3418.0 - Personal Income of Migrants, Australia, Experimental, 2010-11 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/12/2015   
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The Australian Government's skilled migration programme targets highly skilled migrants who use their skills and attributes to contribute directly to Australia’s economic, demographic and social well-being. The Skilled stream allows for the entry of employer sponsored workers as well as those who qualify independently (DIBP, 2014). Skilled migrants are generally well educated and have relatively high levels of English proficiency, even when emigrating from countries where English is a second language. Proficiency in English can also be an important enabler to gaining employment in the labour market.

In 2010-11, Skilled migrants represented 62% of migrant taxpayers and generated 72% of total income in 2010-11. There were 542,096 migrant taxpayers with a Skilled visa, an increase of 7.7% compared with 2009-10. They reported $32.4 billion in Total income from all sources, and a median income of $47,700. Skilled offshore primary applicants reported the highest median Employee income with $61,323, a 6.5% increase on 2009-10.

Skilled migrants were most likely to be born in United Kingdom, India and China* with almost one-half (49%) coming from these three countries and earning one-half of reported Total income in 2010-11 ($15.4 billion).

Most Skilled stream migrants were between 25 to 44 years of age in 2010-11. They generated 77% ($23.1 billion) of total Skilled Employee income. Graph 7 below clearly illustrates that Skilled males aged 35 to 44 years had the highest median Skilled Employee income ($71,144).

Skilled female median Employee income plateaus at just under $43,000 for each 10 year age grouping between 25 to 54 years before dropping to $34,247 for those over 55 years of age. The highest median Employee income for Skilled females was $42,952 for those aged 35 to 44 years.

These findings are consistent with the May 2010, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours that found that whilst the proportions of male and female employees was similar, the 'average weekly total earnings for all employees jobs' figure for male employees was $1,183.40 while female employees was $765.30 (ABS, 2010). It should be noted that there are a number of inter-related factors other than gender which are known to influence the level of earnings of males and females. Research has shown that differences such as working arrangements and job industry for example impact on incomes. Data from the February 2014 Labour Force Survey shows that the major occupation groups Sales Workers, and Community and Personal Service Workers, had the majority of people employed part-time (56% and 51% respectively). These two occupations also have a relatively high proportion of females (ABS, 2014). Other information such as full-time and part-time employment status and employment history would enable a more detailed analysis of the key factors influencing the difference in income levels of male and female migrants. This information is not currently available in the PITMID or other individual ABS datasets.

The following Graph presents the median Employee income of migrants in 2009-10 and 2010-11 by age group and sex.

GRAPH 7: SKILLED MIGRANT TAXPAYERS, Median employee income, By age group and sex, 2009-10(a) and 2010-11
Graph Image for Graph 7

Footnote(s): (a) In 2010-11 dollars, adjusted using changes in the Consumer Price Index.

Source(s): Personal Income Tax and Migrants Integrated Dataset (PITMID), 2009-10 and 2010-11 (cat. no. 3418.0)

Skilled migrants were responsible for generating 65% ($1.5 billion) of total Own unincorporated business income. The vast majority of Own unincorporated business income was reported by Skilled males with $1.1 billion or 77%. Skilled males aged 25 to 44 years reported $816.8 million (55%) of total Own unincorporated business income and Skilled females in the same age group $259.9 million (17%).

Skilled migrants reported $788.9 million in Investment income or 62% of the total Investment income reported by migrant taxpayers. Skilled migrants aged 35 to 44 years were responsible for the highest proportion of Skilled Investment income (36%) followed by those aged 45 to 54 years (27%). Whilst there were a smaller proportion of female Skilled migrant investors (44%), they generated over half of the Investment income reported by Skilled migrants in 2010-11 with $413.9 million.

Skilled migrants recorded $215.0 million in total Other income. Males were responsible for the majority of this income in 2010-11 with $164.6 million or 77% reported.

The following graph shows Own unincorporated business income, Investment income and Other income of Skilled migrants by age and gender.

GRAPH 8: SKILLED MIGRANT TAXPAYERS, Proportion of Own unincorporated business, Investment and Other(a)(b) income, By age group and sex, 2010-11
Graph Image for Graph 8 Merged

Footnote(s): (a) Includes Superannuation and annuities. (b) Excludes Government pensions and allowances.

Source(s): Personal Income Tax and Migrants Integrated Dataset (PITMID), 2010-11 (cat. no. 3418.0)

Occupation as well as working arrangements can have a strong impact on the level of income earned by an individual, with those in managerial and professional positions generally earning higher incomes than those working the same number of hours, for example, as drivers or labourers. Australia’s skilled migration programmes tend to select migrants from specific occupations that are required to address labour market gaps and this contributes to the pool of Skilled migrants being relatively well educated and holding jobs in more highly skilled occupations (DIBP, 2015).

Almost one-half of all migrants with a Skilled visa were employed as Professionals (176,411 or 35%) and Managers (54,765 or 11%). These two occupation groups earned the most Employee income ($18.7 billion), with Professionals earning just over $13.7 billion in 2010-11. Skilled primary applicants employed in managerial and professional occupations (181,252) had the highest median Employee incomes of $74,991 and $73,585 respectively.

As can be seen in Graph 9 below, the proportion of Skilled primary applicants holding Managerial and Professional occupations increased significantly from 2009-10 to 2010-11 (14% and 9.3% respectively). There was also a large increase (by 10%) in the number of Skilled primary applicants who reported Machinery Operators and Drivers as their occupation. There was also an 8.2% decrease in Skilled primary applicants employed as Labourers and a 3.4% fall in Community and Personal Service workers.

The following graph presents the percentage change from 2009-10 to 2010-11 in the Occupation of main job of Skilled primary applicants by sex.

GRAPH 9: SKILLED MIGRANT PRIMARY APPLICANTS, Percent change from 2009-10 to 2010-11 in number of migrants, By occupation of main job and sex
Graph Image for Graph 9

Source(s): Personal Income Tax and Migrants Integrated Dataset (PITMID), 2010-11 (cat. no. 3418.0)

From 2009-10 to 2010-11 there was a 7.9% (4,646) decrease in the number of Skilled migrants aged 18 to 24 years reporting income (10% fewer males, 4.8% fewer females) (see Graph 10). Of these, approximately 3,000 (67%) were born in India. It is useful to consider this decrease in migrants from India within the context of issues relating to migrant intake generally, including Australian policy developments regarding the international student population and the Skilled Migration Programme. See the following Australian Government report ‘Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s, Submission to the Productivity Commission’s research project on international education services’ for some background information (DIBP, 2014). In 2010 the Australian Government introduced a number of changes to the student visa programme and to the visas available to Skilled migrants to better align the Skilled Migration Programme with labour market needs. Other factors such as increased global competition, issues with public safety, publicity surrounding education provider closures and the high value of the Australian dollar may also have contributed to the decline in international student numbers in 2010-11 (DIBP, 2014).

The following graph presents the percentage change from 2009-10 to 2010-11 in the number of Skilled migrant taxpayers reporting income by age group and sex.

GRAPH 10: SKILLED MIGRANT TAXPAYERS, Percent change from 2009-10 to 2010-11 in number of migrants, By age group and sex, 2010-11
Graph Image for Graph 10 edit

Source(s): Personal Income Tax and Migrants Integrated Dataset (PITMID), 2010-11 (cat. no. 3418.0)


Changes in income from 2009-10 to 2010-11 are in 2010-11 dollars, adjusted using changes in the Consumer Price Index.

*China excludes Special Administrative Regions (SARs) which comprise Hong Kong and Macau (SARs of China) and Taiwan.

Other income (excluding Government pensions and allowances) includes transfer or trust income; foreign investment fund and/or foreign life insurance assurance policy income (in 2009-10 only); controlled foreign company income; foreign salary/pension income; other net foreign source income; and other (including superannuation and annuity income). Data for superannuation and annuities are understated. See Explanatory Notes for more information.


Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2010, Employee, Earnings and Hours, Australia, May 2010 (cat. no. 6306.0), Canberra. Viewed at <https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/6306.0Main%20Features1May%202010?opendocument&tabname=Summary∏no=6306.0&issue=May%202010νm=&view=>

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2014, Australian Labour Market Statistics, July 2014 (cat. no. 6105.0), Understanding Earnings in Australia Using ABS Statistics, Canberra. Viewed at<https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/6105.0Feature%20Article55July%202014?opendocument&tabname=Summary∏no=6105.0&issue=July%202014νm=&view=>

Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), 2014, Submission to the Productivity Commission’s research project on international education services, Canberra. Viewed at <http://www.pc.gov.au/research/completed/international-education/comments/submissions-test/submission-counter/comment006-business.pdf>

Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), 2015, Fact Sheet - Overview of skilled migration to Australia, Canberra, Viewed at http://www.border.gov.au/about/corporate/information/fact-sheets/24overview-skilled