"These migrants are professionals, they are highly educated, and they hit the ground running – thereby contributing to the Australian economy from almost day one" - Sheba Nandkeolyar, National Chair, Australia India Business Council, CEO of MultiConnexions and Board Member of Australia India Council.
India has emerged as Australia's biggest source of skilled and family migrants, data from the federal government says.
Over 20 per cent of migrants in 2016-17 came from India. 38.854 visas were granted to Indians in 2016-17 making it the biggest pool of skilled migrants and those granted family visas.
However, 6,400 fewer visas were granted in 2016-17 compared to a total of 183,600 in 2015-16.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the figures were in line with the government’s strategy of “ensuring that migration levels are consistent with Australia’s genuine labour market needs."
While India emerged on top, China accounted for 15.4 per cent of migrants, with 9.3 per cent coming from the United Kingdom.
Migration from the sub-continent which includes India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and others accounted for 30 per cent of the migrant program.
Most of the visas were granted to skilled migrants, with a substantial number of those sponsored by employers.
Employer-sponsored visas accounted for 39 per cent of the skilled migrants stream.
Families sponsoring loved ones accounted for 30 per cent of the total number of migrants, most being applications for partners.
Sheba Nandkeolyar, National Chair – Australia India Business Council, CEO of MultiConnexions and Board Member of Australia India Council says skilled Indians choosing to call Australia home is an excellent development for Australia.
“These migrants are professionals, they are highly educated, and they hit the ground running – thereby contributing to the Australian economy from almost day one,” she told SBS Hindi.
She also adds the growing Indian diaspora plays an enormous role in moving the dial on the Australia-India relationship.
“They are highly connected with India, and build an excellent bridge to connect the two countries across various facets of this relationship – including building social, economic and cultural ties - and more.”
Census 2016 data revealed that Indian population in Australia has grown to 455,389, up from 295,362 recorded in Census 2011.
Of Australia’s 24.4 million people, today Indians comprise of 1.9 per cent of the total population.
Along with a spurt in number of people born in India who now live in Australia, Census 2016 also revealed how Indian languages have grown in Australia.
Hindi came out as the top Indian language spoken at home in Australia with 159,652 speakers, with Punjabi a close second at 132,496.
Hindi and Punjabi have made it to top ten languages spoken in Australia.
The other languages which have seen a big jump are Tamil (73,161), Bengali (54,566), Malayalam(53,206), Gujarati (52,888), Telugu (34,435), Marathi (13,055) and Kannada (9701).
Other Indian languages too were recorded in 2016 census. Konkani language has 2,416 speakers, Kashmiri language registered 215 speakers, Oriya has 721 speakers, Sindhi is spoken by 1,592 speakers across Australia.