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Country profiles

Profiles permanent and temporary migration trends and population for Australia's main migrant source countries.

Country profile - India


At the end of June 2018, 592,310 Indian-born people were living in Australia, more than twice the number at 30 June 2008. This makes the Indian-born population the third largest migrant community in Australia, equivalent to 8.1 per cent of Australia's overseas-born population and 2.4 per cent of Australia's total population.

For Australia's Indian-born migrants:

  • The median age of 33.9 years was 3.4 years below that of the general population.
  • Males outnumbered females—54.4 per cent compared with 45.6 per cent.1

1 Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Migration Australia (catalogue no. 3412.0)

Permanent migration

Australia's permanent Migration Program incorporates economic and family migration and is the main pathway to permanent residence. It includes the Skill stream, Family stream, and Special Eligibility visas. The only other way to obtain permanent residence is on humanitarian grounds.

Skill stream visas

The Skill stream is designed for workers with the skills, qualifications and entrepreneurship most needed in the Australian economy. The Skill stream comprises four components; namely: Points Tested Skilled Migration; Employer Sponsored; Business Innovation and Investment; and Distinguished Talent.

Family and Child stream visas

The Family stream allows the permanent migration of close family members, of Australian citizens, permanent residents, and eligible New Zealand citizens. It focuses on partners and parents, but also provides the opportunity for additional family members, such as aged dependent relatives, carers, remaining relatives and orphan relatives, to join their family in Australia.

Child visas allow the permanent migration of children, of Australian citizens, permanent residents, and eligible New Zealand citizens. The Child visa comprises two categories, namely Child and Adoption visas.

Special Eligibility visas

Special Eligibility visas allow former residents and certain people who served in the Australian Defence Force to live in Australia as permanent residents.

The following table shows the size and composition of Skill stream, Family stream, Special Eligibility and Child visas from India.

Table 1: Permanent migrant places granted, 2015—16 to 2018—19
Migration category2015–162016–172017–182018–19Per cent change on 2017–18Per cent change since 2015–16
Skilled migration (points tested)
Skilled Regional1,523639637234-63.3-84.6
Skilled Independent13,34313,78112,16111,741-3.5-12.0
State/Territory Nominated8,1158,54110,6529,465-11.116.6
Skilled migration (non-points tested)
Business Innovation and Investment61498077-3.826.2
Distinguished Talent< 5< 5< 5< 50.0-33.3
Employer Sponsored10,4959,8735,1487,22440.3-31.2
Total: Skilled visa places granted 33,540 32,884 28,680 28,743 0.2 -14.3
Skilled visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)83.584.686.185.5n/an/a
Family and Child migration
Other Family2125358-77.1-61.9
Total: Family and Child visa places granted 6,590 5,943 4,625 4,864 5.2 -26.2
Family and Child visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)16.415.313.914.5n/an/a
Special Eligibility
Special Eligibility15275< 5-20.0-73.3
Total places granted 40,145 38,854 33,310 33,611 0.9 -16.3

Source: Department of Home Affairs

Temporary migration

People can come to Australia for a temporary stay for a range of purposes, for example, visiting Australia for tourism or attending a conference, or for more specific purposes, such as medical treatment, study, skilled work, working holidays or other specialist activities. There are six main categories of temporary residents, which can cover stays of more than three months in Australia.

Visitor visas

Visitor visas are mostly used by people visiting Australia for holidays, tourism and recreation, or to see family and friends. People may also use Visitor visas for certain short-term business activities that do not entail working in Australia.

Working Holiday Maker Program

The Working Holiday Maker Program allows young adults to have an extended holiday and engage in short-term work and study.

Student visa

The Student visa program enables international students to come to Australia to study full-time in a registered course.

Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa

Allows a business to sponsor a skilled overseas worker if they cannot find an appropriately skilled Australian citizen or permanent resident to fill a skilled position.

Other temporary visas

Other temporary visas include visas that allow people to undertake short-term, non-ongoing highly specialised work, enrich social and cultural development, strengthen international relations or provide training opportunities of benefit to Australia.

New Zealand citizens

Under the 1973 Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, New Zealand citizens can enter and leave Australia freely and live in Australia indefinitely on grant of a Special Category visa (subclass 444).

Not all categories apply to migrants from India. The following table shows the number of visa grants from India, for the Student visa program, Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa and Visitor visas.

Table 2: Temporary visas selected categories, 2015—16 to 2018—19
Temporary visa category2015—162016—172017—182018—19Per cent change on 2017—18Per cent change since 2015—16
International Students
ELICOS 1183239115194.9538.9
Vocational Education and Training4,3032,7905,3779,67379.9124.8
Higher Education24,41730,79542,92055,48129.3127.2
Postgraduate Research60060575688917.648.2
Foreign Affairs or Defence34688522-74.1-35.3
Total: International Student visa grants 29,591 34,490 49,469 66,449 34.3 124.6
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment)
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa grants 222,959 21,575 16,124 22,357 38.7 -2.6
Business visitor24,94528,96430,46229,470-3.318.1
Total: Visitor visa grants 189,221 220,952 268,194 280,344 4.5 48.2
​Other Temporary
Other temporary visa grants 316,206 21,357 28,840 32,613 13.1 101.2
Total temporary visa grants 257,977 298,374 362,627 401,763 10.8 55.7

Source: Department of Home Affairs

1 English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS).

2 Data excludes Temporary Work (Skilled) (Independent Executive) visa.

3 Excludes Transit visa (subclass 771), Border visa (subclass 773) and Maritime Crew visa (subclass 988).

Main occupations

The following table shows the main occupations for nationals of India, based on Skill stream migration outcomes and Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa grants.

Table 3: Main occupations, 2015—16 to 2018—19
PeriodTemporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visas 1No. of migrantsSkill stream migrationNo. of migrants
Software and applications programmers4,060Software and applications programmers3,733
ICT business and systems analysts1,596ICT business and systems analysts1,011
ICT support and test engineers876Cooks781
ICT managers489Registered nurses728
Registered nurses337Computer network professionals625
Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists268Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists495
Computer network professionals233Accountants485
Cooks228Industrial, mechanical and production engineers439
Management and organisation analysts213Cafe and restaurant managers278
Software and applications programmers3,010Software and applications programmers3,781
ICT business and systems analysts1,142ICT business and systems analysts1,036
ICT support and test engineers725Registered nurses562
ICT managers363Cooks553
Cooks355Computer network professionals537
Registered nurses319Accountants446
Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists192Industrial, mechanical and production engineers432
Cafe and restaurant managers157Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists338
Management and organisation analysts123Civil engineering professionals260
General practitioners and resident medical officers114Electronics engineers244
Software and applications programmers3,766Software and applications programmers3,914
ICT business and systems analysts1,446ICT business and systems analysts1,085
ICT support and test engineers700Cooks1,076
Cooks603Computer network professionals735
ICT managers511Registered nurses562
Registered nurses316Industrial, mechanical and production engineers482
Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists282Cafe and restaurant managers415
Cafe and restaurant managers271Accountants402
Management and organisation analysts225Electronics engineers331
General practitioners and resident medical officers138Motor mechanics318
Software and applications programmers3,924Software and applications programmers3,849
ICT business and systems analysts1,648Cooks1,352
Cooks858ICT business and systems analysts965
ICT support and test engineers670Computer network professionals765
ICT managers591Registered nurses657
Cafe and restaurant managers364Accountants541
Management and organisation analysts299Cafe and restaurant managers491
Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists261Industrial, mechanical and production engineers435
Registered nurses214Motor mechanics314
General practitioners and resident medical officers174Call or contact centre and customer service managers312

Source: Department of Home Affairs

1 Data excludes Temporary Work (Skilled) (Independent Executive) visa.

Note: Occupation level information is available for primary applicants only, and is based on Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations unit level data.

Geographic distribution

The following table shows the geographic distribution of migrants, based on permanent additions for the Skill and Family streams, international student visa grants, and Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa grants.

Table 4: Geographic distribution
Census 2016 (%)
Of all persons322520711212
Of Indian-born323711611012
Permanent additions - 2018—19 (%)
Skill stream3837875212
Family and Child stream31411149112
Temporary visa grants - 2018—19 (%)
International student visa grants28371877111
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa (primary) grants 1 4838615001

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics and Department of Home Affairs

1 Data excludes Temporary Work (Skilled) (Independent Executive) visa.

Note: Permanent additions consist of two components; those persons who, while already in Australia on a temporary basis, are granted permanent residence status or those persons who have subsequently arrived from overseas during the reporting period and are entitled to stay permanently in Australia.

Country ranking

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

Table 5: Country ranking, 2015—16 to 2018—19
Ranked position of migrants2015–162016–172017–182018–19
Population in Australia 1 4443
Points Tested Skilled Migration1111
Employer Sponsored1122
Total Skill stream1111
Total Family and Child stream2222
International students2222
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa 2 1111

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics and Department of Home Affairs

1 Population level data is by country of birth and lags one year behind the financial year specified. Data based on the estimated residential population at 30 June; 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

2 Data excludes Temporary Work (Skilled) (Independent Executive) visa.