Social media is important for people who have moved to work and live in Australia as it allows them to stay in touch with family and friends, new research has found.

Newly arrived migrants and refugees mostly get their news and information from Australian sources and a majority favour mainstream traditional media, according to the survey from settlement agency AMES.

But an overwhelming majority are active on social media using it mostly to keep in touch with friends and family, the survey also found. Facebook was the most used form of social media.

An overwhelming 83% of respondents were likely to use social media on a typical day, the survey found, with 76% of those mostly using Facebook and 21% Linked In.

There were 41% who said they mostly used social media for keeping in touch with family and friends while 34% used it mostly for news and information and 15% for searching for work or business opportunities. Just 10% said they mostly used social media for entertainment.

The survey also found that migrants and refugees are just as active on social media as Australians with 58% using it for more than an hour a day.

SBS and the ABC were the most frequently used sources of broadcast news and information and an overwhelming majority of new arrivals agreed that it was important for Australia to have a strong independent media.

The survey asked newly arrived migrants and refugees where they accessed news and information. Some 57% said mainstream news media, including radio, television and print while % cited social media.

Some 88% said their news and information came from Australian sources while 12% said it was from their home countries.

According to AMES Australia chief executive officer Cath Scarth the survey showed that migrants and refugees new to Australia were interested in local issues and conversations and were keen to keep themselves abreast of news and developments in Australia.

'There have been suggestions that migrants are getting their news exclusively from sources originating in their home countries. This survey shows that they are obviously interested in what is happening here and are sourcing their news from within Australia,' she said.

'It also shows they are using social media to find employment or business opportunities and that they understand the importance of being connected,' she pointed out.

'Ultimately, what the survey tells us is that migrants who come to this country have a commitment to it and want to become part of its social fabric,' she added.