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Thursday, 13 February 2003
Page: 11920


Mr Laurie Ferguson asked the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, upon notice, on 12 November 2002:

(1) What is the methodology used by his Department to allocate migrant source countries to its four English Proficiency (EP) groups.

(2) How many countries are currently included in each of the four EP groups.

(3) For the period 1996-2001, how many family stream migrants in total were there in each EP group.

(4) Under current policies, are family stream migrants from countries in EP groups 1 and 2 disregarded for the purposes of the settlement services target group.

(5) At the time of the (a) 1996 and (b) 2001 Census, what proportion of recent arrivals from (i) Sri Lanka, (ii) Western Samoa, (iii) Pakistan, (iv) Tonga, (v) Bangladesh and (vi) Jordan were recorded as having good English proficiency.

(6) For each country referred to in part (5), what was the total number of (a) permanent settlers and (b) family stream migrants over the period 1996-2001.

(7) Has his Department reviewed the classification of migrant source countries into EP groups as a result of the findings of the 2001 Census; if so, which countries have had their EP classification changed; if not, what is the timetable for doing so.


Mr Hardgrave (Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The methodology used to allocate migrant source countries to EP groups is a two-stage process.

First, for each country, an EP index is calculated by my Department from Census data. It is based on the percentage of recent immigrants (those entering in the five years before the Census) born in the country who spoke English only or another language and English “Very Well” or “Well”.

Second, the countries are split into four groups based on these EP indices and the need for settlement services. The EP index values that form the boundaries between each group are chosen so that countries in each group have similar requirements for settlement services. Also considered is the requirement that each group as a whole will have a different level of requirement for settlement services compared with the other groups. The rate of unemployment for recently arrived migrants is assumed to be the best indicator of settlement success. Consequently my Department compares the calculated EP indices with these unemployment rates as a guide in forming the four EP groups.

(2) Based on the 2001 Census, there are 7 countries in the EP1 group, 164 countries or country categories in the EP2 group, 72 countries or country categories in the EP3 group and 13 countries or country categories in the EP4 group.

(3) For each EP group, the following numbers of people were recorded as having arrived as family migrants during the period 1 July 1996 to 30 June 2001:

EP Group

Family Arrivals

1

50,495

2

16,423

3

32,739

4

16,079

(4) Yes. Family stream migrants from countries in EP groups 1 and 2 are disregarded for the purposes of estimating the size of the target group.

(5) At the time of the 1996 Census and the 2001 Census, the proportion of recent arrivals who were recorded as having good English Proficiency for each of the six source countries is tabulated below.

Country of Birth

1996 Census

2001 Census

(i) Sri Lanka

84.4

92.0

(ii) Western Samoa

83.7

87.7

(iii) Pakistan

83.6

85.9

(iv) Tonga

84.8

86.6

(v) Bangladesh

84.6

92.2

(vi) Jordan

80.1

82.9

(6) The total number of permanent settlers and the number of family stream migrants who arrived during the period 1 July 1996 to 30 June 2001, and are recorded as having been born in any one of the six source countries noted in the previous question, are tabulated below.

Country of Birth

Total

Family Stream

(i) Sri Lanka

7085

2563

(ii) Western Samoa

191

170

(iii) Pakistan

1649

498

(iv) Tonga

644

601

(v) Bangladesh

1732

824

(vi) Jordan

760

348

(7) Yes. My Department has reviewed the classification of migrant source countries consequent to the 2001 Census.

There were 18 countries that have had their EP group changed following the 2001 Census.

Countries with less than 20 recent arrivals have been excluded from this count, as they were not considered to be significant. Also not included are the categories that allow for persons to be placed in geographical regions when they cannot be placed in specific countries. These groups are not necessarily comparable between the 1996 and 2001 Censuses.

Of the 18 countries that are counted as having their EP groups changed, 11 changed to a higher level and 7 changed to a lower level.

The following table shows the 11 countries whose EP group changed to a higher level from the 1996 Census to the 2001 Census:

Country

1996 Census

2001 Census

Angola

3

2

China (excluding SARS and Taiwan Province)

4

3

Costa Rica

3

2

Indonesia

3

2

Latvia

3

2

Panama

3

2

Saudi Arabia

3

2

Senegal

3

2

Tokelau

3

2

Tunisia

3

2

Zimbabwe

2

1

The following table shows the 7 countries whose EP group changed to a lower level from the 1996 Census to the 2001 Census:

Country

1996 Census

2001 Census

Algeria

2

3

Azerbaijan

3

4

Estonia

2

3

Jordan

2

3

Kuwait

2

3

Libya

2

3

Yemen

2

3