Population

Estimated Resident Population (ERP): The official Australian Government measure of the population of Australia. ERP is based on who is ‘usually resident’ in Australia. ERP includes all people, regardless of nationality, citizenship or legal status, who usually live in Australia, with the exception of foreign diplomatic personnel and their families. The ERP includes usual residents who are overseas for less than 12 months and excludes overseas visitors who are in Australia for less than 12 months. 

Natural increase: The number of births minus the number of deaths. 

Net Overseas Migration (NOM): The number of arriving usual residents minus the number of departing usual residents. In relation to the population statistics in Australia, a person is a usual resident if they reside in Australia for a period of 12 months or more. This 12 month period does not have to be continuous and is measured over a 12 month period. The same applies for people who leave Australia. 

Net Interstate Migration (NIM): The number of arrivals minus the number of departures from a state or territory. When measuring the Australian population, this includes all people who are a usual resident, regardless of nationality, citizenship or legal status. 

 

Visas

Visa application: When someone applies for a visa. Visa applications are sometimes used to analyse migration trends, for example as an indication of the demand for a certain visa category, regardless of whether the application is successful or not. 
 
Visa grant: When a visa is approved after an application has been lodged with the Department of Home Affairs. 

Visa processing: When a visa is being assessed by the Department of Home Affairs. This is often expressed in relation to a time period, in terms of how long it takes to approve or reject a visa application. 

Visa subclass: There are a large number of different visas in Australia. Each visa subclass has a specific number. The number stems from the part of the Migration Regulations where the visa is described. 

Primary visa: The person who is undertaking the duties related to the visa. For example, if a person comes to study in Australia on a student visa, her visa is a primary visa. 

Secondary visa: The spouse and/or children of the person who holds the primary visa. 

 

Visa categories

There are a number of key visa categories and associated terms. 

Permanent visa: A visa allowing the person to remain indefinitely in Australia. 

Provisional visa: A visa specifically linked to a future permanent visa, which is granted if certain conditions are met. 

Temporary visa: A visa with a specified end date (with the exception of New Zealand citizens, see below). 

 

Permanent and provisional visa categories

General Skilled Migration: The name given to permanent skilled visas that do not have an employer sponsorship. These visas use the points-test. These visas include the Skilled Independent visa and the State and Territory Nominated visa. 

Employer nomination: Visas related to the process of employer sponsorship. These include the Employer Nominated Scheme visa and the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa. 

Business skills: Visas related to programs attempting to promote business development. 

Distinguished talent: A visa for people with an internationally recognised record of exceptional talent and outstanding achievement. There are a small number of these visas available each year. 

Partner: A visa for partners of existing permanent residents and Australian citizens. 

Parent: A visa for parents of existing permanent residents and Australian citizens. There are two parent categories: contributory and non-contributory. A contributory visa attracts a higher fee and requires a shorter waiting period (3-6 years) while a non-contributory visa attracts a smaller fee and is subject to a lengthy waiting period (25-30 years). 

Other family: A visa for other family members who are eligible through historic visa pathways. There are a small number of these visas available each year. 

Child: A visa for children who live outside of Australia to Australian permanent residents and citizens parents. This visa can be associated with step-children and adopted children, who may not have an automatic entitlement to Australian citizenship. 

Special Eligibility: This visa is for people in special circumstances that do not fit into other categories, including former residents. The special eligibility visa also includes visas granted under ministerial intervention. There are a limited number of special eligibility visas available each year. 

 

Temporary visas

A list of the main temporary visas, noting there are additional temporary visa categories. 

Special Category Visa (SCV) [subclass 444]: This visa is for New Zealand citizens who travel to Australia. This visa is unique, as has no end date and people are able to remain in Australia indefinitely yet it is classified as a temporary visa for migration purposes. Unlike most other visas, this visa does not require a formal application and is granted on arrival. 

Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa [subclass 417, 462]: Also known as the backpacker visa, the Working Holiday visa allows young people from certain countries to spend 12 months in Australia. The visa can be renewed if conditions about working in regional Australia are met. 

Student visa [subclass 500]: A student visa allows a person to study in Australia. The visa is granted in relation to the qualification they will gain from the study. These visas are classified according to ‘sectors’ of different education:

Higher Education: For people who are studying towards a bachelor degree, masters by coursework, or graduate certificate or diploma. 

Vocational Education and Training (VET): For people who are studying towards a certificate or diploma. 

Schools: For people attending primary and secondary schools in Australia. 

English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS): For people to study short, intensive courses to learn English. This visa is often proceeded by a different type of student visa. 

Foreign Affairs or Defence: For people who are sponsored by the Australian Government, typically by either the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the Department of Defence. 

Postgraduate Research: For people who are studying towards a masters by research or PhD. 

Non-award: For people who are studying or undertaking education programs not leading to a formal qualification. 

Temporary Graduate visa [subclass 485]: This visa allows eligible international students to live and work in Australia after graduation for a period of time, often two or four years. This visa is for overseas students primarily in the Higher Education and Postgraduate Research sectors. 

Temporary Skill Shortage visa [subclass 482]: This visa is for people who are sponsored by an employer for a period between three months and four years. This is the main temporary skilled sponsored visa for Australia, and replaced the 457 visa. People must work in an eligible occupation. These occupations are predominantly managerial, professional, or trade and technical roles. 

Visitor visa [various subclasses including 600, 601, 651]: This visa allows the person to visit Australia for tourism or business purposes. These visas can last up to 12 months. 

Bridging visa [subclasses 010, 020, 030, 050, 051]: A bridging visa ‘bridges’ the gap between an expiring visa and a future visa which has not yet come into effect. The administrative function of a bridging visa is to ensure people who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents remain lawful in Australia if their visa expires and they have applied for a different visa. 

 

Other terms

Migration Act: The piece of legislation governing Australia’s migration and visa policies. The current Migration Act was introduced in the Australian Parliament in 1958 and is constantly amended by various Bills introduced by the Australian Government. The Act establishes the rules and framework for all visas. 

Migration Regulations: The Migration Act 1958 enables another piece of legislation, the Migration Regulations 1994. The Migration Regulations are where most of the day to day processes occur to establish new visas or change existing visas. Unlike the Migration Act, the Australian Government can change the Migration Regulations quickly and this process does not require a Bill to pass the Parliament.

Citizenship: Australian Citizenship can be gained either through descent or conferral. Descent requires at least one parent to be a permanent resident or Australian citizen while conferral requires the person seeking citizenship to pass the citizenship test and meet other eligibility criteria.

Migration Program: This term refers to the annual number of skilled and family permanent visas granted. The Migration Program specifically excludes temporary visas and humanitarian visas. 

Sponsorship: A number of visas require sponsorship. A sponsor can be an employer, a state or territory government, or a family member depending on the circumstances. For employers and family members, sponsorship status must be applied for. 

Nomination: After becoming a sponsor, an employer may have to formally nominate someone, allowing that person to apply for a visa. This occurs in the Temporary Skill Shortage visa category. The nomination process is distinct from both becoming a sponsor and applying for a visa. 

Points-test: The name given to the selection process for non-employer sponsored permanent skilled migrants. Factors such as the age of the applicant, education qualifications, and work experience, among others, are assessed using a points-scale. Introduced first in Canada, points-tested visas were introduced in Australia in the 1970s.

The Australian-New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO): ANZSCO is the classification system to describe and define the Australian and New Zealand labour markets. In Australian visa policy, the occupations described in ANZSCO are used to determine eligibility processes for different visa categories. For example, the Temporary Skill Shortage visa uses two different occupation lists to determine what positions in the labour market are eligible for the program. 

 

The Scanlon-Monash Index of Social Cohesion

The Scanlon-Monash Index of Social Cohesion is the core component of the annual Mapping Social Cohesion report, produced in collaboration by the Scanlon Foundation and Monash University. The Index has five component parts: 

Belonging: Indication of pride in the Australian way of life and culture; sense of belonging; importance of maintaining Australian way of life and culture. 

Worth: Satisfaction with present financial situation and indication of happiness over the last year. 

Social justice and equity: Views on the adequacy of financial support for people on low incomes; the gap between high and low incomes; Australia as a land of economic opportunity; trust in the Australian government. 

Participation (political): Voted in an election; signed a petition; contacted a Member of Parliament; participated in a boycott; attended a protest. 

Acceptance and rejection, legitimacy: The scale measures rejection, indicated by a negative view of immigration from many different countries; reported experience of discrimination in the last 12 months; disagreement with government support to ethnic minorities for maintenance of customs and traditions; feeling that life in three or four years will be worse.