MIGRANTS from India, China and other Asian countries now make up seven of the top 10 source countries for Australian immigrants, a new report revealed on Monday.
The migration trends report for 2011-12, found India was the biggest source country for migrants, followed by China, United Kingdom, Philippines and South Africa.
Of the 184,998 migrant visas handed out in 2011-12, 29,018 went to Indian-born migrants and 25,000-odd each to China and the UK.
It marks the first time India and China have topped the list, with Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor saying seven of the top 10 source countries were Asian nations.
"Between 1996 and 2011, Australia's overseas-born population grew by more than 40 per cent to reach six million," he said.
"This was more than double the rate for the Australian-born population and is essential in addressing the demographic challenges of an ageing population.
"With the government's strong emphasis on skilled migration, this sort of growth is also crucial to ensuring depth in Australia's labour force."
While the numbers of visas initially indicate new migrants, about half of the skilled migrant visas provided in 2011-12 went to existing temporary visa holders.
"This was more than twice the rate of a decade earlier and reflects a growing trend of migrants seeing what Australia has to offer before making a commitment to settle permanently," Mr O'Connor said.
"There is also clear evidence of Australia's commitment to international refugee protection. "
By granting more than 13 700 humanitarian visas in 2011-12, Australia continued to earn its place as one of the top three resettlement countries in the world, along with Canada and the USA."
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