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​​​​​​​​​​Country profile – United Kingdom

​​​Population

At the end of June 2022, over 1.1 million people who were born in the United Kingdom were living in Australia, 5.5 per cent (66,870) less than at 30 June 2012. This makes it the largest migrant community in Australia, equivalent to 14.9 per cent of Australia's overseas-born population and 4.4 per cent of Australia's total population.

For Australia's United Kingdom-born migrants:

  • Their median age of 59.1 years was 20.6 years above that of the general population.
  • Males outnumbered females—50.9 per cent compared with 49.1 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

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, 2019–20 to 2022–23
Migration category2019–202020–212021–222022–23
Business Innovation and Investment3712515033
Employer Sponsored4,2753,4192,9674,324
Skilled Independent4252121341,076
State/Territory Nominated1,2045927401,703
Regional 11,0504895831,141
Global Talent (Independent) 2416787588268
Partner2,7886,6574,0272,535
All other categories486422395359
Total places granted 10,681 12,703 9,584 11,439
Source: Department of Home Affairs
1The Regional migration category commenced 1 July 2019.
2Global 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, 2019–20 to 2022–23
Temporary visa category2019–202020–212021–222022–23
Visitor479,6629,029160,841460,157
Student3,6712,4672,4883,006
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment)7,9506,0846,55210,209
Other temporary visa grants 110,5025,3179,78019,610
Total temporary visa grants 526,539 30,330 199,751 531,159
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 the United Kingdom, 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 migrants Skill stream migrationNo. of migrants
2022–23General practitioners and resident medical officers765Registered nurses480
 Advertising and marketing professionals322Carpenters and joiners193
 Human resource professionals320General practitioners and resident medical officers192
 Civil engineering professionals218Secondary school teachers161
 Management and organisation analysts214Electricians130
 Registered nurses178Other medical practitioners112
 Motor mechanics139Plumbers99
 Advertising, public relations and sales managers134Advertising and marketing professionals94
 Cafe and restaurant managers124Human resource professionals92
 General managers115Motor mechanics90
2021–22General practitioners and resident medical officers629ICT business and systems analysts217
 Human resource professionals264Anaesthetists124
 Advertising and marketing professionals246Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers119
 Registered nurses133Other information and organisation professionals82
 Management and organisation analysts114Electrical engineers72
 Advertising, public relations and sales managers101Metal casting, forging and finishing trades workers68
 Other medical practitioners91Floor finishers66
 Accountants87Cooks63
 Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers87Midwives58
 ICT sales professionals86Multimedia specialists and web developers51
2020–21General practitioners and resident medical officers569Registered nurses211
 Advertising and marketing professionals318General practitioners and resident medical officers176
 Human resource professionals182Other medical practitioners152
 Advertising, public relations and sales managers116Human resource professionals92
 Management and organisation analysts106Advertising and marketing professionals90
 ICT sales professionals87Management and organisation analysts85
 Registered nurses81Civil engineering professionals74
 Other medical practitioners80Accountants73
 ICT business and systems analysts75Carpenters and joiners72
 Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians66Software and applications programmers67
2019–20General practitioners and resident medical officers546Human resource professionals200
 Human resource professionals373Registered nurses188
 Advertising and marketing professionals324Advertising and marketing professionals151
 Management and organisation analysts235General practitioners and resident medical officers143
 Registered nurses172Carpenters and joiners126
 Civil engineering professionals116University lecturers and tutors91
 Advertising, public relations and sales managers109Other medical practitioners83
 ICT sales professionals101Cafe and restaurant managers82
 Other medical practitioners101Electricians80
 ICT business and systems analysts98Management and organisation analysts79
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
PopulationNSWVicQldSAWATasNTACT
Census 2021 (%)
Of all persons322620710212
Of United Kingdom-born2519201021211
Permanent additions - 2022–23 (%)
​Skill stream351917619111
Family and Child stream312323415111
Temporary visa grants - 2022–23 (%)
International student visa grants362419512104
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa (primary) grants432415313011
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, 2019–20 to 2022–23
Ranked position of migrants2019–202020–212021–222022–23
Population in Australia 11111
Regional6677
Employer Sponsored2222
Total Skill stream3346
Total Family and Child stream3235
International students22192129
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa2223
Visitors2421
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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