survey) - ongoing
- review migrant related standards and increase the standardisation of migrant statistical sources through the development and adoption of relevant standards - ongoing
- investigate options for synthetic modelling using the Population Census as a benchmark to generate small area/regional estimates from sample surveys such as the Characteristics of Recent Migrants and the General Social Survey (which includes a visa module) - due mid 2014.
Dean Bowley, Assistant Statistician, Culture, Recreation and Migrant Statistics
Topics @ a Glance - Migrant & Ethnicity