Insights from the Australian Census and Temporary Entrants Integrated Dataset methodology

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Reference period

Explanatory notes


1 The statistics in this publication were compiled from the 2016 Australian Census and Temporary Entrants Integrated Dataset (ACTEID).

2 The statistics in this publication relate to people who were present in Australia on Census Night, 9 August 2016 and held a temporary visa. In this publication, this population is referred to as Temporary Entrants.

3 The 2016 Australian Census and Temporary Entrants Integrated Dataset (ACTEID) Project linked the 2016 Census of Population and Housing dataset with Temporary Visa Holder data from the Department of Home Affairs.

Data sources

Temporary Visa Holder data

4 The Temporary Visa Holder data is administrative data pertaining to temporary visa holders in Australia, from various Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) systems.

2016 Census of Population and Housing

5 For information about the 2016 Census and collection methodology please refer to the information provided on the ABS website ( at Understanding Census Data. Information about the data quality of the Census is available on the ABS website under Census Data Quality.


6 The scope of the 2016 Australian Census and Temporary Entrants Integrated Dataset (ACTEID) is restricted to people who had a temporary visa and were present in Australia on 9 August 2016.

7 The 2016 ACTEID includes the following Visa types and subclasses for persons:

Special Category (New Zealand citizen)

  • Special Category (444)

Temporary Work (Skilled)

  • Temporary Work (Skilled) (457)

Working Holiday Maker

  • Working Holiday (417)
  • Work and Holiday (462)


  • Student (Temporary) (500)
  • Independent ELICOS Sector (570)
  • Schools Sector (571)
  • Vocational Education and Training Sector (572)
  • Higher Education Sector (573)
  • Postgraduate Research Sector (574)
  • Non-Award Foundation/Other Sector (575)
  • AUSAID/Defence Sponsored Sector (576)

Other Temporary visa

  • Bridging Visa Class A (010)
  • Bridging Visa Class B (020)
  • Bridging Visa Class C (030)
  • Bridging Visa Class D (040)
  • Bridging Visa Class E (050)
  • Bridging Visa Class F (060)
  • Bridging Visa Class R (070)
  • Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) (400)
  • Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity) (401)
  • Training and Research (402)
  • Temporary Work (International Relations) (403)
  • Investor Retirement (405)
  • Government Agreement (406)
  • Retirement (410)
  • Foreign Government Agency Staff (415)
  • Special Program (416)
  • Entertainment (420)
  • Media and Film Staff (423)
  • Supported Dependent of Australian or New Zealand Citizen Temporarily in Australia (430)
  • New Zealand Citizen (Family Relationship) (461)
  • Skilled - Graduate (476)
  • Temporary Graduate (485)
  • Diplomatic (995)

Data integration

8 Statistical data integration involves combining information from different data sources such as administrative, survey and/or Census to provide new datasets for statistical and research purposes.

9 Data linking is a key part of statistical data integration and involves combining records from different source datasets using variables that are shared between the sources. Data linkage is performed on unit records that represent individual persons.

Linkage between the Temporary Visa Holder data and the 2016 Census

10 The 2016 temporary entrant records were linked to the 2016 Census of Population and Housing data using a combination of deterministic and probabilistic linkage methodologies. The linkage method used in this project is considered a silver standard linkage because encoded name and address information was used. Further information about name and address encoding can be found in Information paper: Name encoding method for Census 2016.

11 Deterministic data linkage, also known as rule-based linkage, involves assigning record pairs across two datasets that match exactly or closely on common variables.

12 Probabilistic linking allows links to be assigned in spite of missing or inconsistent information, providing there is enough agreement on other variables to offset any disagreement. In probabilistic data linkage, records from two datasets are compared and brought together using several variables common to each dataset (Fellegi & Sunter, 1969).

13 A key feature of the methodology is the ability to handle a variety of linking variables and record comparison methods to produce a single numerical measure of how well two particular records match, referred to as the 'linkage weight'. This allows ranking of all possible links and optimal assignment of the link or non-link status (Solon and Bishop, 2009).

Linkage results

14 At the completion of the linkage process 974,803 (60%) out of 1,635,498 records from the Temporary entrants data were linked to the 2016 Census data.

Estimation method


15 The estimates in this publication are obtained by assigning a "weight" to each linked record. The weight is a value which indicates how many Temporary entrants records are represented by the linked record. Weights aim to adjust for the fact that not all Temporary entrants records are able to be successfully linked to a Census record, and the linked Temporary entrants records may not be representative of all records.

16 The weighting process involved a two-step linking propensity calibration process.

17 The first step of the calibration process adjusted for missed links. The methodology adopted was originally developed to adjust for non-response in sample surveys. Concepts of non-response and non-links differ in that the former is generally a result of an action by a person selected in a sample, and the latter is the failure to link a record likely as a result of the quality of its linking variables. However, both situations may result in under/over representation, and as such the methodology developed to adjust for non-response is suitable to apply to adjust for non-links. Unlike non-response in a sample survey, in this case many of the characteristics of the non-linked records are known, and these characteristics can therefore be used as inputs into an adjustment for unlinked records.

18 The propensity of a Temporary entrants record to be linked to a Census record was modelled using a logistic regression, which estimates the probability of each record having been linked based on that record's characteristics. The logistic regression was performed separately for student visa holders, temporary skilled workers, Special Category (New Zealand citizen) visa holders, and others. Each record was then assigned an initial weight given by the inverse of the linkage probability estimated by the relevant regression model. For example, if the regression model estimated that a Temporary visa holder record had a 75% chance of being successfully linked to a Census record, the initial weight would be 1 divided by 0.75, or 1.33. This ensures that records in the linked dataset which share characteristics with unlinked records are given higher weights, so that the characteristics associated with unlinked records are adequately represented on the linked file.

19 The second step of the calibration process uses the weights derived from the first step as an input into the calibration to known totals from the Temporary entrants dataset. This adjusts for residual bias not accounted for by the regression model, and ensures that totals from the linked dataset exactly match totals from the Temporary entrants dataset for characteristics considered to be of particular interest, such as visa group, applicant status (primary or secondary) and state/ territory of residence.

20 Following the two-step calibration process, weights are applied to the 974,803 linked records so that estimates will align to the 1,635,498 in scope records from the Temporary entrants population. The mean weight is therefore around 1.68, though the weights range between 1.0 and 12.5.


21 Estimates in this publication are obtained by summing the weights of persons with the characteristic of interest. Cells in this publication have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data. Discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

Reliability of estimates

22 Error in estimates produced using the 2016 Australian Census and Temporary Entrants Integrated Dataset (ACTEID) may occur due to false links and the non-random distribution of missed links.

Missed links

23 As many of the characteristics of the unlinked records are known, much of the error introduced by under or over representation of certain groups amongst the linked records is able to be mitigated by the calibration process.

False links

24 Not all record pairs assigned as links in any data linkage process are a true match, that is, the record pairs may not relate to the same individual. These are known as false links.

Measures of error

25 While the calibration process is able to mitigate the potential for bias due to missed links, it does not mitigate against the error introduced by false links. Accordingly, the linkage strategy used for the 2016 Australian Census and Temporary Entrants Dataset (ACTEID) was designed to ensure a high level of accuracy while also achieving a sufficiently large number of linked records to enable detailed analysis of small populations. Using the model developed by Chipperfield et al (2018), the estimated precision of the linkage (the proportion of links that are true matches) was 99%.

26 In survey data sampling error is estimated using a measure of Relative Standard Error (RSE). As the 2016 Australian Census and Temporary Entrants Integrated Dataset (ACTEID) is not based on a sample, RSEs cannot be produced for this data. A measure of uncertainty associated with estimates due to the calibration model could theoretically be produced, but would not represent the error introduced by false links, and have therefore not been included in this publication.

Comparability with other data

27 Estimates from the 2016 ACTEID may differ from statistics produced from other ABS collections or from the Temporary Visa Holder data. While the linked records have been calibrated to selected population totals from the Temporary Visa Holder data, other totals may not align. In some cases a data item may be available on both the Temporary Visa Holder data and the Census (such as Country of Birth), but differs between the two sources. The 2016 ACTEID has used the Census data item.


28 The ABS acknowledges the continuing support provided by the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Social Services for the Australian Census and Temporary Entrants Integrated Dataset (ACTEID) Project. The provision of data as well as ongoing assistance provided by both agencies is essential to enable this important work to be undertaken. The enhancing of migrant related statistics through data linkage by the ABS would not be possible without their cooperation and support. The ABS also acknowledges the importance of the information provided freely by individuals in the course of the 2016 Census. The Census information of individuals received by the ABS is treated in the strictest confidence as is required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905. See the following link to the Census Privacy Policy.


Apart from the concepts and data items originating from the Department of Home Affairs Temporary Visa Holder (TVH) database, (for example, visa type and main/secondary applicant status), all other terms and definitions relate to Census variables and the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). For more detail on Census variables, please see the Census Dictionary.

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Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED)

The Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) is a national standard classification which includes all sectors of the Australian education system: that is, schools, vocational education and training, and higher education. From 2001 ASCED replaced a number of classifications used in administrative and statistical systems, including the Australian Bureau of Statistics Classifications of Qualifications (ABSCQ).

The current version of ASCED incorporates two classifications - Level of Education and Field of Education.

For more information, see Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0).

Bridging visa holders

Bridging visas are a temporary visa granted to permit the visa holder to stay, leave and return, make arrangements for a substantive visa or finalise immigration matters or decisions when their current substantive visa is ceasing or has ceased, and their substantive visa application or immigration decision is being processed.

Citizenship country

The country of citizenship of the visa applicant or visa holder. Where a visa applicant or visa holder has more than one citizenship country, either the citizenship of the travel document or the citizenship nominated by the visa applicant is used.

Country of birth

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


Persons who, during the week prior to the Census on 9 August 2016, worked for one hour or more for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind in a job, business or farm (comprising employees, employers and own account workers); or worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm (i.e. contributing family workers); or were employees who had a job 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.

Labour force

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

Level of highest non-school qualification

Level of highest non-school qualification identifies the highest 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), (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 Home Affairs as part of their visa application. They will usually have been specifically identified on the application form as the 'main applicant'. Main applicant's are also referred to as the 'Primary applicant'.

Main field of non-school qualification

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

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 is classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (cat. no. 1220.0).

Other Temporary visa holders

Includes all other temporary visa subclasses not included in the Special Category (New Zealand citizen) (subclass 444), Student, Temporary Work (Skilled) and Working Holiday Makers categories. See the Explanatory notes for more details on the specific visas included.

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 an 'other' or secondary applicant with the person who met the visa criteria being specifically identified on the visa application as the 'main applicant' or 'primary applicant'. Secondary applicants are included in the same visa stream as the main applicant. For example, family members granted temporary visas where the main applicant has been granted a Temporary work (Skilled) visa, will all enter Australia under a Temporary work (Skilled) visa.

Special Category (subclass 444) visa holders

Special Category (subclass 444) permits New Zealand citizens to visit, study, stay and work in Australia. Special Category visas are granted on arrival in Australia, and cease when the visa holder departs Australia.

Student visa holders

These are overseas students who undertake full-time study in a recognised educational institution. They may hold either a Student temporary visa (subclass 500), an Independent ELICOS Sector visa (subclass 570) or a Schools Sector (571) visa.

Students can apply to have partners and dependant children under the age of eighteen accompany them to Australia. These family members are known as secondary visa holders and are counted in student visa numbers.

Note that Training and Research visa (subclass 402) and Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders are included in the ‘Other Temporary visa holders’ category.

Temporary entrant

A temporary entrant is a person who is not an Australian citizen on arrival and has been granted permission or authority to enter Australia temporarily.

Visitor visa holders are not included in the ACTEID i.e. non-permanent entrants to Australia whose visa is for tourism, short stay business or visiting relatives.

Temporary resident

A temporary resident is a temporary entrant who has stayed, or intends to stay, in Australia for 12 months or more.

Temporary visa

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

Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa holders

Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa holders permitted to travel to Australia to work in their nominated occupation for their approved sponsor for up to four years. While Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visas were operative at August 2016 (the time of the last Census), they have been abolished and replaced by the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa.


Persons aged 15 years and over who were not employed last week (at the time of the Census), and had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the last four weeks and were available and could have started work last week if the job had been available then.

Visa type

For the purposes of this publication, visa type pertains to the visa category i.e. Special Category (New Zealand citizen) visas; Temporary Work (Skilled) Visas; Working Holiday Maker visas; Student visas; and Other Temporary visas.

Please see the individual entries for each visa category in this Glossary for more information or the Explanatory Notes for the list of those visa subclasses included in each category. More visa information is also available from Department of Home Affairs - Visa list.

Visitors to Australia

The question on the Census form, 'Where does the person usually live?' allows for the identification of people who are usually resident in another country. Overseas visitors are those people who indicated at the 2016 Census that they will be usually resident in Australia for less than one year.

Since the 1996 Census, overseas visitors have been separately categorised in standard tabulations, with the exception of Age (AGEP), Sex (SEXP) and Registered Marital Status (MSTP) tabulations. Overseas visitors can be identified for AGEP, SEXP and MSTP by cross-classifying them with variables which contain a separate overseas visitor category.

Working Holiday Makers visa

Includes subclasses 417 and 462. Permits young adults from countries with reciprocal bilateral arrangements (with Australia) to undertake short term work or study while holidaying in Australia.

Year of arrival

All overseas born people, in scope for the Census, are asked to report when they first came to Australia to live for one year or more, see Year of Arrival in Australia (YARP).

The arrival date in the Temporary Visa Holder data reflects an individuals latest arrival date pertaining to their latest temporary visa. For this reason, the scope of the Australian Census and Temporary Entrants Integrated Dataset (ACTEID) is restricted to those temporary migrants who arrived in Australia under a temporary visa and who were present in Australia on Census night, 9 August 2016.


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ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
ABSCQAustralian Bureau of Statistics Classification of Qualifications
ACMIDAustralian Census and Migrants Integrated Dataset
ACTEIDAustralian Census and Temporary Entrants Integrated Dataset
ANZSCOAustralian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations
ANZSICAustralian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification
ASCEDAustralian Standard Classification of Education
ASGSAustralian Statistical Geographical Standard
AUSAIDAustralian Agency for International Development
BPLPCountry of Birth, Persons
DSSDepartment of Social Services
ELICOSEnglish Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students
Home AffairsDepartment of Home Affairs
ICTInformation and Communications Technology
necnot elsewhere classified
nfdnot further defined
PMDPermanent Migrant Data
RSERelative Standard Error
SACCStandard Australian Classification of Countries
SARSpecial Administrative Region/s
SEIFASocio-Economic Index for Areas
TSSTemporary Skill Shortage (Visa)
TVHTemporary Visa Holders (Data)
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