3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, Jun 2018 Quality Declaration 
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FEATURE ARTICLE 2: SPOTLIGHT ON NET OVERSEAS MIGRATION


INTRODUCTION

At June 2018, Australia's Estimated Resident Population (ERP) was 24,992,369, an increase of 390,509 (or 1.6%) since 30 June 2017.

Australia's population growth can be split into two components - Natural increase (the surplus of births over deaths) and Net Overseas Migration.

Since 2005, Net Overseas Migration has accounted for over half of Australia's population growth. Prior to that, Natural increase generally made a larger contribution to Australia's population growth.

In the year to June 2018, Net Overseas Migration contributed (236,733) persons or (60.6%) of the annual increase in Australia's population, while Natural increase contributed 153,775 people or 39.4% of the increase.

While Natural increase is relatively stable over time, the level of Net Overseas Migration is much more subject to change. As a result, changes in Australia's population growth rate are largely driven by changes in Net Overseas Migration.

Graph Image for Components of annual population growth (a)(b), Australia.

Footnote(s): (a) Annual components calculated at the end of each quarter. (b) For further information on each component of population change, see the Explanatory Notes. (c) NOM estimates have been calculated using a range of methods over the period, and include a break in series at September 2006 , see Explanatory Notes 12-17.

Source(s): Australian Demographic Statistics, June quarter 2018




WHAT IS NET OVERSEAS MIGRATION?

Migration refers to an instance of a person changing their place of residence across a defined boundary. This can be between countries (overseas migration), or areas within a country, such as between states or between Local Government Areas (internal migration).

Statistics on Net Overseas Migration, (often referred to simply as NOM), are sometimes misinterpreted as the number of people arriving to live in Australia. However, NOM represents the net difference between two flows which are often larger; the number of people arriving to live in Australia (also sometimes referred to as immigrants) and the number of people leaving Australia to live overseas (emigrants).

If more people arrive to live in Australia than leave Australia to live overseas, NOM will be a positive number. If more people depart than arrive, NOM will be negative.

In the year to June 2018, 525,698 people arrived to live in Australia while 288,965 people left Australia to live overseas. Net Overseas Migration was therefore 236,733 persons.

Graph Image for Overseas Migration, Arrivals and departures, Australia, at 30 June

Source(s): Australian Demographic Statistics, June quarter 2018



Unlike some other countries, in Australia NOM is generally positive. The last year when Australia recorded negative Net Overseas Migration was 1946.


COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE AND THE 12/16 MONTH RULE

Consistent with internationally agreed definitions, a person is considered to be a resident of Australia if they have lived, or are expected to live, in Australia for 12 months or more. Although these basic concepts have remained largely consistent over time, the precise way in which NOM is measured has changed to accommodate changes in traveller behaviour and improvements in the available data. This should be considered when comparing statistics on NOM over time.

A person need not be continuously present in Australia for 12 months to meet the residence criterion. Instead, the concept of residence is applied for the purposes of NOM statistics by the application of what is known as the '12/16 month rule'.

A person newly arriving in Australia is considered to have become a resident of Australia if they will be present in the country for more than 12 months (365 days) over a 16-month period (486 days) - regardless of their nationality, the type of visa they hold, their legal status in Australia, or whether they intend to stay in Australia permanently. Conversely, any Australian resident who will be absent from Australia for more than 12 months out of 16 is considered to have emigrated from Australia, and is subtracted from our population.

The majority of people coming to Australia are visitors who are in the country for only a short period. Similarly, the majority of trips aboard by Australian residents represent short term visits. As an individual's future travel behaviour can not be empirically known at the time of their arrival in or departure from Australia, the ABS uses a model to estimate the probability that a traveller will have a period of stay of absence sufficient for them to be considered to have changed their country of residence. These estimates of NOM are known as preliminary estimates. Once 16 months has passed, the actual behaviour of travellers can be known with certainty, and estimates of NOM for that period are revised. The ABS has made a number of improvements to preliminary NOM estimates over time and therefore the scale of these revisions is generally relatively small.

The 12/16 month rule was designed to accommodate contemporary travel trends such as increased international travel and increased temporary migration, which can involve short interruptions in longer periods of stay or absence. For example, someone coming to Australia on a student visa for a three-year course of study will generally be counted as an arrival for NOM purposes when they first come to Australia, and then counted as a departure when they leave Australia to live elsewhere following the completion of their study. They may have multiple short term trips during their period of residence in Australia (such as going back to their home country during semester breaks or for family matters) but as long as they will not be absent from Australia for more than 12 months out of 16, they will continue to be counted in the Australian population.

The choice of a 12/16 rule (rather than other possible methods such as a 10/12 or 12/14 rule) ensures that international students who are studying in Australia for more than a year are generally counted in the population, while minimising the inadvertent counting of longer term visitors (often backpackers and others on working holidays) who spend less than 12 months in Australia and are thus considered to be properly counted in the population of their country of origin.

Please see Information Paper: Improvements to the Estimation of Net Overseas Migration, March 2018, (cat. no. 3412.0.55.004) for more information about the underlying assumptions and recent technical enhancements behind NOM.


CITIZENSHIP AND VISA TYPE

Although people are counted in NOM regardless of their nationality or type of visa, NOM arrivals and departures can be split into four main groups:

  • Temporary - accounting for 62.3% of arrivals in NOM terms (in the year to June 2018).
  • Permanent - accounting for 16.7% of arrivals.
  • Australians - comprising 14.5% of arrivals.
  • New Zealanders - comprising 5.8% of arrivals.


Temporary visa holders

People with Temporary visas to undertake higher education (104,485 persons) comprised over one in five of all arrivals (20.1%), in the year to June 2018. They also comprised almost one third (32.2%) of all Temporary visa migrants over the same period.

A further 14.8% (or 78,020 persons) arrived with Visitor visas (for tourism, business and medical purposes) and 9.4% for working holidays.

Although most Visitor visas only allow persons to stay in Australia for a maximum of three months at a time, some people who visit may then return a month or two later, for example, on a student visa. As long as these people stay in Australia for a sufficient period to satisfy the 12/16 rule, they will be counted in the Australian population from the time of this first visit.

Many people with Temporary visas may stay in Australia for several years, some eventually transitioning to Permanent visa status. It should be noted that NOM statistics record the visa held at the time of a person's NOM arrival in (or NOM departure from) Australia, rather than any subsequent visa change while living here (or overseas).


Permanent visa holders

Of the 87,775 people with Permanent visas (in the year to June 2018), those with Permanent Skilled visas accounted for 8.2% of arrivals, followed by Permanent Family visas with 5.0%. Residents with Permanent Humanitarian visas comprised 2.3% of the recent national total.

Not all Permanent visa holders choose to remain in Australia permanently. In the year to June 2018, 21,227 people holding Permanent visas left Australia to live overseas, representing 7.3% of all departures.

The Department of Home Affairs manages the granting of permanent visas each year under Australia's migration and humanitarian programs. There can be delays between a visa being granted and its actual use by an applicant to enter Australia. Some travellers who have been granted a permanent visa may not stay in Australia long enough to be considered a resident, or they may not travel to Australia at all. In addition, some people may apply for and be granted a permanent visa when they are already counted in Australia's population.


People from Australia and New Zealand

Australian citizens moving to live overseas accounted for nearly one in three departures (90,742 persons or 31.4%). Australian citizens also contributed 77,338 or 14.5% of arrivals. These were generally people returning to Australia after a period of living overseas,

Citizens from New Zealand comprised 5.8% of arrivals (30,236) and 8.2% of departures (23,543), in the twelve months to June 2018.

NOM by citizenship and visa(a), Australia - Year to June 2018

Arrivals
Departures
Major groupings and visa type
no.
%
no.
%

Temporary visas
Vocational education and training sector
18 503
3.5
14 659
5.1
Higher education sector
105 485
20.1
31 000
10.7
Student other
35 448
6.7
8 790
3.0
Temporary work skilled
26 541
5.1
15 200
5.3
Visitor(b)
78 020
14.8
20 628
7.1
Working holiday
49 286
9.4
22 415
7.8
Other temporary visas
14 067
2.7
28 494
10.0
Total temporary visas
327 350
62.3
141 184
48.9
Permanent visas
Family
26 516
5.0
5 700
2.0
Skill
43 014
8.2
8 150
2.8
Special eligibility
21
-
21
-
Humanitarian
12 061
2.3
121
-
Other permanent visas
6 163
1.2
7 236
2.5
Total permanent visas
87 775
16.7
21 227
7.3
New Zealand citizen (subclass 444)
30 236
5.8
23 543
8.2
Australian citizen
76 338
14.5
90 742
31.4
Other(c)
4 000
0.8
12 269
4.2
Total(d)
525 698
100.0
288 965
100.0

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Represents the visas held at the time of a traveller's specific arrival in, or departure from, Australia. A person may be issued a different visa following their arrival in Australia.
(b) Visitor visas include tourists, business visitors, medical treatment and other.
(c) Includes visa unknown.
(d) Totals may not exactly match the sum of their parts, due to rounding.


MAIN COUNTRIES OF BIRTH

Top 10 Countries

In the twelve months to June 2018, China was the top Country of birth for migrant arrivals, contributing 82,546 people (or 15.7% of all arrivals in this period). Next ranked were: India (12.8%); Australia (9.1%), the United Kingdom (5.6%) and New Zealand (4.2%). Nepal has recently emerged as a major source of migrants to Australia, with 4.1% (or 21,667 people) having been born there.

The top country of birth for departures was Australia (with 66,844 persons or 23.1% of the total). Other prominent Countries of birth were: China (contributing 12.7%); United Kingdom (7.2%); New Zealand ( 6.2%); and India (4.2%).

NOM, main countries of birth for arrivals and departures-Australia-Year to June 2018(a)

Arrivals
Departures
Net Overseas Migration
Country of birth
no.
%
no.
%
no.

China(b)
82 546
15.7
36 706
12.7
+45 840
India
67 142
12.8
12 120
4.2
+55 022
Australia
47 765
9.1
66 844
23.1
-19 079
United Kingdom(c)
29 429
5.6
20 675
7.2
+8 754
New Zealand
21 859
4.2
17 788
6.2
+4 071
Nepal
21 667
4.1
1 083
0.4
+20 584
Malaysia
18 611
3.5
9 276
3.2
+9 335
Philippines
16 417
3.1
4 261
1.5
+12 156
Vietnam
11 022
2.1
4 589
1.6
+6 433
United States of America
10 731
2.0
9 823
3.4
+ 908
All other countries
198 510
37.8
105 800
36.6
+92 709
Total(d)
525 698
100.0
288 965
100.0
+236 733

(a) Four quarters of preliminary data, from September and December 2017 to March and June 2018, summed. Table cells have been randomly adjusted to protect the confidentiality of individuals. Some totals may not exactly match the sum or subtraction of their parts.
(b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.
(c) Includes Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
(d) Also includes Country of birth not stated.

In net migration terms, Indian born people were the largest group with 55,022 more people immigrating to Australia than emigrating, followed by the Chinese born (45,840 persons). Similar levels of Net Overseas Migration for persons born in India and China in previous years have contributed to an increase in the proportion of Australians born in China from 1.3% in 2007 to 2.5% in 2017, and for India from 1.0% to 2.2%. For more information, please see Migration, Australia (cat. no 3412.0).

In contrast, Australian born people recorded negative net overseas migration, with 19,079 more leaving Australia than arriving or returning (in the year to June 2018).


NOM - Age of Arrivals and Departures

The majority of migrants to Australia are young adults, with 61.2% aged between 18 and 34 years.

People arriving in Australia are slightly younger than those who are departing. The median age of arrivals (in the year to June 2018) was 25.9 years while the corresponding median for departures was 27.9 years. In contrast the overall Australian population was considerably older with a median age of 37.3 years.

The median age of migrants can differ substantially across different visa categories. People with Temporary Student visas (median age 22.2 years) and Permanent Humanitarian visas (22.7 years) tended to be the youngest arrivals.

NOM - Median age of arrivals and departures, by selected visa categories and citizenship - Year to June 2018

Arrivals
Departures
Median age
Median age
Visa/citizenship
(years)
(years)

Permanent family visa
30.5
33.1
Permanent humanitarian visa
22.7
32.8
Permanent skill visa
30.6
31.5
Temporary student visa
22.2
25.6
Temporary skilled work visa
28.9
31.4
Temporary visitors visa
31.6
41.7
Australian citizen
29.0
28.4
New Zealand citizen
26.0
30.7
Other (country)
28.0
26.5



WHERE DO NEW ARRIVALS SETTLE?

Over two thirds (67%) of people in Australia live in a capital city region. (See Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2016-7, (cat. no. 3218.0)). A higher proportion of migrant arrivals to Australia (85.4%) reside in capital city regions (85.4%), with Greater Sydney (32.4%) and Greater Melbourne (27.3%) being the most common destinations.

Place of residence for arrivals and the total population-Australia-2016-17

Arrivals
Total population
Region
no.
% of total
no.
% of total

Greater Sydney
178 974
32.4
5 132 355
20.9
Greater Melbourne
150 964
27.3
4 843 781
19.7
Greater Brisbane
56 456
10.2
2 413 457
9.8
Greater Perth
47 660
8.6
2 039 041
8.3
Rest of Queensland
34 928
6.3
2 515 695
10.2
Rest of NSW
23 939
4.3
2 729 319
11.1
Greater Adelaide
21 660
3.9
1 334 167
5.4
Rest of Victoria
11 251
2.0
1 477 867
6.0
ACT
9 424
1.7
411 667
1.7
Rest of WA
5 369
1.0
536 411
2.2
Greater Darwin
4 688
0.8
148 884
0.6
Greater Hobart
2 648
0.5
229 088
0.9
Rest of SA
1 788
0.3
389 504
1.6
Rest of Tasmania
1 651
0.3
293 064
1.2
Rest of NT
1 465
0.3
98 607
0.4
Total(a)
552 865
100.0
24 597 528
100.0

(a) Includes the Other Territories. Hence components in the table may not exactly match the totals.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Morel information about NOM and its components can be found in Migration, Australia, (cat. no. 3412.0).