Love Fueling Nation’s Migration Boom

Love fuelling nation's migration boom

By John Masanauskas
Herald Sun
October 28, 2008 12:01am

LOVE is fuelling Australia's family migration boom.

Almost 30,000 people who were married or engaged to Australians settled here last year, says an Immigration Department report.

This was 80 per cent of the total family migrant intake.

A further 10,000 permanent visas were granted to applicants already living here with their partners.

By comparison, only 4118 parents and 2083 dependent children arrived from overseas to join family in Australia, according to the report, Settler Arrivals 2007-08.

The size of the spouse intake is huge when it is noted that the total number of marriages held in Australia each year is just over 100,000.

The biggest source country for spouses and fiances is Britain, with 4121 arriving in 2007-08.

Next is China (3652), then India (3278) and the Philippines (1476).

Of the Indian arrivals, 85 per cent were women, sponsored mainly by ethnic Indians based here.

Social researcher Katherine Betts, from Swinburne University, said yesterday that Indian males studying here would be well placed to snare a good catch in their home country.

“They are offering marriage and a chance to move to Australia,” she said. “Their prospects would be higher than if they weren't living here.”

Dr Betts said sham marriages were not a factor in the increase of spouse visas because the Howard government had cracked down on visa fraud in the late 1990s.

But many of the spouse visas from countries such as India would involve arranged marriages, which are allowed under migration rules.

Australia welcomed 38,404 family migrants last year, up 1200 on 2006-07.

The humanitarian intake was 9507, compared with more than 12,000 a year earlier.

Skilled arrivals totalled 65,404, up almost 5000.

The total intake was 149,365, a jump of almost 7 per cent.

The Government will review the migrant intake amid concerns about the worsening economy, the effect on jobs and rising congestion in cities.


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