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Country profiles

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

Country profile - Iraq

Population

At the end of June 2018, 87,750 Iraqi-born people were living in Australia. This was twice the number at 30 June 2008. This makes the Iraqi-born population the eighteenth largest migrant community in Australia, equivalent to 1.2 per cent of Australia's overseas-born population and 0.4 per cent of Australia's total population.

For Australia's Iraqi-born migrants:

  • The median age of 38.6 years was 1.3 years above that of the general population.
  • Males outnumbered females—51.4 per cent compared with 48.6 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, Child visas and Humanitarian visas from Iraq.

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 Regional0< 500n/an/a
Skilled Independent33353630-16.7-9.1
State/Territory Nominated23333524-31.44.3
Skilled migration (non-points tested)
Business Innovation and Investment71291122.257.1
Distinguished Talent0000n/an/a
Employer Sponsored31< 591677.8-48.4
Total: Skilled visa places granted 94 88 89 81 -9.0 -13.8
Skilled visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)19.119.619.118.9n/an/a
Family and Child migration
Child9< 511< 5-63.6-55.6
Partner342342338312-7.7-8.8
Parent5106< 5-66.7-60.0
Other Family427222931.8-31.0
Total: Family and Child visa places granted 398 362 377 347 -8.0 -12.8
Family and Child visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)80.980.480.981.1n/an/a
Special Eligibility
Special Eligibility0000n/an/a
Total places granted 492 450 466 428 -8.2 -13.0
Humanitarian visas 1
Offshore resettlement component 2 (country of birth)4,3587,4784,6307,09553.262.8
Onshore protection component (by citizenship) 3427339297271-8.8-36.5

Source: Department of Home Affairs

1 Permanent visas record a person's nationality with one exception, the offshore resettlement component of the Humanitarian Program. This component records a person's country of birth.

2 The 2015—16 and 2016—17 statistics include visas granted towards the annual offshore resettlement component of the Humanitarian Program, and the additional 12,000 places for people displaced by conflict in Syria and Iraq. Note: Data was extracted from Departmental systems on 08 July 2019. As information has been drawn from dynamic system environments the information provided may differ from previous or future reporting.

3 Data was extracted from Departmental systems on 03 July 2019. As information has been drawn from dynamic system environments the information provided may differ from previous or future reporting.

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 Iraq. The following table shows the number of visa grants to migrants of Iraq, for the Student visa program, Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa and Visitor visas.

Table 2: Temporary visas granted by 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 1< 5< 5< 50-100.0-100.0
Schools00< 50-100.0n/a
Vocational Education and Training< 577< 5-57.10.0
Higher Education57844029-27.5-49.1
Postgraduate Research122696710150.7-17.2
Non-Award0< 5< 5< 5-50.0n/a
Foreign Affairs or Defence< 50< 5650.0100.0
Total: International Student visa grants 189 163 122 140 14.8 -25.9
​Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment)​
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa grants 23860515915.755.3
Visitors
Tourist526648597593-0.712.7
Business visitor162138158137-13.3-15.4
Total: Visitor visa grants 688 786 755 730 -3.3 6.1
​Other temporary
Other temporary visa grants 312817113695-30.1-25.8
Total temporary visa grants 1,043 1,180 1,064 1,024 -3.8 -1.8

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 Iraq, 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
2018–19
General practitioners and resident medical officers8Other medical practitioners5
Other medical practitioners< 5Civil engineering professionals< 5
Civil engineering professionals< 5Industrial, mechanical and production engineers< 5
University lecturers and tutors< 5General practitioners and resident medical officers< 5
Industrial, mechanical and production engineers< 5Architects and landscape architects< 5
Other engineering professionals< 5Agricultural and forestry scientists< 5
Dental practitioners< 5Accountants< 5
Computer network professionals< 5Dental practitioners< 5
--Specialist physicians< 5
--Software and applications programmers< 5
2017–18
General practitioners and resident medical officers9Civil engineering professionals6
Other medical practitioners5General practitioners and resident medical officers6
Speech professionals and audiologists< 5Other medical practitioners< 5
Specialist physicians< 5Construction managers< 5
Motor mechanics< 5Engineering managers< 5
--ICT managers< 5
--Archivists, curators and records managers< 5
--Public relations professionals< 5
--Chemical and materials engineers< 5
--Electronics engineers< 5
2016–17
General practitioners and resident medical officers9Civil engineering professionals6
University lecturers and tutors< 5Other engineering professionals5
Other medical practitioners< 5Generalist medical practitioners< 5
Construction managers< 5ICT business and systems analysts< 5
Health and welfare services managers< 5Industrial, mechanical and production engineers< 5
Film, television, radio and stage directors< 5Other medical practitioners< 5
Architects and landscape architects< 5Civil engineering draftspersons and technicians< 5
Surveyors and spatial scientists< 5Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists< 5
Civil engineering professionals< 5Electronics engineers< 5
Agricultural and forestry scientists< 5Human resource managers< 5
2015–16
General practitioners and resident medical officers13Generalist medical practitioners7
Other medical practitioners< 5Computer network professionals6
Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists< 5Civil engineering professionals< 5
Architectural, building and surveying technicians< 5Construction managers< 5
--Ministers of religion< 5
--Other medical practitioners< 5
--Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists< 5
--Dental practitioners< 5
--General managers< 5
--Industrial, mechanical and production engineers< 5

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, and the offshore resettlement component of the Humanitarian Program, international student visa grants, and Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa grants.

Table 4: Geographic distribution
PopulationNSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACT
Census 2016 (%)
Of all persons322520711212
Of Iraqi-born6028425001
Permanent additions - 2018–19 (%)
Humanitarian Program6824611101
Skill stream272719117116
Family and Child stream52267215000
Temporary visa grants - 2018–19 (%)
International student visa grants51122239002
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa (primary) grants1163237110500

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 Iraqi 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 121201818
Points Tested Skilled Migration54494848
Employer Sponsored631088177
Total Skill stream60626259
Total Family and Child stream30322831
International students76758379
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa 273656669
Visitors96959495

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.