Characteristics of people

Australian people characteristics

The Characteristics of Recent Migrants Survey provides detailed data about migrants who have come to Australia over the past 10 years and how they have fared after their arrival. The topics covered by the survey are of strong interest to researchers and government departments. Of particular interest is how migrants settle into employment and whether their likelihood of finding work relates to their visa type, education, language skills or other characteristics.

In November 2013, the in-scope Australian population aged 15 years and over was 18.3 million people. Of these people, an estimated 5.8 million (32%) were born overseas. (Table 1)

Around 1.7 million of the people born overseas arrived in Australia to live after 2003 and were aged 15 years and over on arrival. This represents 9.5% of the total population aged 15 years and over. Of these, 247, 100 were an Australian or New Zealand citizen before arrival or held New Zealand citizenship as at November 2013, while 24, 900 were planning to stay in Australia for less than 12 months. These two groups are not covered in this analysis. The remaining 1.5 million people were recent migrants or temporary residents, who are the focus of this commentary. Of these:

  • 63% were recent migrants (552, 600 people had a permanent visa and 368, 700 people were now Australian citizens)
  • 36% were temporary residents (525, 000 people had temporary visas). (Table 1)

The following diagram shows the estimates for each of these groups. Image: Characteristics of Recent Migrants Survey flow chart

The majority (82%) of recent migrants were aged 20-44 years on arrival. Of the 525, 000 temporary residents, 79% were aged 20-44 years on arrival. (Table 3)

Around three quarters (77%) of recent migrants and temporary residents were the main applicant on their visa application form when they first arrived in Australia. (Table 5)

There were 312, 100 people who had a temporary visa on arrival to live in Australia and had since obtained a permanent visa or Australian citizenship by November 2013. Of these, 55% had obtained a permanent visa while 45% had obtained Australian citizenship. Of those who had obtained a permanent visa, 55% held a Skilled visa and 33% held a Family visa. (Table 8)

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