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Skilled workers help migration lead population growth.

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Media release Senator Chris Evans Leader of the Government in the Senate Minister for Immigration and Citizenship 029.08 27 March 2008 Skilled workers help migration lead population growth A new publication shows that record arrivals of skilled workers helped immigration become the leading element in Australian population growth last year, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said today. The 2008 edition of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship publication Population Flows: Immigration Aspects, reveals that immigration accounted for 56 per cent of Australia’s population growth in 2006-07. “Australia’s migration program had 148 200 places, the most since the late 1980s, and 3.7 per cent more than in 2005-06,” Senator Evans said. “The program plans up to 158 800 places in 2007-08.” Senator Evans said the 2006-07 skills stream had 97 920 places, an increase of 0.6 per cent on the previous year, and almost two-thirds of the migration program. A quarter of the skilled migrants that came to Australia were citizens of the United Kingdom, while 16 per cent were Indian, 15 per cent Chinese, 4 per cent were South African and 4 per cent Malaysian. “The temporary skilled migration program is playing a vital role in addressing the current skills crisis, left by the previous government,” the minister said. “The skilled migration program is designed to attract people who have skills and expertise in particular occupations that are in demand in the Australian workplace.” Population Flows: Immigration Aspects also shows: • Australia's population reached 21 million at the end of June 2007. • Population growth in 2006-07 comprised 138 100 people through natural increase (births less deaths) and 177 600 through net migration. • More than 72 000 people left Australia permanently in 2006-07 and emigration is now at its highest ever level. • Australia lost 35 196 skilled workers but gained 49 523 skilled settlers. • Some 50 080 people were granted family-stream visas in 2006-07. Their main countries of citizenship were the UK, China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam.

“The UK is the most common overseas birthplace of people in Australia,” Senator Evans said.

“But the UK share of overseas-born people declined from 25.4 per cent in 2001 to 23.5 per cent in 2006.”

New Zealand (8.8 per cent) is the second most common overseas birthplace, followed by China (4.7), Italy (4.5), Viet Nam (3.6), India (3.3), the Philippines (2.7), Greece (2.5) and Germany (2.4).

The proportion of Australia’s population born overseas rose from 23.1 per cent in 2001 to 23.9 per cent in 2006. This is greater than the UK (where 8.3 per cent of the population was overseas born in 2001), the USA (11.4), Canada (18.4) and New Zealand (22.9).

In 2006-07, a total of 169 123 people were approved to become Australian citizens by grant, descent and resumption - the highest number since citizenship was introduced in 1949.

“A record number of 136 256 people from more than 190 countries acquired Australian citizenship by grant in 2006-07, a 31.8 per cent increase on 2005-06,” Senator Evans said.

The report says that the five countries with highest take up rate for citizenship are Greece (98.2 per cent), Hungary and Croatia (both 96.7 per cent), Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (96.6 per cent), Bosnia and Herzegovina (both 96.1 per cent) and Lebanon (96 per cent).

Population Flows: Immigration Aspects is available online at:

Media enquiries: Simon Dowding - (02) 6277 7860 or 0411 138 541