About Us

Country profile - Philippines

The Philippines has emerged as an important economic hub in the South-East Asia region on the back of robust domestic consumption, developing manufacturing and services sectors, and healthy remittance flows from overseas Filipino workers. Migrant remittances contribute, on average, around 10 per cent to its gross domestic product (GDP).

The economy has recovered from the global financial crisis with GDP growth averaging 6 per cent over the period 2011 to 2014. Despite the recent economic strength, incongruities and challenges still exist: poverty levels remain high, infrastructure is poor and life expectancy is low compared to other countries in the region. GDP per capita in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms is just over one-sixth of Australia’s.

These economic factors have contributed to the Philippines having one of the world’s largest diasporas, with an estimated 12 million Filipinos living overseas. Filipinos remain one of the fastest growing migrant communities in Australia.


At the end of June 2014, 225,110 Philippine-born people were living in Australia, 59 per cent more than at 30 June 2006. This is the fifth largest migrant community in Australia, equivalent to 3.4 per cent of Australia’s overseas-born population and 1.0 per cent of Australia’s total population.

For Australia’s Philippine-born migrants:

  • The median age of 39.5 years was 2.1 years above that of the general population.
  • Females substantially outnumbered males—61 per cent compared with 39 per cent.

Permanent migration

Australia’s permanent Migration Programme incorporates economic and family reunion migration and is the main pathway to permanent residence. The only other way for migrants to obtain permanent residence is to be accepted into Australia on humanitarian grounds. The Migration Programme is based on non-discriminatory principles relating to nationality, gender and religion. People who meet the criteria set out in the Migration Act 1958 can apply to migrate.

Permanent migration refers to the number of outcomes in any given year, without taking into account whether the visa recipient actually arrived and settled in Australia. Skilled migration focuses on facilitating the permanent entry of those who can make a positive contribution to Australia through their skills, qualifications, entrepreneurial spirit and employment potential. Family migration facilitates the entry of close family members of Australian citizens, permanent residents and eligible New Zealand citizens. The programme is currently dominated by Partners and dependent children, but also provides options for other family members, such as Carers, Parents and Aged Dependent Relatives.

The following table shows the size and composition of the skilled and family migration categories from 2011–12 to 2014–15.

Migration category 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 Per cent change
on previous year
Per cent change
for the period
Skilled migration (points tested)
Skilled Regional 836384315258-18.1-69.1
Skilled Independent 1,0291,0951,8242,10715.5104.8
State/Territory Nominated6065938521,11330.683.7
Skilled migration (non-points tested)
Business Innovation and Investment0 < 5 < 5 < 5-50.0n/a
Distinguished Talent < 50 < 5 < 550.00.0
Employer Sponsored6,5834,7363,4644,64033.9-29.5
Total: Skilled visa grants 9,057 6,812 6,459 8,122 25.7 -10.3
Skilled visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)
Family migration
Other Family841015543-21.8-48.8
Total: Family visa grants 3,859 3,775 3,905 3,737 -4.3 -3.2
Family visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)29.835.537.631.4n/an/a
Special Eligibility
Special Eligibility1752152780.058.8
Total: Permanent migrants 12,933 10,639 10,379 11,886 14.5 -8.1

Temporary migration

Depending on the purpose and duration of their visit, people can come to Australia on a Visitor visa, or through an other appropriate temporary visa. Temporary visas are designed for specific purposes, for example, study, working holidays or other specialist activities. Temporary residents are required to pay taxes on income earned in Australia and do not normally have access to public welfare and might not have access to public health programmes.

The Student visa programme consists of a range of visa categories that broadly correspond to education sectors. Students must study with an education provider and in a course registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. The subclass 457 visa programme allows Australian employers to sponsor foreign workers for employment in management, professional, technical and skilled trades’ positions. The programme is demand-driven and highly responsive to Australian labour market conditions. Visitor visas are mostly used by people visiting Australia for holidays, recreation, or to see family and friends. People may also use Visitor visas for certain short-term business activities.

The following table shows the size and composition of the Student visa programme, Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) and Visitors from the Philippines.

Temporary visa category 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 Per cent change
on previous year
Per cent change
for the period
International Students
English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students76695231-40.4-59.2
Vocational Education and Training1,9592,4543,1692,697-14.937.7
Higher Education1,3462,0392,4502,77813.4106.4
Postgraduate Research797064709.4-11.4
Foreign Affairs or Defence27633126531619.214.5
Total: International Student visa grants 3,898 5,274 6,239 5,991 -4.0 53.7
Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)9,1678,0005,4655,084-7.0-44.5
Business visitor7,4987,7717,1397,2701.8-3.0
Medical Treatment78576155-9.8-29.5
Total: Visitor visa grants 39,630 44,529 46,602 52,913 13.5 33.5

Main occupations

There are a wide variety of occupations that potential migrants can nominate for, which are acceptable for permanent and temporary skilled migration to Australia. The following table shows the main occupations for Philippine nationals for Points Tested Skilled Migration outcomes and Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) grants.

Period Temporary Work
(Skilled) visa
(subclass 457)
No. of migrants Points Tested Skilled Migration No. of migrants
Registered nurses271Registered nurses863
Structural steel and welding trades workers185Software and applications programmers166
Skilled meat workers164Accountants107
Motor mechanics110ICT business and systems analysts75
Software and applications programmers100Industrial, mechanical and production engineers51
Cooks96Computer network professionals50
Livestock farmers61Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers42
Marine transport professionals60Civil engineering professionals27
Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians60Medical technicians21
ICT business and systems analysts48Other engineering professionals19
Registered nurses364Registered nurses556
Skilled meat workers168Software and applications programmers163
Structural steel and welding trades workers149Accountants122
Motor mechanics135Industrial, mechanical and production engineers54
Cooks113ICT business and systems analysts44
Software and applications programmers107Computer network professionals39
Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians100Cooks34
Human resource professionals64Civil engineering professionals30
ICT business and systems analysts55Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers25
Telecommunications trades workers44Contract, program and project administrators21
Registered nurses526Software and applications programmers160
Structural steel and welding trades workers510Registered nurses144
Motor mechanics429Accountants118
Skilled meat workers184Cooks52
Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians160ICT business and systems analysts51
Metal fitters and machinists143Civil engineering professionals33
Cooks106Industrial, mechanical and production engineers31
Software and applications programmers77Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers22
Electrical distribution trades workers75Computer network professionals22
Painting trades workers65Electronics engineers21
Structural steel and welding trades workers768Accountants256
Registered nurses475Software and applications programmers166
Motor mechanics426Registered nurses91
Sheetmetal trades workers204Industrial, mechanical and production engineers57
Telecommunications technical specialists201ICT business and systems analysts49
Metal fitters and machinists188Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers34
Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians186Cooks30
Chefs138Civil engineering professionals29
Skilled meat workers113Other engineering professionals26
Software and applications programmers101Electronics engineers20

Geographic distribution

The following table shows the geographic distribution of migrants, based on permanent additions, international students, Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) and permanent departures.

Permanent additions are the sum of those granted a permanent residency visa while in Australia, and those granted a visa through an Australian mission abroad, who have entered Australia during the respective reporting period.

Population (%) NSW Vic. Qld SA WA Tas. NT ACT
Proportion of all persons counted in the Census - 2011322520710212
Proportion of Philippine-born counted in the Census - 2011412217510121

Permanent additions -2014–15 (%)

Skill stream (primary)38308811022
Skill stream (dependent)262013729022
Family stream311922715141
Temporary entrants -2014–15 (%)
International students48221337034
Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) (primary)171019541071
Permanent departures (%)
All Philippine-born permanent residents431920411121

Country ranking

This table uses rankings to show the significance of Filipino migration for the past four financial years.

Ranked position of migrants 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15
Population in Australia7665
Points Tested Skilled Migration8855
Employer Sponsored2353
Total Skill stream4444
Total Family stream4444
International students16151415
Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)4465