Over 1.6 million people in Australia held temporary visas on Census Night in 2021, according to the latest data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The ABS report shows 1,664,600 temporary visa holders in Australia on Census Night, accounting for 6.6% of the total population. The data reveals that the number of temporary visa holders in Australia has increased by 12.3% since the last census in 2016.
India is the leading country of birth for temporary visa holders, with 283,900 people, representing 17.1% of the total. This is a significant increase from 2016, when India accounted for 14.2% of the temporary visa-holder population.
China followed India, with 231,200 people, accounting for 13.9% of the total. Other countries in the top five included the United Kingdom (4.4%), the Philippines (4.2%), and the United States of America (2.9%).
Australia’s migration system is set to undergo significant policy reforms. The government plans to raise wages for temporary skilled migrants by $16,000 from 1 July and make thousands eligible for permanent residency by year-end.
- Over half (54%) of employed temporary residents worked full-time (35 hours or more).
- The visa type most likely to work full-time hours was Temporary skilled (82%).
- Over three quarters (76%) of employed Students worked part-time (1-34 hours).
The report shows that the majority of temporary visa holders were in Australia for work, with 771,500 people accounting for 46.3% of the total. This was followed by those on student visas, with 530,300 people, accounting for 31.8% of the total. The remaining visa holders were in Australia for other reasons, including family, holiday, or humanitarian reasons.
The ABS data also revealed that the median age of temporary visa holders was 30 years, compared to the median age of 38 years for the total population. This indicates that temporary visa holders are generally younger than the broader Australian population.
Commenting on the findings, ABS Director of Migration Statistics Jenny Dobak said, “Temporary visa holders make a significant contribution to the Australian economy and society. They bring diverse skills, experiences, and cultures that help to enrich our communities.”
The ABS report also highlights the need for policymakers to address the challenges temporary visa holders face in Australia, including language barriers, social isolation, and access to healthcare and other services.
The report’s findings are consistent with recent trends in Australia’s immigration policies, which have shifted towards attracting highly skilled workers and students from overseas. This has been driven, in part, by the country’s ageing population and the need to fill labour shortages in critical industries.
India’s high ranking as the leading country of birth for temporary visa holders highlights the growing economic ties between India and Australia.
In recent years, India has emerged as a major trading partner for Australia, with bilateral trade between the two countries reaching $30.3 billion in 2020. India is also a key source of international students for Australia, with over 72,000 Indian students enrolled in Australian universities in 2021.
The ABS report underscores the importance of policies that support the integration of temporary visa holders into Australian society and provide them with access to the services they need to thrive. It also highlights the need for policymakers to continue to attract highly skilled workers and students from overseas to drive economic growth and innovation in Australia.