Data on migrants’ incomes could help shape policy, study finds
Migrants and refugees are seeing their wages increase over time and with primary visa holders gaining greater pay rises than their spouses, children, parents or siblings, according to a new analysis of Census data.
The analysis found that migrants from the United Kingdom and South Africa received the largest salaries among new arrivals with those from China and India, the lowest.
It found that South Africans and people from the UK were most likely to be receiving income from trusts and partnerships while people from the UK were most like to be receiving income from businesses – followed closely by South Africans and people from India.
Skilled migrants earn considerably more, on average, than family visa migrants who, in turn, earn more than humanitarian visa entrants to Australia, the study found.
The analysis is contained in a study examining the feasibility of linking migrant settlement records with personaI income tax data carried out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The study is aimed at testing the viability of providing better administrative data sources and an enriched dataset for statistical and research purposes.
It found that possible new statistics on recent migrants could be produced at relatively low cost without additional burden to providers.
The study looked at several sets of data related to wages, business income, personal income tax records and how they could be likened to, or compared with, the Federal Government’s Settlement Database (SDB) which records the detail of new arrivals to Australia.
“While various adjustments could be made to future iterations of the project which could improve the accuracy of the links, the method used in this feasibility study has proved sufficient for the linkage methodology to be considered feasible,” the study’s report said.
It found that there were a number of research areas of interest that the integrated data may address.
“By linking the SDB records to PIT records, economic outcomes of recent migrants, namely income from wages and salary, can be cross-classified by migration related variables such as visa stream, country of birth and length of time since arrival in Australia,” the report said.
“Detailed income data from all sources would then be available on different cohorts of migrants who enter Australia under different policy settings.
“This information would be of great benefit for evidence-based policy and research on migrants and their settlement outcomes.
“Over time, access to annual series and longitudinal data would allow migrant economic outcomes to be measured. Spatially enabled data would allow for regional analyses,” the report said.
“The next step for this project is to conduct a statistical study and, following consultation with relevant stakeholders, it is hoped that this second phase of the project can be conducted in 2014,” it said.