Indian immigration to Australia triples to skilled professionals

Sydney, Nov. 24, 2004

Sydney, Buoyed by the Australian government's encouragement to skilled professionals to settle Down Under, the number of Indians immigrating to this country has tripled in the last 10 years.

According to the figures released by the Australian Immigration Department, the largest group of immigrants settling in Victoria state has mentioned India as their 'country of origin'.

Overall, India is ranked a close fourth behind China as provider of the largest number of immigrants to Australia.

Britain tops the list, with 19,214 of its denizens moving to sunnier Australia. New Zealand contributed 14,418 immigrants to its cross-Tasman Sea neighbour. The number of Chinese immigrants (excluding Hong Kong) in the year 2003-04 reads as 8,784 while India comes fourth with 8,135.

The highest number of Indian immigrants, 3,639, are believed to have settled in New South Wales while 3,236 of their compatriots preferred Victoria over the other Australian states.

The fact that most of the Indians name English as their first language gives them an advantage over the migrants arriving from non-English backgrounds such as China and South America.

In fact the number of immigrants from English-speaking countries such as Britain, South Africa and India has burgeoned from 37 percent eight years ago to more than 50 percent. Last year's Australian immigrant intake stood at 110,000.

Proficiency in English gets extra points for Australian skilled visa applicants. Besides being fluent in the Queen's language, most Indians settling in Australia are also believed to be degree-holders. This gives them a head start over the applicants from other poor countries.

Another significant fact making it to the headlines is about the migrant intake from Britain and Ireland. For the first time in the last eight years of the conservative government of John Howard, the migrants from the Mother Country have outstripped Southeast Asians.

The Howard government has been gradually reducing the number of applicants seeking to join their relatives in Australia. But this policy has not affected the spouse category that is still uncapped.

The applicants in the humanitarian or refugee category are also being discouraged to consider Australia as one of the possible destinations.

Thanks to the gigantic number of job opportunities provided by Australia's largest city Sydney, the state of New South Wales continues to attract the maximum number of migrants to its shores.

The number may have fallen slightly due to New South Wales' efforts to discourage the new settlers to cope with the surging population, but it is still far ahead of Victoria.