The Philippines has emerged as an important economic hub in the South-East Asia region on the back of robust domestic consumption, developing manufacturing and services sectors, and healthy remittance flows from overseas Filipino workers. Migrant remittances contribute, on average, around 10 per cent to its gross domestic product (GDP).
The economy has recovered from the global financial crisis with GDP growth averaging 6 per cent over the period 2011 to 2014. Despite the recent economic strength, incongruities and challenges still exist: poverty levels remain high, infrastructure is poor and life expectancy is low compared to other countries in the region. GDP per capita in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms is just over one-sixth of Australia’s.
These economic factors have contributed to the Philippines having one of the world’s largest diasporas, with an estimated 12 million Filipinos living overseas. Filipinos remain one of the fastest growing migrant communities in Australia.
At the end of June 2014, 225,110 Philippine-born people were living in Australia, 59 per cent more than at 30 June 2006. This is the fifth largest migrant community in Australia, equivalent to 3.4 per cent of Australia’s overseas-born population and 1.0 per cent of Australia’s total population.
For Australia’s Philippine-born migrants:
- The median age of 39.5 years was 2.1 years above that of the general population.
- Females substantially outnumbered males—61 per cent compared with 39 per cent.
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.
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 Regional ||836||384||315||258||-18.1||-69.1|
| Skilled Independent ||1,029||1,095||1,824||2,107||15.5||104.8|
Skilled migration (non-points tested)|
|Business Innovation and Investment||0|| < 5|| < 5|| < 5||-50.0||n/a|
| Distinguished Talent|| < 5||0|| < 5|| < 5||50.0||0.0|
| Employer Sponsored||6,583||4,736||3,464||4,640||33.9||-29.5|
Total: Skilled visa grants||
| Skilled visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)||70.0||64.0||62.2||68.3||n/a||n/a|
| Other Family||84||101||55||43||-21.8||-48.8|
Total: Family visa grants||
| Family visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)||29.8||35.5||37.6||31.4||n/a||n/a|
| Special Eligibility||17||52||15||27||80.0||58.8|
Total: Permanent migrants||
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 the Philippines.
| Temporary visa category|| 2011–12|| 2012–13|| 2013–14|| 2014–15|| Per cent change|
on previous year
| Per cent change|
for the period
|English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students||76||69||52||31||-40.4||-59.2|
| Vocational Education and Training||1,959||2,454||3,169||2,697||-14.9||37.7|
| Higher Education||1,346||2,039||2,450||2,778||13.4||106.4|
|Foreign Affairs or Defence||276||331||265||316||19.2||14.5|
Total: International Student visa grants||
|Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)||9,167||8,000||5,465||5,084||-7.0||-44.5|
Total: Visitor visa grants||
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 Philippine nationals for Points Tested Skilled Migration outcomes and Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) grants.
| Period|| Temporary Work
| No. of migrants|| Points Tested Skilled Migration|| No. of migrants|
|Registered nurses||271||Registered nurses||863|
|Structural steel and welding trades workers||185||Software and applications programmers||166|
|Skilled meat workers||164||Accountants||107|
|Motor mechanics||110||ICT business and systems analysts||75|
|Software and applications programmers||100||Industrial, mechanical and production engineers||51|
|Cooks||96||Computer network professionals||50|
|Livestock farmers||61||Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers||42|
|Marine transport professionals||60||Civil engineering professionals||27|
|Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians||60||Medical technicians||21|
|ICT business and systems analysts||48||Other engineering professionals||19|
|Registered nurses||364||Registered nurses||556|
|Skilled meat workers||168||Software and applications programmers||163|
|Structural steel and welding trades workers||149||Accountants||122|
|Motor mechanics||135||Industrial, mechanical and production engineers||54|
|Cooks||113||ICT business and systems analysts||44|
|Software and applications programmers||107||Computer network professionals||39|
|Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians||100||Cooks||34|
|Human resource professionals||64||Civil engineering professionals||30|
|ICT business and systems analysts||55||Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers||25|
|Telecommunications trades workers||44||Contract, program and project administrators||21|
|Registered nurses||526||Software and applications programmers||160|
|Structural steel and welding trades workers||510||Registered nurses||144|
|Skilled meat workers||184||Cooks||52|
|Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians||160||ICT business and systems analysts||51|
|Metal fitters and machinists||143||Civil engineering professionals||33|
|Cooks||106||Industrial, mechanical and production engineers||31|
|Software and applications programmers||77||Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers||22|
|Electrical distribution trades workers||75||Computer network professionals||22|
|Painting trades workers||65||Electronics engineers||21|
|Structural steel and welding trades workers||768||Accountants||256|
|Registered nurses||475||Software and applications programmers||166|
|Motor mechanics||426||Registered nurses||91|
|Sheetmetal trades workers||204||Industrial, mechanical and production engineers||57|
|Telecommunications technical specialists||201||ICT business and systems analysts||49|
|Metal fitters and machinists||188||Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers||34|
|Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians||186||Cooks||30|
|Chefs||138||Civil engineering professionals||29|
|Skilled meat workers||113||Other engineering professionals||26|
|Software and applications programmers||101||Electronics engineers||20|
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 (%)|| NSW|| Vic.|| Qld|| SA|| WA|| Tas.|| NT|| ACT|
|Proportion of all persons counted in the Census - 2011||32||25||20||7||10||2||1||2|
|Proportion of Philippine-born counted in the Census - 2011||41||22||17||5||10||1||2||1|
Permanent additions -2014–15 (%)
|Skill stream (primary)||38||30||8||8||11||0||2||2|
|Skill stream (dependent)||26||20||13||7||29||0||2||2|
Temporary entrants -2014–15 (%)|
|Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) (primary)||17||10||19||5||41||0||7||1|
Permanent departures (%)|
|All Philippine-born permanent residents||43||19||20||4||11||1||2||1|
This table uses rankings to show the significance of Filipino migration for the past four financial years.
| Ranked position of migrants|| 2011–12|| 2012–13|| 2013–14|| 2014–15|
|Population in Australia||7||6||6||5|
|Points Tested Skilled Migration||8||8||5||5|
|Total Skill stream||4||4||4||4|
|Total Family stream||4||4||4||4|
|Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)||4||4||6||5|