The statistical information on this site may not be the latest. For the most up to date information visit the ABS website abs.gov.au

This is not the latest release View the latest release

Personal Income of Migrants, Australia

Statistics on personal income of migrants including employee income, own unincorporated business income, investment income and other income

Released
27/07/2017

Key statistics

  • 1.4 million migrant taxpayers generated $84 billion in total personal income in 2013-14, a 7 per cent increase in real terms on 2012-13.
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) were skilled migrants; 29% family migrants, 5% humanitarian migrants and less than 3% held a provisional visa.
  • Most income (90 %) was earned as employee income.
  • The migrant taxpayers' median employee income ($48,400) was higher than the median employee income for all Australian taxpayers ($45,700).

Introduction

This release presents detailed information on the sources of personal income that migrants received in the 2013-14 financial year including;

  • Employee income;
  • Own unincorporated business income;
  • Investment income; and
  • Other income (excluding Government pensions and allowances).
     

The personal income of these migrants is presented by characteristics such as the migrant's entry conditions to Australia (i.e. visa stream, applicant status and location of visa application) as well as country of birth, year of arrival and length of stay. This is the fourth release of data from the Personal Income Tax and Migrants Integrated Dataset (PITMID) project. Previous releases presented data for the 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 financial years. A separate publication for the 2012-13 financial year has not been released though data for this financial year has been included in time series tables for this publication.

These statistics relate to migrants aged 15 years and over, with a permanent or provisional visa who arrived after 1 January 2000.

This release contains a number of data tables showing the various financial characteristics of permanent migrants, across and within the Skill, Family, Humanitarian and Provisional visa streams. In addition, this release presents three case studies: one on migrant taxpayers born in Sri Lanka, and one each on those holding a Family or a Humanitarian visa. In 2013-14, Sri Lanka was among the top ten most common countries of birth for all Permanent and Provisional visa streams except the Family stream. Whilst there has been an increase from 2012-13 to 2013-14 in the number of migrant taxpayers submitting an income tax return and in the amount of income reported, the proportions of migrants in each of the visa streams and the proportions of income attributed to them has remained relatively stable.

The 2013-14 PITMID has been developed with the support of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and the Department of Social Services (DSS). This initiative demonstrates the power of data sharing and integration in strengthening the evidence base to support stronger policy development, programme delivery and research.

Approach

These statistics have been compiled by linking individual taxpayer unit record data from the ATO and migrant settlement records from the Australian Government's Permanent Migrant Data (PMD). Legislative requirements to ensure privacy and secrecy of this data have been adhered to. In accordance with the Census and Statistics Act 1905, results have been confidentialised to ensure that they are not likely to enable identification of a particular person or organisation. Both the ATO and the ABS handle personal information contained in the data in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act 1988.

The results of these studies are based, in part, on tax data supplied by the ATO to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) under the Taxation Administration Act 1953, which requires that such data is only used for the purpose of administering the Census and Statistics Act 1905. Any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses is in the context of using the data for statistical purposes, and is not related to the ability of the data to support the ATO's core operational requirements.

Data provided to the ABS by the ATO are from taxation returns processed up to 16 months after the end of the financial year (i.e. returns processed up to 31 October 2015 for the financial year ending 30 June 2014).

When interpreting these results, it should be noted that for the purposes of providing statistical measures for the entire population, the ATO database has some limits to its coverage. Persons who receive an income below the tax-free threshold ($18,200 in 2013-14) are not necessarily required to lodge a tax return and this can include people who derive their income from government pensions and allowances. In addition, some Australian Government pension, benefit and allowance payments are exempt from income tax and therefore recipients are not required to include this income in their taxation returns. Consequently, the coverage of all low income earners is incomplete and Government pensions and allowances are excluded from the data presented in this publication. Sources and methods for including more complete Government pensions and allowances information from other administrative DSS datasets are being considered for future iterations of this project.

Changes in income from previous years (2009-10 to 2012-13) are presented in 'real terms' i.e. in 2013-14 dollars, adjusted using changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

It is also important to note that most references to the migrant population in this publication refer to migrant taxpayers, not the entire population of permanent migrants in Australia. Tables and graphs include data for only those migrants who had submitted a tax return.

Data on the personal income of migrants from the PITMID are unique and differ from the ATO statistics produced for the total Australian taxpayer population as well as the aggregate Personal Income Tax (PIT) statistics presented in Wage and Salary Earner Statistics for Small Areas (cat. no. 5673.0.55.003) and the Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas (cat. no. 6524.0.55.002) (see Explanatory Notes).

When presenting statistics on income created from unit record data such as the 2013-14 PITMID, the ABS uses medians which measure the midpoint of the data (as income data is usually skewed). In some cases, median income for the Australian taxpayer data is not available for comparison.

This release is also accompanied by a Glossary, Explanatory Notes and detailed Data Item List.

Overview of migrant taxpayers, 2013-14

Permanent migrants who have arrived since 2000

According to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) migration statistics, 2.2 million permanent visas were granted to migrants between 1 July 2000 and 30 June 2014 (DIBP, 2015). Although levels fluctuated from year to year throughout this period, migrants who entered Australia were predominantly from the Skill stream, representing almost two thirds of permanent migrants (60%). A further 31% were Family migrants and 9% were Humanitarian migrants.

Download
  1. Includes Visa stream "Special eligibility".

Source(s): Historical Migration Statistics, Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), 2015

Permanent migrant taxpayers

According to the 2013-14 Personal Income Tax and Migrants Integrated Dataset (PITMID):

  • Almost two-thirds of migrant taxpayers held a Skill stream visa (64%). A further 29% were Family stream migrants, 5% were Humanitarian migrants and less than 3% held a Provisional visa;
  • Migrant taxpayers reported $84 billion in total personal income in 2013-14, an increase of 7% on 2012-13. The majority share of this income was reported by Skill stream migrants (73%), followed by those in the Family stream (23%);
  • Most migrant taxpayers’ personal income was Employee income ($76 billion or 90%). This represented a 5.9% increase in real terms on this group's total Employee income in 2012-13; and
  • The number of migrant taxpayers in 2013-14 increased by 6.1% compared with migrant taxpayers in 2012-13.
     

Graph 2 shows that the proportion of migrant taxpayers by visa stream has remained fairly stable for the last five years.

Download
  1. Includes Visa stream "Other permanent" and "Unknown".

Table 1 - Migrant taxpayers, total income by visa stream, 2012-13 and 2013-14 (a)

 2012-13    2013-14     
 Persons Total income Median incomePersons Total income Median incomeChange in Median income
 No%$ million%$No%$ million%$%
Skill
868 387
64.2
57 603
73.3
52 306
911 500
63.5
61 001
72.9
52 892
1.1
Family
388 680
28.7
17 921
22.8
36 441
413 641
28.8
19 167
22.9
36 618
0.5
Humanitarian
64 050
4.7
2 188
2.8
29 615
71 627
5.0
2 478
3.0
30 277
2.2
Other permanent
1 016
0.1
54
0.1
44 645
1 056
0.1
55
0.1
42 494
-4.8
Provisional
31 201
2.3
860
1.1
23 860
37 440
2.6
999
1.2
22 568
-5.4
Total (b)
1 353 334
100.0
78 625
100.0
44 955
1 435 264
100.0
83 701
100.0
45 200
0.5
a. In real terms, i.e. income amounts from 2012-13 to 2013-14 are in 2013-14 dollars, adjusted using changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
b. Includes Visa stream "Unknown".

 

Median incomes of migrant taxpayers

  • The median Employee income of migrant taxpayers in 2013-14 was $48,400. This represented a 1.0% increase in real terms on median Employee income in 2012-13. The median Employee income of migrant taxpayers was higher than the median Employee income for all Australian taxpayers ($45,700).
  • Skill stream migrant taxpayers had the highest median Employee income at $55,400.
  • Humanitarian migrants and those who held a Provisional visa had the lowest median Employee incomes, with $34,000 and $22,800 respectively.
     
Download
  1. In real terms, i.e. income amounts from 2011-12 to 2013-14 are in 2013-14 dollars, adjusted using changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

In 2013-14, migrants with Other permanent visas recorded the highest median Business income ($16,000). Humanitarian migrants continued to have high median Business income in 2013-14 ($15,700) representing an increase of 12% on 2012-13.

Download
  1. In real terms, i.e. income amounts from 2011-12 to 2013-14 are in 2013-14 dollars, adjusted using changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Permanent and temporary residency status and income

Almost 70% of all permanent migrant taxpayers indicated that they had held a Temporary visa prior to becoming a permanent resident.

In terms of the individual visa streams:

  • Almost all migrant taxpayers with a Provisional visa held a Temporary visa prior to a permanent visa;
  • Almost three-quarters of Skill stream migrants held a Temporary visa prior to a permanent visa;
  • Almost two-thirds of Family stream migrants held a Temporary visa prior to a permanent visa; and
  • One in six Humanitarian migrants held a Temporary visa prior to a permanent visa.
     
Download
  1. Includes migrants who held a Provisional visa on arrival in Australia.

In terms of their median Employee income in 2013-14:

  • Family stream migrant taxpayers who previously held a Temporary visa experienced a positive effect on their median Employee income ($39,700 for those who had previously held a temporary visa compared with $35,900 for those who had not);
  • Skill stream migrant taxpayers who previously held a Temporary visa reported slightly higher median Employee income than those who were permanent residents on arrival ($53,500 compared with $52,600);
  • Prior residency status had little impact on the median Employee income of Humanitarian and Provisional migrants (differences of $200 or less); and
  • Only migrant taxpayers with an Other permanent visa who had previously held a Temporary visa reported a lower median Employee income than those who were permanent residents on arrival ($46,400 compared with $47,800).
     
Download
  1. Includes migrants who held a Provisional visa on arrival in Australia.

Notes

Income amounts from 2009-10 to 2013-14 are in 2013-14 dollars, adjusted using changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

In 2012-13, the Tax Free Threshold increased from $6,000 to $18,200. This may have an impact on median incomes reported from 2012-13 onwards.

Other income (excluding Government pensions and allowances) includes transfer or trust income; foreign investment fund and/or foreign life insurance assurance policy income (in 2009-10 only); controlled foreign company income; foreign salary/pension income; other net foreign source income; and other (including superannuation and annuity income). Data for superannuation and annuities are understated. See Explanatory Notes for more information.

References

Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), 2015, Historical migration statistics, Canberra.

Case study: Family migrants

The Family stream is one of the main components of Australia's Migration Programme, making up almost a third (30%) of all permanent residency visas granted under the Australian Government's Migration Programme and Humanitarian Programme in 2013-14 (DIBP, 2015). The Family stream allows Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens to bring their partner, children, parents or other close family members to live in Australia (DIBP, 2017). In addition to the personal benefits of family reunification, there are wider benefits for Australia with family members contributing to the Australian population, society and economy.

How much personal income did family migrants generate in 2013-14?

According to the Personal Income Tax and Migrants Integrated Dataset (PITMID), approximately 413,600 Family stream taxpayers generated $19 billion in Total income in 2013-14, an increase in real terms of 7% on the previous year.

Of Family stream taxpayers:

  • The majority (88%) held a Spouse or Fiancée visa. The remainder held Parent (6%), Other family (4%) and Child (2%) visas;
  • About two-thirds (64%) of these visas were granted offshore;
  • More than one-third were born in the United Kingdom (UK), China (excluding SARs and Taiwan) and India;
  • Migrants from the UK generated $4 billion in Total income;
  • Migrants from the UK had the highest median Total income in 2013-14 ($52,600); and
  • Over two-thirds were aged 25 to 44 years and those in this age group reported Total income of $14 billion.
     

Table 2 shows the increases in the personal income of Family migrant taxpayers from 2011-12 to 2013-14 in real terms.

Table 2 - Family migrant taxpayers, by source of income, 2011-12 to 2013-14 (a)
2011-12 Persons (No.)Income ($) million2012-13 Persons (No.)Income ($) million2013-14 Persons (No.)Income ($) million
Employee income249 80111 265342 57315 572343 39416 533
Business income41 09978955 3921 10661 2331 261
Investment income164 126613227 237960246 6031 038
Other income (b)(c)27 47520836 87528136 683335
Total income (c)279 29012 875388 68117 920413 64119 167
  1. In real terms, i.e. income amounts from 2011-12 to 2013-14 are in 2013-14 dollars, adjusted using changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  2. Includes Superannuation and annuities income.
  3. Excludes Government pensions and allowances.

Employee income

In 2013-14, Employee income was the most commonly reported source of income for Family migrants, with 83% of Family stream migrant taxpayers reporting income from this source. They accounted for 27% of all migrants who reported Employee income and reported 22% ($17 billion) of all Employee income by migrant taxpayers in 2013-14.

As shown in Table 3, most migrants in the Family stream who earned Employee income in 2013-14 were primary applicants (92%). These migrants earned $16 billion in total Employee income. A primary applicant or main applicant is generally the person whose skills or proposed activities in Australia are assessed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) as part of their visa application. A secondary applicant is a person whose visa was granted on the basis of being a family member (e.g. spouse, dependent child) of a person who qualified for a visa.

Table 3 - Family migrant taxpayers, number of migrants, total employee income and median employee income, by applicant status, 2013-14
Persons (No.)%Total Employee income ($) billion%Median Employee income ($)
Primary applicant316 69492.215.794.740 423
Secondary applicant26 7007.80.95.328 081
Total343 394100.016.5100.039 455


As shown in Graph 7B, men aged 35 to 44 years had the highest median Employee income at $62,900 of all Family stream migrants. Female employees outnumbered male employees in each age group, but generally had lower median Employee income than males. Whilst this difference was observed for all age groups, there are many inter-related factors in addition to sex that are known to influence and explain the observed differences in earnings between males and females. These factors include differing rates of labour market participation, variations in hours worked, occupations, forms of employment and working arrangements which impact upon the income males and females receive (ABS 2014).

Download
Download

In 2013-14,

  • almost a third of Family stream employees were employed as Labourers (15%) or Community and Personal Service workers (15%), with median Employee incomes of $29,400 and $29,600 respectively;
  • a fifth (20%) were employed as Professionals with a median Employee income of $61,600; and
  • men reported a higher median Employee income than women in all occupation groups.
     
Download
  1. Includes Occupation "Inadequately described".
Download

In terms of primary and secondary applicants in the Family stream:

  • the highest median Employee income was reported by Primary applicants working as Professionals ($62,200);
  • the highest median Employee income for Secondary applicants was reported by those working as Professionals ($51,500); and
  • primary applicants reported a higher value for median Employee income than secondary applicants for all major occupations.
     
Download

Business income

In 2013-14, Family stream migrants reported $1.3 billion in Business income and represented almost a third of all migrants who earned an income from this source.

For Family stream migrants who reported Business income:

  • The largest proportion were working within the Construction industry (15%);
  • Most income was generated from within the Health Care and Social Assistance industry ($257 million in total Business income);
  • The proportion of men and women reporting Business income was similar, however men reported $774 million and women $487 million in total Business income; and
  • Men aged 25 to 44 years generated the most Business income with $552 million in total Business income.
     

Investment income

Family stream migrants reported $1,038 million in Investment income and represented 27% of all migrant investors in 2013-14.

Among Family stream migrants in 2013-14:

  • Women recorded $701 million in total Investment income, more than double the Investment of their male counterparts ($337 million);
  • Women aged 25 to 44 years reported the most Investment income at $408 million; and
  • The highest median Investment income ($2,300) was recorded by women aged 55 years and over.
     

Other income

Family stream migrants reported $335 million in Other income in 2013-14, representing 31% of all migrants who reported income from other sources.

In 2013-14:

  • Men with a Family visa recorded $213 million in total Other income, almost double the amount reported by women ($123 million);
  • Family migrant taxpayers aged 55 years and over reported the most Other income (69% for men, 60% for women); and
  • The highest median Other income ($17,400) was recorded by males aged 55 years and over.
     
Download
Download
Download

Notes

Income amounts from 2009-10 to 2013-14 are in 2013-14 dollars, adjusted using changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

In 2012-13, the Tax Free Threshold increased from $6,000 to $18,200. This may have an impact on median incomes reported from 2012-13 onwards.

China excludes Special Administrative Regions (SARs) which comprise Hong Kong and Macau (SARs of China) and Taiwan.

Other income (excluding Government pensions and allowances) includes transfer or trust income; foreign investment fund and/or foreign life insurance assurance policy income (in 2009-10 only); controlled foreign company income; foreign salary/pension income; other net foreign source income; and other (including superannuation and annuity income). Data for superannuation and annuities are understated. See Explanatory Notes for more information.

References

ABS 2014, Australian Labour Market Statistics, July 2014 (cat. no. 6105.0)

Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), 2015, Historical migration statistics, Canberra.

DIBP (2017) Fact Sheet - Overview of family stream migration, https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/

Case study: Humanitarian migrants

Background: Humanitarian entrants in 2013-14

The Australian Government’s Humanitarian Programme is an important part of Australia's contribution to the protection of refugees and others in humanitarian need. The protection of refugees and people in humanitarian need is a major global challenge for the international community. The Office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there were just over 51 million forcibly displaced people worldwide in 2013 and almost 60 million in 2014 (UNHCR, 2015)

Australia's Humanitarian Programme has two components: resettlement in Australia for people offshore who have been determined to be refugees or in humanitarian need, and protection for those people who are already onshore who successfully claim Australia’s protection under, for example, the Refugee Conventions (DIBP, 2014).

Each year the size and focus of the Humanitarian programme changes in response to evolving humanitarian situations. In 2013-14, a total of 13,768 Humanitarian visas were granted. Of these, 47% were Refugee visas, 33% were Special Humanitarian visas and 20% were under Protection visas and other visas granted onshore (DIBP, 2014).

Download
  1. Includes "Special Assistance Category" and "Onshore".

Source(s): Historical migration statistics, Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), 2015


Humanitarian visas were granted to persons born in Asia (50%), the Middle East (35%) and Africa (15%). The top five countries of birth in 2013-14 for persons granted Humanitarian offshore visas were Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar, Syria and Bhutan. Almost half (46%) of offshore Humanitarian visas were granted to persons born in Afghanistan and Iraq (DIBP, 2014).

How much income did humanitarian migrants generate in 2013-14?

The Personal Income Tax and Migrants Integrated Dataset (PITMID) shows that 71,600 Humanitarian entrants submitted a taxation return in 2013-14, representing 5% of all migrant taxpayers aged 15 years and over.

Humanitarian migrant taxpayers reported almost $2.5 billion in Total income, an increase of 13% in real terms on 2012-13. There was a similar increase (12%) in the number of Humanitarian entrants who reported income in 2013-14 compared with the previous financial year.

Humanitarian migrant taxpayers reported almost $2.1 billion in Employee income in 2013-14. This was an increase of 10% in real terms on 2012-13. Humanitarian migrants also recorded a further $346 million in Business income, $39 million in Investment income and $11 million in Other income.

Table 4 - Humanitarian migrant taxpayers, by source of income, 2011-12 to 2013-14 (a)
2011-12 Persons (No.)Income ($) million2012-13 Persons (No.)Income ($) million2013-14 Persons (No.)Income ($) million
Employee income43 1721 36452 6041 89056 7192 081
Business income8 55115713 94925118 336346
Investment income14 5581521 0533824 94639
Other income (b)(c)2 55233 81194 34711
Total income (c)46 3171 53864 0502 18871 6272 478
  1. In real terms, i.e. income amounts from 2011-12 to 2013-14 are in 2013-14 dollars, adjusted using changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  2. Includes Superannuation and annuities income.
  3. Excludes Government pensions and allowances.

What are the main countries of birth of humanitarian migrant taxpayers?

The 2013-14 PITMID showed the largest proportion of Humanitarian migrant taxpayers were born in Sudan (16%) and they recorded $370 million in Total income. They were followed closely by those born in Afghanistan (15%) with $346 million. Sudanese and Afghani taxpayers accounted for 29% of Humanitarian Total income and had similar median Total income ($28,000 and $27,700 respectively).

Humanitarian taxpayers born in Sri Lanka represented 4% of all migrant taxpayers but had the highest median Total income at $42,000. Similarly, those born in Sierra Leone represented 3% of all migrant taxpayers but had the second highest median Total income of $41,400 in 2013-14.

The two most common countries of birth for Humanitarian migrant taxpayers were Sudan and Afghanistan. The majority (67%) of Sudanese taxpayers arrived from 2003 to 2006, peaking in 2004 with 21% of all arrivals. In contrast, most taxpayers born in Afghanistan were recent arrivals, with more than half (54%) arriving between 2009 and 2013.

Humanitarian taxpayers born in Afghanistan with a year of arrival from 2000 to 2007 had similar median incomes to their Sudanese counterparts who arrived at the same time.

Recently arrived Humanitarian migrant taxpayers from Afghanistan (arrived 2008 to 2012) reported consistently higher median Total incomes than recently arrived Sudanese migrant taxpayers.

Download
Download

As shown in Graph 13B, Sudanese taxpayers with a Humanitarian visa reported the highest proportion of Employee income with 15% ($304 million) and reported the second highest proportion of Business income (18%) in 2013-14.

Humanitarian migrant taxpayers born in Afghanistan reported a quarter of all Business income ($88 million) by Humanitarian taxpayers and one of the highest median business incomes ($19,200).

Humanitarian migrant taxpayers from Afghanistan recorded the most Other income in 2013-14 with $2.4 million (21%).

Migrant taxpayers born in Iraq reported a quarter of Investment income ($9.7 million) and the second highest Other income ($1.9 million or 17%) recorded by Humanitarian migrants in 2013-14.

Download
  1. Includes Superannuation and annuities income.
  2. Excludes Government pensions and allowances.
Download
  1. Includes Superannuation and annuities income.
  2. Encludes Government pensions and allowances.

How much employee income did humanitarian taxpayers earn?

Humanitarian migrant taxpayers reported $2 billion in total Employee income in 2013-14, an increase of 10% in real terms from 2012-13.

In 2013-14 the median Employee incomes of migrants in the Skill stream were the highest among migrant taxpayers 15 years and over, irrespective of age group, compared with other visa streams.

The median total Employee income of Humanitarian migrants was $34,000, well below the Australian taxpayer median Employee income of $47,700 in 2013-14.

The median incomes of Humanitarian migrant taxpayers aged 15 to 34 years were on a par with Family stream taxpayers in the same age group and consistently higher than taxpayers with a Provisional visa.

Of the Humanitarian migrant taxpayers, those aged between 45 and 54 years of age had the highest median Employee income at $38,800. By comparison, the median income of Skill stream and Family stream taxpayers in the same age group were $68,900 and $43,300 respectively.

In 2013-14, taxpayers in the Humanitarian or Family streams aged 55 years or more had similar median Employee income of around $35,000. By contrast, the median income of their Skill stream counterparts was considerably higher at $62,500.

Download

In 2013-14, the median total Employee income for migrant taxpayers with a Humanitarian visa was $36,000 for men and $29,900 for women. Graph 15 shows that overall, male Humanitarian migrants had higher median Employee incomes than their female counterparts.

While this difference was observed for all age groups, there are many inter-related factors in addition to sex that are known to influence and explain the observed differences in earnings between men and women. These factors include differing rates of labour market participation, variations in hours worked, occupations, forms of employment and working arrangements which impact upon the income males and females receive (ABS 2014).

Download

What are the main occupations of humanitarian employees?

The 2013-14 PITMID revealed the following about the occupations of Humanitarian migrant taxpayers:

  • Over one-third were employed as Labourers; and
  • Similar proportions were employed as Community and Personal Service workers (16%) and Managers and Professionals (16%).
     

As shown in Graph 16;

  • More women than men reported Community and Personal Service Workers (28% women, 10% men), Professionals (17% women, 8% men), Sales Workers (11% women, 5% men) and Clerical and Administrative Workers (10% women, 5% men); and
  • More men then women reported Labourers (38% men, 23% women), Technicians and Trades Workers (15% men, 3% women), and Machinery Operators and Drivers (11% men, 1% women); and
  • A slightly higher proportion of Managers were male than female (6% and 5% respectively);
     
Download
  1. Includes Occupation "Inadequately described".

Of the employed Humanitarian migrant taxpayers in 2013-14:

  • 41% were in a low skill occupation (Machinery operators and drivers and Labourers);
  • 28% were in a medium skill occupation (Community and personal service workers, Clerical and administrative workers and Sales workers); and
  • 27% were in a high skill occupation (Managers, Professionals and Technicians and trades workers).
     

Occupation characteristics differed by length of residency in Australia, as shown in Graph 17. Of Humanitarian migrant taxpayers:

  • Almost 60% with one or two years of residence were in a low skill occupation, whilst 23% were in a high skill occupation;
  • Of those with five years of residence, 41% were in a low skill occupation, 31% were in a medium skill occupation and one-quarter were in a high skill occupation;
  • While 36% of those with ten years of residence reported a low skill occupation, one-third reported a medium skill occupation and 27% a high skill occupation;
  • About one-third reported a medium skill or a high skill occupation with eleven years of residency and 29% reported a low skill occupation; and
  • Almost 40% of those with 13 or more years of residence reported a high skill occupation.
     
Download
  1. Includes Occupation "Inadequately described".
  2. Includes Managers, Professionals and Technicians and trades workers.
  3. Includes Community and personal service workers, Clerical and administrative workers and Sales workers.
  4. Includes Machinery operators and drivers and Labourers.

As shown in Graph 18, Humanitarian migrant taxpayers employed in highly skilled jobs had higher median Employee incomes compared with those in lower skilled occupations with the same period of residence.

In 2013-14:

  • Humanitarian migrant taxpayers in high skilled occupations reported a median Employee income of $26,600 after one year of residence, whilst median Employee income was $50,300 for Humanitarian taxpayers with 13 or more years of residence;
  • The median income of those with high skilled occupations increased by an average of 4.8% with each year of residency;
  • Those with low skilled occupations increased from $20,500 after one year of residence to approximately $35,000 after four years of residence; and
  • Humanitarian migrants in low skilled occupations who had two or more years of residency in Australia had consistently higher median Employee income than those employed in medium skilled occupations who had two or more years of residency. This result may be due to a number of factors, such as working arrangements (e.g. amount of hours worked, number of jobs held consecutively etc.).
     
Download
  1. Includes Managers, Professionals and Technicians and trades workers.
  2. Includes Community and personal service workers, Clerical and administrative workers and Sales workers.
  3. Includes Machinery operators and drivers and Labourers.

Humanitarian migrant taxpayers who had the highest median Employee incomes in 2013-14 were employed as:

  • Medical Practitioners ($101,000);
  • Engineers ($68,600); and
  • Defence Force Members, Fire Fighters and Police ($65,700).
     

The 288 Medical practitioners represented 0.5% of Humanitarian migrant taxpayers reporting Employee income. They reported $34 million in Employee income, or 1.6% of all Humanitarian Employee income.

A total of 455 Engineers reported $33 million in Employee income, accounting for 1.6% of all Employee income and 0.8% of Humanitarian migrants with Employee income.

Approximately 20% of employed Humanitarian migrant taxpayers were employed in three occupations:

  • Most (7.2%) were Food process workers (4,061 persons) who earned $152 million in Employee income. Their median Employee income was $40,700;
  • A similar proportion (7.0%) were Cleaners and Laundry Workers (3,976 persons). They earned $117 million in Employee income and their median Employee income was $28,600; and
  • There were 3,848 Personal Carers and Assistants (6.8%). They earned $160 million in Employee income and had a median Employee income of $41,000.
     

Humanitarian migrant business owners

Humanitarian migrant taxpayers reported total Business income of $346 million in 2013-14. Their median Business income of $15,700 exceeded those of other migrant taxpayers from the Skill, Family and Provisional visa streams.

Other characteristics about Humanitarian migrant business owners include:

  • About 60% were primary applicants;
  • Primary applicants who lodged their visa application onshore had the highest median Business income at $19,000;
  • The proportion reporting Business income tended to increase with longer periods of residency, reaching a high of almost 30% for those who arrived in 2000; and
  • Most Business income came from businesses in the Construction (33%) and Health Care and Social Assistance (32%) industries.
     
Download

Notes

Income amounts from 2009-10 to 2013-14 are in 2013-14 dollars, adjusted using changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

In 2012-13, the Tax Free Threshold increased from $6,000 to $18,200. This may have an impact on median incomes reported from 2012-13 onwards.

Other income (excluding Government pensions and allowances) includes transfer or trust income; foreign investment fund and/or foreign life insurance assurance policy income (in 2009-10 only); controlled foreign company income; foreign salary/pension income; other net foreign source income; and other (including superannuation and annuity income). Data for superannuation and annuities are understated. See Explanatory Notes for more information.

References

ABS 2014, Australian Labour Market Statistics, July 2014 (cat. no. 6105.0)

DIBP 2014, Australia’s Offshore Humanitarian Programme: 2013–14, https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/

United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), 2015, Global Trends, http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/statistics/unhcrstats/576408cd7/unhcr-global-trends-2015.html

Case Study: Migrants born in Sri Lanka

Almost 55,000 migrants arrived in Australia from Sri Lanka between 2000-01 and 2013-14. Numbers increased from 2,500 arrivals in 2000-01 to a peak of 5,700 in 2011-12, then dropped slightly to 4,500 in 2013-14 (DIBP, 2015). Of the 140,600 new permanent migrants who arrived in Australia in 2013-14, migrants from Sri Lanka accounted for 2% (ABS, 2017).

According to the 2013-14 PITMID, there were almost 35,000 permanent migrant taxpayers who were born in Sri Lanka, an increase of 6% from 2012-13. The majority held a Skill stream visa (72%), while 16% held a Family visa, almost 8% a Humanitarian visa and less than 4% a Provisional visa.

Download


Sri Lanka was among the top ten source countries of birth for migrant taxpayers in terms of population size for three of the visa streams, ranking 7th for Skilled visas, 6th for Humanitarian visas and 9th for Provisional visas.

Skill stream migrant taxpayers born in Sri Lanka had the highest median Total income at $51,600 than Sri Lankan born migrants in other visa categories.

The proportion of Sri Lankan migrants with a Humanitarian visa who reported Employee income was 93%. This was on par with migrants born in Sri Lanka from the Skill stream (93%) and higher than all Humanitarian migrants (79%).

In 2013-14, more than 35% of Sri Lankan migrant taxpayers were male primary applicants aged 25 to 44 years of age. About 40% of female Sri Lankan migrants were secondary applicants, compared with only 20% of males.

Download
Download

In 2013-14, Sri Lankan taxpayers received $1.9 billion in Total income with most of this income ($1.8 billion) attributed to Employee income. They reported a further $105 million in Business income, $12 million in Investment income and just over $6 million in Other income.

Of migrant taxpayers who were born in Sri Lanka:

  • Skill stream migrants earned the most Employee income ($1.4 billion) and recorded a median Employee income of $53,200;
  • Humanitarian migrants had higher median Total income than their Family stream counterparts ($42,000 compared with $39,100), primarily due to higher median Employee income; and
  • The median Employee income of Humanitarian taxpayers ($43,200) was higher than both Family and Provisional stream migrants ($42,400 and $26,700 respectively).
     

Humanitarian migrant taxpayers born in Sri Lanka had the highest median Employee income ($43,200) compared with the remaining top ten most common countries of birth (see Graph 21).

Download
  1. Excludes Special Administrative Regions (SARs) and Taiwan.

High and low income earners

Taxable income deciles are calculated so that 10% of the entire Australian taxpayer population resides within each category (see Glossary for further information).

In 2013-14 Sri Lankan born migrant taxpayers were less likely than all taxpayers to have a taxable income in the lowest decile (9%), or the highest decile (7%).

Migrants born in Sri Lanka were more likely to be in the 6th (13%) and 7th (12%) income deciles.

Graph 22 shows that the proportion of Humanitarian migrants born in Sri Lanka reporting Employee income was equal to the proportion of Skill stream migrants, at 93%. In comparison, 83% of Chinese migrant taxpayers with a Skill stream visa reported Employee income while only 69% of Humanitarian migrant taxpayers from China reported Employee income.

Download
  1. Includes Superannuation and annuities income.
  2. Excludes Government pensions and allowances income.

Other characteristics about Sri Lankan born taxpayers include:

  • Migrants on a Provisional visa were more likely than those on other visas to report income from their own unincorporated businesses (20%) and had the highest median Business income at $10,900;
  • Family and Humanitarian migrants had median Business income at $10,100 and $8,300 respectively, slightly higher than Sri Lankan migrants from the Skill stream ($7,100); and
  • Skill and Family stream migrants from Sri Lanka reported the most Investment income in 2013-14, with 68% and 62% respectively.
     

As shown in Graph 23, median Employee income for Sri Lankan migrant taxpayers increase with time spent in Australia. Those with Humanitarian visas often had higher median incomes than their Family stream counterparts, although Family migrants reached similar levels of median income after ten years of residence.

Download

In 2013-14 Humanitarian migrants from Sri Lanka had a higher median Employee income than their Family stream counterparts, as shown in Graph 24.

Since 2009-10, the median Employee income for all Sri Lankan migrants has increased by 19% in real terms, from $41,700 to $49,400. The median Employee income of migrants born in Sri Lanka tended to increase over time for all visa streams except for those with Provisional visas ($26,700 in 2013-14).

Download
  1. In real terms, i.e. income amounts from 2011-12 to 2013-14 are in 2013-14 dollars, adjusted using changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

In real terms, the median Employee income of Sri Lankan migrants increased by 1.9% in 2013-14 from 2012-13, as shown in Table 5. By comparison, the increase in median Employee income for migrant taxpayers born in India was slightly higher at 2.3% and for those born in China the increase was slightly lower at 1.5%.

Table 5 - Median employee income, by selected country of birth, 2012-13 and 2013-14 (a)
Country of birth2012-13 ($)2013-14 ($)Change in median income (%)
United Kingdom (b)64,04464,1370.1
India49,53550,6872.3
China (c)36,65337,2041.5
Philippines48,70648,460-0.5
South Africa63,03761,865-1.9
Malaysia55,32355,5780.5
Sri Lanka48,51249,4411.9
  1. In real terms, i.e. income amounts from are in 2013-14 dollars, adjusted using changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  2. Includes Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
  3. Excludes Special Administrative Regions (SARs) and Taiwan.

Occupation of main job

In 2013-14, a higher proportion of migrants from Sri Lanka were employed as Labourers (13%) and Clerical and administrative workers (12%) than migrants from other countries. Also, a third of Sri Lankan migrant taxpayers were employed as Professionals. This was slightly higher than migrant taxpayers from other countries (30%).

Download
  1. Includes Occupation of main job "Inadequately described".

Skill stream migrants from Sri Lanka working as Professionals and Managers reported the highest median Employee incomes in 2013-14.

Migrant taxpayers born in Sri Lanka working as Health professionals had the highest median Employee income ($101,900). This median Employee income was also much higher compared with migrants born in other countries in the same occupation ($80,500).

Humanitarian migrants born in Sri Lanka working as Community and Personal Service Workers or Labourers reported significantly higher median incomes than their Skill or Family stream counterparts.

Migrant taxpayers born in Sri Lanka working as Food preparation assistants had the lowest median Employee income ($25,200).

Download

Notes

Income amounts from 2009-10 to 2013-14 are in 2013-14 dollars, adjusted using changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

In 2012-13, the Tax Free Threshold increased from $6,000 to $18,200. This may have an impact on median incomes reported from 2012-13 onwards.

China excludes Special Administrative Regions (SARs) which comprise Hong Kong and Macau (SARs of China) and Taiwan.

Other income (excluding Government pensions and allowances) includes transfer or trust income; foreign investment fund and/or foreign life insurance assurance policy income (in 2009-10 only); controlled foreign company income; foreign salary/pension income; other net foreign source income; and other (including superannuation and annuity income). Data for superannuation and annuities are understated. See Explanatory Notes for more information.

References

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2017, Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Canberra.

Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), 2015, Historical migration statistics, Canberra.

Data downloads

Personal income of migrants, Australia, 2013-14

01/09/17 - Table 9 in the data cube has been revised with new decile ranges and data.

Data item list

History of changes

Show all

01/09/17 - Table 9 in the data cube has been revised with new decile ranges and data. The Sri Lankan case study, Explanatory Notes and Data Item List have also been updated to reflect this change.