UK expats are among the highest migrant earners in Australia

by Ray Clancy on December 3, 2015

Earnings of expats in Australia depend on which visa stream they have used, the country of their birth, their gender and the number of jobs they do, new data shows.

The country has a diverse range of migrants but in 2010/2011, the most recent figures available, skilled workers were most likely to be born in the United Kingdom, India and China, with almost half, 49%, coming from these countries.

Employment in Oz

Employment in Oz

Migrants from the United Kingdom reported the most income with $10 billion, followed by Indian born migrant taxpayers with $6.5 billion, according to the data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Skilled migrant taxpayers contributed $32 billion, or 72% of the total $45 billion in migrant income in 2010/2011, the figures also show.

“This is the second release of experimental data on migrants’ personal income. Results again show some distinct differences influenced by visa stream, number of jobs held, country of birth and gender,” said Jenny Dobak from the ABS.

A case study on migrants born in China showed that they received $3.3 billion in total income, of which $3 billion was employee income. Some 70% of Chinese born migrant taxpayers who reported employee income were in the skilled stream.

Another case study showed that migrants who held more than one job with a skilled or family visa recorded a decrease in their median employee income whilst those on humanitarian and provisional visas who held more than one job recorded an increase in median employee income.

About two thirds of migrant taxpayers held a skilled visa, with most aged between 25 and 44 years old.

The also data showed that skilled migrant taxpayers generated 65%, or $1.5 billion, of total Own unincorporated business income, $788.9 million in investment income, or 62% of the total, and 35% were mainly employed as professionals with 11% as managers.

Gender, employment status, industry of employment and job history were significant factors influencing the level of income of migrants. Median employee incomes for skilled males exceeded skilled females across all age groups.

Skilled males aged 35 to 44 years had the highest median skilled employee income at $71,144, while skilled female median employee income plateaus at just under $43,000 for each 10-year age grouping between 25 to 54 years before dropping to $34,247 for those over 55 years of age. The highest median employee income for skilled females was $42,952 for those aged 35 to 44 years.

The Australian Government’s skilled migration programme targets highly skilled migrants who use their skills and attributes to contribute directly to Australia’s economic, demographic and social wellbeing.

The Skilled stream allows for the entry of employer sponsored workers as well as those who qualify independently. Skilled migrants are generally well educated and have relatively high levels of English proficiency, even when emigrating from countries where English is a second language. Proficiency in English can also be an important enabler to gaining employment in the labour market.

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