INDIA is now Australia's largest source of skilled permanent migrants, with more than 29,000 Indians moving to Australia in 2011-12, a report released on Thursday reveals.
The annual Migration Report reveals almost 185,000 people migrated to Australia in the 2011-12 financial year.
Of these, a large contingent was destined for regional areas, with 16,741 people moving to Australia under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.
More than 23% of those regional sponsored migrants moved to Western Australia.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said while the government's first priority was always finding jobs for Australia, the skilled migration program was helping fill the gaps left in the regions, especially those gaps due to the ageing population.
"For the first time, India was Australia's largest source of permanent migrants, with a total of 29,018 places or 15.7% of the total migration program," he said.
"China and the United Kingdom were our second and third largest sources of permanent migrants, with 25,509 and 25,274 places respectively."
Seven of the top 10 source countries in Australia's 2011-12 migration program were from Asia: India, China, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea and Vietnam.
Top 10 source countries for skilled migration in 2011-12:
- India: 29,018
- China: 25,509
- United Kingdom: 25,274
- Philippines: 12,933
- South Africa: 7640
- Sri Lanka: 5577
- Malaysia: 5508
- Irish Republic: 4938
- South Korea: 4874
- Vietnam: 4773
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