2012 Face the Facts - Chapter 2

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Questions and answers about migrants, temporary entrants and multiculturalism

2.1 How do people come to Australia?

Australia’s immigration system comprises a permanent Migration Program, a Humanitarian Program and a significant Temporary Entry Program.

All migrants in these categories must apply for a visa to come to Australia.

New Zealanders enter, live and work in Australia without requiring a visa, and form the majority of Australia’s non-program migration.

Permanent Migration Program

Migrants can come to Australia under three streams of the permanent Migration Program: skill, family and special eligibility. Each category is governed by detailed rules, and selection is based on a case by case assessment of applications.

In 2010–2011, the permanent migration program comprised:

  • skill stream – 67.4%
  • family migration – 32.3%
  • special eligibility – 0.3%.[117]

The number of places in the permanent Migration Program is capped by the Australian Government. For 2011–2012, this been announced at 185 000 places, comprising:

  • 125 850 skill stream places
  • 58 600 family places
  • 550 special eligibility.[118]

Figure 2.1: Australia’s Migration Program 2000–01 to 2010–11: streams[119]

 figure2-1.png

(a) Skill stream

The skill stream is open to migrants who have the skills and qualities needed to succeed in the Australian labour market and to make a long-term economic contribution.[120]

Skill stream migrants are granted visas based on a variety of eligibility criteria. In 2010–2011, 113 725 people came to Australia as skilled migrants,[121] comprising:

  • 44 345 Employer Sponsored
  • 61 459 General Skilled Migration
  • 7 796 Business Skill
  • 125 Distinguished Talent.[122]

Since 2000, skilled migrants have comprised the majority of Australia’s Migration Program. In 2010–2011, skilled migrants constituted two thirds of the Program, a 5.4% increase on 2010–2011.

  • Employer Sponsored migrants

Employer Sponsored migrants must be sponsored by a prospective employer. They may work for an employer in another country before transferring to their employer’s Australian workplace. They may also be new employees recruited to meet specific skill shortages, particularly in regional areas of Australia.

In 2010–11, 44 345 Employer Sponsored Migrants were granted visas, comprising 39% of the skills stream.[123] The majority (88.1%) of Employer Sponsored Migrants came from onshore applications.[124]

  • General Skilled Migration (GSM)

Migrants who are not sponsored by a relative or employer must pass a points test to be granted a visa, with points awarded based on the person’s age, skills, qualifications, English language ability and employability.

In 2010–11, 61 459 visas were granted under this category, comprising:

  • 36 167 Skilled Independent
  • 16 175 State/Territory Sponsored
  • 9117 Skilled Australian Sponsored[125]
  • Business Skills migrants have demonstrated business success and are encouraged to develop business activity in and settle in Australia. In 2010–2011 there were 7 796 business skills migrants to Australia.
  • There were also 125 Distinguished Talent migrants, with special or unique talents of benefit to Australia, such as internationally recognised sports people, musicians, artists and designers.[126]

Find out more

Overview of Skilled Migration; Fact Sheet 24, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2010)

Skill Matching Database; Fact Sheet 28, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2010)

 

Family migration

Family migration aims to reunite families by allowing the partners, children, siblings and parents of Australian residents to live in Australia.

Migrants in this category are assessed and selected according to their relationship with their sponsor, usually a partner, fiancé, dependent child or parent, who must be an Australian resident or citizen.

The family stream grew from 32 040 arrivals in 1998–99 to 54 708 in 2010–2011 (comprising 13 624 onshore and 41 084 offshore).[127] While the 2010–2011 figures indicate a drop in the family stream arrivals from 60 254 in 2009–10,[128] they are an increase on the 50 079 arrivals from 2006–07.[129]

Unlike skill stream migrants, there is no test for professional skills or English language ability in this category.

Find out more

Overview of Family Migration; Fact Sheet 29, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2010)

 

Special eligibility

Special eligibility covers former residents who had not acquired Australian citizenship and are seeking to return to Australia as permanent residents. In 2010–2011, there were 653 arrivals under the special eligibility category.[130]

Find out more

Special Eligibility Stream; Fact Sheet 40, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2011)

 

Humanitarian Program

Australia operates a Humanitarian Program for refugees and others in need of special humanitarian assistance. In 2010–11 a total of 13 799 visas were granted under the Humanitarian Program, including onshore and offshore components.[131]

See Chapter 3 for more information on Australia’s Humanitarian program, including questions and answers about asylum seekers and refugees.

Temporary Entry Program

The Temporary Entry Program allows people from overseas to come to Australia on a temporary basis for specific purposes. Temporary entrants include visitors, students, and business people applying for either short or long-term temporary stay. A growing number of people who are already in Australia on temporary visas (such as student or business visas) apply for and are granted visas allowing them to stay permanently in Australia.

Temporary entrants are discussed further in sections 2.7 – 2.11.

Find out more

Immigration: The Background; Fact Sheet 1, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2011)

 

Non-program

Non-program migration encompasses New Zealanders, under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, and ‘Other’, primarily children born Australian to citizens overseas, and residents of Cocos (Keeling) islands, and Norfolk Island.

New Zealand citizens can freely enter, live and work in Australia without a visa under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement. They are not counted as part of the migration program, but constitute the majority of non-program migration.

Find out more

New Zealanders in Australia; Fact Sheet 17, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2011)

 

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2.2 Who can migrate?

People from any country can apply for visas to migrate to Australia. Depending on the type of visa for which they have applied, migrants must meet certain entrance criteria, and pass health and character checks.

Find out more

New Zealanders in Australia; Fact Sheet 17, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2011)

The Character Requirement; Fact Sheet 79, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2011)

 

 

Did you know?

From 1901, the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 (Cth) was used to restrict immigration from non-European countries. The White Australia policy was abolished in the 1970s.

Source: Abolition of the ‘White Australia’ Policy; Fact Sheet 8, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2010)

 

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2.3 How many people migrate to Australia?

In 2010–2011, 213 409 new migrants settled permanently in Australia,[132] including:

  • 127 458 settler arrivals: people living overseas who applied for and were granted a visa allowing them to enter and stay permanently in Australia
  • 85 951 onshore grants: people already living in Australia on temporary visa arrangements (such as student or business visas) who applied for and were granted a visa allowing them to stay permanently in Australia.[133]

In 2010–2011, Australia’s net permanent addition (permanent arrivals minus permanent departures) was 124 948 people.[134]

Settler arrivals

The number of settler arrivals changes each year according to the number of visas issued by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

In 2010–2011, the 127 458 settler arrivals comprised:

  • 40 547 arrivals under the skill stream
  • 41 084 arrivals under the family migration stream
  • 281 arrivals under special eligibility criteria
  • 9130 arrivals under the Humanitarian Program
  • 36 416 non-program arrivals.[135]

Although there were a series of increases in settler arrivals from 2001–02 until 2008–09, the current number of settler arrivals is close to 2005–2006 levels.[136]

Onshore migrants

In 2010–2011, the 85 951 onshore grants comprised 67 109 onshore skilled migrant visas, up from 46 672 in 2009–2010.[137] This increase reflected the Australian Government’s expansion of skilled migration places to accommodate an improved labour market and areas of skills shortages in the Australian economy.[138]

In the same period, 13 624 onshore family visas were issued, down from 16 458 in 2009–2010.[139]

The remaining onshore grants for 2010–2011 comprised 372 special eligibility, and 4846 onshore humanitarian visas.[140]

Table 2.1: Australia’s Migration Program 2009–10 and 2010–11[141]

Stream
Skill
Family
Special Eligibility
Purpose
Allows for the migration of those with
skills and abilities which will contribute to the economy
Allows for the permanent entry of those with close family ties in Australia
Allows for former permanent residents who meet certain criteria to remain in or return to Australia as permanent residents
Comprising: Employer Sponsored Business Skills General Skilled Migration Distinguished Talent
Comprising: Partners Dependent Children Parents Other Family
Program year:
2009–10
2010–11
 
2009–10
2010–11
 
2009–10
2010–11
 
Planning levels:
108 100
113 850
5.3%
60 300
54 550
-9.5%
300
300
0.0%
Visas granted:
107 868
113 725
5.4%
60 254
54 543
-9.5%
501
417
-16.8%
Females:
47.6%
47.3%
-0.3%
63.4%
64.7%
1.3%
48.1%
50.4%
2.3%
Primary applicants:
43.1%
49.4%
6.3%
84.2%
85.0%
0.8%
53.9%
54.7%
0.8%
Onshore applicants:
43.3%
59.0%
15.7%
27.3%
85.4%
58.1%
96.6%
89.2%
-7.4%

 

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2.4 Where do migrants come from?

Australia's Migration Program is open to anyone from any country, regardless of their nationality, ethnic origin, gender or colour, provided that they meet the criteria set out in law.[142]

In 2010–2011, people from 185 different countries migrated to Australia. China was Australia’s largest source of permanent migrants, accounting for 29 547 places or 17.5 % of the total migration program, up from 24 768 or 19.3% in 2009–10.[143]

The top ten citizenships of permanent migrants in 2010–2011 were:

  • China 29 547
  • United Kingdom 23 931
  • India 21 768
  • Philippines 10 825
  • South Africa 8612
  • Malaysia 5130
  • Vietnam 4709
  • Sri Lanka 4597
  • South Korea 4326
  • Ireland 3700.[144]

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2.5 Where do migrants settle in Australia?

In 2010–2011, New South Wales was the most popular state for permanent migrants, with 30.8% of permanent additions intending to settle there, followed by Victoria (24.9%), Queensland (18.2%) and Western Australia (16.0%).[145]

Table 2.2: Permanent additions by category to the states and territories, 2009–10[146]

State/Territory
Per cent
Family Stream
Skill Stream
Humanitarian
Program
Special and other categories
New Zealand
citizens
NSW
37.35
44.62
7.43
1.38
9.22
VIC
29.47
52.71
6.83
0.95
10.05
QLD
24.68
44.31
4.00
0.88
26.13
WA
19.74
62.05
8.56
0.64
9.01
SA
18.57
70.48
7.20
0.63
3.11
ACT
32.34
55.34
5.39
1.34
5.58
NT
24.96
64.71
4.19
1.24
4.90
TAS
25.45
42.19
22.82
1.28
8.26
Australia1
Includes 'not stated' and 'other territories'
28.46
51.84
6.97
1.04
11.70

 

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2.6 What are the impacts of migration?

Economic

Migrants contribute to the economic development of Australia in a variety of ways, including:

  • filling skill and labour shortages
  • creating demand for goods and services
  • investing in the Australian economy.

Migrants can also foster Australia’s international trade through:

  • their business networks
  • speaking a language other than English
  • their knowledge of overseas markets and cultural practices.

Migration raises average incomes and grows the economy, generating wealth and employment for all Australians. For example, based on economic modelling in relation to the 2010–11 Migration and Humanitarian Program, Access Economics estimates that migrants will provide Australia with an estimated fiscal benefit of over 10 billion dollars over their first ten years of settlement.[147]

Find out more

The Social Costs and Benefits of Migration into Australia; K Carrington, A McIntosh, and J Walmsley, University of New England (2007)

 

Employment

Migrants are better able to participate in the local workforce the longer they live in Australia. Their unemployment rate is higher than the Australian average immediately after they arrive, however, this falls significantly over time.[148]

Research suggests that the success with which new migrants find jobs is related to their proficiency in English, age, skill level and qualifications.[149]

Over a third of migrants (36%) struggle to gain employment. This may be attributed to discrimination, a lack of Australian work experience, references and local contacts and networks.[150] And while 60% of recent migrants arrive in Australia with a post-school qualification, only 34% have their qualification recognised in Australia.[151]

Skilled migrants fare significantly better and become active participants in the Australian labour market in a short time.

A 2009 survey found the unemployment rate of skilled migrants was just 5% (below the 5.7% national unemployment rate at the time of the survey). In addition, their labour participation rate was 95%, compared with 65% for Australia’s working age population.[152]

Research shows that immigration does not lead to higher rates of unemployment.[153] Indeed, migrants create jobs by increasing demand for goods and services.

Find out more

Migrant Labour Market Outcomes; Fact Sheet 14, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2010)

Additional results from the Continuous Survey of Australia's Migrants

Continuous Survey of Australia's Migrants (Group 1, Wave 1), (October 2009)

 

Welfare

Migrants must live in Australia as a permanent resident for at least two years before they can access most social security payments, including unemployment assistance, sickness benefits and student allowances.[154]

Most new migrants are not eligible for age or disability pensions until ten years after arriving in Australia.[155]

As part of their visa application, some family migrants are required to have an Assurance of Support lodged for them. Usually, but not necessarily, this is provided by a migrant’s sponsor.[156] It is a legal commitment to repay the Australian Government certain welfare payments received during their Assurance of Support Period.

Find out more

Assurance of Support; Fact Sheet 34, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2010)

 

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2.7 Who can enter Australia temporarily?

Every year, a large number of people enter Australia on a temporary basis. A variety of visas allow people from overseas to come to Australia on a temporary basis for specific purposes, but the three main categories of temporary entry are:

  • temporary residents
  • students
  • visitors.[157]

The temporary entry program is not capped.

Figure 2.2: Overview of selected temporary entry visas granted 2010–11[158]

 figure2-2.png

In 2010–11, 3 994 830 temporary entry visas were granted, the majority (74%) being tourist visas and short term business visitors (11.1%) (Figure 2.2).

Find out more

Temporary Entry: An Overview, Fact Sheet 46; Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2011)

 

Temporary resident visas

Temporary resident visas are granted to applicants on the basis of their economic, social, cultural or sporting benefit to Australia, and for periods generally between three months and four years.[159] They are generally sponsored by an Australian business or organisation.

The Business long stay (subclass 457) visa enables employers to directly sponsor employees for up to four years, if they have not been able to source workers through the domestic labour market. Subclass 457 visa holders are a category of long-term temporary residents with work rights.

The subclass 457 visa enables workers transition to permanent residency. In 2010–2011, 41 7200 people with 457 visas were granted a place in the permanent migration program; 96.2% were granted a permanent skilled visa and 3.9% were granted a family visa.[160]

Temporary residents can also live and work in Australia through the Working Holiday Program, which enables young people from eligible countries to holiday and work in Australia for periods up to 12 months; and through the short term business visitor program.

Find out more

Temporary Residence in Australia; Fact Sheet 47, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2011)

 

International Students

International students are granted visas for a specific period to undertake formal and informal study. In 2010–2011, 250 438 student visas were issued, representing a 7.4% decrease on 2009–2010 figures, and a 21.6% decrease on the 319 632 visas granted in 2008–09. This decrease reflects a decline in demand, particularly from applicants from South Korea (down 19.4% on 2009–2010 and India (down 55.8% from 2008–2009).

However, compared to other nations, Australia has the largest number of international students as a proportion of its total tertiary enrolments.Australia is ranked as the world’s third most popular English-speaking study destination, and the fifth most popular overall.[161] In 2011, there were 519 025 international students enrolled in Australia.[162]

Find out more

The Australian Human Rights Commission works in partnership with others to address issues facing international students in Australia. Read about recent projects at: www.humanrights.gov.au/racial_discrimination/international_students.html

 

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2.8 How many people temporarily enter Australia?

In 2010–2011 there were:

  • 504 671 temporary resident arrivals
  • 464 955 student visa arrivals
  • 3 098 294 tourism visitor arrivals
  • 442 482 business visitor arrivals.[163]

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2.9 Where do temporary entrants come from?

Temporary residents

In 2010–2011, there were 504 671 temporary resident arrivals to Australia. Entrants from the United Kingdom accounted for 20%, followed by the United States (7.9%), India (6.4%) and Korea (6.3%).[164]

International students

In October 2011, China was the largest source of enrolled international students in Australia (29%), followed by India (12.8%) and the Republic of Korea (5.3%).[165]

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2.10 What are the impacts of temporary entrants?

International students

In 2010–11, international education activity contributed $16.3 billion in export income to the Australian economy, down from 18.6 billion in 2009–10.[166] International education supports more than 125 000 jobs.[167]

Compared to other nations, Australia has the largest number of international students as a proportion of its total tertiary enrolments.Australia is ranked as the world’s third most popular English-speaking study destination, and the fifth most popular overall.[168]

Figure 2.3: Export income from education services[169]

 figure2-3.png

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2.11 How do migrants and temporary entrants affect population growth?

Population

Australia’s population growth peaked at a rate of 2.2% in the year ending March 2009, but recent data suggests that the annual population growth rate slowed to 1.4% for the year ending March 2011.[170]

Australia’s total population growth is a result of:

  • natural increase (the number of births minus the number of deaths)
  • net overseas migration (NOM) (the number of people who migrate to Australia minus the number who emigrate or leave Australia for other countries).

For the year ending March 2011, natural increase contributed 46% and net overseas migration contributed 54% to total population growth.[171]

Australia’s preliminary NOM estimate was 167 000 people, a 24% decrease on the NOM recorded for the year ending 31 March 2010, and a 47% decrease from peak of 315 700 for the year ending December 2008. This recent decline is leading to lower overall population growth.[172]

Figure 2.4: Components of population growth(a), Australia[173]

 figure2-4.png

(a) Annual components calculated over each quarter.

(b) NOM estimates for March quarter 2010 onwards, and natural increase estimates for September quarter 2010 onwards are preliminary.

(c) NOM estimates have been calculated using a range of methods over the period, and include a break in series from September quarter 2006 onwards – see paragraphs 12-19 of the Explanatory Notes.

The components making up NOM include offshore arrivals under the permanent Migration and Humanitarian Programs, temporary long-stay migrants such as students and subclass 457 skilled workers, and the free movement of Australian residents and New Zealand citizens.

Table 2.3: Composition of final NOM in 2009[174]

NOM component
Description
Drivers
Share of NOM
Permanent
Net Permanent arrivals
Arrivals under the Permanent Migration Program
Arrivals under the Humanitarian Programs
The total size of the Permanent Migration and Humanitarian Programs is set by Government
33.5%
Temporary
Net Temporary residents
International Students
Temporary skilled (457) workers
Working holidays Makers
Tourists and visitors
Largely uncapped but can be influenced by Government policy settings
63.1%
Others
Net Other arrivals
Returning Australian citizens and permanent residents
Australian citizens and permanent residents emigrating
New Zealand citizens settling and emigrating
Australian citizens and permanent residents can have free movement
Movement of New Zealand citizens uncapped/free movement under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement
3.4%

The recent decline in NOM has been driven by policy reform to temporary and permanent skill migration, including changes to student visa settings which have seen increased numbers of international students departing Australia and fewer international students arriving.[175] Forecasts suggest that beyond 2011, NOM will recover and stabilise at
200 000.[176]

However, research suggests that immigration will not be able to fully offset our ageing population, with the proportion of people aged over 65 years projected to increase from 13% in 2007 to between 23% and 25% in 2056.[177][178] It is estimated that within the next few years immigration will be the only source of net labour force growth in Australia. Without immigration, labour force growth will almost cease within the next decade.[179]

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship is developing a long-term immigration planning framework that will inform and guide Australia’s Migration program.[180]

Find out more

Population Projections; Fact Sheet 15, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2010)

The Outlook for Net Overseas Migration; Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2011)

 

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2.12 Who takes up Australian citizenship?

Of the 4.4 million migrants that responded to the Census in 2006, the overall citizenship take-up rate was 68%.[181]

Migrants with permanent residence who satisfy the eligibility requirements may apply for Australian citizenship by conferral (meaning they are given citizenship). People born overseas to a parent who is an Australian citizen may apply for citizenship by descent.

Research suggests that about 80% of migrants with more than ten years of residence have Australian citizenship, and that people from countries with lower economic or civil opportunities, and refugees in particular, are likely to take-up Australian citizenship.[182]

In 2009–10, 119 791 people from more than 185 countries were approved to become Australian citizens by conferral.[183]

Table 2.4 lists the top ten previous citizenships of people who were conferred as Australian citizens during 2009–10.

Table 2.4: Top ten previous citizenships of people who became Australian citizens by conferral during 2009–10[184]

Previous citizenship
Total conferred
Percentage
United Kingdom
22 832
19.1
India
17 781
14.8
China, Peoples Republic of
11 103
9.3
South Africa, Republic of
5207
4.3
Philippines
4503
3.8
New Zealand
4164
3.5
Sri Lanka
3411
2.8
Bangladesh
2939
2.5
Korea, Republic of
2409
2.0
Malaysia
2211
1.9

 

Citizenship test

Since 1 October 2007, most permanent residents who apply for citizenship are required to successfully complete the Australian citizenship test.[185]

According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the test aims to better ensure that migrants have the capacity to fully participate in the Australian community. Another key objective is to promote social cohesion and successful integration.[186]

Significant amendments to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (Cth) came into effect on 9 November 2009, which included changes to the citizenship test.

The current citizenship test:

  • focuses on the Pledge of Commitment and three key topics: Australia and its people; Australia’s democratic beliefs, rights and liberties; and Government and the law in Australia
  • includes questions based on the citizenship test resource book – Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond – which is divided into testable and non-testable sections
  • has a pass mark of 75%.

Find out more

About the Australian citizenship test; Department of Immigration and Citizenship

 

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2.13 What is multiculturalism?

The term ‘multiculturalism’ has a number of meanings, depending on the context in which it is used. For example:

  • it is often used to describe the diverse cultural make up of a society. This publication, for instance, sets out a range of facts which demonstrate the diversity and multicultural character of Australia’s population
  • it refers to a set of norms that uphold the right of the individual to retain and enjoy their culture
  • it is the name given to a government policy which seeks to recognise, manage and maximise the benefits of cultural diversity.[187]

The Australian Government launched The People of Australia – Australia's Multicultural Policy in February 2011, replacing the 2003 policy statement, Multicultural Australia: United in Diversity.

The 2011 policy recognises the breadth and diversity of Australian society and reaffirms the Australian Government’s support for a culturally diverse and socially cohesive nation. It highlights the economic and social benefits of diversity, as well as the need to balance the rights and responsibilities of all people who live in Australia.

The People of Australia policy is based on four guiding principles:

  • celebrating and valuing diversity
  • maintaining social cohesion
  • communicating the benefits of Australia’s diversity
  • and responding to intolerance and discrimination.

An independent body – the Australian Multicultural Council – was launched in August 2011 to advise the Australian Government on policies and emerging issues.

The Australian Government has committed to implementing a National Anti-Racism Partnership and Strategy to counter racism and discrimination. It will focus on five key areas: research and consultation; education resources; public awareness; youth engagement; and ongoing evaluation.

Find out more

Australia’s Multicultural Policy; Fact Sheet 6, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2011)

National Anti-Racism Strategy website

 

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2.14 How diverse are Australians?

Following decades of migration from a range of countries, Australia has become a culturally diverse nation. Since 1945, almost seven million people have migrated to Australia.[188]

One in four of Australia’s 22 million people was born overseas; 44% were born, or have a parent who was born, overseas; and four million speak a language other than English. Australians speak over 260 languages and identify with more than 270 ancestries.[189]

Overseas-born

According to the 2006 Census, 22% of Australia’s population were born overseas.[190]

Western Australia had the highest proportion of its population born overseas (27.1%), followed by New South Wales and Victoria (both with 23.8%), Australian Capital Territory (21.7%), South Australia (20.3%), Queensland (17.9%), Northern Territory (13.8%) and Tasmania (10.6%).[191]

In capital cities, Sydney had the highest proportion of its population born overseas (31.7%) and Hobart had the lowest proportion (12%).[192]

The top five places of birth of people born overseas were England (4.3%), New Zealand (2%), China (1%), Italy (1%) and Vietnam (0.8%).[193]

In 2009, 11.8% of marriages in Australia were between people born in the same overseas country, and 30.1% of marriages were between people with different countries of birth.[194]

Ancestry

The 2006 Census found that 6 735 993 Australians had both parents born overseas;
3 352 255 had one parent born overseas; and 10 282 282 had both parents born in Australia.[195]

Language

In 2006, 3 146 196 Australians spoke a language other than English at home.

After English (15 581 332 speakers), the most common languages were Italian (316 894), Greek (252 216), Cantonese (244 557), Arabic (243 672) and Mandarin (220 597).[196]

Religion

According to the 2006 Census, 3 643 811 Australians had no religion and 2 223 953 did not state their religion.

Of those who did state their religion, 5 087 117 Australians were affiliated with the Catholic Church (25.8% of the total population), followed by 3 718 240 Anglicans (18.7%). There were also 418 754 Buddhists (2.1%); 340 389 Muslims (1.7%); 148 127 Hindus (0.7%); and 88 834 Jews (0.4%).[197]



figure2-4.png

Figure 2.5: Australia’s religious profile (2006)[198]

Inadequate Description/Not Further Described (0.7%)
Other Religions(b) (0.5%)
Jews (0.4%)
Hinduism (0.7%)
Islamic (1.7%)
Buddism (2.1%)
Other Christian(a) (2.1%)
Latter Day Saints (0.3%)
Church of Christ (0.3%)
Seventh Day Adventist (0.3%)
Protestant (Undefined/Other) (0.3%)
Salvation Army (0.3%)
Jehovah’s Witness (0.4%)
Pentecostal (1.1%)
Lutheran (1.3%)
Baptist (1.6%)
Eastern Orthodox (2.7%)
Presbyterian and Reformed (3.0%)

(a) Includes Christian denominations with smaller percentages of the total population, including: Oriental Christian/ Orthodox, Brethren, Assyrian Apostolic and all other Christian.

(b) Includes Australian Aboriginal religions at 0.03% and religions at 0.01% including: Chinese religions, Japanese religions, Scientology, Wicca, other nature religions, Paganism and Satanism.

Find out more

Freedom of Religion and Belief in the 21st Century; Australian Human Rights Commission (2011)

 

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2.15 What is racism?

Racism is a belief that a particular race or ethnicity is inferior or superior to others. Racism is any act that involves a person being treated unfairly or vilified because of their race or ethnicity.

Racist behaviour is any act that is done as a result of or in pursuit of that belief.

Racial discrimination

The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (RDA) was Australia’s first federal anti-discrimination statute.

It aims to ensure that people of all backgrounds are treated equally and protects individuals against discrimination on the basis of their race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin.

In 1995, the RDA was extended to make racial vilification against the law.

The RDA gives effect to Australia’s obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which the Australian Government ratified in September 1975.

Find out more

Know your rights: Racial discrimination and vilification; Australian Human Rights Commission (2012)

 

Systemic discrimination

The RDA has provisions against direct and indirect discrimination. Another form, systemic discrimination, occurs when institutions – such as public and private organisations, educational institutions and others – operate with normalised beliefs, values, presumptions, structures and processes which disadvantage people from different racial backgrounds. Systemic discrimination can impede equal access to goods, services and opportunities.

While the RDA does not address systemic racism, individual complaints made under the RDA (such as individual complaints of indirect discrimination) can assist in drawing attention to issues of systemic racism.

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2.16 How prevalent is racism?

New research, such as the Scanlon Foundation’s 2011 Mapping Social Cohesion Report and the Challenging Racism project, provide valuable information about the perspectives and experiences of everyday Australians in relation to racism and cultural diversity.

According to the Challenging Racism project, while the majority of people (87%) agree that Australia’s cultural diversity is a good thing, around one in ten Australians believe that some races are naturally inferior or superior.[199] Recent Scanlon Foundation research suggests that in Australia there is a “core level of intolerance” numbering at least 10% or 1.5 million of the adult population, with relatively high levels within some regions and demographic segments.[200]

The Challenging Racism project found that many Australians experience racism on a regular basis:

  • approximately 20% have experienced race-hate talk
  • around 11% have experienced race-based exclusion from social activities and/or their workplace
  • 6% reported physical attacks based on their race and/or traditional dress.[201]

The 2011 Mapping Social Cohesion Report also found evidence of heightened experience of discrimination:

  • when respondents were asked if they had experienced discrimination in the preceding 12 months, 14% in 2011 reported an experience of discrimination because of their ‘skin colour, ethnic origin or religion, maintaining the 2010 level, but an increase on the 9% in 2007, and 10% in 2009[202]
  • when respondents were asked whether ‘the level of racial prejudice in Australia now is more, less or about the same as it was five years ago’, 37% considered it was at the same level, but those who considered that the level of racial prejudice was higher outnumbered those who considered it to be lower by a ratio of almost 3:1 (43% compared to 14.4%).[203]

A 2006 survey of 4010 Australians found that most Australians support action against racism, with 85.6% agreeing that something should be done to minimise or fight racism in Australia.[204]

Statistics on the number and type of complaints made under the RDA are available in the Commission’s annual reports.

Examples of conciliated complaints are available on the Commission’s conciliation register.

Do some migrant groups experience racism more than others?

Research suggests that ‘settled’ immigrants tend to experience lower levels of racism or racist attitudes than more recent arrivals to Australia.[205] There is also evidence of markedly higher levels of negative feelings towards Muslim Australians.[206]

The Commission’s recent work with Arab and Muslim Australians and African Australians also suggests that these communities are at a higher risk of experiencing discrimination and prejudice.

Find out more

Does racial and ethnic discrimination vary across minority groups? Evidence from three experiments; study, conducted by ANU economists Professor Alison Booth and Professor Andrew Leigh from the Research School of Social Sciences (2009)

National Origins: Public Opinion Fact Sheet 3; Scanlon Foundation Social Cohesion Research Program, Monash University (2010)

 

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2.17 What are the impacts of racism?

Racism and racist attitudes can have a lasting impact on people’s lives.

They can seriously undermine people’s confidence and self-esteem and limit their opportunities in the workplace, in education, in where they live and in how they engage with their communities. Some research suggests a link between ethnic and race-based discrimination and poor mental health and wellbeing.[207]

Race-based discrimination has a negative impact on families and local communities, with serious social and economic costs.

Research shows that there are significant links between race-based discrimination and ill health, reduced productivity, reduced life expectancy and morbidity.[208]

 

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[117] Department of Immigration, and Citizenship, 2010–2011 Migration Program Report, Program year to 30 June 2011 (2011). At www.immi.gov.au/media/statistics/statistical-info/visa-grants/ (viewed 5 December 2011).

[118] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Trends in Migration: Australia 2010–11 (2012), p 23. At www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/ (viewed 18 April 2012).

[119] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, above, p 24.

[120] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, How new migrants fare: Analysis of the Continuous Survey of Australia's Migrants (2010). At www.immi.gov.au/media/research/surveys/csam/ (viewed 15 August 2011).

[121] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 117.

[122] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, above, p 16.

[123] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 117.

[124] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, above.

[125] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, above, p 16.

[126] Department of Immigration and Citizenship above.

[127] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, above.

[128] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, ‘Migration program statistics.’ At www.immi.gov.au/media/statistics/statistical-info/visa-grants/migrant.htm (viewed 5 December 2011).

[129] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, above.

[130] Department of Immigration and Citizenship Immigration Update 2010–2011 (2011), p 4. At http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/ (viewed 2 December 2011).

[131] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program Fact Sheet 60 (November 2011). At www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/60refugee.htm (viewed 23 November 2011).

[132] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 130, p 8 .

[133] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 130.

[134] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, above, Table 1.2 Net Permanent Additions, p 8.

[135] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 130.

[136] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, above.

[137] Department of Immigration and Citizenship 2010–2011 Migration Program Report, Program Year to June 30 2011 (2011). At www.immi.gov.au/media/statistics/pdf/report-on-migration-program-2010-11.pdf (viewed 15 August 2011).

[138] Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Evans ‘Budget 2010–11 – Government sharpens focus of skilled migration program’ Media Release, 11 May 2010. At www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/media-releases/2010/ce01-budget-10.htm (viewed 11 November 2011).

[139] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 130, p 8.

[140] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, above.

[141] Source: Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 118.

[142] Department of Immigration and Citizenship Migration Program Planning Levels Fact Sheet 20. At www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/20planning.htm (viewed 15 August 2011).

[143] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 130, p 5 .

[144] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, above.

[145] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 130.

[146] Department of Immigration and Citizenship Population flows 2009–2010 (2011), Chapter 5 Source data. At www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/popflows2009-10/ (viewed August 2011).

[147] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 118, p 109.

[148] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Migrant Labour Market Outcomes Fact Sheet 14. At www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/14labour.htm (viewed 26 June 2011).

[149] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, above.

[150] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Recent Migrants 2007, Catalogue No. 6250.0 Commonwealth of Australia (2008). At www.abs.gov.au/ (viewed 3 May 2010).

[151] Australian Bureau of Statistics, above.

[152] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 120.

[153] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 148.

[154] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, What support is there if I do not find work? At www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/settle-in-australia/everyday-life/work/whatsupport.htm (viewed 28 July 2011). A refugee or humanitarian entrant does not have to wait two years for social security payments.

[155] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Parent Visa Options. At www.immi.gov.au/migrants/family/family-visas-parent.htm (viewed 3 May 2010).

[156] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Assurance of Support, Fact Sheet 34. At www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/34aos.htm (viewed 3 May 2010).

[157] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 130, p 54.

[158] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 118, p 36.

[159] Department of Immigration and Citizenship Temporary Entry: An Overview Fact Sheet 46 (2011). At www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/46temporary_entry.htm (viewed 24 July 2012).

[160] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 118.

[161] OECD, Education at a Glance 2010: OECD Indicators, Chart C2.1 Student Mobility in Tertiary Education (2008).

[162] Australian Education International, Monthly summary of international student enrolment data – Australia –YTD September 2011 (May 2011). At www.aei.gov.au/research/International-Student-Data/Pages/InternationalStudentData2011.aspx#1 (viewed 22 November 2011).

[163] Department of Immigration and Citizenship Visitor visa program quarterly report 30 June 2011 (2011), p 31. At www.immi.gov.au/media/statistics/visitor.htm (viewed 5 December 2011).

[164] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, above, pp 29-31.

[165] Australia Education International, note 162.

[166] Australian Education International, Export Income to Australia from Education Services in 2010–11 Research snapshot (November 2011). At www.aei.gov.au/research/Research-Snapshots/Pages/default.aspx (viewed 23 November 2011).

[167] Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Julia Gillard, International Education – its contribution to Australia (Speech delivered at the ISANA International conference, 26 May 2009). At www.isana.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=314:international-education-its-contribution-to-australia-the-hon-julia-gillard-mp (viewed 23 November 2011).

[168] OECD, note 161.

[169] Australian Education International, note 162.

[170] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Demographic Statistics, Catalogue Number 3101.0 (March 2011). At www.abs.gov.au/ (viewed 16 November 2011).

[171] Australian Bureau of Statistics, above.

[172] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, The Outlook for Net Overseas Migration (September 2011). At www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/ (viewed 23 November 2011).

[173] Australian Bureau of Statistics, note 170.

[174] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 118, p 23.

[175] Department of immigration and Citizenship, note 172, p 7.

[176] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 172, p 9.

[177] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Population Projections, Fact Sheet 15 (2012). At www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/15population.htm (viewed 3 May 2010).

[178] Australian Bureau of Statistics Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101 (2008). At www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3222.0 (viewed 21 November 2011)

[179] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, note 177.

[180] Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen The role of immigration and migration through to 2050 (Speech delivered at the Informa Conference, Population Australia 2050 Summit, Sydney Harbour Marriott 28 June 2010). At www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/speeches/2010/ce100431.htm (viewed 23 November 2011).

[181] Department of Immigration and Citizenship Citizenship in Australia (2010), p 6.

[182] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, above.

[183] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Citizenship, Facts and Statistics. At www.citizenship.gov.au/learn/facts-and-stats/ (viewed 17 November 2011).

[184] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, above.

[185] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Citizenship: Background information about the Test. At www.citizenship.gov.au/learn/cit_test/background/ (viewed 10 May 2010).

[186] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Annual Report 2006–07 (2007). At www.immi.gov.au/about/reports/annual/2006-07/html/outcome2/output2_3.htm (viewed 10 May 2010).

[187] C Inglis, Multiculturalism: New Policy Responses to Diversity, UNESCO Policy Paper No: 4 (1995). At www.unesco.org/most/pp4.htm (viewed 10 May 2010).

[188] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, More than 60 Years of Post-war Migration Fact Sheet 4 (2011). At www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/04fifty.htm (viewed 15 November 2011).

[189] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, The People of Australia – Australia's Multicultural Policy (2011). At www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/a-multicultural-australia/multicultural-policy/ (viewed 28 July 2011).

[190] Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006 Census of Population and Housing: Media releases and Fact Sheets Catalogue Number 2914.0.55.002 (2007). At www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/7d12b0f6763c78caca257061001cc588/ec871bf375f2035dca257306000d5422!OpenDocument (viewed 10 May 2010).

[191] Australian Bureau of Statistics, above.

[192] Australian Bureau of Statistics, above.

[193]Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006 Census Quickstats, (2008). At www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/ (viewed 10 May 2010).

[194] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2009 Catalogue Number 3310.0 (2010). At www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/149925471D549046CA2577ED00146197?opendocument (viewed 26 October 2011).

[195] Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006 Census Data by Topic (Ancestry) (2008). At www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/ (viewed 17 May 2010).

[196] Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006 Census Data by Topic (Language), (2008). At www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/ (viewed 17 May 2010).

[197] Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006 Census Tables 2006 Census of Population and Housing Australia. Catalogue No. 2068.0 (2006).

[198] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Religious Affiliation, Catalogue No. 2068.0 (2007).

[199] K Dunn and J Nelson, The University of Western Sydney Challenging Racism: The Anti-Racism Research Project (2008). At www.uws.edu.au/social_sciences/soss/research/challenging_racism (viewed October 2011).

[200] A Markus, Scanlon Foundation, Mapping Social Cohesion, The Scanlon Foundation Survey 2011, Summary Report Scanlon Foundation (2011), p 3. At www.arts.monash.edu.au/mapping-population (viewed 10 November 2011).

[201] K Dunn and J Nelson, note 199.

[202] Scanlon Foundation, note 200.

[203] Scanlon Foundation, above p 48.

[204] K Dunn and J Nelson, note 199.

[205] Scanlon Foundation, note 200.

[206] Scanlon Foundation, above, p 2.

[207] VicHealth 2008 Research Summary 3 Ethnic and race-based discrimination as a determinant of mental health and wellbeing (2009). At www.vichealth.vic.gov.au (viewed August 2011).

[208] VicHealth, Making the link between cultural discrimination and health (VicHealth letter 1 June 2007). At www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/en/Publications/VicHealth-Letter/Making-the-link-between-cultural-discrimination-and-health.aspx (viewed November 2011).