Migrant settlement outcomes methodology

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Migrants who arrived in Australia from 1 January 2000 to 10 August 2021 and had a permanent visa as their last held visa.


Data published at national level.


  • Administrative data sourced from Person Level Integrated Data Asset (PLIDA)
  • Census of Population and Housing
  • Australian Census and Migrants Integrated Dataset (ACMID)

Collection method

Data are compiled from:

  • Census data collected from the Australian population every 5 years
  • data from the Census and Person Level Integrated Data Asset (PLIDA) linked with the Department of Home Affairs Settlement Database.

Concepts, sources and methods

Permanent migrants include:

  • Skilled migrants
  • Family migrants
  • Humanitarian migrants
  • Other and undetermined migrants.

History of changes

  • Addition of the socio-economic indicator
  • Removal of the health indicators

Data collection


The data used in this release were sourced from the following:

PLIDA data used to produce this release include:

  • ATO Client Register, 2006-2021
  • Income Tax Returns, 2020-21
  • Payment Summaries, 2015-16 to 2020-21
  • Census of Population and Housing, 2021
  • Higher Education Information Management System 2005-2019
  • Migrant data, 1990-2021.

The Migrant data are a suite of administrative datasets (client information, visa grants, and visa applications) from the Department of Home Affairs. These data pertain to permanent migrants and temporary entrants to Australia, as well as Australian citizens who have travelled into or out of Australia. The data provides information on a person’s visa information, citizenship status, and their movements into and out of Australia.

Refer to Data assets for more information about PLIDA and other data assets.

PLIDA is linked using the Person Linkage Spine. More information can be found here: Person linkage spine.


This release relates to permanent migrants in Australia.

The scope and coverage of these estimates are defined and constrained by the characteristics of the data sources from which they are produced. As such, users should note that some permanent migrants might not be captured within these estimates.

The scope of the Migrant data includes:

  • clients listed during the period 1 January 1990* to 10 August 2021
  • visas granted between 1 January 1990* to 10 August 2021
  • visa applications lodged between 1 January 1990* to 10 August 2021.

* Includes incomplete data for records prior to 1 January 1990

The Migrant data were further scoped to create a population base for these indicators. This involved the following steps:

  • retaining all people who arrived in Australia from 1 January 2000 to 10 August 2021 and held a permanent visa as their last held visa
  • retaining records of those who held a resident return visa (subclasses 111, 151, 154 -159, 834, R, and K38) and Australian citizens who previously held a permanent visa within the period mentioned above.

Other information from the PLIDA asset is then linked to the scoped migrant population, via the Person Linkage Spine. If a specific characteristic cannot be linked or derived, records missing this information are excluded from the calculations included in the specific indicator.

The Visa Grants data contain a small number of cases where multiple visas were issued on the same date. To distinguish the most recent visa held, a variable (last on day flag) is used to resolve these cases.

For some records, arrival date information is missing. This is likely in part due to the following factors:

  • the retention of resident return visa records and locating the last substantial permanent visa
  • administrative error.

Once same day visa grants have been reconciled and duplicate records on the Person Linkage Spine have been de-duplicated, visa subclass (3-digit) information is then aggregated into visa streams (highest-level grouping) to produce the Skilled, Family, Humanitarian, Other and undetermined, and Total permanent groupings. Please refer to the Glossary for more information on visa types. 

While every effort will be made to maintain the stability of these indicators into the future, they may be subject to revisions as linkage methods develop, the PLIDA asset matures, and more data become available.

The data used in these indicators have different reference periods. Information about this can be found within the footnotes of each table. This should be considered, and caution exercised, when trying to analyse relationships between the data.

Care has been taken to articulate the scope and coverage of the datasets used and the populations in the individual data items themselves.

Processing the data

Linkage rate

15,106,335 (94.2%) out of 16,044,532 persons with a visa grant date on or after 1 January 2000 were linked to the PLIDA person linkage spine.

Suppression of data

Data are subject to suppression where a small number of individuals contribute to an individual estimate. 

Privacy and confidentiality

Legislative requirements to ensure privacy and secrecy of this data have been followed. Only those authorised under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 have been allowed to view data about individuals in compiling these statistics and conducting these analyses. In accordance with the Census and Statistics Act 1905, results have been confidentialised to ensure that they are not likely to enable identification of a particular person or organisation.

All personal information is handled in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act 1988

For more information, refer to the 2021 Census Privacy Statement and Keeping integrated data safe.

Data limitations


There are some cases where distinct records on the Migrant datasets have been determined to belong to the same person when linked to the Person Linkage Spine. In these cases, the record with the most recent arrival date is kept as it relates to the most current visa.

Conceptual misalignment

The Australian immigration system is purpose-built and complex. In some cases, it is difficult to determine how a particular data item should be used to describe any changes to migration characteristics e.g. visa granted, location of visa grant. While care is taken, some visa-related data items are subject to this type of validity error. An example of this is year of arrival from the Census versus arrival date from the Migrant data. For detailed information about this conceptual difference, refer to Data concepts.

Reporting error

Reporting errors are likely to be present in Migrant data. Efforts have been made to address significant reporting errors, such as illegal characters or incomplete fields. Despite these efforts, some reporting errors may remain.

COVID-19 pandemic

PLIDA, Census, and ACMID provide a comprehensive snapshot of migrants in Australia and tell us about their economic and social outcomes. Reference periods of the data include the period during the COVID-19 pandemic, which required much of the Australian population to isolate at home under health directives. This was a unique time for Australia and these estimates look to understand the outcomes of permanent migrants over this time.

Data concepts

Permanent migrants

Permanent migrants who arrived in Australia from 1 January 2000 to 10 August 2021, including:

  • Skilled migrants
  • Family migrants
  • Humanitarian migrants
  • Other and undetermined migrants.

Year of arrival

These estimates refer to arrival data sourced from both the Census and the Migrant data in PLIDA. Each of these data sources use a different definition of arrival:

  • Census: the Year of arrival in Australia (YARP) question on the Census asks overseas-born people to report the year they first arrived in Australia with the intention of staying for at least one year. 
  • Migrant data: arrival date refers to the date of arrival to Australia by a permanent migrant. For permanent visas granted to people outside Australia, the arrival date refers to the first date of arrival after the grant of the permanent visa. For permanent visas granted to people in Australia, the arrival date refers to the latest date of arrival prior to the grant of that visa.

Estimates that are sourced from ACMID in this release are produced using the 2021 Census year of arrival variable, and estimates sourced from the Migrant data are sourced from the arrival date data item. For more information on ACMID, refer to Data collection.

The Census year of arrival may precede the arrival date reported in the Migrant data. For example, some permanent migrants may have reported on the Census that their year of arrival was 'Prior to 2000', even though their Migrant data arrival date was between 1 January 2000 and 10 August 2021. In cases where the Census year of arrival precedes that of the Migrant data, it is likely that the person was a temporary visa holder before attaining their permanent visa.

Comparability of data

Permanent migrants in Australia

Permanent migrants in Australia, 2021, sourced from ACMID, relates to people who responded to the Census of Population and Housing and had a permanent visa record on the Department of Home Affairs' Permanent Migrant Settlement Dataset with a date of arrival between 1 January 2000 and Census night. 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 Home Affairs dataset. For further information about the methods, scope, and coverage of ACMID, refer to Permanent migrants in Australia methodology, 2021.

Personal Income Tax and Migrants Integrated Dataset

Personal Income Tax and Migrants Integrated Dataset (PITMID) relates to persons 15 years and over who have migrated to Australia under a permanent or provisional visa with an arrival date between 1 January 2000 and 30 June 2019. PITMID estimates were compiled from the 2016-17 PITMID. Estimates were created by integrating Australian Tax Office (ATO) Personal Income Tax data for the 2016-17 financial year with an extract of permanent migrant settlement records from the Department of Home Affairs. PITMID estimates are not calibrated. For further information about the methods, scope, and coverage of PITMID, refer to Personal Income of Migrants, Australia methodology, 2016-17 financial year.

Personal Income in Australia

Personal Income in Australia relates to migrants living and working in Australia and covers all persons who have interacted with the Australian taxation system each financial year and for whom personal income is identified. This release is compiled from the Linked Employer-Employee Dataset (LEED), which is built using ATO administrative data linked to ABS Business Longitudinal Analytical Data Environment (BLADE) data.

LEED covers all persons who either submitted an individual tax return or individuals who had a Pay As You Go payment summary issued by an employer and then remitted to the ATO. Employees who did not submit a tax return and have not provided their Tax File Number to their employer will not appear in LEED. Owner managers of unincorporated enterprises who did not submit an income tax return are also excluded. For further information about the methods, scope, and coverage of Personal Income in Australia, refer to Personal Income in Australia methodology, 2020-21.

Data presented in this release are not comparable with estimates published in Personal Income in Australia due to different scoping and visa selection methods. The counts of people receiving personal income or own unincorporated business income in this release have been restricted to those aged 15-64 years rather than the total population.

History of changes


  • Socio-economic index has been added as a new indicator
  • Health indicators have been removed


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