Western Australia attracting British immigrants

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Australia's recent government report highlighting immigration's role in boosting the population last year has an interesting side note: more than two-thirds of overseas migrants to Western Australia came from the United Kingdom.

More and more British citizens are looking overseas for new opportunities, with New Zealand, Australia, and even South Africa becoming popular destinations. Australia is particularly popular because of its liberal immigration policies which allow people with the right skills to gain permanent residence under a variety of visa subclasses.

During 2006-07, the number of UK migrants settling in Western Australia reached 8,618 people -- 34 percent of all overseas permanent migrants. New Zealand was a distant second with 2,518 people, followed by South Africa at 1603 people. 1073 Indians and 1042 Malaysians settled in Western Australia, as well.

In total, Western Australia gained 25,519 migrants during 2006-07.

"Skilled migrants are an increasing share of WA population growth with arrivals making up 60 per cent of WA's 2006-07 intake," said Immigration Minister Chris Evans.

Evans noted that 32.1 percent of Western Australia's labor force are foreign born -- well above the 25.7 percent for the whole nation.

"There is an increasing demand for skilled workers in Western Australia thanks to the booming economy," he said. "With Australia currently experiencing a skilled labor shortage, companies are looking overseas for staff to fill the gaps, using both temporary and permanent skilled migration programs."

The top five occupations for permanent skilled migrants coming to Western Australia in 2006-07 were accountants, building and engineering professionals, registered nurses, managers and administrators, and computing professionals.

Australia's General Skilled Migration (GSM) program allows people to gain permanent residence under a variety of categories based on their qualifications and experience in a large list of occupations. To see if you qualify, please fill out a free assessment form.