Govt releases latest migration figures
The Age (Melbourne)
August 16, 2007 – 2:24PM
Almost 150,000 foreigners were granted permanent visas to live in Australia last year, with two-thirds of them skilled migrants.
Britain (24,800), India (15,865), China (14,688), South Africa (4,293) and Malaysia (3,838) were the leading sources of skilled workers.
They accounted for 97,920 of the 148,200 permanent visas issued in 2006-07, according to figures released by Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews.
Accountants, computing professionals, registered nurses were the leading occupations among skilled migrants, whose average age was 31.
Mr Andrews defended the high number of foreign workers brought into Australia.
“The reality is we face a shortage of workers in Australia,” he said in a statement.
“Australia is competing for skilled workers with Europe, the US, Canada and New Zealand.
“We simply have to ensure that we build a productive nation where business can continue to thrive into the future.”
Mr Andrews said the acceptance of 50,079 people on family stream visas last year – one-third of the migration intake – was helping to address the ageing population and a low domestic birthrate.
“The global economy and more affordable overseas travel is enabling more young Australians to go overseas to study and work,” he said.
“This tends to occur during their 20s and early 30s when they also tend to enter into relationships.
“There is a growing demand on the program for those people who want to bring their spouses back to Australia and form a family and live here.”
Britain (6,540), China (6,037), India (3,634), the Philippines (3,098) and Vietnam (3,040) were leading source countries for migrants under the family stream.
Refugees and humanitarian entrants accounted for 13,017 accepted into Australia during 2006-07.
The government announced in the May budget it would accept more skilled migrants during 2007-08 – a total of 102,500 – as it tries to prevent skills shortages becoming a brake on the economy.