Expats in Oz are less of a drain on the public pure and there numbers are falling, according to the latest figures

by Ray Clancy on August 17, 2010

Expats settling in Australia are getting younger and choose to settle in the states of New South Wales and Victoria but numbers are falling, research shows.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that two thirds of the most recent Australian migrants are aged 15 to 34 and are highly desirable because they use fewer public services such as schools or nursing homes and have skills needed by the country.

The data also shows that while and Victoria and New South Wales are the most popular with expats it is Western Australia that has the highest proportion of migrants with expats making up 4.4% of the population.

Immigration is a major topic in the country’s upcoming election and the figures show there has been a steady increase in migration since the late 1960s and one in four Australians is foreign born.

The next Prime Minister of Australia will also be foreign born, regardless of who wins. Prime Minister Julia Gillard was born in Wales and Opposition leader Tony Abbott was born in London.

When the figures were compiled in the middle of last year over a quarter, some 26.5% of the Australian population were born overseas, the highest proportion since 1901. Indeed, Australia was at its most Australian in 1947 when 90% of Australians were born in the country.

After the Second World War the Australian government embarked on a massive immigration programme, encouraging Europeans to emigrate by the hundreds of thousands.

The figures also show that Britain remains the largest single foreign birthplace for Australians at 5.4% followed by New Zealand with 2.4%. In the past decade, China has moved into third place at 1.6% and India fourth at 1.4%, replacing Italy and Vietnam.

The figures though also show that immigration fell sharply in 2009 to an annualised trend of about 174,000, a little more than half the peak rate recorded in 2008. There were 605,140 long-term arrivals, that is Australian residents returning after more than a year way, plus foreign residents arriving for permanent settlement or stays of more than a year.

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