This is the first working paper from the OECD’s Migration and Regional Development Project, which was commissioned by the Centre for Population.
It describes the characteristics and geographic distribution of migrants in Australia and offers an overview of recent trends in Australia’s regional employment and productivity. It also provides insights on the relationship between migration, employment, and productivity in Australia, as well as in other OECD member countries.
The key findings of this paper include:
- Australia has the highest share of migrants in the OECD after Luxembourg, at 30% of the population. This is more than twice the OECD average (14%).
- Australia has one of the highest educated migrant populations among OECD countries. Despite their higher level of education, migrants have lower employment rates than the native population, mainly arising from a low labour market participation of migrant women.
- Similar to other OECD countries, migrants are more likely to live in areas where employment rates among native‑born workers are higher. Australian regions with higher shares of migrants also tend to have higher productivity levels.
OECD partnership series
This paper is the first of 4 papers to be produced by the OECD as part of our partnership to investigate the impacts of migration on Australia’s economy, particularly on its productivity levels and labour markets:
- Paper 1: Regional productivity, local labour markets, and migration in Australia
- Paper 2: Impacts of migrants on Australia’s productivity, using analysis of Australian microdata. Releasing in early 2023
- Paper 3: Impacts of migrants on Australia’s labour markets, using analysis of Australian microdata. Releasing in early 2023
- Paper 4: Impacts of migrants on Australia’s entrepreneurship and innovation, using analysis of Australian microdata. Releasing in mid‑2023.