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Fact Sheet 1 - Immigration: The Background Part Two

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Humanitarian Programme

As a member of the international community, Australia shares responsibility for protecting refugees and resolving refugee situations. This commitment is most strongly expressed through the Humanitarian Programme.

The Humanitarian Programme has two components; the protection/asylum component for people in Australia and the resettlement component for people outside Australia.

In 2013–14, the government will continue to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees along with other resettlement countries, in focusing on the resettlement of people from Africa, the Middle East (including South West Asia) and Asia.
See: Fact Sheet 60 – Australia's Refugee and Humanitarian Programme

Planning levels

Planning levels for the Migration and Humanitarian programmes are set by the Australian Government and announced in May each year for the following financial year (1 July to 30 June). The planning levels indicate the number of visas that may be granted in the categories of each programme.
See:
Fact Sheet 20 – Migration Programme Planning Levels
Fact Sheet 21 – Managing the Migration Programme

Programme outcomes

The Migration Programme outcome is the total number of people granted permanent residence visas in the preceding financial year.

The Humanitarian Programme outcome is the total number of visas granted outside Australia to refugee and humanitarian applicants, as well as the number of visas granted to people who apply for protection in Australia.

Settler arrivals

The number of settler arrivals is the total number of migrants who actually arrive to settle in Australia. This information is compiled from passenger cards and other data relating to overseas arrivals, where arriving persons have indicated an intention or legal entitlement to permanently settle in Australia.

The settler arrivals figure will be different from the Migration Programme outcome figure for reasons such as:

  • New Zealand citizens are not included in Migration Programme figures, but are included in settler arrival figures
  • while a visa may be granted in one programme year, the migrant may not use the visa to enter Australia until the following year.

Net overseas migration

Net overseas migration (NOM) is the net gain or loss of population through immigration to Australia and emigration from Australia.

Travellers from outside Australia are included in the population if they are in Australia for a total of 12 months or more over a 16 month period. On the other hand, travellers to countries outside Australia are subtracted from the population if they are away for a total of 12 months or more over a 16 month period. The level of NOM is the balance of these NOM arrivals less NOM departures.

This method of determining if travellers are included in the population is known as the '12/16 month rule'. It takes account of those people who may have left Australia briefly and returned, while still being resident for 12 months out of 16 months.

The size of the Permanent Migration and Humanitarian Programmes is one of many factors that influence the level of NOM.

Migrant statistics

More than 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia since the post-war Migration Programme began in October 1945. Since July 1959, when data became available, more than 1.8 million people left Australia permanently.

Australia received over 286  443 migrants in the period between 2012 to 2013, and;

  • 1.2 million in the 2000s
  • 900 000 in the 1990s
  • 1.1 million in the 1980s
  • 960 000 in the 1970s
  • 1.3 million in the 1960s.

See: Fact Sheet 2 – Key Facts in Immigration

Migrant statistics from 1999–2000 to 2013-14
Programme statistics (a) Movement statistics (b) Demographic statistics (c)
Planning levels (d) Programme outcomes (d) Settler arrivals Net permanent gain Net long - term gain Net overseas migration
1999 - 00 82 000 86 000 92 300 51 200 56 100 107 300
2000 - 01 88 000 94 300 107 400 61 000 74 800 135 700
2001 - 02 105 000  105 400 88 900 40 600 93 000 110 500
2002 - 03 123 220 120 600 94 000 43 500 110 800 116 500
2003 - 04 128 500 128 200 111 600 52 500 112 100 100 000
2004 - 05 133 000 133 200 123 400 60 800 117 200 123 800
2005 - 06 153 000 157 100 131 600 63 700 135 500 146 800
2006 - 07 134 000 -
144 000
161 200 140 100 68 000 170 200 232 800
2007 - 08 171 800 171 600 149 400 72 400 206 600 277 300
2008 - 09 185 300 184 800 158 000 77 000 259 100 299 900
2009 - 10 182 450 182 400 140 600 54 300 188 800 196 100
2010 - 11 182 450 184 284 127 500 39 000 171 000 180 400
2011 - 12 198 759 198 757 158 943 71 500 211 896 219 000(g)
2012 - 13 190 000 190 000 152 414 60 653 245 829 237 300(h)
2013-14 214 000 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

(a) Programme statistics reflect the number of legal permissions to enter Australia and do not include Australian or New Zealand citizens—they are not counts of actual people.
(b) Movement statistics are counts of arrivals from outside Australia and departures by categories of traveller, which include those indicating permanent stay (settler arrivals), a continuous temporary stay of 12 months or more (long term movement), or a stay of less than 12 months (short term movement—they include Australian and New Zealand citizens, but are not counts of actual people.
(c) Demographic statistics are counts of actual people. Net overseas migration (NOM) measures the difference between arrivals and departures on a permanent and temporary long-term basis. People are counted into (or out of) NOM if their total period of stay in Australia (or departure from Australia) covers 12 months out of a 16 month period.
(d) Combination of Migration and Humanitarian Programmes.
(e) Preliminary estimate from Australian Bureau of Statistics. See Australian Demographic Statistics—March Quarter 2013 (Cat 3101.0).  
(h) Data includes preliminary estimate from the Australian Bureau of Statistics as well as one quarter of forecast data from DIBP.

Fact Sheet 1. Produced by the National Communications Branch of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Last reviewed December 2013.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2011.