Indians and Chinese largest sources of permanent migrants to Australia

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For the first time ever, India was Australia's largest source of permanent immigrants this year, with a total of 29,018 places or 15.7 percent of the total migration program, according to Immigration Minister Chris Bowen. The second largest source of immigrants was China at 25,509 followed by 25,274 from the UK.

Australian employers, particularly in the booming mining industry, have been calling for the government to bring in more immigrants to fill skills shortages. According to government numbers, almost 185,000 permanent immigrants entered the country in the 2011/12 financial year. Australia plans to have 190,000 permanent immigrants enter the country in 2012/13.

Skilled migration accounted for over two-thirds of the total migration program, with 125,755 immigrants coming under a skilled migration program in 2011-12.

Some of the top 10 source countries in Asia includes: India, China, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam.

"Skilled migration is essential to support our economy and help overcome the challenges of an ageing population," said Bowen. "Today's skill stream is highly targeted towards employer sponsorship, the regions and high value occupations, with over 60 percent of skilled migration visas going to employer, government and regional sponsored places to help fill critical skills needs."

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