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Country profile - India

The Indian economy covers a diverse range of sectors from subsistence agriculture through to modern manufacturing and information technology. Much of India's increased economic engagement with the rest of the world in recent years has been driven by growth in the services sector. While the Indian economy is still one of the world's fastest growing economies on purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, the overall growth of the Indian economy has slowed to a decade low in 2014. The reduction in the Indian current account deficit and an improvement by western economies has resulted in more foreign investment in India and a rise in the rupee.

Income levels in India are also low by international standards. Despite the presence of a large and well-educated middle class, the average Indian has an income around 10 per cent of the average Australian. Economic opportunity therefore provides the biggest incentive for Indian emigrants, and skilled workers are attracted to countries such as Australia, which offer high living standards and have established Indian communities.

Population

At the end of June 2014, 397,180 Indian-born people were living in Australia, more than double the number at 30 June 2006. This makes the Indian-born population the fourth largest migrant community in Australia, equivalent to 6.0 per cent of Australia's overseas born population and 1.7 per cent of Australia's total population.

For Australia's Indian-born migrants:

  • The median age of 33.2 years was 4.1 years below that of the general population.
  • Males significantly outnumbered females—54 per cent compared with 46 per cent.

Permanent migration

Australia's permanent Migration Programme incorporates economic and family reunion migration and is the main pathway to permanent residence. The only other way for migrants to obtain permanent residence is to be accepted into Australia on humanitarian grounds. The Migration Programme is based on non-discriminatory principles relating to nationality, gender and religion. People who meet the criteria set out in the Migration Act 1958 can apply to migrate.

Permanent migration refers to the number of outcomes granted in any given year, without taking into account whether the visa recipient actually arrived and settled in Australia.  Skilled migration focuses on facilitating the permanent entry of those who can make a positive contribution to Australia through their skills, qualifications, entrepreneurial spirit and employment potential.  Family migration facilitates the entry of close family members of Australian citizens, permanent residents and eligible New Zealand citizens. The programme is currently dominated by partners and dependent children, but also provides options for other family members, such as Carers, Parents and Aged Dependent Relatives.

The following table shows the size and composition of the skilled and family migration categories from 2011–12 to 2014–15.

Migration category 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 Per cent change 
on previous year
Per cent change
for the period
Skilled migration (points tested)
Skilled Regional2,575 2,783 1,853 923 -50.2 -64.2
Skilled Independent10,064 14,970 13,874 11,165 -19.5 10.9
State/Territory Nominated4,386 7,059 8,841 8,202 -7.2 87.0
Skilled migration (non-points tested)
Business Innovation and Investment64 48 40 48 20.0 -25.0
Distinguished Talent < 5 10 7  < 5 -71.4 -50.0
Employer Sponsored6,419 8,645 8,104 8,260 1.9 28.7
Total: Skilled visa grants 23,512 33,515 32,719 28,600 -12.6 21.6
Skilled visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)81.0 83.7 83.8 82.0 n/a n/a
Family migration
Child263 397 362 407 12.4 54.8
Partner4,468 5,389 5,175 5,233 1.1 17.1
Parent737 663 745 621 -16.6 -15.7
Other Family21 49 13  < 5 -92.3 -95.2
Total: Family visa grants 5,489 6,498 6,295 6,262 -0.5 14.1
Family visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)18.9 16.2 16.1 18.0 n/a n/a
Special Eligibility17 38 12 12 0.0 -29.4
Total: Permanent migrants 29,018 40,051 39,026 34,874 -10.6 20.2

Temporary migration

Depending on the purpose and duration of their visit, people can come to Australia on a Visitor visa, or through another appropriate temporary visa.  Temporary visas are designed for specific purposes, for example, study, working holidays or other specialist activities. Temporary residents are required to pay taxes on income earned in Australia and do not normally have access to public welfare and might not have access to public health programmes.

The Student visa programme consists of a range of visa categories that broadly correspond to education sectors. Students must study with an education provider and in a course registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. The subclass 457 visa programme allows Australian employers to sponsor foreign workers for employment in management, professional, technical and skilled trades' positions. The programme is demand-driven and highly responsive to Australian labour market conditions. Visitor visas are mostly used by people visiting Australia for holidays, recreation, or to see family and friends. People might also use Visitor visas for certain short-term business activities.

The following table shows the size and composition of the Student visa programme, Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) and Visitors from India.

Temporary visa category 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 Per cent change
on previous year
Per cent change
for the period
International Students
English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students79 46 39 34 -12.8 -57.0
Schools39 56 112 117 4.5 200.0
Vocational Education and Training23,204 12,407 9,518 5,928 -37.7 -74.5
Higher Education9,748 11,648 23,796 22,826 -4.1 134.2
Postgraduate Research516 479 535 546 2.1 5.8
Non-Award119 115 103 101 -1.9 -15.1
Foreign Affairs or Defence59 57 27 21 -22.2 -64.4
Total: International Student visa grants 33,764 24,808 34,130 29,573 -13.4 -12.4
Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)22,078 27,211 24,521 25,244 2.9 14.3
Visitors
Tourist93,487 105,828 129,048 151,576 17.5 62.1
Business visitor26,467 27,750 22,361 23,768 6.3 -10.2
Medical Treatment101 71 69 58 -15.9 -42.6
Total: Visitor visa grants 120,055 133,649 151,478 175,402 15.8 46.1

Main occupations

There are a wide variety of occupations that potential migrants can nominate for, which are acceptable for permanent and temporary skilled migration to Australia. The following table shows the main occupations for Indian nationals for Points Tested Skilled Migration outcomes and Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) grants.

Period Temporary Work
(Skilled) visa
 (subclass 457)
No. of migrants Points Tested Skilled Migration No. of migrants
 2014–15
 Software and applications programmers 4,253 Software and applications programmers 2,629
 ICT business and systems analysts 1,469 ICT business and systems analysts 950
 Cooks 1,081 Registered nurses 689
 ICT support and test engineers 600 Accountants 638
 ICT managers 589 Computer network professionals 371
 Cafe and restaurant managers 533 Industrial, mechanical and production engineers 294
 Management and organisation analysts 293 Cooks 286
 Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists 253 Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists 233
 Motor mechanics 245 Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers 141
 Registered nurses 213 Other engineering professionals 141
2013–14
 Software and applications programmers 3,301 Software and applications programmers 2,661
 Cooks 1,428 Cooks 2,354
 ICT business and systems analysts 1,238 Accountants 868
 Cafe and restaurant managers 578 ICT business and systems analysts 619
 ICT support and test engineers 512 Registered nurses 610
 ICT managers 499 Welfare, recreation and community arts workers 562
 Registered nurses 434 Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists 446
 Call or contact centre and customer service managers 313 Computer network professionals 374
 Motor mechanics 283 Industrial, mechanical and production engineers 304
 Management and organisation analysts 218 Hairdressers 256
2012–13
 Software and applications programmers 3,632 Cooks 2,851
 Cooks 1,564 Software and applications programmers 2,850
 ICT business and systems analysts 1,498 ICT business and systems analysts 1,246
 Registered nurses 871 Accountants 1,026
 ICT managers 564 Welfare, recreation and community arts workers 975
 ICT support and test engineers 562 Hairdressers 372
 Cafe and restaurant managers 502 Industrial, mechanical and production engineers 261
 Call or contact centre and customer service managers 410 Computer network professionals 227
 Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists 390 Registered nurses 214
 Management and organisation analysts 287 Bakers and pastrycooks 204
2011–12
 Software and applications programmers 4,354 Software and applications programmers 2,482
 ICT business and systems analysts 1,176 Cooks 1,399
 Registered nurses 1,088 Accountants 1,242
 Cooks 659 ICT business and systems analysts 898
 ICT managers 536 Metal fitters and machinists 417
 ICT support and test engineers 497 Welfare, recreation and community arts workers 272
 Management and organisation analysts 357 Industrial, mechanical and production engineers 270
 Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists 351 Electronics engineers 190
 General practitioners and resident medical officers 261 Motor mechanics 182
 Contract, program and project administrators 143 Registered nurses 179

Geographic distribution

The following table shows the geographic distribution of migrants, based on permanent additions, international students, Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) and permanent departures.

Permanent additions are the sum of those granted a permanent residency visa while in Australia, and those granted a visa through an Australian mission abroad, who have entered Australia during the respective reporting period.

Population (%)NSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACT
Proportion of all persons counted in the Census - 2011322520710212
Proportion of India-born counted in the Census - 2011323810610012
Permanent additions - 2014–15 (%)
Skill stream (primary)36 33 7 11 9 0 1 3
Skill stream (dependent)34 32 7 13 9 0 1 3
Family stream29 38 12 5 13 1 1 2
Temporary entrants - 2014–15 (%)
International students26 41 16 6 9 1 0 1
Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) (primary)40 30 12 3 12 0 1 1
Permanent departures (%)
All India-born permanent residents38 30 12 3 13 1 0 3

Country ranking of Indian migration

This table uses rankings to show the significance of Indian migration for the past four financial years.

Ranked position of migrants2011–122012–132013–142014–15
Population in Australia4 4 4 4
Points Tested Skilled Migration1 1 1 1
Employer Sponsored3 2 2 2
Total Skill stream1 1 1 1
Total Family stream3 2 2 2
International students2 2 2 2
Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)2 1 1 1
Visitors10 9 8 8