Vietnam has experienced rapid economic growth since the 1990s, as it made the transition from agrarian to industry-based activities and from a centrally planned to a market-based, export focussed economy. Vietnam is classified as a low middle-income country based on its gross domestic product per capita, with the average Vietnamese having an income one-eighth of the average Australian, on a purchasing power parity basis.
Given this, economic opportunity is a significant driver for Vietnamese emigrants who may seek to increase their personal and family income in countries such as Australia. Australia is the second most common destination for Vietnamese migrants. Today, the Vietnam-born represent the sixth-largest migrant community in Australia. Vietnam's economic transformation has resulted in increased demand for education and training services and it ranks third as a source of Australia's international student cohort.
At the end of June 2014, 223,180 Vietnam-born people were living in Australia, 20 per cent more than at 30 June 2006. This is 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 Vietnam-born migrants:
- The median age of 44.5 years was 7.2 years above that of the general Australian population.
- Females outnumbered males—53 per cent compared with 47 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||79||150||130||167||28.5||111.4|
|Distinguished Talent|| < 5|| < 5|| < 5|| < 5||0.0||0.0|
Total: Skilled visa grants||
|Skilled visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)||22.4||29.8||29.1||31.7||n/a||n/a|
Total: Family visa grants||
|Family visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)||77.2||69.6||70.8||68.0||n/a||n/a|
|Special Eligibility||20||31|| < 5||14||250.0||-30.0|
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 Vietnam.
Permanent visa stream/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||157||124||116||83||-28.4||-47.1|
|Vocational Education and Training||925||869||1,098||913||-16.8||-1.3|
|Foreign Affairs or Defence||688||649||684||661||-3.4||-3.9|
Total: International Student visa grants||
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 Vietnamese 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|
| ||Skilled meat workers||60||Accountants||205|
| ||Cafe and restaurant managers||44||Software and applications programmers||68|
| ||Cooks||40||Registered nurses||43|
| ||Accountants||38||Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers||41|
| ||University lecturers and tutors||26||Civil engineering professionals||16|
| ||Bakers and pastrycooks||25||ICT business and systems analysts||16|
| ||Retail managers||21||Computer network professionals||12|
| ||Advertising and marketing professionals||18||University lecturers and tutors||12|
| ||Software and applications programmers||11||Industrial, mechanical and production engineers||11|
| ||Ministers of religion||9||Other engineering professionals||9|
| ||Cafe and restaurant managers||37||Software and applications programmers||55|
| ||University lecturers and tutors||27||Registered nurses||29|
| ||Skilled meat workers||21||Hairdressers||20|
| ||Retail managers||21||Civil engineering professionals||16|
| ||Software and applications programmers||21||Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers||11|
| ||Bakers and pastrycooks||20||Computer network professionals||11|
| ||Advertising and marketing professionals||15||Secondary school teachers||11|
| ||Massage therapists||12||Architects and landscape architects||9|
| ||Skilled meat workers||175||Accountants||111|
| ||Cafe and restaurant managers||33||Cooks||42|
| ||Accountants||31||Software and applications programmers||41|
| ||University lecturers and tutors||27||Pharmacists||16|
| ||Bakers and pastrycooks||21||Registered nurses||12|
| ||Software and applications programmers||14||Bakers and pastrycooks||8|
| ||Advertising and marketing professionals||13||Other engineering professionals||7|
| ||Contract, program and project administrators||11||Other information and organisation professionals||7|
| ||Ministers of religion||10||Civil engineering professionals||6|
| ||University lecturers and tutors||25||Accountants||125|
| ||Bakers and pastrycooks||20||Software and applications programmers||75|
| ||Cooks||18||ICT business and systems analysts||20|
| ||Ministers of religion||13||Hairdressers||8|
| ||Contract, program and project administrators||13||Industrial, mechanical and production engineers||8|
| ||Cafe and restaurant managers||11||Registered nurses||8|
| ||Advertising and marketing professionals||11||Chemists, and food and wine scientists||7|
| ||Software and applications programmers||10||Civil engineering professionals||7|
| ||Crop farmers||9||Other engineering professionals||6|
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 Vietnam-born counted in the Census – 2011 (%)||39||37||9||6||7||0||0||2|
Permanent additions - 2014–15 (%)|
|Skill stream (primary)||29||40||10||13||5||0||2||1|
|Skill stream (dependent)||27||45||6||13||5||1||2||1|
Temporary entrants - 2014–15 (%)|
|Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) (primary)||37||28||13||4||14||0||2||2|
Permanent departures (%)|
|All Vietnam-born permanent residents||54||25||8||3||7||0||0||2|
This table uses rankings to show the significance of Vietnamese migration for the past four financial years.
Ranked position of migrants||2011–12||2012–13||2013–14||2014–15|
|Population in Australia||5||5||5||6|
|Points Tested Skilled Migration||18||20||15||14|
|Total Skill stream||19||15||15||15|
|Total Family stream||5||5||5||5|
|Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)||25||18||19||18|