Published on the Sydney Morning Herald, by PETER MARTIN, December 8, 2009.
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 … (full text).