Most visa holders in Australia are graduates

by Ray Clancy on February 11, 2013

in Australia Immigration

Most visa holders in Australia are graduates

The majority of people granted visas to live and work in Australia are graduates, according to the latest migrant survey from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). It found that two thirds of skilled visa holders and more than one third of family visa holders had a university qualification at Bachelor or higher degree level.

This compares with just 23% of the general population in Australia and it ‘demonstrates that migrants, in particular skilled migrants, are adding to the stock of skilled workers in Australia’. The industries employing the largest share of skilled visa holders were health and community services, professional scientific and technical services and the accommodation and hospitality industries. Collectively these three industries employed 40% of all skilled visa holders.

The report also shows that the median full time earnings of skilled migrants surveyed was $60,000. This is broadly in line with the most recent estimate of $56,000 reported for Australia’s employees in the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics survey of employee earnings and hours. However, the median figure for skilled migrants does tend to hide wide variation in earnings among different categories of skilled migrants. It ranges from $40,000 for skilled graduates up to $75,000 for migrants in the other onshore skilled categories.

The payoff from higher education was inconsistent with skilled migrants with a doctorate earning about $30,000 more than a migrant without a qualification. Those with a Bachelor degree enjoyed a $12,000 earnings premium although the same could not be said for those with Masters Degrees. On average they earned no more than those skilled migrants without post school qualifications, mostly because less of them found skilled employment.

Quote from AustraliaForum.com : “I have applied for a 476 graduate visa, and had a look at current application processing times. It’s lookin like anyone who applied by december 2007 are just being asigned a case officer now. I thought that this seems rather long as the only criteria to be met is to pass a medical and graduate from a specific university.”

There are also differences when it comes to using skills. The utilisation of skills was worst for the skilled graduate category with almost half unable to secure skilled employment. ‘Although this is not a good result for these recent graduates, current visa policy does allow them up to 18 months to either up-skill and apply for permanent residence as a general skilled migrant, or find a suitable employer who is willing to sponsor them,’ the report says.

It also found that the ability to secure appropriate housing in Australia is a crucial factor in a migrant’s settlement process. It found that family stream migrants have a distinct advantage over skill stream migrants as they have either a partner or other close relatives in Australia to assist them. Around half of all family stream migrants and three quarters of skill stream migrants were in rented accommodation. A further 23% of family stream migrants and 17% of skill stream migrants owned their own home. Almost one in four family stream migrants lived with other family members rent free.

Just less than one in four of those surveyed reported difficulties finding housing. These difficulties were most pronounced for skill stream migrants with 28% experiencing difficulties compared with 19% of family stream migrants. The main issues faced by migrants were the high cost of housing, competition for housing and problems getting references and background checks.

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