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Tuesday, 21 March 1961

Mr Ward d asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that for the first nine months of 1960 Australia had a nett gain of 70,011 migrants, of whom less than 211 per cent, were from Britain?

2.   Did 33,297 migrants arrive from Britain in that period and 13,370 return; this latter figure representing a little over 40 per cent, of the total of these arrivals?

3.   Are these figures regarded as being unusual; if so, what is the explanaton

4.   When calculating the cost of bringing and settling a migrant in this country, is any allowance made for the loss incurred in respect of migrants who subsequently return to their homelands?

Mr Downer - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1, 2 and 3. No. These figures appear to be taken from the Australian Demographic Review No. 121 published by the Bureau of Census and Statistics. In this review, the Commonwealth Statistician states quite clearly that "it does not purport to indicate ' permanent migration ' as such ". The honorable member will be aware that no limit is placed on the overall number of British people who can migrate to Australia, and that a large number come to Australia each year at their own expense. Therefore, the measure of the success achieved by the Government in bringing migrants to Australia can be more clearly judged on the results of its assisted migration programme. Of 51,778 assisted migrants who arrived in the first nine months of 1960, 24,547, or 47.4 per cent., were British from the United Kingdom alone. The proportion of British migrants from the United Kingdom in the assisted migrant intake for the financial year 1960-61 is expected to be at least 50 per cent.

4.   In assessing the cost and benefits of Australia's immigration programme, the Government is aware that the returnee movement is relatively low and that it is more than offset by births in Australia to migrant parents. All available evidence, including research by the Australian National University, indicates that the effective returnee rate for assisted British migrants is about 6 per cent. For other assisted migrants, it is about 3 per cent. Moreover, assisted migrants leaving Australia within two years of their arrival here have to repay the amount contributed by the Government towards their passage costs.

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