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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 2020, almost 1.2 million people who were born in the United Kingdom were living in Australia, 1.3 per cent (15,220) less than at 30 June 2010. This makes it the largest migrant community in Australia, equivalent to 15.3 per cent of Australia's overseas-born population and 4.6 per cent of Australia's total population.

For Australia's United Kingdom-born migrants:

  • Their median age of 57.9 years was 20.2 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, 2017–18 to 2020–21

Migration category

2017–18

2018–19

2019–20

2020–21

Business Innovation and Investment

48

30

37

125

Employer Sponsored

6,335

7,256

4,275

3,419

Skilled Regional 1

61

22

n/a

n/a

Skilled Independent

2,320

1,811

425

212

State/Territory Nominated

1,192

1,390

1,204

592

Regional 2

n/a

n/a

1,050

489

Global Talent (Independent) 3

n/a

n/a

416

787

Partner

3,175

2,659

2,788

6,657

All other categories

523

521

486

422

Total places granted

13,654

13,689

10,681

12,703

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.

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 from the United Kingdom, for Visitor, Student, Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) and Working Holiday Maker visas.

Table 2: Temporary visas granted by selected categories, 2017–18 to 2020–21

Temporary visa category

2017–18

2018–19

2019–20

2020–21

Visitor

630,761

591,171

479,662

9,029

Student

4,126

4,239

3,671

2,467

Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment)

9,791

11,398

7,950

6,084

Working Holiday Maker

37,752

35,948

24,754

7,433

Other temporary visa grants 1

15,214

11,694

10,502

5,317

Total temporary visa grants

697,644

654,450

526,539

30,330

Source: Department of Home Affairs

1​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 the United Kingdom, based on Skill stream migration outcomes and Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa grants.

Table 3: Main occupations, 2017–18 to 2020–21

Period

 Temporary Resident  (Skilled Employment) visas

No. of migrants

Skill stream migration

No. of migrants

2020–21

 

General practitioners and resident medical officers

569

Registered nurses

211

 

Advertising and marketing professionals

318

General practitioners and resident medical officers

176

 

Human resource professionals

182

Other medical practitioners

152

 

Advertising, public relations and sales managers

116

Human resource professionals

92

 

Management and organisation analysts

106

Advertising and marketing professionals

90

 

ICT sales professionals

87

Management and organisation analysts

85

 

Registered nurses

81

Civil engineering professionals

74

 

Other medical practitioners

80

Accountants

73

 

ICT business and systems analysts

75

Carpenters and joiners

72

 

Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians

66

Software and applications programmers

67

2019–20

 

General practitioners and resident medical officers

546

Human resource professionals

200

 

Human resource professionals

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 managers

82

 

Other medical practitioners

101

Electricians

80

 

ICT business and systems analysts

98

Management and organisation analysts

79

2018–19

 

General practitioners and resident medical officers

619

Advertising and marketing professionals

431

 

Advertising and marketing professionals

446

Human resource professionals

380

 

Management and organisation analysts

271

Registered nurses

251

 

Human resource professionals

267

Other medical practitioners

212

 

Advertising, public relations and sales managers

207

General practitioners and resident medical officers

188

 

Carpenters and joiners

199

Carpenters and joiners

147

 

Registered nurses

161

Management and organisation analysts

146

 

Civil engineering professionals

152

Cafe and restaurant managers

125

 

General managers

147

Advertising, public relations and sales managers

119

 

Accountants

142

Motor mechanics

117

2017–18

 

General practitioners and resident medical officers

804

Human resource professionals

279

 

Human resource professionals

391

Registered nurses

264

 

Advertising and marketing professionals

336

Advertising and marketing professionals

233

 

Management and organisation analysts

186

Other medical practitioners

169

 

Registered nurses

181

General practitioners and resident medical officers

142

 

University lecturers and tutors

137

Management and organisation analysts

116

 

Accountants

130

Secondary school teachers

114

 

Advertising, public relations and sales managers

127

Electricians

113

 

Civil engineering professionals

122

Advertising, public relations and sales managers

106

 

Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians

117

Motor mechanics

106

Source: Department of Home Affairs

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 persons

32

25

20

7

11

2

1

2

Of United Kingdom-born

25

19

20

11

21

2

1

1

Permanent additions - 2020–21 (%)

Skill stream

41

23

16

4

13

1

1

1

Family and Child stream

37

22

19

4

15

1

1

1

Temporary visa grants - 2020–21 (%)

International student visa grants

49

16

22

3

8

0

0

1

Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa (primary) grants

48

18

16

3

13

0

1

1

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics and Department of Home Affairs

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, 2017–18 to 2020–21

​Ranked position of migrants

2017–18

2018–19

2019–20

2020–21

Population in Australia 1

1

1

1

1

Regional

n/a

n/a

6

6

Employer Sponsored

1

1

2

2

Total Skill stream

3

3

3

3

Total Family and Child stream

4

4

3

2

International students

21

21

22

19

Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa

2

2

2

2

Visitors

2

3

2

4

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; 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

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