This is not the latest release View the latest release

Characteristics of Recent Migrants, Australia methodology

Reference period
November 2016
Released
14/06/2017

Explanatory notes

Introduction

1 This publication contains results from the 2016 Characteristics of Recent Migrants Survey (CORMS), conducted throughout Australia in November 2016 as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS).

2 CORMS provides data about the labour force status and other characteristics of recent migrants and temporary residents (see the Glossary for more information about these terms). Along with general demographic and employment characteristics of recent migrants and temporary residents, information available from the survey includes the type of visa held by recent migrants and temporary residents on arrival in Australia, and language spoken education and employment before and after arriving in Australia, any difficulties experienced finding work since migration and proficiency in English.

3 The publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains information about survey design, sample redesign, scope, coverage and population benchmarks relevant to the monthly LFS, which also apply to supplementary surveys. It also contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics.

Concepts, sources and methods

4 The conceptual framework used in Australia's LFS aligns closely with the standards and guidelines set out in Resolutions of the International Conference of Labour Statisticians. Descriptions of the underlying concepts and structure of Australia's labour force statistics, and the sources and methods used in compiling these estimates, are presented in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013 (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).

5 In July 2014, the LFS survey questionnaire underwent a number of developments. For further information see Information Paper: Questionnaire Used in the Labour Force Survey, July 2014.

Scope and coverage

Scope

6 The scope of CORMS is restricted to people aged 15 years and over who were usual residents of private dwellings, excluding:

  • members of the permanent defence forces
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from the Census of Population and Housing and estimated resident populations
  • overseas residents in Australia and
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants).
     

7 In addition, this supplementary survey excluded people living in Indigenous communities in Australia and in non-private dwellings such as hotels, university residences, boarding schools, hospitals, retirement homes, homes for people with disabilities, and prisons.

Coverage

8 The estimates in this publication relate to persons covered by the survey scope. In the LFS, coverage rules are applied which aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling and hence has only one chance of selection in the survey. See Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for more details.

Sample size

9 Approximately 91% of the selected households were fully responding to the Monthly Population survey. Of these, 2,965 complete interviews were obtained from recent migrants and temporary residents.

Data collection

10 Information was mainly collected through interviews conducted over a two-week period in November 2016. Interviews were conducted face-to-face or over the telephone, using computer assisted interviewing, while some respondents were able to provide certain information over the Internet via a self-completed form.

11 In the selected dwellings, after the LFS had been fully completed for each person in scope, information was obtained from one responsible adult who was present on each visa application in the household. For example, consider a household with three usual residents where two were listed together on one visa application and the other person was listed on a separate visa application. In this case, two people in the household would have provided information, one for each visa application that they were covered by.

Estimation method

Weighting

12 Weighting is the process of adjusting results from a sample survey to infer results for the total population. To do this, a 'weight' is allocated to each enumerated person. The weight is a value which indicates how many people in the population are represented by the sample person.

13 The first step in calculating weights for each unit is to assign an initial weight, which is the inverse of the probability of the unit being selected in the survey. For example, if the probability of a person being selected in the survey was 1 in 300, then the person would have an initial weight of 300 (that is, they represent 300 people).

Population benchmarks

14 The initial weights are then calibrated to align with independent estimates of the population, referred to as benchmarks. The population included in the benchmarks is the survey scope. This calibration process ensures that the weighted data conform to the independently estimated distribution of the population described by the benchmarks rather than to the distribution within the sample itself. Calibration to population benchmarks helps to compensate for over or under-enumeration of particular categories of persons which may occur due to either the random nature of sampling or non-response.

15 The survey was benchmarked to the estimated resident population (ERP) aged 15-74 years living in private dwellings and non-institutionalised special dwellings in each state and territory. People living in Indigenous communities were excluded.

16 In 2016 the weighting methodology was modified to include ERP Migration statistics as part of the benchmark process Migration, Australia (cat. no. 3412.0)

Estimation

17 Survey estimates of counts of persons are obtained by summing the weights of persons with the characteristics of interest.

18 To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique is used to randomly adjust cell values. This technique is called perturbation. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable statistics while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics. After perturbation, a given published cell value will be consistent across all tables. However, adding up cell values to derive a total will not necessarily give the same result as published totals. The introduction of perturbation in publications ensures that these statistics are consistent with statistics released via services such as Table Builder.

Reliability of estimates

19 All sample surveys are subject to error which can be broadly categorised as either: sampling error or non-sampling error. For more information refer to the Technical Note.

Data quality

Interpretation of results

20 The method of obtaining information about all the persons in the household from any responsible adult is only used for collecting information on topics where other members of the household are likely to be able to answer the questions. If the responsible adult is unable to supply all of the details for another individual in the household, a personal interview is conducted with that particular individual.

Data comparability

21 It is impracticable to obtain information relating to the labour force status of people before migration according to the strict definitions used in the monthly LFS. It is for this reason that 'Has had a job since arriving in Australia' and 'Has not had a job since arriving in Australia' are used to describe previous labour force status, while 'employed', 'unemployed' and 'not in the labour force' are used to describe labour force status as at November 2016.

Comparability of time series

22 The ABS has previously conducted a survey of recent migrants in 1984, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013. While the ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey, sound survey practice requires ongoing development to maintain the integrity of the data. When comparing data over time the following changes need to be considered:

  • Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Migrants Surveys conducted up to and including November 1996 were restricted to migrants who arrived in Australia after 1970, were aged 18 years and over on arrival, and had obtained permanent Australian resident status.
  • For November 1999, the survey was restricted to migrants who arrived in Australia after 1980, were aged 18 years and over on arrival, and had obtained permanent Australian resident status.
  • For November 2004, the survey included migrants aged 15 years and over on arrival, who arrived in Australia after 1984 who had obtained permanent Australian resident status, as well as people who were temporary residents of Australia for 12 months or more.
  • For November 2007, November 2010 and November 2013, the surveys have included migrants who arrived in Australia in the last 10 years (since 1997, 2000 and 2003 respectively), were aged 15 years and over on arrival, who had obtained permanent Australian resident status, as well as people who were temporary residents of Australia for 12 months or more. In 2007, people born in New Zealand, those holding New Zealand citizenship and those who held Australian citizenship before their arrival in Australia were excluded.
  • In 2010 and 2013, people holding New Zealand citizenship and those who held Australian citizenship before their arrival in Australia were excluded, while other people born in New Zealand were included.
  • In 2016 the weighting methodology was modified to include ERP Migration statistics as part of the benchmark process.
     

23 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. Therefore, caution should we used when comparing CORMS 2016 estimates with previous years.

Comparability with other ABS data

24 Since the CORMS is conducted as a supplement to the LFS, data items collected in the LFS are also available in CORMS. However, there are some important differences between the two surveys. The CORMS sample is a subset of the LFS sample (see the Introduction of these Explanatory Notes) and has a response rate which is slightly lower than the LFS response rate for the same period. Also, the scope of the CORMS differs slightly to the scope of the LFS (refer to the Scope section above). Due to these differences between the samples, the CORMS data are weighted as a separate process to the weighting of LFS data.

25 Differences may therefore be found in the estimates collected in the LFS and published as part of the CORMS, when compared with estimates published in the November 2016 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).

26 Additionally, estimates from the CORMS may differ from the estimates produced from other ABS collections, for several reasons. The CORMS is a sample survey and its results are subject to sampling error. Results may differ from other sample surveys, which are also subject to sampling error. Users should take account of the relative standard errors (RSEs) on estimates and those of other survey estimates where comparisons are made.

27 Differences may also exist in the scope and/or coverage of the CORMS compared to other surveys. Differences in estimates, when compared to the estimates of other surveys, may result from different reference periods reflecting seasonal variations, non-seasonal events that may have impacted on one period but not another, or because of underlying trends in the phenomena being measured.

28 Finally, differences can occur as a result of using different collection methodologies. This is often evident in comparisons of similar data items reported from different ABS collections where, after taking account of definition and scope differences and sampling error, residual differences remain. These differences are often the result of the mode of the collections, such as whether data are collected by an interviewer or self-enumerated by the respondent and whether the data are collected from the person themselves or from a proxy respondent. Differences may also result from the context in which questions are asked, i.e. where in the interview the questions are asked and the nature of preceding questions. The impacts on data of different collection methodologies are difficult to quantify. As a result, every effort is made to minimise such differences.

29 Estimates from CORMS will differ from estimates from the Microdata: Australian Census and Migrants Integrated Dataset, 2011 (ACMID), which was released in February 2014. The ACMID, 2011 relates to people who responded to the 9 August 2011 Census of Population and Housing and had a permanent visa record on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's (DIBP) Settlement Data Base (SDB) with a date of arrival between 1 January 2000 and 9 August 2011. ACMID estimates were a result of integrating the data from these two data sources and calibrating the linked records to known population totals from the SDB.

Comparability with non-ABS sources

30 The DIBP is the main holder of stocks and flow data on migrants by visa (e.g. Migration Program). Due to differences in collection objectives and definitions, data from CORMS are not comparable with DIBP data. For more information on the Migration Program and DIBP statistics, refer to the DIBP website.

Classifications

Country of birth

31 Country of birth data are classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), Second Edition (cat. no. 1269.0).

Industry

32 Industry data are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 2.0) (cat. no. 1292.0).

Occupation

33 Occupation data are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classifications of Occupations (ANZSCO), First Edition, Revision 1 (cat. no. 1220.0).

Education

34 Education data are classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0). The ASCED is a national standard classification which can be applied to all sectors of the Australian education system including schools, vocational education and training, and higher education. The ASCED comprises two classifications: Level of Education and Field of Education.

35 Level of Education is defined as a function of the quality and quantity of learning involved in an educational activity. There are nine broad levels, 15 narrow levels and 64 detailed levels. For definitions of these levels, see the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0).

36 Field of Education is defined as the subject matter of an educational activity. Fields of education are related to each other through the similarity of subject matter, through the broad purpose for which the education is undertaken, and through the theoretical content which underpins the subject matter. There are 12 broad fields, 71 narrow fields and 356 detailed fields. For definitions of these fields, see the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0).

Socio-economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)

37 SEIFA is a suite of four summary measures that have been created from 2011 Census information. Each index summarises a different aspect of the socio-economic conditions of people living in an area. The indexes provide more general measures of socio-economic status than is given by measures such as income or unemployment alone.

38 Each index ranks geographic areas across Australia in terms of their relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage. The four indexes each summarise a slightly different aspect of the socio-economic conditions in an area. It is important to note that the indexes are assigned to areas and not to individuals. They indicate the collective socio-economic characteristics of the people living in an area. The respondents in CORMS have been assigned the 2011 Census SEIFA for the area in which they live. Consequently, they may not necessarily have the same personal characteristics that describes the socio-economic status of their geographic area as a whole.

39 The indexes and supporting material are found in the publication Census of Population and Housing: Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), Australia, 2011 (cat. no. 2033.0.55.001).

Products and services

40 A number of data cubes (spreadsheets) containing all tables produced for this publication are available from the Data downloads section of the publication. The data cubes present tables of estimates and proportions, and their corresponding Relative Standard Errors (RSEs).

41 For users who wish to undertake more detailed analysis of the data, the survey microdata will be available through the online TableBuilder product. TableBuilder is a tool for creating tables and graphs. For more details, refer to the TableBuilder information, Microdata: Characteristics of Recent Migrants, Australia (cat. no. 6250.0.25.002).

42 Special tabulations are available on request. Subject to confidentiality and sampling variability constraints, tabulations can be produced from the survey incorporating data items, populations and geographic areas selected to meet individual requirements. These can be provided in printed or electronic form. All enquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or email client.services@abs.gov.au.

Acknowledgements

43 ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

Next survey

44 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again in 2019.

Related publications

45 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are available from the ABS website. The ABS also issues a daily upcoming release advice on the website that details products to be released in the week ahead.

Technical note - data quality

Reliability of the estimates

1 The estimates in this publication are based on information obtained from a sample survey. Any data collection may encounter factors, known as non-sampling error, which can impact on the reliability of the resulting statistics. In addition, the reliability of estimates based on sample surveys are also subject to sampling variability. That is, the estimates may differ from those that would have been produced had all persons in the population been included in the survey.

Non-sampling error

2 Non-sampling error may occur in any collection, whether it is based on a sample or a full count such as a census. Sources of non-sampling error include non-response, errors in reporting by respondents or recording of answers by interviewers and errors in coding and processing data. Every effort is made to reduce non-sampling error by careful design and testing of questionnaires, training and supervision of interviewers, and extensive editing and quality control procedures at all stages of data processing.

Sampling error

3 Sampling error is the difference between the published estimates, derived from a sample of persons, and the value that would have been produced if the total population (as defined by the scope of the survey) had been included in the survey. One measure of the sampling error is given by the standard error (SE), which indicates the extent to which an estimate might have varied by chance because only a sample of persons was included. There are about two chances in three (67%) that a sample estimate will differ by less than one SE from the number that would have been obtained if all persons had been surveyed, and about 19 chances in 20 (95%) that the difference will be less than two SEs.

4 Another measure of the likely difference is the relative standard error (RSE), which is obtained by expressing the SE as a percentage of the estimate.

\(R S E \%=\left(\frac{S E}{e s t i m a t e}\right) \times 100\)

5 RSEs for count estimates have been calculated using the Jackknife method of variance estimation. This involves the calculation of 30 'replicate' estimates based on 30 different subsamples of the obtained sample. The variability of estimates obtained from these subsamples is used to estimate the sample variability surrounding the count estimate.

6 The Excel spreadsheets in the Data downloads section contain all the tables produced for this release and the calculated RSEs for each of the estimates.

7 Only estimates (numbers or percentages) with RSEs less than 25% are considered sufficiently reliable for most analytical purposes. However, estimates with larger RSEs have been included. Estimates with an RSE in the range 25% to 50% should be used with caution while estimates with RSEs greater than 50% are considered too unreliable for general use. All cells in the Excel spreadsheets with RSEs greater than 25% contain a comment indicating the size of the RSE. These cells can be identified by a red indicator in the corner of the cell. The comment appears when the mouse pointer hovers over the cell.

Calculation of standard error

8 Standard errors can be calculated using the estimates (counts or percentages) and the corresponding RSEs. See What is a Standard Error and Relative Standard Error, Reliability of estimates for Labour Force data for more details.

Proportions and percentages

9 Proportions and percentages formed from the ratio of two estimates are also subject to sampling errors. The size of the error depends on the accuracy of both the numerator and the denominator. A formula to approximate the RSE of a proportion is given below. This formula is only valid when x is a subset of y:

\(R S E\left(\frac{x}{y}\right) \approx \sqrt{[R S E(x)]^{2}-[R S E(y)]^{2}}\)

Differences

10 The difference between two survey estimates (counts or percentages) can also be calculated from published estimates. Such an estimate is also subject to sampling error. The sampling error of the difference between two estimates depends on their SEs and the relationship (correlation) between them. An approximate SE of the difference between two estimates (x-y) may be calculated by the following formula:

\(S E(x-y) \approx \sqrt{[S E(x)]^{2}+[S E(y)]^{2}}\)

11 While this formula will only be exact for differences between separate and uncorrelated characteristics or sub populations, it provides a good approximation for the differences likely to be of interest in this publication.

Significance testing

12 A statistical significance test for a comparison between estimates can be performed to determine whether it is likely that there is a difference between the corresponding population characteristics. The SE of the difference between two corresponding estimates (x and y) can be calculated using the formula shown above in the Differences section. This SE is then used to calculate the following test statistic:

\(\left(\frac{x-y}{S E(x-y)}\right)\)

13 If the value of this test statistic is greater than 1.96 then there is evidence, with a 95% level of confidence, of a statistically significant difference in the two populations with respect to that characteristic. Otherwise, it cannot be stated with confidence that there is a real difference between the populations with respect to that characteristic.

Glossary

Show all

Australian citizen

Being an Australian citizen formalises a person's membership of the Australian community. It entitles a person to live permanently in Australia, hold an Australian passport and do such things as vote to elect Australia's governments, stand for parliament, work in the Public Service and serve in the armed forces. A person may acquire Australian citizenship in a number of ways, for example, by birth, adoption, descent, resumption or granting of Australian citizenship (naturalisation). Migrants no longer require a visa once citizenship is granted.

Bachelor Degree or higher

Includes Bachelor Degree, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate and Postgraduate Degree.

Balance of state/territory

Comprises the balance of each state/territory not included in Capital City. See Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001).

Capital city

Refers to Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSA) as defined by the ASGS. The GCCSAs represent the socio-economic extent of each of the eight State and Territory capital cities. The whole of the ACT is included in the GCCSA. See Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001).

Certificate

Includes Certificate I/II/III/IV and Certificate not further defined.

Country of birth

Country of birth has been classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), Second Edition (cat. no. 1269.0).

Employed

Persons who, during the reference week:

  • worked for one hour or more for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind in a job or business, or on a farm (comprising employees, employers and own account workers)
  • worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm (i.e. contributing family workers)
  • were employees who had a job but were not at work and were:
    • away from work for less than four weeks up to the end of the reference week
    • away from work for more than four weeks up to the end of the reference week and received pay for some or all of the four week period to the end of the reference week
    • away from work as a standard work or shift arrangement
    • on strike or locked out
    • on workers' compensation and expected to return to their job
  • were employers or own account workers who had a job, business or farm, but were not at work.
     

Employed full-time

Employed persons who usually worked 35 hours or more a week (in all jobs) and those who, although usually working less than 35 hours a week, worked 35 hours or more during the reference week.

Employed part-time

Employed persons who usually worked less than 35 hours or more a week (in all jobs) and either did so during the reference week, or were not at work in the reference week.

Had a job since arrival

Includes persons who currently have a job or who had a job at some time since their arrival.

Household Income

Source of household income is from all members of the household, including persons who are not a 'recent migrant' or a 'temporary resident'.

Industry

Industry data is classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 2.0) (cat. no. 1292.0).

Labour force

Persons who were in the categories 'employed' or 'unemployed' as defined.

Labour force participation rate

For any group, the labour force expressed as a percentage of all persons aged 15 years and over in the same group.

Level not determined

Level not determined includes inadequately described responses or where no responses were given.

Level of highest non-school qualification

Level of highest non-school qualification identifies the highest educational qualification a person has attained in any area of study. It is not a measurement of the relative importance of different fields of study, but a ranking of qualifications and other educational attainments regardless of the particular area of study or the type of institution in which the study was undertaken.

It is categorised according to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0) Level of Education classification.

Main applicant

The 'main applicant' is generally the person whose skills or proposed activities in Australia are assessed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection as part of their visa application. They will usually have been specifically identified on the application form as the 'main applicant'. The type of visa is granted to the main applicant, and the secondary applicants (i.e. spouse or dependents).

Main English-speaking countries

The list of main English-speaking countries (MESC) provided here is not an attempt to classify countries on the basis of whether or not English is the predominant or official language of each country. It is a list of the main countries from which Australia has historically received significant numbers of overseas settlers who are likely to speak English. These countries comprise the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and the United States of America. It is important to note that being from a non-main English-speaking country does not imply a lack of proficiency in English.

Main field of non-school qualification

Main field of non-school qualification is defined as the subject matter of the educational qualification. It is categorised according to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0) Field of Education classification.

Non-school qualification

Non-school qualifications are awarded for educational attainments other than those of pre-primary, primary or secondary education. They include qualifications at the Postgraduate Degree level, Master Degree level, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate level, Bachelor Degree level, Advanced Diploma and Diploma level, and Certificates I, II, III and IV levels. Non-school qualifications may be obtained concurrently with school qualifications.

Not in the labour force

Persons who were not in the categories 'employed' or 'unemployed' as defined.

Occupation

Permanent visa

The permission or authority granted by Australia for foreign nationals to live in Australia permanently.

Recent migrant

A recent migrant is 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.
     

Reference week

The week preceding the week in which the interview was conducted.

Secondary applicant

A person whose visa was granted on the basis of being the family member (e.g. spouse, dependent child) of a person who qualified for a visa. They will have been identified on the visa application as a secondary or an 'other' applicant with the person who met the visa criteria being specifically identified on the visa application as the 'main applicant'. The type of visa is granted to the main applicant, and the secondary applicants (i.e. spouse or dependents).

Temporary resident

A temporary resident is 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.
     

Temporary visa

The permission or authority granted by Australia for a foreign national to travel to Australia and stay up to a specified period of time. Temporary entrants for this survey include:

  • tourists
  • students
  • business people
  • people with specialist skills, such as managers, academics and medical practitioners
  • people who make a social or cultural contribution to the community, such as entertainers, media and film staff, sports people, religious workers, visiting academics and public lecturers
  • people who contribute to the development of international relations, such as participants in exchange programs and working holiday makers.
     

Type of visa as at November 2016 (current visa)

The visa the respondent held at the time of interview, that allowed them to stay in Australia. Categories for type of visa as at November 2016 are:

  • Australian citizen - Persons who arrived to live in Australia on a permanent or temporary visa and have since obtained Australian citizenship
  • Permanent Skilled - Skilled migrants are selected on the basis of their age, skills and their ability to quickly make a contribution to the Australian economy. Includes Independent, Family or government sponsored, and Employer sponsored visas
  • Permanent Family - Includes Partner, Child and Parent visas
  • Permanent Humanitarian - Includes Special Humanitarian Program and Refugee visas
  • Permanent Other/n.f.d. - Includes all other permanent visa categories or where the type of permanent visa could not be determined
  • Temporary Student - Temporary student visas are granted to people studying or seeking study, training or skills development in Australia, and are planning to stay in Australia for 12 months or more
  • Temporary Other/n.f.d. - Includes tourists, working holiday makers and visitors planning to stay in Australia for 12 months or more, or where the type of temporary visa could not be determined.
     

A respondent's visa type as at November 2016 may be different from the type of visa held on arrival to live in Australia. This may be the result of a respondent obtaining Australian citizenship, or the respondent's successful onshore application to another visa type after arrival.

Type of visa on arrival to live in Australia (initial visa)

The visa the respondent held when they first arrived in Australia to live that allowed them to come to Australia. Categories for type of visa on arrival to live in Australia are as for 'Type of visa as at November 2016'.

A respondent's type of visa on arrival to live in Australia may differ from the type of visa held as at November 2016. This may be the result of a respondent obtaining Australian citizenship, or the respondent's successful onshore application to another visa type after arrival.

Unemployed

Persons who were not employed during the reference week, and:

  • had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the four weeks up to the end of the reference week and were available for work in the reference week or
  • were waiting to start a new job within four weeks from the end of the reference week and could have started in the reference week if the job had been available then.
     

Unemployment rate

For any group, the number of unemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the labour force in the same group.

Quality declaration - summary

Institutional environment

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.

Relevance

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.

Timeliness

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.

Accuracy

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.

Coherence

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.

Interpretability

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.

Accessibility

Tabulated data and associated RSEs are available in spreadsheet format and can be accessed from the Data downloads section.

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.

The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.

Abbreviations

Show all

ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
ACMIDAustralian Census and Migrants Integrated Dataset
ANZSCOAustralian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations
ANZSICAustralian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification
ASCEDAustralian Standard Classification of Education
ASGSAustralian Statistical Geography Standard
CORMSCharacteristics of Recent Migrants Survey
DIBPDepartment of Immigration and Border Protection
GCCSAGreater Capital City Statistical Areas
LFSLabour Force Survey
MESCMain English-speaking countries
n.f.d.not further defined
NZNew Zealand
RSErelative standard error
SA1Statistical area level 1
SA2Statistical area level 2
SACCStandard Australian Classification of Countries
SEstandard error
SEIFASocio-Economic Indexes for Areas