Australia has a substantial relationship with the United Kingdom (UK) that is underpinned by a shared heritage, common values, closely aligned strategic outlook and interests. Australia and the UK are frequent and regular dialogue partners at the highest levels across government and are like-minded on pressing global issues, including international security and multilateral cooperation. There are also long-standing trade and investment relations and benefits from extensive people-to-people links.
In 2014 Australia and the UK had similar per capita gross domestic product (GDP) on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis. UK's GDP grew from 1.7 per cent in 2013 to 2.6 per cent in 2014, accelerating unexpectedly because of greater consumer spending and a recovering housing market.
Employment opportunities in Australia are viewed favourably by UK emigrants. UK emigrants are also likely to be attracted to Australia by the lifestyle, climate, family networks and similarities in culture. Australia is the number one destination for UK emigrants with UK-born people comprising Australia's largest migrant community. The UK is also Australia's second-largest source of visitors.
At the end of June 2014, 1.22 million UK-born people were living in Australia, 7.4 per cent more than at 30 June 2006. This makes it the largest migrant community in Australia, equivalent to 18.5 per cent of Australia's overseas-born population and 5.2 per cent of Australia's total population.
For Australia's UK-born migrants:
- Their median age of 54.4 years was 17.1 years above that of the general population.
- Males outnumbered females—51 per cent compared with 49 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 migration (non-points tested)|
|Business Innovation and Investment||256||113||50||43||-14.0||-83.2|
Total: Skilled visa grants||
|Skilled visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)||77.0||73.8||77.1||77.1||n/a||n/a|
|Other Family||9||89||43|| < 5||-97.7||-88.9|
Total: Family visa grants||
|Family visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)||22.7||26.0||22.7||22.7||n/a||n/a|
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 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 the United Kingdom.
|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||5||< 5||< 5||9||125.0||80.0|
|Vocational Education and Training||1,282||1,415||1,554||1,733||11.5||35.2|
|Foreign Affairs or Defence||5||< 5||< 5||< 5||50.0||-40.0|
Total: International Student visa grants||
|Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)||28,733||24,147||16,708||14,729||-11.8||-48.7|
Total: Visitor visa grants||
Working Holiday Maker Programme|
Total: Working Holiday 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 UK nationals for Points Tested Skilled Migration outcomes and Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) grants.
|No. of migrants||Points Tested Skilled Migration ||No. of migrants|
| ||General practitioners and resident medical officers||782||Registered nurses||313|
| ||Advertising and marketing professionals||541||Accountants||174|
| ||Human resource professionals||483||Generalist medical practitioners||147|
|||Management and organisation analysts||292||Secondary school teachers||138|
| ||Advertising, public relations and sales managers||284||Electricians||130|
| ||Registered nurses||214||Other medical practitioners||126|
| ||University lecturers and tutors||174||Carpenters and joiners||110|
| ||Cafe and restaurant managers||170||Software and applications programmers||85|
| ||Carpenters and joiners||168||Other engineering professionals||73|
| ||Call or contact centre and customer service managers||161||Dental practitioners||65|
| ||General practitioners and resident medical officers||802||Registered nurses||329|
| ||Advertising and marketing professionals||525||Accountants||213|
|||Human resource professionals||353||Generalist medical practitioners||178|
| ||Registered nurses||336||Secondary school teachers||160|
| ||Advertising, public relations and sales managers||303||Electricians||123|
| ||Management and organisation analysts||272||Civil engineering professionals||109|
| ||Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians||263||Carpenters and joiners||99|
| ||Accountants||202||Other medical practitioners||95|
| ||Call or contact centre and customer service managers||200||Software and applications programmers||94|
| ||University lecturers and tutors||191||Dental practitioners||58|
| ||General practitioners and resident medical officers||925||Accountants||243|
|||Registered nurses||752||Registered nurses||192|
| ||Advertising and marketing professionals||615||Secondary school teachers||172|
| ||Human resource professionals||545||Generalist medical practitioners||124|
| ||Contract, program and project administrators||531||Software and applications programmers||117|
| ||Other specialist managers||521||Electricians||116|
| ||Mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians||317||Carpenters and joiners||94|
| ||Motor mechanics||317||Other medical practitioners||88|
| ||Advertising, public relations and sales managers||316||Civil engineering professionals||87|
| ||Management and organisation analysts||305||ICT business and systems analysts||85|
|||General practitioners and resident medical officers||878||Carpenters and joiners||250|
| ||Registered nurses||772||Accountants||234|
| ||Other specialist managers||751||Registered nurses||226|
| ||Human resource professionals||723||Electricians||223|
| ||Civil engineering professionals||619||Software and applications programmers||161|
| ||Advertising and marketing professionals||599||Plumbers||136|
| ||Contract, program and project administrators||579||Secondary school teachers||134|
| ||Geologists, geophysicists and hydrogeologists||415||Bricklayers and stonemasons||125|
| ||Management and organisation analysts||387||Metal fitters and machinists||116|
| ||Advertising, public relations and sales managers||365||Hairdressers||112|
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.
|Proportion of all persons counted in the Census - 2011||32||25||20||7||10||2||1||2|
|Proportion of UK-born counted in the Census - 2011||25||19||19||11||21||2||1||1|
Permanent additions - 2014–15 (%)|
|Skill stream (primary)||24||15||17||8||33||0||2||1|
|Skill stream (dependent)||17||15||19||9||36||0||2||2|
Temporary entrants - 2014–15 (%)|
|Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) (primary)||38||20||12||2||24||0||2||1|
Permanent departures (%)|
|All UK-born permanent residents||32||17||21||5||22||1||1||1|
This table uses rankings to show the significance of UK migration for the past four financial years.
|Ranked position of migrants||2011–12||2012–13||2013–14||2014–15|
|Population in Australia||1||1||1||1|
|Points Tested Skilled Migration||2||3||3||4|
|Total Skill stream||2||3||2||3|
|Total Family stream||2||3||3||3|
|Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)||1||2||2||2|