Immigration history 2006 to today
Since the department was established on 13 July 1945, seven million people have been granted a visa for permanent migration. As a result, Australia is among the world's most culturally diverse nations. About 45 per cent of all Australians were born overseas, or have at least one parent who was born overseas
Australia has derived substantial economic benefits from the skilled migration and temporary entry programs during the past 65 years. Skilled migrants are filling positions that remain in chronic shortage despite the effects of the global economic crisis. International students and visitors to Australia contribute to our foreign exchange revenue. Social benefits have been reaped through the high levels of community harmony and cohesion which draw Australia's diverse society together—Australians are regarded internationally as a friendly, respectful and welcoming people.
During this decade, the department's nation-building activities will continue to support the government's priority of 'building a stronger Australia' through the lasting economic contributions of skilled migrants and temporary entrants and the civic contributions of citizens.
The department also supports the priority of 'building a fairer Australia' through its administration of humanitarian programs and settlement programs that give new arrivals a strong start in Australia. Cultural diversity programs encourage respect in the community for the cultural associations of all Australians.
The department continued its program of reform and remained the focus of substantial community and political interest. By 2010, the department had accomplished the majority of its reforms, which, through the Systems for People program, included the introduction of more robust and globally consistent business processes underpinned by more agile and improved systems. Other reforms were in areas including skilled migration, student visas, the introduction of a new Citizenship Act, the introduction and review of the citizenship test and implementation of the government's New Directions in Detention policy.
By 2009–10, the migration program was 168 623, with 13 770 humanitarian visas, and 3.4 million visitor visas granted. In addition, 67 980 people were granted subclass 457 visas and 269 828 granted student visas. As the year closed, 7999 staff (including 1001 staff overseas) were engaged in delivering improved and responsive client service across a global network and engaging with a diverse range of stakeholders.