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Country profiles

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

Country profile - Vietnam


At the end of June 2018, 256,310 Vietnamese-born people were living in Australia, more than one-third (35.3 per cent) the number at 30 June 2008. This makes the Vietnamese-born population the sixth largest migrant community in Australia, equivalent to 3.5 per cent of Australia's overseas-born population and 1.0 per cent of Australia's total population.

For Australia's Vietnamese-born migrants:

  • The median age of 46.1 years was 8.8 years above that of the general population.
  • Females outnumbered males—55.5 per cent compared with 44.5 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 and Child visas from Vietnam.

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 Regional128492811-60.7-91.4
Skilled Independent568375514425-17.3-25.2
State/Territory Nominated38844948253811.638.7
Skilled migration (non-points tested)
Business Innovation and Investment25330042647812.288.9
Distinguished Talent000< 5n/an/a
Employer Sponsored46263746273659.359.3
Total: Skilled visa places granted 1,799 1,810 1,912 2,192 14.6 21.8
Skilled visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)33.733.037.339.6n/an/a
Family and Child migration
Other Family49755839-32.8-20.4
Total: Family and Child visa places granted 3,536 3,679 3,207 3,335 4.0 -5.7
Family and Child visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)
Special Eligibility
Special Eligibility6< 5550.0-16.7
Total places granted 5,341 5,493 5,124 5,532 8.0 3.6

Source: Department of Home Affairs

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 Vietnam. The following table shows the number of visa grants to migrants from Vietnam, for the Student visa program, Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa, Work and Holiday 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 17815321831243.1300.0
Vocational Education and Training9928329731,34738.435.8
Higher Education6,9676,7047,0217,6879.510.3
Postgraduate Research801689641559-12.8-30.2
Foreign Affairs or Defence494395522336-35.6-32.0
Total: International Student visa grants 10,260 10,229 10,764 11,988 11.4 16.8
​​Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment)
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa grants 29591,1528591,40163.146.1
Business visitor9,2439,85110,6109,465-10.82.4
Total: Visitor visa grants 49,331 63,306 75,945 72,852 -4.1 47.7
Work and Holiday
Work and Holiday visa grantsn/a12623334347.2n/a
Other temporary​
Other temporary visa grants 32,2292,3163,1823,4949.856.8
Total temporary visa grants 62,779 77,129 90,983 90,078 -1.0 43.5

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 Vietnam, 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 1
No. of migrantsSkill stream migrationNo. of migrants

Chefs34Software and applications programmers76
Software and applications programmers32Registered nurses43
Bakers and pastrycooks21Cafe and restaurant managers30
University lecturers and tutors19Civil engineering professionals26
Ministers of religion11Chefs18
Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers9Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers17
Cafe and restaurant managers8University lecturers and tutors16
Structural steel and welding trades workers8Bakers and pastrycooks16
Accountants32Software and applications programmers92
Cafe and restaurant managers27Registered nurses40
Bakers and pastrycooks23Civil engineering professionals29
Chefs22Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers26
University lecturers and tutors20Industrial, mechanical and production engineers17
Skilled meat worker18Advertising and marketing professionals15
Software and applications programmers15Cooks15
Retail managers12Cafe and restaurant managers14
Hotel and motel managers7Architects and landscape architects14
Cooks69Civil engineering professionals< 5
Cafe and restaurant managers48Software and applications programmers< 5
Accountants36Complementary health therapists< 5
Bakers and pastrycooks36Computer network professionals< 5
Skilled meat worker34Construction managers< 5
University lecturers and tutors24--
Retail managers16--
Software and applications programmers16--
Management and organisation analysts9--
Software and applications programmers36Registered nurses73
Accountants34Software and applications programmers72
Cafe and restaurant managers33Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers61
Skilled meat worker31Civil engineering professionals44
Bakers and pastrycooks31Cooks34
Retail managers23Cafe and restaurant managers22
University lecturers and tutors16Bakers and pastrycooks19
Advertising and marketing professionals14Electronics engineers19
Massage therapists11Hairdressers18

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

Census 2016 (%)

Of all persons


Of Vietnamese-born


Permanent additions - 2018–19 (%)

Skill stream


Family and Child stream


Temporary visa grants - 2018–19 (%)

International student visa grants


Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa (primary) grants 1


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 Vietnamese 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 1 6666
Points Tested Skilled Migration13141311
Employer Sponsored19141613
Total Skill stream1414139
Total Family and Child stream5553
International students8986
Temporary Resident (Skilled Employment) visa 2 17171713

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.