India provides Australia's largest migrant source

Date: Jul 23, 2012

India now provides Australia with its biggest source of migrants, official figures from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) show.

It is the first time that India has taken the top spot, as the country accounted for 15.7 per cent of the total migration program during the last financial year.

Of the 185,000 places available, 29,018 have been accommodated by Indian migrants.

Minister for immigration and citizenship Chris Bowen identified that a trend has been witnessed for some time - which many migration lawyers may have seen for themselves.

He commented: "For some time, India has been a source of increasing numbers of new migrants to our country and it is now our largest source of permanent migrants.

"The Indian community has made a valuable contribution to economic, social and cultural life in Australia, and I know this will continue with more Indians choosing to make their home here."

Interestingly, seven out of the top ten countries in the 2011-12 migration program were from Asia, namely India, China, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea and Vietnam.

China and the United Kingdom were identified as the second and third largest sources of permanent migrants, each accounting for 25,509 and 25,274 places respectively.

Migration from China decreased during the period from 29,547 in the previous 12-month period, while the number of people relocating from the United Kingdom increased from 23,931 in the previous year.

The family stream aspect of the migration program also proved successful over the past 12 months, as it had a final outcome of 58,604 places and therefore represented 31.7 per cent of the total migration program.

Mr Bowen noted: "The family stream is an essential component of our migration program, as it allows Australians to unite with their loved ones, particularly with their partners and children.

"I am pleased that the government will help even more families to reunite under this program next year, as I increased family places from 58,600 to 60,185 in this year's Budget."

The government announced in recent days that it had met its permanent migration target in 2011-12, with skilled positions accounting for more than two-thirds of the total program.

The DIAC identified that skilled migration is important for supporting the economy and helping to overcome the issues posed by an ageing population.

More than 60 per cent of skilled migration visas now to places sponsored by employers, governments and regional areas.