The following article from Sydney Morning Herald revealed interesting trends on immigration to Australia, plus the robust Aussie economy has sharply boosted overseas travel by Australians as well:
China has become Australia's biggest source of migrants, for the first time eclipsing the traditional main points of origin, New Zealand and Britain.
The latest migration figures show a record 6350 settlers arrived from mainland China in the four months to October, more than the 5800 who arrived from Britain and the 4740 who came from New Zealand.
The new Chinese ascendancy owes more to a collapse in migration from the traditional sources than it does to the 15 per cent annual growth in migration from China. The number of migrants from Britain is down 28 per cent over the year and the number from New Zealand is down 47 per cent.
An Adelaide University demographer, Graeme Hugo, said the global financial crisis had hit migration from traditional sources in ways that hadn't much affected China.
In March the Government sliced 18,500 off the skilled migration program for 2009-10, disproportionately hitting Britain for which skilled migrants account for eight out of 10 flights booked. Chinese migration, dominated by family reunions, suffered less.
Professor Hugo said New Zealand migration collapsed as people decided to hang on to their jobs. ''Just as someone from Adelaide is likely to try to hang on to their job in the global financial crisis rather than move to Sydney or Melbourne to take their chance at a time of tightening employment, I think that would be the case in Auckland as well,'' he said.
''It's an immediate response. New Zealanders don't need to apply to immigrate. There's no pipeline - that's why the response is so big.''
Figures for short-term arrivals, also released yesterday, show a change in where visitors are choosing to stay. NSW, traditionally the most popular state, received 6 per cent fewer visitors over the past year. Victoria and Western Australia received 9 and 15 per cent more visitors respectively.
At the same time the high dollar and the continuing effect of bonus payments sent a record 570,200 Australians overseas on holiday in October, meaning that for at least some of the month one in every 40 Australians was out of the country.
Departures climbed 20 per cent in October, swamping a 7 per cent recovery in arrivals.
NZ remained the most popular destination with travel to Indonesia and the US up 51 and 47 per cent on the previous year. Travel to Malaysia jumped 50 per cent, travel to the Philippines 40 per cent, and travel to Fiji 24 per cent.
The executive director of the Tourism and Transport Forum, Brett Gale, said the boom came at a cost to the local tourist industry.
''Over the past year departures have outnumbered arrivals by almost 600,000,'' he said.
''On the one hand, it's hurting domestic tourism, but more optimistically, there's an opportunity because it has made so many new airline seats available to bring overseas visitors into Australia.''
p/s photos: Aum Patcharapa Chaichua