Migrants thrive with time in Australia

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New research by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) shows that migrant employment figures increased for newcomers after living 18 months in Australia.

The Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia (LSIA3) interviewed almost 10,000 primary applicants from the skilled and family migration programs who arrived in Australia or were granted visas onshore between December 2004 and March 2005.

According to Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews, the research showed that employment among skilled migrants increased from 91 percent after six months to 97 percent after they had been in Australia for 18 months. Family-based migration showed a similar increase.

"The research also shows a dramatic improvement for family-stream migrants where employment increased from 80 per cent to 94 per cent in the year after their first six months settling in," Andrews said.

Andrews stated that skilled migrants were earning a median wage of AUD $47,000 a year after 18 months.

"Skilled migrants living in regional and low-growth areas do even better, with 99 per cent employed after 18 months and average incomes around $50,000," he added.

DIAC claimed that the survey showed a correlation between higher English language test scores and better employment outcomes, justifying their changes to the skilled migration points test, which now awards more points for very good English language skills.

The changes were part of a restructuring to the Australian General Skilled Migration program that went into effect on 01 September 2007.

"Australia is the ideal destination for migrants – our strong economy is complemented by our selection of young migrants with good English and recognised skills."