25 September 2007
Australian immigration on the increase
The Australian population is growing at its fastest rate since 1990, up 1.5 per cent to 20.9 million in the year to March, according to the latest statistics. Australian immigration is driving the growth, with migrants from overseas accounting for 54 per cent of the increase, compared with natural increases of 46 per cent.
"Statistics in the book Settler Arrivals 1996-97 to 2006-07 Australian States and Territories show the number of UK migrants remained steady at 23,223 in 2006-07," said Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Kevin Andrews.
The Australian government has encouraged Australian immigration as to the country's ageing population and booming economy have created skills shortages in many sectors.
"The Howard Government believes that it is essential new migrants bring skills to contribute to the work force and a commitment to integrate into the community. Our migration programme is focused on skilled migration to ensure that new arrivals can join the work force and integrate quickly into Australian society," said Mr Andrews.
A Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokeswoman said that in 2006-07 about 152,000 migrants settled in Australia, 70 per cent of whom were skilled workers. This did not include the 48,000 457 visa holders in Australia temporarily to fill skills shortages.
The population gain of an estimated 307,100 people is the biggest 12 month increase since record keeping began in 1789.
Western Australia and Queensland, the mining boom states, have enjoyed the fastest population growth, growing 2.2 and 2.3 per cent respectively. The Northern Territory population rose two per cent; Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory 1.5 per cent; South Australia and New South Wales one per cent and Tasmania 0.6 per cent.
Australia welcomes skilled migrants: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the Australian Visa Bureau's online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.