Country profiles


These country profiles bring together a whole of country perspective on permanent and temporary migrant inflows and outflows and provide relevant information, including key statistical data, on the different types of visa categories. The country profiles also include key findings relating to emigration from Australia as well as migrants' occupation and demographic characteristics. Collectively, the country profiles provide information for 14 migrant source countries.

List of countries

The top 10 countries providing the most permanent migrants to Australia in order of rank for 2014-15 are:

  1. India
  2. People's Republic of China
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Philippines
  5. Pakistan
  6. Ireland
  7. Vietnam
  8. South Africa
  9. Nepal​
  10. Malaysia

In addition to the top 10 countries, the following country is profiled to provide a regional context of migration to Australia:

The top three source countries of humanitarian entrants to Australia are:

  1. Syria
  2. Iraq
  3. Myanmar

Further reading

The Department of Home Affairs produce numerous statistics relating to Australia’s Migration Programme.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides more detailed information about the land, people, history and governments of more than 240 countries and economies.

The Department of Social Services has collated broad statistics from the 2011 Australian Census of Population and Housing for more than 100 countries.

The International Monetary Fund provides a variety of data and statistics for each of its member countries.

The United States Central Intelligence Agency consolidates a variety of information including economic, people and transnational issues for numerous countries in a publication called The World Factbook.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) produces an annual publication – Education at a Glance - summarising the state of education around the world.

The United Nations Development Programme produces the report – Human Development Report – that measures the progress of education, health and income.

The World Bank provides a snapshot of migration and remittances for all countries in their publication – Migration and Remittances Factbook.

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 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.

See Australia's Migration Programme - permanent migration outcomes 2014-15 (58KB PDF) for more information on the size and composition of the Skill Stream, Family Stream and Special Eligibility for the 2014-15 Migration Programme. 

The graph below shows the change in the permanent Migration Programme over the past 10 years.

Graph shows the change in the size and composition of the Skill Stream, Family Stream and Special Eligibility in the Migration Programme permanent migration outcomes over 10 years (2005-2006 to 2014-2015) 

Temporary migration

Depending on the purpose and duration of their visit, people can come to Australia on a Visitor visa, or through another 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 might not 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 could also use Visitor visas for certain short-term business activities.

See Australia's Migration Programme - temporary visa grants 2014–15 (53KB PDF) for more information on the size and composition of the Student visa programme, Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) and Visitors for 2014–15. 

The graph below shows the change in Temporary Migration over the past 10 years, as a broad overview of the main visa categories.

Graph shows the change in Australia's Migration Programme main temporary visa grant categories over 10 years (2005-2006 to 2014-2015)

Note: The graph presented shows data which has been previously published by DIBP, however, for Visitor visas also includes Superyacht Crew visa (subclass 488) and Medical Treatment visas. Student visas include subclasses 560 to 576, and Student Guardian visa (subclass 580) is excluded. The Working Holiday Maker programme includes visa subclasses 417 and 462.

Key indicators

Key economic and development indicators are useful in understanding the reasons why migrants choose Australia as a destination for permanent or temporary migration.

The table below represents information obtained from the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the CIA World Factbook, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The Human Development Index is a composite set of statistics produced by the United Nations Development Programme encompassing life expectancy, education and income indices to rank countries.

See Economic and human development indicators (42KB PDF) for more information.

Country ranking

Being among the top 10 contributing countries to Australia’s Migration Programme outcomes does not mean that a country will be in the top 10 across all visa categories. 

See Australia's Migration Programme - Country ranking 2014-15 (47KB PDF), which shows the country ranking based on 2014–15 data and provides a succinct insight into which are the major source countries for the different temporary and permanent migration visa categories and population in Australia.