About Us

Country profile - Indonesia

Bordered by the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelagic state, occupying a strategic position along global sea lanes. With two hundred and fifty million citizens, Indonesia has the fourth largest population in the world and is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.

With a level of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014 of US$889 billion, and substantial resources, tourism and agricultural sectors, Indonesia is by far the largest economy in South-East Asia. Economic conditions in Indonesia have slowed over the last three years, with GDP growth falling to 5.2 per cent in 2014. Although the Indonesian economy is coming off a commodities-led export boom since the global economic crisis, the Indonesian Government has implemented economic policies that have helped to contain inflation and to maintain a low debt to GDP ratio.

In terms of longer-term economic development however, Indonesia faces ongoing challenges to improve its infrastructure and remove impediments to growth. Much of the country remains relatively undeveloped and reliant on subsistence agriculture. As a consequence, many Indonesians still live in very poor conditions with GDP per capita approximately one-fifth of Australia’s on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis. However, recent strong economic growth has helped Indonesia to reduce its national poverty rate, with 11.3 per cent below the poverty line in 2014.

Indonesia’s increasing economic prosperity presents opportunities for Australian exporters in a range of services sectors, including tourism and healthcare. Indonesia is already a top ten source country for international students, and as such is a priority market for Australian education and training providers. A rising middle class may also translate into growing demand for Australian agricultural exports, as well as financial and banking services.

Australia and Indonesia work closely to combat the irregular migration challenges in the region, including through co-chairing the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime. Cooperation between Australia and Indonesia is also growing rapidly in the fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, reflecting the value of the fisheries industry to both countries, as well as the priority the Widodo Administration has placed on maritime security.


At the end of June 2014, 81,140 Indonesian-born people were living in Australia, 34 per cent more than at 30 June 2006. This is the 19th largest migrant community in Australia—equivalent to 1.2 per cent of Australia’s overseas-born population and 0.3 per cent of Australia’s total population.

For Australia’s Indonesian-born migrants:

  • The median age of 35.1 years was around two years less than that of the general population.
  • Females outnumbered males—56 per cent compared with 44 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 Regional286 262 120 32 -73.3 -88.8
skilled Independent527 490 392 347 -11.5 -34.2
State/Territory Nominated67 99 118 116 -1.7 73.1
Skilled migration (non-points tested)      
Business Innovation and Investment  20   34   12   18 50.0 -10.0
Distinguished Talent0 0 0  < 5 n/a n/a
Employer Sponsored  340   348   451   435 -3.5 27.9
Total: Skilled visa grants 1,240 1,233 1,093 951 -13.0 -23.3
Skilled visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)52.4 50.3 47.6 45.8 n/a n/a
Family migration      
Child65 85 80 75 -6.3 15.4
Partner923 968 930 943 1.4 2.2
Parent101 125 170 100 -41.2 -1.0
Other Family9 9 9  < 5 -88.9 -88.9
Total: Family visa grants 1,098 1,187 1,189 1,119 -5.9 1.9
Family visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)46.4 48.4 51.7 53.9 n/a n/a
Special Eligibility29 31 16 7 -56.3 -75.9
Total: Permanent migrants 2,367 2,451 2,298 2,077 -9.6 -12.3

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 Indonesia.

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 Students143 125 125 100 -20.0 -30.1
Schools122 92 97 77 -20.6 -36.9
Vocational Education and Training2,398 2,019 2,382 2,951 23.9 23.1
Higher Education3,660 3,793 4,075 3,699 -9.2 1.1
Postgraduate Research723 687 671 637 -5.1 -11.9
Non-Award203 103 101 87 -13.9 -57.1
Foreign Affairs or Defence962 1,241 1,411 1,627 15.3 69.1
Total: International Student visa grants 8,211 8,060 8,862 9,178 3.6 11.8
Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)1,207 1,053 748 718 -4.0 -40.5
Tourist71,219 73,900 76,571 74,845 -2.3 5.1
Business visitor15,844 15,323 13,577 11,251 -17.1 -29.0
Medical Treatment170 148 112 94 -16.1 -44.7
Total: Visitor visa grants 87,233 89,371 90,260 86,190 -4.5 -1.2
Work and Holiday visa grants 99 176 437 288 -34.1 190.9

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 Indonesian 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
Cooks 46 Accountants 105
Cafe and restaurant managers 29 Software and applications programmers 35
Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians 29 ICT business and systems analysts 17
Chefs 28 Registered nurses 16
Software and applications programmers 21 Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers 15
Accountants 18 Chemical and materials engineers 14
Deck and fishing hands 17 Civil engineering professionals 9
University lecturers and tutors 15 Industrial, mechanical and production engineers 9
Advertising and marketing professionals 14 Architects and landscape architects 7
Other building and engineering technicians 12 Computer network professionals 6
Cooks 35 Accountants 121
Cafe and restaurant managers 29 Cooks 62
Chefs 23 Software and applications programmers 40
Accountants 21 Graphic and web designers, and illustrators 22
Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians 20 Advertising and marketing professionals 17
Advertising and marketing professionals 15 ICT business and systems analysts 16
Software and applications programmers 15 Management and organisation analysts 16
Graphic and web designers, and illustrators 13 Other information and organisation professionals 14
Mining engineers 13 Registered nurses 12
ICT business and systems analysts 11 Bakers and pastrycooks 11
Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians 44 Cooks 94
Cooks 37 Accountants 93
Contract, program and project administrators 30 Software and applications programmers 71
Cafe and restaurant managers 26 Graphic and web designers, and illustrators 29
Mining engineers 22 Other information and organisation professionals 27
ICT business and systems analysts 20 ICT business and systems analysts 22
Marine transport professionals 19 Advertising and marketing professionals 19
Call or contact centre and customer service managers 17 Life scientists 19
Accountants 17 Bakers and pastrycooks 18
Other building and engineering technicians 16 Graphic pre-press trades workers 17
Mining engineers 63 Software and applications programmers 149
Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians 43 Accountants 145
Cooks 27 Cooks 52
Marine transport professionals 25 ICT business and systems analysts 37
Geologists, geophysicists and hydrogeologists 25 Bakers and pastrycooks 18
Civil engineering professionals 23 Chemical and materials engineers 18
Contract, program and project administrators 20 Civil engineering professionals 17
Other building and engineering technicians 18 Industrial, mechanical and production engineers 15
Software and applications programmers 17 Graphic and web designers, and illustrators 14
General practitioners and resident medical officers 15 Advertising and marketing professionals 11

Geographic distribution

The following table shows the geographic distribution of Indonesian 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 (%)NSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACT
Proportion of all persons counted in the Census - 2011322520710212
Proportion of Indonesia-born counted in the Census - 2011422410316022
Permanent additions - 2014–15 (%)
Skill stream (primary)30 40 3 2 24 0 0 2
Skill stream (dependent)29 37 8 4 20 0 0 3
Family stream37 22 10 4 22 2 3 1
Temporary entrants - 2014–15 (%)
International students36 34 7 5 13 0 1 4
Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)  (primary)19 12 21 4 43 0 1 0
Permanent departures (%)
All Indonesia-born permanent residents42 22 12 2 19 1 2 1

Country ranking

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

Ranked position of migrants2011–122012–132013–142014–15
Population in Australia19 19 19 19
General Skilled Migration15 15 17 19
Employer Sponsored20 21 18 18
Total Skill stream16 17 17 19
Total Family stream9 9 10 11
International students8 9 9 8
Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) 17 19 23 22
Visitors12 12 13 14