The Asia region is now the leading source for new permanent immigrants to Australia according to Australia’s Migration Trends, a new report that was released yesterday by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
The statistics show that, for the first time ever, India and China were the two main source countries of permanent migrants bound for Australia.
“Seven of the top 10 source countries in 2011-12 were located in the Asia region,” said Australia’s Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Brendan O’Connor.
The new figures show that a total of 29,018 Indians and 25,509 Chinese people made Australia their home during the 2011-12 migration year. The UK, once the perennial number one source country for new Aussie immigrants, was third with 25,754 British residents emigrating to Oz, followed by 12,933 people from the Philippines and 7,640 from South Africa. Overall, Australia welcomed 184,998 new migrants during this year.
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The figures also show that Australia’s overseas-born population is growing at a far faster rate that the domestically born population.
“Between 1996 and 2011, Australia’s overseas-born population grew by more than 40 per cent to reach six million,” explained Minister O’Connor. “This was more than double the rate for the Australian-born population and is essential in addressing the demographic challenges of an ageing population.
“With the government’s strong emphasis on skilled migration, this sort of growth is also crucial to ensuring depth in Australia’s labour force.”
The Minister also pointed out that patterns of migration are also changing.
“In 2011-12, half of Australia’s skilled migrants applied while they were already living in Australia on a temporary visa,” he said. “This was more than twice the rate of a decade earlier and reflects a growing trend of migrants seeing what Australia has to offer before making a commitment to settle permanently.”
However, with the Australian government currently looking at restricting the number of foreigners arriving in the country on temporary work visas through the 457 scheme, it remains to be seen how much longer the ‘try before you buy’ trend will continue.