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Migrants and refugees embracing Aussie life – ABS study

19 July 20180 comments

New data released by the Australia Bureau of Statistics shows overwhelmingly that refugees and migrants are embracing life Australia while attempting to adopt the nation’s culture and traditions.

The snapshot of permanent migrants who have arrived in Australia this century reveals most of them work, are buying or own a home, have acquired high-level English language skills and become citizens.

The data, which looks at permanent migrants who arrived in Australia between January 1, 2000, and August 9, 2016, shows almost 60 per cent of skilled or family migrants and third of humanitarian refugees owned or were buying house.

It reveals that 64 per cent of migrant and 78 per cent of refugees had become Australian citizens.

The ABS data shows that while many migrants and refugees speak their own languages at home, almost 75 per cent of newcomers spoke English at a high level.

It also shows that more than 70 per cent of skilled or family migrants and almost 50 per cent of refugees held a non-school qualification such as a degree, diploma or certificate.

CEO of migrant and refugee settlement agency AMES Australia Cath Scarth said the data showed that migrants and refugees had a strong commitment to Australia and to making a go of their lives here.

“What this data illustrates is that newly arrived migrants and refugees are not passive bystanders but are actively engaged in forging a new life and demonstrating a high level of commitment to adapting to life in their new country,” Ms Scarth said.

“It’s a strong indication that Australia’s multicultural success story continues.

“Our own research also shows that migrants and refugees are incredibly resilient and ingenious and with the right support they are becoming assets to the nation,” she said.

The ABS data shows 2.2 million migrant arrived between January 2000 and August 2016; 58 per cent of them through the skilled migration stream, 32 per cent through the family stream and 10 per cent as refugees.

It shows permanent migrants are younger than the general population with 85 per cent of permanent migrants within the working age population (15 to 64 years of age).

The data shows skilled migrants over the period were most likely to have come from India (19 per cent) followed by England (13 per cent), China (12 per cent), South Africa (6.2 per cent) and the Philippines (5.7 per cent).

The top country of birth for Family migrants was China (14 per cent), followed by England (8.8 per cent), India (8.3 per cent), Philippines (6.5 per cent) and Vietnam (6.3 per cent).

Humanitarian refugees were most likely to have come from Iraq (18 per cent), followed by Afghanistan (12 per cent), Myanmar (8.1 per cent), Iran (6.7 per cent) and Sudan (6.0 per cent).

Despite an eligibility period of about four years, the ABS data shows that 64 per cent of eligible migrants and 78 per cent of refugees had become Australian.

It showed refugees from South Sudan and Sudan were most likely to take up citizenship at around 82 per cent. Among skilled migrants, South Africans were most likely to become citizens (70 per cent).

More than 70 per cent of permanent migrants who spoke another language at home also had a highl level of spoken English, the ABS data shows. Skilled migrants had the highest levels of proficiency at 92 per cent. People in the family and refugees streams also had a relatively high rate of English proficiency at 73 per cent and 66 per cent respectively.

The ABS data shows around 70 per cent of permanent migrants held a non-school qualification, such as a degree, diploma or certificate.

Unsurprisingly, skilled migrants were the most likely to hold a non-school qualification (79 per cent) followed by those in the family stream (62 per cent). More than 40 per cent of refugee entrants held qualifications.

The data also shows a significant number of refugees have obtained certificate – or employment focused – qualifications since arriving.

And, contrary to recent commentary, the data shows that almost 80 per cent of refugees available for work had jobs.

It shows skilled stream migrants who were in the labour force, 93 per cent were employed and 7% were unemployed. For Family stream migrants, 90% were employed, and 10% were unemployed.

In keeping with higher educational eligibility requirements, skilled stream migrants were most likely to be in professional occupations (35 per cent), the ABS data shows.

Of these, most were working as Health Professionals (9 per cent), business, human resource and marketing professionals (8 per cent) and ICT professionals (7 per cent).

Almost a fifth of employed family stream migrants were Professionals. A further 16 per cent of family migrants were working as community and personal service eorkers, mainly as carers and aides (8 per cent). Fourteen per cent were working as labourers.

Refugees were most commonly employed as labourers (23 per cent) and community and personal service workers (19 per cent). Another 17 per cent were working as Technicians and Trades Workers, the ABS data shows.