3414.0 - Guide to Migrant Statistical Sources, 2011 (Edition 2)  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/03/2011   
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Continuous Survey of Australia’s Migrants (CSAM)


The Continuous Survey of Australia’s Migrants (CSAM) commenced in September 2009 and is conducted every six months by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

The main objective of the CSAM is to provide DIAC and other Commonwealth and State agencies timely and regular information on the labour market outcomes of recent migrants. Qualifications assessment, housing issues and use of government services are also included. The CSAM consists of a base series of questions repeated in each survey, plus additional questions rolled into and out of the survey as needed, which address issues of interest as they arise.

Every six months the next survey is run, made up of two surveys: a new survey of Primary applicants who either arrived or were granted their visa within the last six months; and a follow-up survey of the people who were surveyed six months earlier. As the survey is ongoing, it provides a time series of migrant outcomes. There is a longitudinal aspect to the survey — migrants are surveyed twice, six months apart and changes in migrant outcomes, brought about by an additional six months living in Australia, can therefore be measured.


The survey covers people who have been granted either a:

    • Permanent residence visa; or
    • Provisional visa (such as a provisional partner visa) and are on the pathway to permanent residence.

Respondents are randomly selected from Skill Stream and Family Stream primary applicants who either came to Australia on an offshore visa within the last six months or were granted a visa onshore within the last six months. Humanitarian entrants have not been included in this survey. Each such cohort of respondents undergoes a paper based questionnaire followed by a telephone survey six months later. A fresh group of migrants is selected every six months to undergo this two phase survey.

The first CSAM survey was conducted in September 2009.

Each cohort of applicants consists of around 4,000 respondents for the first part of the survey, and around 3,000 for the follow-up component of this twofold survey. To achieve a mail out response of 4,000 completed questionnaires, 8,000 potential respondents are approached.


Questions asked of both the respondent (primary applicant) and their partner (if applicable).
    • Partner (if arrived in Australia with a partner): current relationship; still residing together.
    • Children: number; number that migrated with primary applicant; number living at home and number under 18 years of age.
    • Reason for migrating to Australia
    • Housing arrangements: type of accommodation; difficulty paying rent/mortgage; difficulty finding housing; satisfaction with location.
    • Qualifications: since leaving school - highest level and field attained; Australian qualifications - level and field attained.
    • Government benefits received.
    • Language best spoken.
    • English: level; attendance of Adult Migrant English program
    • Employment: employed (income, hours, industry, occupation and main duties); unemployed (duration): not in labour force; any previous employment in Australia.




Results are made available on the DIAC website CSAM section.


For further information, please contact the Departments Economic Analysis are by email.

Email: economic.analysis@immi.gov.au