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Country profiles

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

​​​​Country profile – United Kingdom

Population

At the end of June 2019, almost 1.2 million people who were born in the United Kingdom were living in Australia, 0.2 per cent (2280) less than at 30 June 2009. This makes it the largest migrant community in Australia, equivalent to 15.7 per cent of Australia's overseas-born population and 4.7 per cent of Australia's total population.

For Australia's United Kingdom-born migrants:

  • Their median age of 57.3 years was 19.9 years above that of the general population.
  • Males outnumbered females—50.8 per cent compared with 49.2 per cent.1

1 Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Migration Australia

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

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 from the United Kingdom by migration category.

Table 1: Permanent migrant places granted, 2016–17 to 2019–20
Migration category2016–172017–182018–192019–20
Business Innovation and Investment50483037
Employer Sponsored
7,9556,3357,2564,275
Skilled Regional​ 1
69
61
22
n/a
​Skilled Independent
​3,074
​2,320
​1,811
425​
​State/Territory Nominated
​1,176
​1,192
​1,390
​1,204
​Regional 2​
​n/a
​n/a
​n/a
​1,050
​Global Talent (Independent) 3
​n/a
​n/a
​n/a
​​416
Partner4,0643,1752,6592,788
All other categories
650
523
521
486
Total places granted 17,038 13,654 13,689 10,681

Source: Department of Home Affairs

1 The Skilled Regional category closed to new applications from 1 July 2019.

2 The Regional migration category commenced 1 July 2019.

3 ​Global Talent (Independent) category commenced 4 November 2019.

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

Table 2: Temporary visas granted by selected categories, 2016–17 to 2019–20
Temporary visa category​2016–172017–182018–192019–20
International Students
ELICOS 1 < 10
< 10 < 10 < 10
Schools29 21
27 18
Vocational Education and Training1,941 2,117 2,415 2,485
Higher Education566 542 538 546
Postgraduate Research133 149 132 151
Non-Award1,293 1,292 1,120 468
Foreign Affairs or Defence< 10
< 10
< 10
< 10
Total: International Student visa grants 3,974 4,126 4,239 3,671
​Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment)
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa grants 213,600 9,791 11,398 7,950
Visitors
Tourist585,532 592,254 553,013 452,545
Business visitor37,337 38,507 38,158 27,117
Total: Visitor visa grants 622,869 630,761 591,171 479,662
Working Holiday visa
Initial32,571 30,036 27,355 18,078
Extension7,811 7,716 8,593 6,676
Total Working Holiday visa grants 40,382 37,752 35,948 24,754
Other temporary
Other temporary visa grants 310,241 15,214 11,694 10,502
Total temporary visa grants 691,066 697,644 654,450 526,539

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).

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

  • perturbation — a data security technique that allows for random data adjustment to prevent the release of identifiable data.​

Main occupations

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

Table 3: Main occupations, 2016–17 to 2019–20
PeriodTemporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa 1No. of migrantsSkill stream migrationNo. of migrants
2019–20
General practitioners and resident medical officers546
Human resource professionals
200
Human resource professional
373
Registered nurses
188
Advertising and marketing professionals
324
Advertising and marketing professionals
151
Management and organisation analysts
235
General practitioners and resident medical officers
143
Registered nurses
172
Carpenters and joiners
126
Civil engineering professionals
116
University lecturers and tutors
91
Advertising, public relations and sales managers
109
Other medical practitioners
83
ICT sales professionals
101
Cafe and restaurant managers82
Other medical practitioners
101
Electricians
80
ICT business and systems analysts
98
Management and organisation analysts
79
2018–19
General practitioners and resident medical officers619Advertising and marketing professionals431
Advertising and marketing professionals446Human resource professionals380
Management and organisation analysts271Registered nurses251
Human resource professionals267Other medical practitioners212
Advertising, public relations and sales managers207General practitioners and resident medical officers188
Carpenters and joiners199Carpenters and joiners147
Registered nurses161Management and organisation analysts146
Civil engineering professionals152Cafe and restaurant managers125
General managers147Advertising, public relations and sales managers119
Accountants142Motor mechanics117
2017–18
General practitioners and resident medical officers804Human resource professionals279
Human resource professionals391Registered nurses264
Advertising and marketing professionals336Advertising and marketing professionals233
Management and organisation analysts186Other medical practitioners169
Registered nurses181General practitioners and resident medical officers142
University lecturers and tutors137Management and organisation analysts116
Accountants130Secondary school teachers114
Advertising, public relations and sales managers127Electricians113
Civil engineering professionals122Advertising, public relations and sales managers106
Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians117Motor mechanics106
2016–17
General practitioners and resident medical officers957Registered nurses
357
Human resource professionals601Advertising and marketing professionals
286
Advertising and marketing professionals516Human resource professionals
265
Management and organisation analysts258Other medical practitioners
180
Advertising, public relations and sales managers221Carpenters and joiners
171
Registered nurses195Motor mechanics
170
Carpenters and joiners184Electricians
160
University lecturers and tutors170Generalist medical practitioners
152
Accountants165Advertising, public relations and sales managers
141
Cafe and restaurant managers
146Secondary school teachers
139

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
Population NSW Vic. Qld SA WA Tas. NT ACT
Census 2016 (%)
Of all persons322520711212
Of United Kingdom-born2519201121211
Permanent additions - 2019–20 (%)
Skill stream39
20
186
13
1
1
1
Family and Child stream34
22
22
4
15
1
11
Temporary visa grants - 2019–20 (%)
International student visa grants48
20
17
49
101
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa (primary) grants 1 50
24
12
2
101
11

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 migration from the United Kingdom for the past four financial years.​

Table 5: Country ranking, 2016–17 to 2019–20
Ranked position of migrants
2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20
Population in Australia 1 1111
Regional
n/a
n/a
n/a
6
Employer Sponsored21
12
Total Skill stream3333
Total Family and Child stream34
43
International students22
21
2122
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa 2 2222
Visitors223
2

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; 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

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