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Country profile - Iraq

​​​​​​​Population

At the end of June 2022, 104,170 Iraqi-born people were living in Australia. This was almost twice the number (57,430) at 30 June 2012. This makes the Iraqi-born population the sixteenth largest migrant community in Australia, equivalent to 1.4 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 40.3 years was 1.8 years above that of the general population.
  • Males outnumbered females—51.0 per cent compared with 49.0 per cent.
(Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia’s Population by Country of Birth)​

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 who have the skills, qualifications and entrepreneurship most needed in the Australian economy. There are seven components:

  1. Business Innovation and Investment

  2. Distinguished Talent

  3. Employer Sponsored

  4. Global Talent (Independent)

  5. Regional

  6. Skilled Independent

  7. State/Territory Nominated.

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 of permanent migration (including humanitarian) from Iraq by migration category.

Table 1: Permanent migrant places granted, 2019–20 to 2022–23
Migration category2019–202020–212021–22​2022–23
Business Innovation and Investment550<5
Employer Sponsored53231823
Skilled Independent881041
State/Territory Nominated581119
Regional 18<5<57
Global Talent (Independent) 226161221
Partner212257191231
All other categories 317123625
Total places granted 334 329 278 367
Humanitarian Program 4
Offshore resettlement component 55,7851,5852,1112,028
Onshore protection component 6134813780
Source: Department of Home Affairs
1The Regional migration category commenced 1 July 2019.
2Global Talent (Independent) category commenced 4 November 2019.
3 Data has been perturbed to protect the privacy of individuals.
Note: To protect the privacy of individuals, various data confidentiality techniques have been applied. These techniques include, data masking — using primary and secondary suppression methods for values that are deemed to be a disclosure risk and perturbation — a data security technique that allows for random data adjustment to prevent the release of identifiable data.
4Permanent visas record a person's nationality with one exception, the offshore resettlement component of the Humanitarian Program. This component, before 2019–20, recorded a person's country of birth.
5Data was extracted from Departmental systems on 4 July 2023. As information has been drawn from dynamic system environments the information provided may differ from previous or future reporting.
6Data was extracted from Departmental systems on 1 July 2023. 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.

Note: Not all categories apply to migrants from each country.

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).

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

Table 2: Temporary visas granted by selected categories, 2019–20 to 2022–23
Temporary visa category2019–202020–212021–22​2022–23
Visitor47329206798
Student1129650103
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment)43254768
Other temporary visa grants 110569153185
Total temporary visa grants 733 219 456 1,154
Source: Department of Home Affairs
1Excludes 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 Afghanistan, based on Skill stream migration outcomes and Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa grants.​ 

Table 3: Main occupations, 2019–20 to 2022–23
PeriodTemporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visasNo. of migrantsSkill stream migrationNo. of migrants
2022–23General practitioners and resident medical officers10University lecturers and tutors<5
Other medical practitioners<5General practitioners and resident medical officers<5
Specialist physicians<5Civil engineering professionals<5
Civil engineering professionals<5Industrial, mechanical and production engineers<5
Electronics engineers<5Other engineering professionals<5
Other engineering professionals<5Pharmacists<5
Telecommunications engineering professionals<5Other medical practitioners<5
Ministers of religion<5Public relations professionals<5
Architectural, building and surveying technicians<5Electronics engineers<5
Chefs<5Medical laboratory scientists<5
2021–22General practitioners and resident medical officers12Electrical engineers<5
Other medical practitioners<5Anaesthetists<5
Mining engineers<5Midwives<5
Ministers of religion<5Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists<5
--Electronics engineers<5
--Mining engineers<5
--ICT support and test engineers<5
--Primary products inspectors<5
--Civil engineering draftspersons and technicians<5
----
2020–21General practitioners and resident medical officers5Other medical practitioners6
Other medical practitioners<5General practitioners and resident medical officers<5
Electrical engineers<5Software and applications programmers<5
Other engineering professionals<5Civil engineering professionals<5
Psychiatrists<5Industrial, mechanical and production engineers<5
Surgeons<5Other engineering professionals<5
Electrical engineering draftspersons and technicians<5Life scientists<5
--Psychiatrists<5
--Medical technicians<5
----
2019–20General practitioners and resident medical officers6General practitioners and resident medical officers8
Other medical practitioners<5Civil engineering professionals<5
Engineering managers<5University lecturers and tutors<5
Finance managers<5Other medical practitioners<5
--Software and applications programmers<5
--Architects and landscape architects<5
--Electrical engineers<5
--Electronics engineers<5
--Dental practitioners<5
--Specialist physicians<5
Source: Department of Home Affairs
Note: To protect the privacy of individuals, various data confidentiality techniques have been applied. These techniques include, data masking — using primary and secondary suppression methods for values that are deemed to be a disclosure risk and perturbation — a data security technique that allows for random data adjustment to prevent the release of identifiable data.
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
​PopulationNSWVicQldSAWATasNT​ACT
Census 2021 (%)
Of all persons322620710212
Of Iraqi-born6028624001
Permanent additions - 2022–23 (%)
Humanitarian Program 16131602000
Skill stream313017313600
Family and Child stream46271339001
Temporary visa grants​ - 2022–23 (%)
International student visa grants253724104001
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa (primary) grants3926​17013400
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics and Department of Home Affairs
1Data pertains to offshore Humanitarian Settler Arrivals.
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, 2019–20 to 2022–23
Ranked position of migrants2019–202020–212021–22​2022–23
Population in Australia 118171616
Regional70687568
Employer Sponsored55687470
Total Skill stream55586453
Total Family and Child stream35444337
International students81739488
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa69706566
Visitors99989092
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics and Department of Home Affairs
1Population 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; 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.
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