Australia – a mosaic of migrants

If you have ever been to any of the bigger Australian cities, you will know what it means. Over a hundred of language spoken, people of every race, colour and about 200 nationalities, all in one country. Australia is a magnet for immigrants.

More than half of them (51%) are skilled workers, but there are other substantial categories, like families re-joining their relations (24%), students or humanitarian entrants. They come from all over the world, but obviously over the last half-century countries providing most workers have changed. In the 1960s and 1970s a lot of migrants came from the Balkans, whilst since the 1980s it’s Asia that provides more. Currently, the top six countries are New Zealand, UK and Ireland, China, India, Philippines and Malaysia.

countries australia

(click to enlarge)

Every year Australia accepts a pre-defined number of immigrants to strengthen the economy with the most useful workers – young, healthy, English-speaking, educated, skilled and often quite wealthy. Its demographic future will heavily depend on workers coming from overseas. Although the annual growth has been on the uptake again since 2011, over the last few years its major components was NOM instead of the natural increase which is declining. NOM (Net Overseas Migration) which is the measure of permanent and temporary (long stay) arrivals, less permanent and temporary (long stay) departures, in a twelve month period, has been the major contributor, reaching its peak of 66% in 2008-2009 and now providing 58%. This tendency, combined with an ageing society, will force Australia to open even more for workers from abroad in order to keep the working force growing or at least stable.

But the work force is not only flowing in the country; more and more Australians decide to leave their country to work abroad, therefore causing an outflow of skilled workers in their prime years. Over the last 15 years the number of emigrants has more than doubled, making Australia one of the countries with biggest overseas diaspora (comparing its size with the overall population). Main reasons for this phenomenon are wages and a greater chance for success. Within the country there are so many workers  who are highly skilled or specialised that even those most qualifies earn much less in comparison with the USA or Canada. And that is why specialists like managers, businessmen, scientists, lawyers and informatics leave to UK, USA, Greece, New Zealand or Hongkong. Such an outflow is likely to cause severe problems in the service sector in the future.

By Katarzyna Liszka, Martyna Dzido, Aleksandra Pułyk, Patrycja Perzyńska

Source of statistics:–documents/statistics-tables.pdf