Skilled migration from Europe to Australia

Siew-Ean Khoo, Australian National University
Graeme J. Hugo, University of Adelaide
Peter McDonald, Australian National University

Britain and many other European countries have been important sources of settler migration to Australia for more than two hundred years. While the sources of settler migration to Australia have diversified in the last thirty years to include non-European countries, with the current emphasis on skills in Australia’s migration policy, many skilled people from Europe are coming to Australia both as settlers and as temporary migrants. The United Kingdom, Germany and Ireland are among the top ten sources of skilled temporary migration to Australia. This paper examines Europe as a source of both permanent and temporary skilled migration to Australia in recent years. It begins with an examination of the trend in migration from European countries to Australia from the 1950s to the present, showing the changes in patterns over time, both in terms of type of migration and source countries. It then focuses on European migration to Australia since the mid-1990s when Australia’s immigration policy became more skill-oriented and a temporary skilled migration visa program was implemented to simplify the process by which employers could sponsor skilled migrant workers. While Europeans are not a large group among permanent migrants, many come as temporary migrants and then decide to apply for permanent residence. Survey data are used to examine their occupational skills, reasons for migration and residence/return migration intentions, comparing permanent skilled migrants with temporary skilled migrants. Preliminary data analysis has shown that European migrants are more likely than other migrants to indicate lifestyle reasons for migrating or coming to Australia to work and then seeking permanent residence. However, differences are also observed among migrants from different regions in Europe. The paper examines these intra-European differences as well as differences between European and non-European skilled migrants. The implications of “brain drain”/“brain circulation” are discussed.

  See paper

Presented in Session 89: European Emigration