About Us

Country profile - Myanmar

Myanmar is a resource-rich country that is situated in a region of strong economic growth, bordering India, China and Thailand. Although Myanmar’s economy has been growing steadily over the past few years, it remains one of the poorest countries in the South-East Asia region, particularly in rural areas. Poor economic policy and decades of isolation has meant that one-third of the country’s population is living in poverty. A more democratic government have enabled the easing of western sanctions, and with a large young labour force, Myanmar has the potential for sustained economic development.

Australia has increased its aid programme to Myanmar – and its bilateral engagement more generally – since 2011 in the interests of supporting growth and stability in the region. Australia also provides humanitarian assistance to Myanmar through its Humanitarian Programme, through which the majority of Myanmar nationals arrive in Australia.

Population

At the end of June 2014, 29,300 Myanmar−born people were living in Australia, 105 per cent more than at 30 June 2006. This makes the Myanmar-born population equivalent to 0.4 per cent of Australia’s overseas born population and 0.1 per cent of Australia’s total population.

For Australia’s Myanmar-born migrants:

  • The median age of 39.6 years was 2.2 years above that of the general population.
  • Females and males were equally represented.

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 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.

Australia’s Humanitarian Programme is an important part of the country’s contribution to the international protection of refugees. It is designed to ensure Australia can respond effectively to global humanitarian situations and that support services are available to meet the specific needs of these entrants.

The following table shows the size and composition of the humanitarian, 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

Humanitarian Programme
Offshore resettlement component1,856 2,351 1,819 2,029 11.5 9.3
Onshore protection component30 16 12 14 16.7 -53.3
Total: Humanitarian visa grants 1,886 2,367 1,831 2,043 n/a n/a
Humanitarian visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)80.9 84.6 81.7 86.5 n/a n/a
Skilled migration (points tested)
Skilled Regional40 16 < 10 < 10 -66.7 -95.0
Skilled Independent83 87 84 68 -19.0 -18.1
State/Territory Nominated31 47 36 31 -13.9 0.0
Skilled migration (non-points tested)
Business Innovation and Investment< 100  < 10 < 10100.0 20.0
Distinguished Talent0  < 10 0 0 n/a n/a
Employer Sponsored87 57 33 38 15.2 -56.3
Total: Skilled visa grants 246 208 162 145 -10.5 -41.1
Skilled visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)10.5 7.4 7.2 6.1 n/a n/a
Family migration
Child10 15 11 < 10-18.2 -10.0
Partner150 178 190 151 -20.5 0.7
Parent18 19 31 14 -54.8 -22.2
Other Family15 < 1015 0 -100.0 -100.0
Total: Family visa grants 193 221 247 174 -29.6 -9.8
Family visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)8.3 7.9 11.0 7.4 n/a n/a
Special Eligibility
Special Eligibility< 10 < 10  < 10  < 10 -50.0 -85.7
Total: Permanent migrants 2,332 2,797 2,242 2,363 5.4 1.3

Temporary migration

Depending on the purpose and duration of their visit, people can come to Australia on a Visitor visa, or through an other 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 may 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 Myanmar.

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 Students< 10 < 10< 10< 10 -42.9 0.0
Schools< 10 < 1019 < 10-57.9 166.7
Vocational Education and Training75 72 41 38 -7.3 -49.3
Higher Education255 310 364 359 -1.4 40.8
Postgraduate Research14 11 < 1015 66.7 7.1
Non-Award< 10 < 10 < 10 < 10 100.0 100.0
Foreign Affairs or Defence23 77 105 151 43.8 > 200
Total: International Student visa grants 376 491 547 579 5.9 54.0
Temporary Work
(Skilled) visa
(subclass 457)
0 98 90 102 13.3 n/a
Visitors
Tourist1,265 1,741 2,309 2,737 18.5 116.4
Business visitor396 665 665 818 23.0 106.6
Medical Treatment< 10 13 < 10< 100.0 > 200 
Total: Visitor visa grants 1,663 2,419 2,983 3,564 19.5 114.3

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 Myanmar 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
 General practitioners and resident medical officers 41 Other medical practitioners 14
 Other medical practitioners < 10Registered nurses 14
 Accountants < 10 Accountants < 10
 Electrical engineers < 10 Generalist medical practitioners < 10
 Industrial, mechanical and production engineers < 10 Software and applications programmers < 10
 Specialist physicians < 10 Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers < 10
 Software and applications programmers < 10 Industrial, mechanical and production engineers < 10
 Electrical engineering draftspersons and technicians < 10 Computer network professionals < 10
 Mining engineers < 10 Electronic engineering draftspersons and technicians < 10
 Other engineering professionals < 10 Anaesthetists < 10
2013–14
 General practitioners and resident medical officers 43 Generalist medical practitioners 17
 Other medical practitioners < 10 Software and applications programmers 14
 Electrical engineers < 10 Other medical practitioners 12
 Accountants < 10 Registered nurses 11
 Industrial, mechanical and production engineers < 10 Accountants < 10
 Mining engineers < 10 Health and welfare services managers < 10
 University lecturers and tutors < 10 Electrical engineers < 10
 Cafe and restaurant managers < 10 Industrial, mechanical and production engineers < 10
 Software and applications programmers < 10 Database and systems administrators, and ICT security specialists < 10
 Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians < 10 Medical laboratory scientists < 10
2012–13
 General practitioners and resident medical officers 27 Other medical practitioners 24
 Other specialist managers < 10 Generalist medical practitioners 19
 Electrical engineering draftspersons and technicians < 10 Registered nurses 11
 Other medical practitioners < 10 Accountants 10
 Civil engineering professionals < 10 Software and applications programmers < 10
 Ministers of religion < 10 Cooks < 10
 Gardeners < 10 Industrial, mechanical and production engineers < 10
 Other personal service workers < 10 ICT business and systems analysts < 10
 Corporate services managers < 10 Welfare, recreation and community arts workers < 10
 Engineering managers < 10 Advertising and marketing professionals < 10
2011–12
 General practitioners and resident medical officers 45 Generalist medical practitioners 19
 Accountants < 10 Software and applications programmers 17
 Other engineering professionals < 10 Accountants 13
 Advertising and marketing professionals < 10 Other medical practitioners 13
 Mining engineers < 10 Registered nurses < 10
 Other medical practitioners < 10 ICT business and systems analysts < 10
 Registered nurses < 10 Welfare, recreation and community arts workers < 10
 Ministers of religion < 10 Architects and landscape architects < 10
 Research and development managers < 10 Computer network professionals < 10
 Cafe and restaurant managers < 10 Cooks < 10

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 Myanmar-born counted in the Census - 201124269334112
Permanent additions - 2014–15 (%)
Humanitarian Programme11 55 11 8 13 1 0 1
Skill stream (primary)28 16 13 3 22 0 9 9
Skill stream (dependent)16 25 13 6 28 0 9 3
Family stream30 31 8 3 24 1 0 2
Temporary entrants - 2014–15 (%)
International students40 32 8 6 10 0 0 4
Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) (primary)17 12 28 2 27 3 10 0
Permanent departures (%)
All Myanmar-born permanent residents39 26 16 0 15 0 0 3

Country ranking

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

Ranked position of migrants2011–122012–132013–142014–15
Population in Australia46 46 45 45
Points Tested Skilled Migration37 38 39 45
Employer Sponsored41 50 63 61
Total Skill stream42 42 47 51
Total Family stream43 40 40 46
International students57 55 53 53
Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)169 64 63 60
Visitors73 61 60 58