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Top 10 countries of birth for foreign born Australian residents 2019

Migrants from the United Kingdom have long been Australia’s primary immigrant group and in 2019 there were 986,460 English-born people living in Australia. China and India held second and third place respectively with regard to Australia’s foreign-born population. The relative dominance of Asian countries in the list of top ten foreign-born residents of Australia represents a significant shift in Australia’s immigration patterns over the past few decades. Where European-born migrants had previously overshadowed other migrant groups, Australian migration figures are now showing greater migration numbers from neighboring countries in Asia and the Pacific.

A history of migration

Australia is often referred to as an ‘immigrant nation’, alongside the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. Before the Second World War, migrants to Australia were almost exclusively from the UK, however after 1945, Australia’s immigration policy was broadened to attract economic migrants and temporary skilled migrants. These policy changes saw and increase in immigrants particularly from Greece and Italy. Today, Australia maintains its status as an ‘’Immigrant nation’’, with almost 30 percent of the population born overseas and around 50 percent of the population having at least one parent that was born overseas.

Australian visas

The Australian immigration program has two main categories of visa, permanent and temporary. The permanent visa category offers three primary pathways: skilled, family and humanitarian. The skilled visa category is by far the most common, with more than a million permanent migrants living in Australia on this visa category at the last Australian census in 2016. Of the temporary visa categories, the higher education visa is the most popular, outnumbering even the temporary visitor category by more than 10,000 visitors.

Number of foreign born population in Australia as of 2019, by country of birth

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Release date

April 2020



Survey time period

as of June 30, 2019

Supplementary notes

Data were estimated.

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Statistics on "Migration in Australia"

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