India now top migrant source for Australia

File photo: Australian flag Asia has become a leading source of migrants from Australia

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India has become Australia's largest source of permanent migrants for the first time, with six other Asian nations in the top 10, a report says.

Indian migrants comprised 15.7%, or 29,000, of Australia's total migrants based on the 2011-12 Migration Programme report.

China came in second, with 25,500, and then Britain with 25,275.

Most were skilled professionals, with accountants, cooks and software engineers topping the list.

China was top last year, with the UK top for the two years before that.

Of the almost 185,000 permanent migrants arriving in Australia during the June 2011- June 2012 period, more than 125,000 were from the skilled migrant programme.

Australia migration 2011-2012

Total: 184,998

  • India: 29,018
  • China: 25,509
  • UK: 25,274
  • Philippines: 12,933
  • South Africa: 7,640

Source: Department of Immigration and Citizenship

Most of the new arrivals came from Asian nations. Aside from India and China, other source countries included the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam.

"While the government's first priority is always jobs for Australians, skilled migration is essential to support our economy and help overcome the challenges of an ageing population," said Chris Bowen, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship in a statement.

Australia has plans to increase the number of permanent migrants for 2012-2013 to 190,000.

Demand for skilled migrants to fill shortages in certain industries such as mining has been high.

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