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Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics



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Contents

Key points ................................................................................................................................................................................................ 1

Migration and population growth ........................................................................................................................................ 1

Permanent migration statistics ............................................................................................................................................... 1

Temporary migration statistics ............................................................................................................................................... 1

Other ................................................................................................................................................................................................... 2

Introduction ............................................................................................................................................................................................. 2

Historical overview of Australia’s Migration Program ........................................................................................................ 3

Australia’s Migration Program (Table 1) ............................................................................................................................ 3

Australia’s Humanitarian Program (Table 1) .................................................................................................................... 6

Measuring permanent migration.................................................................................................................................................. 8

Migration and population growth (Tables 4 and 5) .................................................................................................... 9

Net overseas migration (NOM) statistics (Tables 3, 4 and 5) ................................................................................. 9

Settler arrival statistics (Table 6) ......................................................................................................................................... 12

Migration Program statistics (Table 1) ............................................................................................................................ 13

Humanitarian Program statistics (Table 1) .................................................................................................................... 13

Temporary migration statistics (Table 2) ........................................................................................................................ 14

Statistical appendix ........................................................................................................................................................................... 16

Table 1: Permanent migrants: migration and humanitarian program visa grants since

1985 .............................................................................................................................................................................................. 16

Table 2: Temporary migrants: overseas student and business long stay (subclass 457) visa

grants since 1996 ................................................................................................................................................................... 17

Table 3: Net overseas migration (NOM) since 1901 ................................................................................................ 18

Table 4: Components of population growth since 1972 ....................................................................................... 20

Table 5: Population growth rates since 1972 .............................................................................................................. 22

Table 6: Permanent and long-term overseas movement since 1925 .............................................................. 23

Table 7: Top 10 countries of birth for the overseas-born population since 1901 .................................... 26

27 August, 2010-11 BACKGROUND NOTE

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics Janet Phillips and Michael Klapdor

Social Policy Section

Joanne Simon-Davies

Statistics and Mapping Section

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

1

Key points

Migration and population growth

• The rate of Australia’s population growth has increased significantly over the last five years

largely driven by an increase in net overseas migration (NOM). The largest contribution to

NOM in recent years has been from people on temporary visas—mostly comprised of overseas

students and temporary skilled migrants.

• Although permanent migration intakes over the last few years have been high in comparison

to previous years, Australia’s recent population growth predominantly reflects a significant

increase in temporary, not permanent migration.

Permanent migration statistics

• Net overseas migration (NOM) (Table 3) compiled since 1925 by the Australian Bureau of

Statistics (ABS) is not a measure of the number of permanent migrants arriving in any given

year as it measures departures and arrivals of both permanent and (long-term) temporary

entrants and the resulting increase or decrease in the population overall. In addition, the

methodology for the calculation of NOM has changed significantly over the years and should

be used with caution.

• Migration Program outcome (visa grant) data (Table 1), currently recorded by the Department

of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), provide the most accurate statistics on the number of

permanent migrants to Australia—data is available back to the 1980s.

• Humanitarian Program outcome (visa grant) data (Table 1), currently recorded by DIAC,

provide the most accurate statistics on refugee and humanitarian intakes to Australia—data is

available back to the 1970s (prior to that there are estimates available for the number of post

war refugees).

Temporary migration statistics

• There has been a significant increase in the number of people entering the country on

temporary visas in recent years, particularly overseas students and temporary (long-term)

skilled migrants. However, the number of temporary entrants can fluctuate in response to

changing circumstances (for example, changes in immigration policy regarding permanent

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

2

residency eligibility for graduating overseas students).1 Data available from DIAC over the last

15 years shows the fluctuations in numbers (Table 2).2

Other

• Settler arrival statistics are a better indication of permanent migration flows than NOM, but

include NZ and some other temporary migrants who have indicated an intention to settle—

data is available back to the 1920s in the statistical appendix (Table 6).

• It is important to note that ABS data on overseas arrivals and departures in general may relate

to the multiple arrivals and departures of individuals in any year and not the number of

people. They are not an appropriate source of migration statistics.

Introduction

Since 1945, when Australia’s first immigration department was established, approximately seven

million permanent migrants have settled in Australia.3 According to the Department of

Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), the contribution of immigrants from all parts of the world to

Australian society, culture and prosperity ‘has been an important factor in shaping our nation’.4

However, while Australia is often described as a ‘nation of immigrants’, there is a great deal of

confusion and misinformation in the public debate on how many permanent migrants Australia

1. For more details see; E Koleth, Overseas students: immigration policy changes 1997-May 2010,

Parliamentary Library, Background note, Canberra, 2010, viewed 20 July 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Library/pubs/BN/sp/OverseasStudents.pdf

2. DIAC’s statistical publications (in particular Population flows) provide the best sources of information

for temporary and permanent migration outcomes since the 1980s. See DIAC’s statistical publication

web page http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/

3. An additional 700 000 people settled in Australia between 1905 and 1945. Source: Department of

Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), Key facts in immigration, fact sheet no. 2, DIAC, viewed 25 May

2010, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/02key.htm

4. Ibid.

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

3

has actually accepted over the years. In particular, some publicly available statistics on both

permanent and temporary migration are often used interchangeably and/or incorrectly with the

result that the statistics used to describe migration flows are often inaccurate or misleading.

The purpose of this paper is to provide background information on Australia’s migration

programs and to define and present the relevant data in a simplified format. The paper aims to

clarify which statistics are the best to use when measuring permanent migration and addresses

some of the popular misconceptions that surround the debate on migration flows to Australia. It

is envisaged that some of the statistics provided in the appendix will be updated at regular

intervals.

Historical overview of Australia’s Migration

Program

Australia’s immigration program is divided into two distinct programs for permanent migrants—

the Migration Program for skilled and family migrants and the Humanitarian Program for refugees

and those in refugee-like situations. There have been many changes to these programs and to

data collection over the years making it difficult to compare statistics on permanent migration

over time. The following background illustrates some of those changes and the corresponding

tables are presented in the statistical appendix.

Australia’s Migration Program (Table 1)

At the time of federation in 1901, the states administered their own migration programs, but over

time the Commonwealth Government began to assume more and more responsibility for

immigration policy. After World War I the Commonwealth took active control of immigration and

encouraged new settlers, with the result that in the 1920s about 300 000 settlers arrived (mostly

under assisted schemes such as the Empire Settlement Scheme). Between 1901 and the beginning

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

4

of World War II, approximately 700 000 new settlers arrived and Australia’s population grew to

about seven million.5

Australia’s first federal immigration portfolio was created in 1945. The major impetus for the new

portfolio, and for the implementation of a large-scale migration program, was World War II and

its aftermath. After the war the Australian Government was keen to boost the population in order

to stimulate post-war economic development and to increase the numbers of people able to

defend the country in the event of another war, with the result that about one million migrants

arrived in each of the six decades following 1950.6

For many years the Australian Government has reviewed and adjusted the number of places

available for permanent migrants on an annual basis according to government priorities. As a

result, the Government’s planned annual intakes and the numbers of permanent migrants have

fluctuated markedly.

Available data on migration levels prior to the 1980s is patchy. It relies on a variety of ABS data,

some of which may also include temporary arrivals; or on government planning figures that only

provide an indication of migration outcomes for certain years.7 Prior to 1959 the Government

found it difficult to collect figures on permanent or net migration to Australia. Settler arrivals were

not recorded separately from temporary and other arrivals.8 In 1959 the Commonwealth

Statistician began publishing separate figures for ‘settler arrivals’ and the new system began

identifying and recording actual arrivals as distinct from long term visitors, returning Australians

and others.9 Similarly, government migration program planning figures were not published

5. Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA), Immigration-federation to century’s end,

Canberra, 2001, pp. 1-3, viewed 25 May 2010,

http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/federation/

6. DIAC, Key facts in immigration, op. cit.

7. DIMA, Immigration-federation to century’s end, op. cit., provides some indication of the planning

figures for certain years, but it is not comprehensive.

8. Department of Labor and Immigration, 1788-1975 Australia and immigration, AGPS, Canberra, 1975,

p. 7; and Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs, Australia and immigration

1788 to 1988, AGPS, Canberra, 1988, p. 43.

9. Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs, Australia and immigration 1788 to

1988, op. cit.

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

5

systematically before the 1980s and are only available for some years in historical departmental

reports and records.10

According to departmental records, the highest number of settlers to arrive in any one year since

World War II was 185 099 in 1969-70 under the Gorton Government. The lowest number in any

one year was 52 752 in 1975-76 during the Whitlam and Fraser Governments.11 After the peak of

185 000 settler arrivals in 1969, numbers declined and by 1975 the Government’s planned intake

for the year was only 50 000. The migration intake gradually climbed again and by 1988 there

was another peak under the Hawke Government with a planned intake of 145 000. After 1988, the

migration planning levels were gradually reduced, with lows of 60 000 to 80 000 in the early

1990s.12

When the Howard Government came to power in 1996, there was an initial dip, followed by a

gradual increase in the planned migration numbers again with an intake of 148 200 in 2006- 07.

This increase continued under the Rudd Government, despite some reductions in the skilled

migrant intakes due to the economic downturn.13

In response to these migration waves, the makeup of Australia’s overseas-born population has

also fluctuated over the years from around 32 per cent in 1891 to 20 per cent in the 1980s. As of

30 June 2009, 27 per cent of the overall resident population was born overseas.14 Statistics on the

top ten countries of birth for the overseas-born population since 1901 are presented in Table 7 of

the statistical appendix.

10. For some detail on planning intakes prior to the 1980s see Department of Immigration, Local

Government and Ethnic Affairs, Australia and immigration 1788 to 1988, op. cit.; and DIMA,

Immigration-federation to century’s end, op. cit.

11. DIAC, Key facts in immigration, op. cit.

12. DIMA, Immigration-federation to century’s end, op. cit.

13. C Evans (Minister for Immigration and Citizenship), Migration Program: the size of the skilled and

family programs, media release, 12 May 2009, http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/media-releases/2009/ce02-budget-09.htm

14. See ABS, Migration Australia, 2008-09, cat. no. 3412.0, Canberra, 2010, pp. 45-47, viewed 2 August

2010,

http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/3A3EB923A8CBB55CCA25776E001762A6/$File

/34120_2008-09.pdf

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

6

Australia’s Humanitarian Program (Table 1)

After the first federal immigration department was established in 1945, Australia resettled

thousands of post-war refugees and displaced people, and ratified the UN Convention Relating to

the Status of Refugees on 22 January 1954. However, it was not until the late 1970s with the

arrival of the Indochinese ‘boat people’ seeking asylum, that the government developed a specific

refugee policy.15

Australia’s first planned Humanitarian Program tailored to the special needs of refugees and

asylum seekers commenced under the Fraser Government in 1977. Before then, the Government’s

approach was to respond to international events and crises as they arose. Now there was a

program specifically designed to deal with refugee and humanitarian issues and which also

included the establishment of mechanisms to determine onshore protection claims.16

The new program was designed to help Australia respond to the Indochinese humanitarian crisis

(and any future crises) in an orderly manner.17 According to departmental records, 108 641

Indochinese refugees were resettled in Australia between April 1975 and June 1988.18 Most were

resettled between 1979 and 1982 when there were around 20 000 Indochinese arrivals per year

under the new Humanitarian Program.19

By the mid 1980s, the Humanitarian Program intake had reduced to 11 000-12 000 a year and

has remained at around 13 000 ever since, with a couple of exceptions—for example, higher

15. J Phillips, Australia’s Humanitarian Program, Research note, no. 9, 2005-06, Parliamentary Library,

Canberra, 2005, viewed 25 May 2010, http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/rn/2005-06/06rn09.pdf

16. DIAC, Refugee and humanitarian issues: Australia’s response, June 2009, p. 21, viewed 25 May 2010,

http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/refugee/ref-hum-issues/pdf/refugee-humanitarian-issues-june09.pdf

17. D McMaster, Asylum seekers: Australia’s response to refugees, Melbourne University Press, 2001, p. 70.

18. Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs (DILGEA), 'Indochinese Refugees',

Statistical Note, no. 37, Statistics Section, Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic

Affairs, October 1988.

19. DIAC, Population flows: immigration aspects 2008-09, source data, chapter 4, 2010, viewed 27 July

2010, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/popflows2008-09/

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

7

numbers of humanitarian visas were granted in 2000-01 due to a wave of boat arrivals carrying

asylum seekers from the Middle East.20

By the 1990s, a comprehensive refugee and humanitarian system was in place within the

immigration portfolio and in January 1993 a decision was made by the Keating government to

separate out the Humanitarian Program from the general Migration Program.21

As with the general Migration Program, the Australian Government reviews and adjusts the

number of places available for refugee and humanitarian entrants on an annual basis in response

to humanitarian need and according to government policy. As a result, both government planning

figures and the number of humanitarian entrants have fluctuated over the years. However,

available data on refugee and humanitarian entrants prior to the 1970s is limited. In the 1970s

and 1980s, Humanitarian Program outcomes began to be published more comprehensively. Table

1 provides figures from 1984-85.

In 1996 the Howard Government introduced the practice of separately identifying those granted

protection within Australia, or ‘onshore’, from those accepted ‘offshore’.22 This introduced some

new confusion in terms of the collection and presentation of Humanitarian Program data. While

offshore and onshore components were separately identified for the first time, the data was

numerically linked. Under the Howard Government, this meant that those processed

extraterritorially under the ‘Pacific Solution’ were mostly included and counted under the

‘offshore’ component of the Humanitarian Program. In contrast, under the current Government,

places allocated to those processed offshore on Christmas Island are counted under the ‘onshore’

not ‘offshore’ category. To confuse things further, the 7750 planning places currently allocated

against the offshore humanitarian category are also shared with those granted onshore protection

visas (including those processed on Christmas Island). The annual visa grant outcomes are then

broken down and published each year (refugee, humanitarian and onshore) to reflect the actual

outcomes.

20. DIAC, Refugee and humanitarian issues: Australia’s response, op. cit.

21. Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Refugee and humanitarian issues: the focus for

Australia, Canberra, 1994; and DIAC, Refugee and humanitarian issues: Australia’s response, op. cit.

22. P Ruddock (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs), 1996-97 Humanitarian Program, media

release, Canberra, 3 July 1996.

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

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Measuring permanent migration

There are two main sources of immigration related data—DIAC and the ABS—and the limitations

of the data sets need to be understood. Changes in government policy and data collection

methodology by these government agencies have also added to the complexity in interpreting

this data and make it very difficult to compare migration-related statistics over time. The

following examples illustrate these points.

The annual statistics on Migration and Humanitarian program ‘outcomes’ (visa grants) provided

by the Department of Immigration since the 1980s show the number of permanent visas granted

in any given year. This is the most accurate measure of the actual number of permanent migrants.

However, one limitation is that offshore visa recipients may not actually arrive and settle in the

country in the year the visa was issued.23

The ABS provides a figure for net overseas migration (NOM). However, in September 2006, the

ABS changed the methodology for determining what is meant by a ‘long-term’ arrival or

departure. As a result NOM data provided after September 2006 is not strictly comparable with

previous years.24 In particular, in 2007 the ABS introduced the ‘12/16 rule’ whereby a traveller is

included in the resident population if they are in the country for a total of 12 months or more

over a 16 month period and vice versa. Prior to that, a traveller had to be in (or out of) the

country continuously for 12 months.25

The following sections describe the more commonly used categories of migration-related statistics

and offer suggestions as to when it may be appropriate to use them. The corresponding tables

are presented in the statistical appendix.

23. DIAC, Population flows: immigration aspects, 2006-07, Canberra, 2008, p. 4, viewed 25 May 2010,

http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/popflows2006-7/

24. ABS, Statistical implications of improved methods for estimating net overseas migration, information

paper, Canberra, 2007, viewed 25 May 2010,

http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/1B5B665D7B575C40CA2572E5002216FD/$File

/3107055005_2007.pdf

25. ABS, Migration Australia, op. cit., p. 16.

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

9

Migration and population growth (Tables 4 and 5)

The rate at which Australia’s population has grown has increased significantly over the last five

years—faster than at any other time in the past several decades.26 Population growth is affected

by two components; natural increase (the number of births minus the number of deaths); and net

overseas migration (NOM). Although Australia’s fertility rate has increased since the early 2000s, it

is NOM that has been the main driver of population growth in the last few years.27

The largest contribution to NOM in recent years has been from people on temporary visas—

mostly comprised of overseas students and temporary skilled migrants—and Australian residents

returning to the country due to the economic downturn.28 So, although permanent migration

intakes over the last few years have been high in comparison to previous years, it is important to

note that Australia’s recent population growth predominantly reflects a significant increase in

temporary, not permanent migration, and that NOM can fluctuate considerably from year to year.

Net overseas migration (NOM) statistics (Tables 3, 4 and 5)

Net overseas migration statistics are often used as an indicator of migration flows. However, they

should be used with caution as NOM data includes the movements of those who are not

permanent migrants or not migrants at all, such as Australian and New Zealand citizens coming

and going on a long term basis, and any long term temporary migrants who are intending to stay

for a year or more.

NOM is calculated by taking into account the addition (or loss) to the population of Australia

arising from the difference between those leaving permanently or on a long-term basis (12

months or longer) and those arriving permanently or on a long-term basis.29 This data includes:

26. ABS, ‘Population growth: past, present and future’, Australian social trends 2010, Canberra, 2010,

viewed 20 July 2010,

http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/LookupAttach/4102.0Publication30.06.102/$File/

41020_PopulationGrowth.pdf

27. Ibid.

28. Ibid.

29. DIAC, Population projections, fact sheet no. 15, DIAC web page, viewed 25 May 2010,

http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/15population.htm

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

10

• people who change their travel intentions, such as those who come to Australia intending to

stay short-term but who actually stay longer than 12 months, and vice versa

• permanent residents and Australian citizens either leaving the country or returning home long-term (over 12 months)

• long term arrivals and departures of New Zealand passport holders (New Zealanders are

granted a Special Category visa which remains valid for as long as the person remains in

Australia), and

• entrants on temporary visas who intend to remain in the country for longer than 12 months,

such as international students, people on long-term temporary (457) business visas and other

long term visitors.30

In recent years it has been temporary, not permanent, migration that has contributed significantly

to fluctuations in net overseas migration data. The ABS states that:

The largest contribution to NOM in recent years has been from people on temporary visas. In

2007-08, these accounted for 186 500 people or two-thirds of all net migration. Students made up

the largest category of temporary net migration and 39 per cent of all NOM. The number of

overseas students contributing to NOM has more than doubled from 45 300 in 2004-05 to 108

700 in 2007-08. Over half of the student component of NOM was made up of students who were

citizens of India (33 300) and China (25 600). The third largest source of students in 2007-08 was

Nepal with a NOM contribution of 7300 (equal to 7 per cent of the total NOM of students).31

Over the past 25 years, the contribution of NOM to population growth has averaged around 39

per cent per year, but has significantly increased in recent years (it has doubled since 2005-06).32

Increases in the migration intakes, along with larger numbers of Australians returning from places

like the UK due to the economic downturn, have pushed the average level of NOM up.33 The net

30. DIAC, Population projections, op. cit.; and ABS, Information Paper: Improving net overseas migration

estimation, March 2010, viewed 16 July 2010,

http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/3412.0.55.001Main+Features1Mar%202010?OpenD

ocument

31. ABS, ‘Population growth: past, present and future’, op. cit.

32. ABS, Migration, op. cit., p. 7.

33. DIAC, Population projections, op. cit.

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

11

number of New Zealand citizens in Australia increased by 75 per cent between 2004-05 and

2007-08, and New Zealanders contributed 13 per cent to NOM in 2007-08.34

The preliminary NOM estimate for 2008-09 is 298 900 (the highest figure on record) representing

65 per cent of population growth.35 However, NOM can fluctuate considerably from year to year

and is estimated to have dropped by around 20 per cent over the last financial year.36

In summary, caution should be used when using NOM—while it may be an indication of changes

to the population, it is not a measure of the number of permanent migrants arriving in any given

year. Instead, NOM measures departures and arrivals of both permanent and (long term)

temporary entrants and the resulting increase or decrease in the population overall. Also, statistics

on overseas arrivals and departures relate to the number of movements of individuals and not

necessarily the number of people. The ABS states that:

Care should be taken when using permanent and long-term movement data as it is known that

some individuals who travel multiple times in a year are counted each time they cross Australia's

borders.37

It is also important to note that, although ABS net overseas migration data is available back to

1901, the methodologies used to estimate NOM have changed significantly over time and the

statistics for different years are not always comparable.38

34. ABS, Migration, op. cit., p. 28.

35. Ibid., p. 7.

36. C Evans (Minister for Immigration and Citizenship), Net overseas migration on track to fall by 20 per

cent, media release, 30 June 2010, viewed 16 July 2010,

http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/media-releases/2010/ce10055.htm

37. ABS, Overseas arrivals and departures, Australia, January 2010, Canberra, February 2010, viewed 25

May 2010,

http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/3401.0Main%20Features2Jan%202010?o

pendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=3401.0&issue=Jan%202010&num=&view

38. For example, in 2006 the ABS changed its definition of ‘long term’. For a discussion of the

complexities affecting the reliability of NOM in earlier periods see: P McDonald, S Khoo and R Kippen,

Alternative net migration estimates for Australia: exploding the myth of a rapid increase in numbers,

Working papers in demography no. 89, ANU, Canberra, 2003, viewed 20 July 2010,

http://dspace.anu.edu.au/bitstream/1885/41502/4/89.pdf. For more information on the 2006 changes

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

12

Settler arrival statistics (Table 6)

The definition of a ‘settler arrival’ for migration purposes is someone arriving in Australia who:

• holds a permanent visa

• holds a temporary visa where there is a clear intention to settle

• is a New Zealand citizen indicating an intention to settle, and

• is any person otherwise eligible to settle.39

Eligible ‘settler arrivals’ may hold a permanent visa under the family, skill or special eligibility

streams of the Migration Program or a visa under the refugee, special humanitarian or special

assistance streams of the Humanitarian Program. However, others not covered under the

Migration or Humanitarian Programs may also be eligible, such as New Zealand citizens; children

born to Australian citizens overseas; people granted Australian citizenship overseas; and residents

of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Norfolk Island.40

As noted above, ABS data on arrivals and departures, including settler arrivals, tracks the number

of movements not individuals. Prior to 1959, arrivals and departures were only classified as

permanent or temporary. The permanent category was subsequently subdivided into permanent

and long-term movement. The data for these categories is based on the stated intentions of

travellers. Recent research comparing arrivals and departures data with data obtained using the

new ABS methodology for calculating NOM (which is able to track travellers’ movement history)

indicates that the stated intentions and actual movements of individuals diverge significantly.41

In summary, settler arrival statistics are a better indication of permanent movements than NOM,

but include NZ citizens and some other temporary migrants who have indicated an intention to

and its effects on the final NOM estimate see B Birrell and E Healy, ‘Net overseas migration: why is it

so high’, People and Place, vol. 18, no. 2, 2010, pp. 56-65.

39. DIAC, Settler arrivals 2008-2009, Canberra, 2009, p. 62, viewed 25 May 2010,

http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/settler-arrivals/settler_arrivals0809.pdf

40. Ibid., pp. 62-63.

41. B Birrell and E Healy, op. cit. p. 57, 62-63.

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

13

settle. Care should be taken in using these statistics and the ABS does not consider them an

appropriate source of migration statistics.42

Migration Program statistics (Table 1)

As part of its planned Migration Program, the federal government allocates places each year for

people wanting to migrate permanently to Australia. Migration Program planning numbers

fluctuate according to the priorities and economic and political considerations of the government

of the day. Since the first federal immigration department was established, immigration policy has

become more highly planned and in recent decades has specifically targeted skilled migration

while continuing to allow a certain amount of family and humanitarian migration.

In the late 1980s, the federal government introduced the practice of dividing the immigration

program into three main streams (family, skill and humanitarian).43 Since then, data on the

number of visas granted by category under Australia’s Migration Program each year has been

collected and published by the Government.

Although only available since the 1980s, this data provides the best measure of the actual number

of permanent migrants planning to settle in Australia.44

Humanitarian Program statistics (Table 1)

As discussed in detail earlier in this paper, over the years policy changes have resulted in changes

to the methodology for counting humanitarian entrants. For example, onshore refugees were not

counted against the Humanitarian Program until the Howard Government introduced the practice

42. ABS, ‘Explanatory Notes’, Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2008, cat. no. 3105.0.65.001,

Canberra, August, 2008, viewed 27 July 2010,

http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/3105.0.65.001Main+Features12008?OpenDocumen

t

43. B York, Australia and refugees 1901-2002: an annotated chronology based on official sources,

Parliamentary Library, 2003, viewed 1 June 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/online/Refugees_contents.htm

44. Note: ABS (NOM) data on permanent visa holders does not correlate with DIAC data and should be

used with caution. For more detail see ABS, Migration Australia, op. cit., p. 31.

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

14

of separately identifying and quantifying offshore and onshore components of the Humanitarian

Program in 1996.45

Despite these discrepancies, Humanitarian Program visa grants are the most accurate statistics

available for refugee and humanitarian intakes to Australia back to the 1970s. Prior to the 1970s

there are only estimates available for the number of post war refugees.

Temporary migration statistics (Table 2)

Although the rise in permanent migration to Australia is significant, many argue that the greatest

change in immigration patterns to Australia in the last decade or so is the change in emphasis

from permanent to temporary migration—with temporary migration increasingly becoming the

first step towards permanent settlement in Australia for many people.46 According to the ABS,

over the last ten years onshore permanent visas have increased fourfold from 15 000 in 1998-99

to 63 400 in 2008-09.47 Over one-third of the Migration Program in 2007-08 was made up of

people granted permanent residence after initial entry to Australia on a temporary basis.48

Unlike the permanent migration program, the level of temporary migration to Australia is usually

not determined by government, but rather is demand driven. The two most significant categories

contributing to the rise in temporary migration to Australia in recent years are temporary skilled

migrants and overseas students.

The most commonly used visa to sponsor temporary skilled migrants is the (subclass 457)

Temporary business (long stay) visa introduced by the Howard Government in 1996.49 There is no

45. P Ruddock (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs), 1996-97 Humanitarian Program, media

release, Canberra, 3 July 1996; and DIAC, Population flows: immigration aspects, 2006-07, op. cit., p.

69.

46. G Hugo, Temporary migration: a new paradigm of international migration, Research note no. 55,

Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2004, viewed 3 August 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/rn/2003-04/04rn55.htm

47. ABS, Migration, op. cit., p. 30.

48. DIAC, Population Flows: immigration aspects 2007-08, chapter 2, p.22, 2008, viewed 20 July 2010,

http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/popflows2007-08/PopFlows_09_chp2.pdf

49. J Phillips, Temporary (long stay) business visas: subclass 457, Research note, Parliamentary Library,

Canberra, 2007, viewed 20 July 2010, http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/rn/2006-07/07rn15.pdf

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

15

cap set on the number of 457 visas which may be granted in a particular year. Rather, the number

of visas granted is directly related to the level of demand by employers for temporary skilled

migrant workers, and their willingness to sponsor such workers. As a result, the temporary skilled

migration program is highly responsive to changes in economic conditions and the demand for

labour has risen (and fallen) in recent years accordingly.

Overseas students have also contributed significantly to temporary migration figures in Australia

in recent years. In 2007-08 international students made up the largest group of temporary visa

holders to arrive:

Australia’s immigration program has also seen an exponential increase in overseas student

entrants. Indeed, by 2007 Australia accounted for 11 per cent of the international student market

and had seen a three-fold increase in student numbers over the previous ten years. Figures

published by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) indicate that the number of

student visa holders in Australia grew at the average annual rate of 13.9 per cent every year after

June 2001, rising to a total of 386 523 student visa holders in the 12 months to the end of June

2009.50

Since the mid 1990s, the number of overseas visitors entering Australia on a temporary long-term

basis (staying for at least one year) has exceeded the number of people arriving for permanent

settlement.51 However, it is not easy to provide meaningful statistics for long-term temporary

migration. Researchers McDonald and Withers point out that:

Immigrants are broadly divisible into two categories, permanent and temporary. To be included in

the count of the Australian population, temporary immigrants need to stay in Australia for at least

12 months within a given 16-month period ... Statistics for long-term temporary immigrants are

more difficult to describe. The main categories are overseas students, persons coming to Australia

for specific employment (long stay business visa), working holiday makers, persons on bridging

visas (between other visa types), persons on temporary protection visas and over-stayers (those

who have remained in Australia illegally after their visa has expired). As most of these people go in

and out of the country relatively frequently, statistics on their movements can be misleading. Stock

data are possibly more useful than flow data.52

50. E Koleth, op. cit. See also ABS, Migration, op. cit., p. 29.

51. G. Hugo, A new paradigm of international migration: implications for migration policy and planning

for Australia, Research paper no. 10, Parliamentary Library 2003-04, p. 19, viewed 20 July 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/rp/2003-04/04rp10.pdf

52. P. McDonald and G. Withers, Population and Australia’s future labour force, 2008, p. 11, viewed 20

July 2010, http://dpl/Books/2008/McDonaldWithers_Population.pdf

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

16

Statistical appendix Table 1: Permanent migrants: migration and humanitarian

program visa grants since 1985

Year

Migration Program

Humanitarian Program

Family Skill

Special Eligibility

Total

1984-85 44 200 10 100 200 54 500 14 207

1985-86 63 400 16 200 400 80 000 11 700

1986-87 72 600 28 500 600 101 700 11 291

1987-88 79 500 42 000 600 122 100 11 392

1988-89 72 700 51 200 800 124 700 11 309

1989-90 66 600 52 700 900 120 200 12 415

1990-91 61 300 49 800 1 200 112 200 11 284

1991-92 55 900 41 400 1 700 98 900 12 009

1992-93 43 500 21 300 1 400 67 900 11 845

1993-94 43 200 18 300 1 300 62 800 14 070

1994-95 44 500 30 400 1 600 76 500 14 858

1995-96 56 700 24 100 1 700 82 500 16 252

1996-97 44 580 27 550 1 730 73 900 11 902

1997-98 31 310 34 670 1 110 67 100 12 055

1998-99 32 040 35 000 890 67 900 11 356

1999-00 32 000 35 330 2 850 70 200 15 860

2000-01 33 470 44 730 2 420 80 610 13 733

2001-02 38 090 53 520 1 480 93 080 12 349

2002-03 40 790 66 050 1 230 108 070 12 525

2003-04 42 230 71 240 890 114 360 13 823

2004-05 41 740 77 880 450 120 060 13 178

2005-06 45 290 97 340 310 142 930 14 144

2006-07 50 080 97 920 200 148 200 13 017

2007-08 49 870 108 540 220 158 630 13 014

2008-09 56 366 114 777 175 171 318 13 507

2009-10 (planned)

60 300 108 100 300 168 700 13 750

2010-11 (planned)

54 550 113 850 300 168 700 13 750

Sources: Migration Program: DIAC advice supplied to the Parliamentary Library in July 2010 taken from Population flows:

immigration aspects, various editions since 1992; Migration Program Statistics web page and C Evans (Minister for

Immigration and Citizenship), Budget: Migration Program, media release, 11 May 2010 for the planning figures.

Humanitarian Program: DIAC, Population flows: immigration aspects 2008-09, source data, chapter 4, 2010.

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

17

Table 2: Temporary migrants: overseas student and business long

stay (subclass 457) visa grants since 1996

Year

Overseas students

Temporary business (long stay) 457 visas

1996-97 113 000 25 786

1997-98 108 827 30 880

1998-99 110 894 29 320

1999-00 119 806 31 070

2000-01 146 577 36 900

2001-02 151 894 33 510

2002-03 162 575 36 800

2003-04 171 616 39 500

2004-05 174 786 49 590

2005-06 190 674 71 150

2006-07 228 592 87 310

2007-08 278 180 110 570

2008-09 320 368 101 280

Sources: DIAC, various years of annual reports, population flows publications and migration statistics web

pages; and Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee, Migration Legislation Amendment (Worker

Protection) Bill 2008 report, 2008, pp. 17-18 (for 457 visa grants).

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

18

Table 3: Net overseas migration (NOM) since 1901

Year NOM

(a) (b) Year NOM

(a) (b) Year NOM

(a) (b) Series Break Information

1901 2 959 1938 8 145 1975 13 515

Prior to July 1922 crew members were included

Prior to July 1925 figures are total overseas arrivals and departures from Australia

1902 -4 293 1939 12 527 1976 33 997

1903 -9 876 1940 10 676 1977 68 030

1904 -2 983 1941 5 136 1978 47 394

1905 -2 600 1942 8 536 1979 68 611

1906 -5 049 1943 1 587 1980 100 940

1907 5 195 1944 -1 761 1981 123 066

1908 5 437 1945 -3 273 1982 102 709 From July 1925 figures are Net

Permanent and Long Term migration

1909 21 783 1946 -11 589 1983 54 995

1910 29 912 1947 12 186 1984 59 823

1911 74 379 1948 48 468 1985 89 319

Break in series from September quarter 1971 to June quarter 2006 inclusive, Net Overseas Migration (NOM) was the difference between permanent and long-term arrivals and permanent and long-term departures.

1912 91 892 1949 149 270 1986 110 661

1913 63 227 1950 153 685 1987 136 093

1914 -8 226 1951 110 362 1988 172 794

1915 -84 410 1952 97 454 1989 129 478

1916 -128 737 1953 42 883 1990 97 131

1917 -17 822 1954 68 565 1991 81 669

1918 23 359 1955 95 317 1992 51 358

1919 166 303 1956 102 105 1993 34 822

1920 27 606 1957 77 622 1994 55 506

1921 17 525 1958 64 879 1995 106 864

1922 40 157 1959 83 578 1996 97 444

For September quarter 2006 onwards estimates for NOM are the difference between the number of incoming travellers who stay in Australia for 12 months or more and are added to the population (NOM arrivals) and the number of outgoing travellers who leave Australia for 12 months or more and are subtracted from the population (NOM departures)

1923 39 714 1960 92 776 1997 72 402

1924 46 069 1961 65 439 1998 88 781

1925 39 762 1962 64 638 1999 104 210

1926 42 282 1963 76 844 2000 111 441

1927 49 401 1964 103 999 2001 136 076

1928 28 864 1965 111 609 2002 110 475

1929 10 087 1966 95 931 2003 110 104

1930 -9 833 1967 96 558 2004 106 425

1931 -12 117 1968 123 452 2005 137 009

1932 -4 608 1969 140 331 2006 182 200

1933 -1 364 1970 138 382 2007 244 100

1934 - 388 1971 103 553 2008p 301 200

1935 1 251 1972 56 320 2009p 277 700

1936 1 283 1973 67 494 p = preliminary estimates

1937 5 075 1974 87 248

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

19

(a) Estimates for September quarter 2006 onwards use an improved methodology and are not comparable

with NOM estimates prior to this.

(b) An adjustment for category jumping (later referred to as migration adjustments) was included for estimates

for September quarter 1976 to June quarter 2006, except for September quarter 1997 to June quarter 2001

when it was set to zero.

Sources: Data for 1901-1924: DIAC, Immigration: Federation to Century’s End, DIAC, Canberra, 2001.

Data for 1925-2005: ABS, Australian Historical Population Statistics, cat. no. 3105.0.65.001, 2008.

Data for 2006 onwards: ABS, Australian Demographic Statistics, cat. no. 3101.0, 2010.

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

20

Table 4: Components of population growth since 1972

Year Births (b) Deaths (b)

Natural Increase (Births - Deaths) Net Overseas Migration (c)

Estimated resident population (ERP) (d)

1971-72 (a) 271 960 110 191 161 769 75 672 13 303 664

1972-73 (a) 255 848 111 336 144 512 56 562 13 504 538

1973-74 (a) 243 658 110 179 133 479 82 926 13 722 571

1974-75 (a) 239 794 114 501 125 293 44 675 13 892 995

1975-76 (a) 231 135 110 610 120 525 21 239 14 033 083

1976-77 226 954 111 490 115 464 57 897 14 192 234

1977-78 226 359 108 059 118 300 62 715 14 359 255

1978-79 223 370 108 315 115 055 55 137 14 515 729

1979-80 223 664 106 654 117 010 75 941 14 695 356

1980-81 230 920 109 429 121 491 119 175 14 923 260

1981-82 237 076 110 990 126 086 128 117 15 184 247

1982-83 241 764 112 918 128 846 73 295 15 393 472

1983-84 240 544 110 887 129 657 49 098 15 579 391

1984-85 241 814 114 197 127 617 73 708 15 788 312

1985-86 239 115 116 069 123 046 100 359 16 018 350

1986-87 242 797 116 139 126 658 125 730 16 263 874

1987-88 246 200 120 463 125 737 149 341 16 532 164

1988-89 250 155 118 767 131 388 157 436 16 814 416

1989-90 257 521 125 112 132 409 124 647 17 065 128

1990-91 261 158 119 572 141 586 86 432 17 284 036

1991-92 259 186 120 836 138 350 68 580 17 494 664

1992-93 259 959 121 338 138 621 30 042 17 667 093

1993-94 258 314 123 496 134 818 46 549 17 854 738

1994-95 258 210 126 232 131 978 80 125 18 071 758

1995-96 250 438 126 400 124 038 104 137 18 310 714

1996-97 253 660 127 298 126 362 87 079 18 517 564

1997-98 249 105 129 255 119 850 79 162 18 711 271

1998-99 249 965 128 278 121 687 96 483 18 925 855

1999-00 249 310 128 392 120 918 107 275 19 153 380

2000-01 247 500 128 913 118 587 135 673 19 413 240

2001-02 247 288 130 253 117 035 110 556 19 651 438

2002-03 246 663 132 239 114 424 116 498 19 895 435

2003-04 249 082 133 231 115 851 99 966 20 127 363

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

21

2004-05 255 934 131 354 124 580 123 763 20 394 791

2005-06 263 540 134 041 129 499 146 753 20 697 880

2006-07 277 724 135 976 141 748 232 824 21 072 452

2007-08 289 492 140 736 148 756 277 332 21 498 540

2008-09 300 936 143 144 157 792 298 924 21 955 256

(a) Between 1971 and 1976 inconsistencies exist between the components of growth of

the population and estimates of the population. Estimates of category jumping were

made only from September quarter 1976.

(b) Births and deaths figures used to compile natural increase for population estimates

are based on year of occurrence and may differ from births and deaths based on year of

registration.

(c) Estimates for net overseas migration (NOM) contain a break in time series. Estimates

for September quarter 2006 onwards use an improved methodology and are not

comparable with NOM estimates prior to this.

(d) The official measure of the population of Australia is based on the concept of usual

residence. It refers to all people, regardless of nationality, citizenship or legal status, who

usually live in Australia, with the exception of foreign diplomatic personnel and their

families. It includes usual residents who are overseas for less than 12 out of 16 months. It

excludes overseas visitors who are in Australia for less than 12 out of 16 months. See ABS,

‘Glossary’, Australian Demographic Statistics, cat. no. 3101.0, December 2009, viewed 4

August 2010. For 1994, the sum of the components of population change for Australia

does not equal the difference between the 1994 and 1993 ERPs due to the inclusion of

the September quarter 1993 populations of Christmas Island (1470 persons) and Cocos

(Keeling) Islands (625 persons) in the Australian population for the first time.

Sources: Data for 1971-72 to 2005-06: ABS, Australian Historical Population Statistics, cat. no. 3105.0.65.001,

2008. Data for 2006-07 to 2008-09: ABS, Australian Demographic Statistics, cat. no. 3101.0, 2010.

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

22

Table 5: Population growth rates since 1972

Year Natural increase rate Net overseas migration rate Total population growth rate (a)

1971-72 1.24 0.58 1.81

1972-73 1.09 0.43 1.51

1973-74 0.99 0.61 1.61

1974-75 0.91 0.33 1.24

1975-76 0.87 0.15 1.01

1976-77 0.82 0.41 1.13

1977-78 0.83 0.44 1.18

1978-79 0.80 0.38 1.09

1979-80 0.81 0.52 1.24

1980-81 0.83 0.81 1.55

1981-82 0.84 0.86 1.75

1982-83 0.85 0.48 1.38

1983-84 0.84 0.32 1.21

1984-85 0.82 0.47 1.34

1985-86 0.78 0.64 1.46

1986-87 0.79 0.78 1.53

1987-88 0.77 0.92 1.65

1988-89 0.79 0.95 1.71

1989-90 0.79 0.74 1.49

1990-91 0.83 0.51 1.28

1991-92 0.80 0.40 1.22

1992-93 0.79 0.17 0.99

1993-94 0.76 0.26 1.06

1994-95 0.74 0.45 1.22

1995-96 0.69 0.58 1.32

1996-97 0.69 0.48 1.13

1997-98 0.65 0.43 1.05

1998-99 0.65 0.52 1.15

1999-00 0.64 0.57 1.20

2000-01 0.62 0.71 1.36

2001-02 0.60 0.57 1.23

2002-03 0.58 0.59 1.24

2003-04 0.58 0.50 1.17

2004-05 0.62 0.61 1.33

2005-06 0.63 0.72 1.49

2006-07 0.68 1.12 1.81

2007-08 0.71 1.32 2.02

2008-09 0.73 1.39 2.12

(a) Population change over a period as a proportion (percentage) of the population at the

beginning of the period.

Sources: Data for 1971-72 to 2005-06: ABS, Australian Historical Population Statistics, cat. no.

3105.0.65.001, 2008.

Data for 2006-07 to 2008-09: ABS, Australian Demographic Statistics, cat. no. 3101.0, 2010.

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

23

Table 6: Permanent and long-term overseas movement since 1925

Arrivals Departures

Year

Permanent Settler Arrivals (a)

Long term: more than one year TOTAL: Permanent

and Long-term Arrivals

Permanent departures (a)

Long term: more than one year TOTAL: Permanent

and Long-term departures

Residents returning (a)

Visitors arriving (a)

Residents departing (a)

Visitors departing (a)

1925 56 477 n/a n/a 56 477 16 715 n/a n/a 16 715

1926 59 464 n/a n/a 59 464 17 182 n/a n/a 17 182

1927 67 078 n/a n/a 67 078 17 677 n/a n/a 17 677

1928 48 233 n/a n/a 48 233 19 369 n/a n/a 19 369

1929 31 698 n/a n/a 31 698 21 611 n/a n/a 21 611

1930 17 537 n/a n/a 17 537 27 370 n/a n/a 27 370

1931 9 441 n/a n/a 9 441 21 558 n/a n/a 21 558

1932 9 868 n/a n/a 9 868 14 476 n/a n/a 14 476

1933 10 749 n/a n/a 10 749 12 113 n/a n/a 12 113

1934 11 778 n/a n/a 11 778 12 166 n/a n/a 12 166

1935 12 608 n/a n/a 12 608 11 357 n/a n/a 11 357

1936 12 653 n/a n/a 12 653 11 370 n/a n/a 11 370

1937 16 291 n/a n/a 16 291 11 216 n/a n/a 11 216

1938 19 548 n/a n/a 19 548 11 403 n/a n/a 11 403

1939 24 068 n/a n/a 24 068 11 541 n/a n/a 11 541

1940 16 152 n/a n/a 16 152 5 476 n/a n/a 5 476

1941 8 940 n/a n/a 8 940 3 804 n/a n/a 3 804

1942 10 145 n/a n/a 10 145 1 609 n/a n/a 1 609

1943 3 516 n/a n/a 3 516 1 929 n/a n/a 1 929

1944 2 511 n/a n/a 2 511 4 272 n/a n/a 4 272

1945 7 512 n/a n/a 7 512 10 785 n/a n/a 10 785

1946 18 217 n/a n/a 18 217 29 806 n/a n/a 29 806

1947 31 765 n/a n/a 31 765 19 579 n/a n/a 19 579

1948 65 739 n/a n/a 65 739 17 271 n/a n/a 17 271

1949 167 727 n/a n/a 167 727 18 457 n/a n/a 18 457

1950 174 540 n/a n/a 174 540 20 855 n/a n/a 20 855

1951 132 542 n/a n/a 132 542 22 180 n/a n/a 22 180

1952 127 824 n/a n/a 127 824 30 370 n/a n/a 30 370

1953 74 915 n/a n/a 74 915 32 032 n/a n/a 32 032

1954 104 014 n/a n/a 104 014 35 449 n/a n/a 35 449

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

24

Arrivals Departures

Year

Permanent Settler Arrivals (a)

Long term: more than one year

TOTAL: Permanent and Long-term

Arrivals

Permanent departures (a)

Long term: more than one year

TOTAL: Permanent and Long-term

departures

1955 130 795 n/a n/a 130 795 35 478 n/a n/a 35 478

1956 123 822 n/a n/a 123 822 21 717 n/a n/a 21 717

1957 118 695 n/a n/a 118 695 41 073 n/a n/a 41 073

1958 109 857 n/a n/a 109 857 44 978 n/a n/a 44 978

1959 97 777 15 285 10 960 124 022 12 900 21 296 6 248 40 444

1960 110 079 16 495 12 797 139 371 10 853 25 331 10 411 46 595

1961 95 407 18 602 13 577 127 586 14 777 32 157 12 213 59 147

1962 90 464 20 580 13 941 124 985 15 429 31 781 13 137 60 347

1963 108 150 22 205 13 813 144 168 16 278 38 317 12 729 67 324

1964 134 464 23 641 15 020 173 125 15 083 40 958 13 085 69 126

1965 147 507 26 260 17 497 191 264 20 913 46 313 12 429 79 655

1966 141 033 28 292 19 234 188 559 26 308 54 321 11 999 92 628

1967 135 019 35 655 21 637 192 311 30 804 52 148 12 801 95 753

1968 159 270 36 387 23 473 219 130 31 675 51 386 12 617 95 678

1969 183 416 38 308 26 867 248 591 33 631 59 027 15 602 108 260

1970 185 325 42 099 31 194 258 618 37 294 64 215 18 727 120 236

1971 155 525 47 782 30 500 233 807 41 122 67 699 21 433 130 254

1972 112 468 54 278 26 559 193 305 45 881 66 853 24 251 136 985

1973 105 003 65 021 27 370 197 394 43 430 64 964 21 506 129 900

1974 121 324 63 320 26 984 211 628 33 751 66 228 24 401 124 380

1975 54 119 58 354 19 858 132 331 29 084 66 406 23 326 118 816

1976 58 287 59 881 23 312 141 480 26 732 68 527 20 631 115 890

1977 75 640 57 701 27 472 160 813 22 762 64 088 19 181 106 031

1978 68 419 57 938 28 390 154 747 24 961 58 519 19 644 103 124

1979 72 236 61 441 33 450 167 127 23 420 54 266 20 422 98 108

1980 94 503 58 760 31 025 184 288 20 843 50 713 19 306 90 862

1981 118 735 59 401 34 552 212 688 19 852 46 738 19 013 85 603

1982 107 171 53 766 34 265 195 202 22 493 46 892 22 956 92 341

1983 78 392 47 806 27 376 153 574 25 870 48 182 26 455 100 507

1984 73 108 51 556 28 868 153 532 22 311 50 780 23 266 96 357

1985 82 000 55 669 34 883 172 552 18 620 51 027 23 793 93 440

1986 103 326 55 307 38 049 196 682 18 817 48 358 25 269 92 444

1987 128 288 53 590 39 737 221 615 20 415 49 977 27 377 97 769

1988 151 549 54 986 47 327 253 862 20 320 54 118 30 326 104 764

1989 131 064 53 442 53 543 238 049 24 829 59 218 35 993 120 040

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

25

Arrivals Departures

Year

Permanent Settler Arrivals (a)

Long term: more than one year

TOTAL: Permanent and Long-term

Arrivals

Permanent departures (a)

Long term: more than one year

TOTAL: Permanent and Long-term

departures

1990 121 563 56 365 56 120 234 048 30 365 66 296 40 807 137 468

1991 116 647 61 259 59 326 237 232 29 898 66 127 47 684 143 709

1992 94 246 66 155 60 052 220 453 28 135 66 984 48 540 143 659

1993 65 675 73 428 58 829 197 932 28 074 64 301 48 051 140 426

1994 77 937 78 064 65 912 221 913 27 020 66 365 48 291 141 676

1995 96 969 78 794 78 172 253 935 27 873 69 083 52 406 149 362

1996 92 503 80 004 88 826 261 333 28 479 70 964 58 820 158 263

1997 78 229 81 797 100 191 260 217 30 343 77 181 69 039 176 563

1998 81 065 75 318 112 000 268 383 33 433 81 057 65 112 179 602

1999 88 010 76 133 125 731 289 874 38 225 83 428 64 011 185 664

2000 97 178 80 306 140 076 317 560 43 824 88 087 74 208 206 119

2001 100 888 85 127 170 393 356 408 47 600 93 457 75 074 216 131

2002 89 348 92 396 180 244 361 988 49 081 89 992 83 867 222 940

2003 103 887 98 835 185 727 388 449 54 119 83 986 86 780 224 885

2004 117 473 98 240 196 851 412 564 61 853 87 626 94 189 243 668

2005 128 753 103 909 209 618 442 280 64 398 94 084 93 302 251 784

2006 133 879 107 035 238 565 479 479 69 399 101 211 94 933 265 543

2007 141 645 108 513 285 569 535 727 74 963 102 250 113 698 290 911

2008 161 520 113 750 358 820 634 090 79 410 100 120 142 070 321 600

2009 148 410 117 120 377 250 642 780 82 710 76 010 180 430 339 150

(a) Prior to 1959, overseas arrivals and departures were classified as either permanent or temporary.

Revised questions for travellers were introduced in 1958 which enabled arrivals and departures,

previously classified as permanent, to be sub-divided (as from 1 January 1959) into two categories:

permanent movement; and long-term movement.

‘Statistics on overseas arrivals and departures (OAD) relate to the number of movements of

travellers rather than the number of travellers. Care should be taken when using permanent and

long-term movements data as it is known that some individuals who travel multiple times in a year

are counted each time they cross Australia's borders. Permanent and long-term movements in this

release are not an appropriate source of migration statistics’. For further information see ABS,

Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, cat. no. 3401.0, 2010.

Source: ABS, Overseas Arrivals and Departures, cat no. 3401.0, June 2010.

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

26

Table 7: Top 10 countries of birth for the overseas-born

population since 1901

1901 Census

1911 Census

Birthplace No. %

Birthplace No. %

1. United Kingdom (b) 495 074 57.7

1. United Kingdom (b) 451 288 59.6

2. Ireland (b) 184 085 21.5

2. Ireland (b) 139 434 18.4

3. Germany 38 352 4.5

3. Germany 32 990 4.4

4. China 29 907 3.5

4. New Zealand 31 868 4.2

5. New Zealand 25 788 3.0

5. China 20 775 2.7

6. Sweden & Norway 9 863 1.2

6. Italy 6 719 0.9

7. India 7 637 0.9

7. India 6 644 0.9

8. USA 7 448 0.9

8. USA 6 642 0.9

9. Denmark 6 281 0.7

9. Denmark 5 663 0.7

10.Italy 5 678 0.7

10. Sweden & Norway 5 586 0.7

Top ten total 810 113 94.5

Top ten total 707 609 93.5

Other 47 463 5.5

Other 49 256 6.5

Total overseas born 857 576 100

Total overseas born 756 865 100.0

Total population (a) 3 788 123

Total population (a) 4 455 005

% of Australian born overseas 22.6

% of Australian born overseas 17.0

1921 Census

1933 Census

Birthplace No. %

Birthplace No. %

1. United Kingdom (b) 568 370 67.7

1. United Kingdom (b) 633 806 70.2

2. Ireland (b) 105 033 12.5

2. Ireland (b) 78 652 8.7

3. New Zealand 38 611 4.6

3. New Zealand 45 963 5.1

4. Germany 22 396 2.7

4. Italy 26 756 3.0

5. China 15 224 1.8

5. Germany 16 842 1.9

6. Italy 8 135 1.0

6. China 8 579 0.9

7. India 6 918 0.8

7. Greece 8 337 0.9

8. USA 6 604 0.8

8. India 6 774 0.7

9. Denmark 6 002 0.7

9. South Africa 6 179 0.7

10. South Africa 5 408 0.6

10. USA 6 066 0.7

Top ten total 782 701 93.2

Top ten total 837 954 92.8

Other 56 878 6.8

Other 65 319 7.2

Total overseas born 839 579 100.0

Total overseas born 903 273 100.0

Total population (a) 5 455 136

Total population (a) 6 629 836

% of Australian born overseas 15.4

% of Australian born overseas 13.6

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

27

1947 Census

1954 Census

Birthplace No. %

Birthplace No. %

1. United Kingdom (b) 496 454 66.7

1. United Kingdom (b) 616 532 47.9

2. Ireland (b) 44 813 6.0

2 Italy 119 897 9.3

3. New Zealand 43 610 5.9

3. Poland 56594 4.4

4. Italy 33 632 4.5

4. Netherlands 52 035 4.0

5. Germany 14 567 1.7

5. Germany 50 855 4.0

6. Greece 12 291 1.1

6. Ireland (b) 44 673 3.5

7. India & Sri Lanka 8 160 0.9

7. New Zealand 43 350 3.4

8. Poland 6 573 0.9

8. Yugoslavia 22 856 1.8

9. China 6 404 0.8

9. Greece 25 862 2.0

10. USA 6 232 0.8

10. Malta 19 988 1.6

Top ten total 672 736 90.4

Top ten total 1 052 642 81.8

Other 71 451 9.6

Other 233 824 18.2

Total overseas born 744 187 100.0

Total overseas born 1 286 466 100.0

Total population (a) 7 579 358

Total population (a) 8 986 530

% of Australian born overseas 9.8

% of Australian born overseas 14.3

1961 Census

1971 Census

Birthplace No. %

Birthplace No. %

1. United Kingdom (b) 718 345 40.4

1. United Kingdom (b) 1 046 356 40.6

2. Italy 228 296 12.8

2. Italy 289 476 11.2

3. Germany 109 315 6.1

3. Greece 160 200 6.2

4. Netherlands 102 083 5.7

4. Yugoslavia 129 816 5.0

5. Greece 77 333 4.3

5. Germany 110 811 4.3

6. Poland 60 049 3.4

6. Netherlands 99 295 3.8

7. Yugoslavia 49 776 2.8

7. New Zealand 80 466 3.1

8. New Zealand 47 011 2.6

8. Poland 59 700 2.3

9. Malta 39 337 2.2

9. Malta 53 681 2.1

10. Ireland 37 057 2.1

10. Ireland 41 854 1.6

Top ten total 1 468 602 82.6

Top ten total 2 071 655 80.3

Other 310 178 17.4

Other 507 663 19.7

Total overseas born 1 778 780 100.0

Total overseas born 2 579 318 100.0

Total population (a) 10 508 186

Total population 12 755 638

% of Australian born overseas 16.9

% of Australian born overseas 20.2

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

28

1981 Census

1991 Census

Birthplace No. %

Birthplace No. %

1. United Kingdom (b) 1 086 625 36.5

1. United Kingdom (b) 1 107 119 30.0

2. Italy 275 883 9.3

2. New Zealand 264 094 7.2

3. New Zealand 176 713 5.9

3. Italy 253 332 6.9

4. Yugoslavia 149 335 5.0

4. Yugoslavia 160 479 4.4

5. Greece 146 625 4.9

5. Greece 136 028 3.7

6. Germany 110 758 3.7

6. Viet Nam 121 813 3.3

7. Netherlands 96 044 3.2

7. Germany 111 975 3.0

8. Poland 59 441 2.0

8. Netherlands 94 692 2.6

9. Malta 57 001 1.9

9. China 77 799 2.1

10. Lebanon 49 623 1.7

10. Philippines 73 144 2.0

Top ten total 2 208 048 74.2

Top ten total 2 400 475 65.1

Other 765 786 25.8

Other 1 288 653 34.9

Total overseas born 2 973 834 100.0

Total overseas born 3 689 128 100.0

Total population (b) (c) 17 752 824

Total population (c) (d) 16 770 635

% of Australian born overseas 16.8

% of Australian born overseas 22.0

2001 Census

2006 Census

Birthplace No. %

Birthplace No. %

1. United Kingdom (b) 1 036 261 25.2

1. United Kingdom (b) 1 038 162 23.5

2. New Zealand 355 762 8.7

2. New Zealand 389 467 8.8

3. Italy 218 722 5.3

3. China 206 593 4.7

4. Viet Nam 154 818 3.8

4. Italy 199 124 4.5

5. China 142 807 3.5

5. Viet Nam 159 848 3.6

6. Greece 116 431 2.8

6. India 147 111 3.3

7. Germany 108 214 2.6

7. Philippines 120 534 2.7

8. Philippines 103 915 2.5

8. Greece 109 989 2.5

9. India 95 445 2.3

9. Germany 106 528 2.4

10. Netherlands 83 290 2.0

10. South Africa 104 132 2.4

Top ten total 2 415 665 58.8

Top ten total 2 581 488 58.5

Other 1 689 803 41.2

Other 1 834 548 41.5

Total overseas born 4 105 468 100.0

Total overseas born 4 416 036 100.0

Total population (c) (d) 18 769 249

Total population (b) (c) 19 855 288

% of Australian born overseas 21.9

% of Australian born overseas 22.2

Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics

29

(a) Excludes full-blood Indigenous persons

(b) Prior to the 1954 Census persons born in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are recorded

together under Ireland

(c) Excludes overseas visitors

(d) Includes birthplace not stated

Sources: ABS, Australian Historical Population Statistics, cat no. 3105.0.65.001, 2008.

ABS, Census of Population and Housing, 1971, 1981, 2001, 2006.

DIAC, Immigration: Federation to Century's End 1901-2000, October 2001

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