"Populate or perish?" Analysing Australia's migration intake

birdseye view of Population in black and white

Have you noticed in recent times that immigration and citizenship has dominated Australia's news and current affairs? Ever wondered what Australia's current immigration levels really are? In this article, we break down some of the key statistics on partner visa migration. 

'Populate or perish!' was the slogan promoted by Australia's first Minister for Immigration, Arthur Calwell back in 1945. The widespread belief immediately after World War II was that mass immigration was needed to support Australia's post-war reconstruction efforts and economic development. 

Whether this belief is shared by people today depends on who you talk to. Immigration and population growth are currently polarising topics, and migrant numbers are often misinterpreted or misrepresented.

Below, we outline some of the official figures published by the Department of Home Affairs on the Partner visa category. 

Partner visa outcomes in 2016-17

The Partner visa category forms a major part of Australia’s permanent migration programme. Based on figures published by the Department of Home Affairs, there were 47,825 places filled by the Partner visa category in 2016-17. This visa category includes Partner (Spouse) visas as well as the Prospective Marriage (Fiancé) visa. The Partner visa category represented 85.1% of the total Family visa intake for 2016-17. 

  • 47,825 visas in the Partner visa category have been granted each year since 2014-15
  • In 2016-17, Spouse visas accounted for 43,896 places while the Fiancé visa accounted for 3,929 places
  • 54.5% of the places were filled by applicants who were outside Australia at the time of lodging their visa
  • In total, 56,333 people applied for either the Spouse or Fiancé visa in 2016-17
  • As at 30 June 2017, there were 71,523 applications in the pipeline (yet to be decided)

Are these numbers what you expected?

Should the Australian government increase its annual intake of Partner visa migrants? We'd like to know your thoughts. 

Source: Home Affairs Report on Migration Program 2016-17